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August 29, 2006
Volume V, Issue 14
 
Fringe Clippings
 
Wow, he’s won 50, wait 51, hold on 52 PGA Tour events…
 
Holy cow! If you are not on top of it, Tiger just blows by you, whether you’re a golf journalist or a PGA Tour competitor. Tiger’s hard fought victory earned him the win at the Bridgestone Invitational this weekend, his 52nd overall and his 4th victory in 4 starts! Tiger went from being 2 down to 3 up in a span of just 4 holes on the back 9, only to lose the 3-shot advantage on the final 3 holes. He then went into sudden death play with Stewart Cink. For 3 consecutive playoff holes Tiger’s pars left Cink possible openings on which he could not capitalize. We could have titled this article, “Cink sunk in rain.” In the 4th hole playoff, Tiger hit an 8-iron through a driving rain within 8 feet of the pin. Cink’s iron shot out of the rough was also impeded by rain and his ball fell short into the sand trap. His pitch up was a good shot but was made meaningless when Tiger made his birdie putt. It was a great match.
 
Lesson: Don’t diss Tiger!
 
Englishman Luke Donald showed up on the first tee of the final round of the PGA Championship wearing a red shirt -- Tiger Woods' signature Sunday colors. The two were paired together, tied for the lead. Was Donald trying to get in Tiger's head? Was he trying to show that red is his color, too? If the object was to send a message, it didn't work. Woods shot 68 and went on to win his 12th major championship. Donald didn't make a birdie and ended tied for third. "I didn't think anything of it," Woods said, but did add: "I thought it was kind of weird to have a blue belt with it.''
 
Just the facts Ma'am, just the facts…
 
It seems that Young Tom Morris -- the son of Old Tom, who among other things, nurtured the Old Course at St. Andrews -- wasn't as young as originally thought. A recent discovery of his birth certificate showed that he was born a month earlier than believed, on April 20, 1851. That means that Young Tom was 17 years, 5 months and 3 days when he won the Open Championship at  Prestwick on Sept, 23, 1868. "It's a good discovery, and a helpful one,'' said Peter Lewis, who manages the British Golf Museum at St. Andrews.  "But in the great scheme of things, it doesn't change anything dramatically. It tidies stuff up. It's a nice bit of historical completeness.'' It doesn't change that fact  that Young Tom is golf's youngest major championship winner. He died at the age of only 24 in 1875, from what was believed to be a broken heart. His wife and child both passed away during childbirth.
 
There’s always a way to work in a Wie story…
 
Michelle Wie had a chance to break Tom's "golf's youngest major championship record" this year, but by the time the first major of 2007 rolls around, Wie will be 17 years, 5 months and 21 day sold. Just too darn old.
 
Yeah, but he’s still the answer to a great trivia question…
 
Dean Wilson has played golf all over the world. A native of Hawaii, he went to BYU, then paid his dues in various golf outposts: Australia, Canada, Asia. Wilson thought it was big time when he advanced to the Japan Tour, where he won six tournaments before finally making it on the PGA Tour a few years ago. And then what happens? He gets paired with Annika Soresntam when the LPGA star decides to play in a PGA Tour event. That was at the 2003 Colonial, and Wilson has forever been known for that. Until his victory at the International. "That was always a positive for me, playing with her, and that was a great experience,'' Wilson said. "But, that's what I kept telling myself, dang-it, I've got to win a tournament so I can be known for something else.''
 
Wonder if he kicked them out after he missed the cut…
 
Former PGA champion Jeff Sluman now makes the Chicago area home. He lives in Hinsdale and typically hosts players in town for the Western Open. He also did so for the PGA, and Davis Love and Chris DiMarco took him up on the offer. Slumann missed the cut, Love placed 34th, and DiMarco's 12th place finish paid a handsome $134,500. Let's hope DiMarco bought dinner.
 
So cheat and spend more, no USGA rules penalty for this one, yet...
 
The annual dinner for past champions at the Masters gets more attention, but they have a similar ritual at the PGA Championship. In addition to selecting the menu for the Tuesday night dinner, defending champion Phil Mickelson also picked a gift for each former champion. Mickelson and his wife, Amy, compiled newspaper clippings from the day each player was born and from the week they won the tournament and put them in a leather binder to present to each in attendance. "It's kind of tough to come up with a unique gift on an $80 budget,'' Mickelson quipped.
 
 
Paralysis by Analysis
 
Rules and more rules...
 
Larry came into the clubhouse a bit miffed. Seems he had been practicing with a 3-wedge set and when totaled with his other clubs, the count came to 15, one over the maximum permissible. Rule 4-4. Larry was playing in a stroke play match. His competitors recognized his error after 7 holes of play. They assessed a 2-stroke penalty for each hole. He was miffed not only at himself for the club error, but also at his competitors. He thought the penalty for excessive clubs was a total of 2 strokes.

What is the correct number of penalty strokes that should have been assessed in stroke play after playing 7 holes with more than 14 clubs in the player's bag?
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 4
  4. 5
  5. 7
  6. 14
The answer is (c) -- 4 strokes. Fourteen clubs is the maximum allowed. The penalty for having more than 14 clubs in your bag in match play is loss of hole for each hole on which the breach occurred, up to a maximum of two holes. In stroke play, the penalty is two strokes for each hole on which the breach occurred, up to a maximum of four strokes.
 
 
Reading the Line
 
Is there any doubt he’ll do it?
 
Tiger Woods is now just six major championship victories away from tying Jack Nicklaus' all-time major record of 18. And you can look at it in a number of ways. At age 30, Woods is already two-thirds of the way there. He has won more majors than any other player in history, except for Nicklaus. He has won as many majors as Phil Mickelson (three), Vijay Singh (three), Ernie Els (three), Retief Goosen (two) and Jim Furyk (one) combined. And yet, six majors is the life work of such immortals as Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo. "It took Jack over 20 years to get his,'' Woods said "It's going to take a career, and I've just got to keep plugging along and keep trying to win these things. I've still got a long way to go, 18 is a pretty big number.'' It should be fun to watch.
 
He’s a freak, a super freak …
 
I heard two commentaries during the coverage of Tiger at the PGA Championship worth repeating. In referring to Tiger versus his competition:
  • He’s a freak.
  • He’s not content merely to beat them mentally, he wants their souls
 
Just play better…
 

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman added Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank to his team, trying to add veterans to a squad that will have four rookies: Vaughan Taylor, J.J. Henry, Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich. He could have added Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson and it wouldn't have mattered.

The U.S. has lost the last two Ryder Cups and has generally performed poorly because its top players have not gotten the job done. The U.S. has the top three players in the world in Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk. If they would dominate as you'd expect, the Ryder Cup would go to the Americans more often than not. But Woods has a surprisingly poor record, 7-11-2.  Mickelson's is not much better, Furyk is 4-9-2. These guys hold the key to success against the Europeans in Ireland. If they dominate, all the other factors such as team unity, how much they practice, etc. will be  moot.
 
It must be the Macadamia nuts or something…
 
Kimberly Kim, from Hawaii, 14 years and 11 months old, became the youngest champion of the U.S Women's Amateur, with a 1-up victory in 36 holes of match play, defeating Katharina Schallenberg, in North Plains, Oregon on August 13. Now lets hope Kimberly does not follow in the footsteps of her Hawaiian friend, Michelle Wie, but instead continues to play in ladies' amateur events across the country through her high school and college years. She should strive to win more tournaments, and then eventually become a professional on the LPGA Tour -- and only the LPGA Tour. Congratulations Kimberly; you were awesome!
 
 
 

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