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September 21, 2006
Volume V, Issue 16
 
Fringe Clippings
 
The naked truth…
 
The Irish Dubliner magazine published photos of a topless woman it claimed was Tiger Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren. Other American Ryder cup wives were painted in a less-than-favorable light. The tabloid has since said that the article was just a satire. Tiger thinks it was hitting below the belt (so to speak) and has voiced his disapproval and denied that Elin has ever posed nude. The Irish may have just grabbed a Tiger by the tail. If this was an effort to unsettle the US team, it may have exactly the opposite effect. Woods and Jim Furyk will tee off Friday morning in a fourball match against Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington.
 
For his encore, he will drive a Chrysler to the Buick open…
 
The PGA Tour has a major sponsorship arrangement with Coca-Cola, which in addition to being the tour's soft drink of choice, is also a presenting sponsor of the Tour Championship -- which happens to be played in Atlanta, home of Coke's corporate headquarters. So it must have been a bit of a surprise to Coke executives when PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem stood at the podium in Akron, Ohio, a few weeks ago for a news conference that was broadcast on pgatour.com and he was sipping -- you guessed it -- a Diet Pepsi. Oops. Betcha he heard about that one.
 
Even Tiger is in awe of this record…
 
When Tiger Woods won the Deutsche Bank Championship for his fifth straight victory on the PGA Tour, it immediately got pundits thinking about Byron Nelson's remarkable 1945 season when he won 11 straight tournaments and 18 overall. Since then, only Ben Hogan (1946) and Tiger Woods (1999-2000) have managed to win as many as six straight. "You've got to have so many things go right. . . To win 11 in a row would be almost unheard of,'' Woods said "What Byron accomplished, that goes down as one of the great years in the history of our sport. You've got to have one bad week somewhere. I guess his bad week was a win.'' Woods' first-round defeat at the HSBC World Match Play Championship doesn't count because it was not a PGA Tour event. Tiger will resume the quest at the American Express Championship in England on September 28.
 
Maybe he’ll hit wedge shots between the uprights at half-time…
 
The Golden Bear will get to "Dot the I'' when the OSU Marching Band performs its signature "Script Ohio'' formation during the homecoming football game against Minnesota at Ohio Stadium on October 28. Nicklaus, who played collegiate golf at Ohio State and won a Big Ten title for the Buckeyes, also has his own museum located on the campus.
 
Europe’s inspirational player…
 
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke played his first competitive golf in two months at the Madrid Open. Clarke had not played since missing the cut at the British Open. He took time off to be with his wife, Heather, who died of cancer on August 13. Despite the layoff, Clarke was chosen by Team Captain Ian Woosnam to be on the European Ryder Cup that takes on the United States in Ireland. A friend of players on both sides, Clarke will undoubtedly give his teammates a spark. "I do feel strong enough,'' he said. "In fact I am stronger altogether. I've had to face up to a lot of tough things. I hope I've come through it a better person. My game is fine and I'll be ready for the Ryder Cup. Without a doubt it will be emotional but I will get myself through it. My team will help, but I will get myself through the week.''
 
Perhaps a few verses of Kumbaya will bring them closer together…
 
Normally it is the Americans who have the internal issues heading into the Ryder Cup. But while the U.S. team bonded a few weeks ago with two days of practice, it was the Europeans who were sniping. First it was Colin Montgomerie who chastised Jose Maria Olazabal for not being at the BMW International Open in Germany. Olazabal became annoyed with Captain Ian Woosnam for questioning his motives for taking the week off. But the biggest blow came from Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who was left off the team in favor of England's Lee Westwood. Bjorn understandably questioned why Westwood would get the nod, despite a lower world ranking and position in the Ryder Cup standings. What really rankled Bjorn, however, was the way it was handled. "I found out that I was not in through watching television,'' Bjorn said. "How can that be right? Ian has put a lot of people through misery because he just hasn't done the right thing.'' Bjorn added: "Ian Woosnam has definitely gone down in my estimation. So far his Captaincy is the most pathetic I've known.'' Bjorn has since been fined by the European Tour and apologized to Woosnam.
 
Singing Kumbaya was supposed to be a joke…
 
Apparently Ryder Cup U.S. Captain Tom Lehman likes the idea of bonding through singing. One of his drills: make his players sing their respective college fight songs in front of each other. He might have said, If you think this is embarrassing, how do you think another loss will feel? Hey if the US wins, he will be called brilliant.
 
 
Paralysis by Analysis
 
Rules and more rules...
 
A player hits the ball 25 feet above hole on a downward sloping green. He marks the ball, picks it up and cleans it. He replaces the ball, removes his marker and then walks to below the hole to survey his putt. While walking away from his ball, the ball rolls toward the hole and stops 3 feet from the hole. Does he play the shot from there or does he have to put the ball back to its original spot.

As long as the player did not address the ball are or do anything to cause that ball to move, the player plays from where the ball came to rest in its new position. The other side of that coin is the ball could roll further from the hole or maybe into a hazard, and the player would have to play it where it came to rest. Rule 20-3.
 
 
Reading the Line
 
Changing the face of golf …
 
In the aftermath of Patty Berg's death at age 88, reaction has come from all manner of players, past and present. What is interesting to note is that they rarely discussed Berg's playing career, which was impressive: 15 major championships, still an LPGA record, and 60 overall titles, the fourth-best in LPGA history. Berg's impact went far beyond her success on the course.

"I had known Patty since I was a rookie on the LPGA Tour,'' said LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez. "She was a pioneer in my eyes, but yet she was a real person. She never met a stranger. She was the greatest ambassador the LPGA ever had.''

Not only did Berg help found the LPGA Tour, she sold it. Tirelessly. And as time went on, Berg did all she could to promote the game to others. LPGA Tour Hall of Famer Betsy King remembered meeting Berg for the first time as a freshman at Furman, where Berg came to do a clinic. "We introduced ourselves and said where we were from, and she could name a golf course and a specific hole on those courses in everybody's hometown,'' King said. "When I joined the tour, she was still playing a few events. I also got to know her better through seeing her clinics ... Much more than a golf clinic, it was entertainment, clean and fun, too. Patty was the consummate ambassador for the LPGA.'' She will be missed down here.
 
Even I could come in last place …
 
Michelle Wie is getting to the point where her forays into men's events are going to do her more harm than good. Wie, who it must be remembered is only about to turn 17 years old and is still just a senior in high school, looked way out of her league at tournaments in Switzerland and in Pennsylvania. In the Swiss Alps, one of her corporate sponsors, Omega, gave her a spot in the European Masters. She finished last, shooting 78-79, and appeared rusty after not competing for a month and having just started school a week prior. So why was she there? Was it to get exposure for a company paying her big endorsement bucks? Or was it to pursue her stated goal of competing against men?

A week later, Wie was at the 84 Lumber Classic playing a golf course that was 7,500 yards. Predictably, she finished dead last, shooting a second-round 81, missing the cut by a mile. Wie has now competed in men's events 11 times, missing the cut in 10 of them. She made the cut earlier this year at an event in Korea that had no top-ranked players. "I feel sorry for her,'' said Nick Daugherty, one of her playing partners in Switzerland. "Her ball flight is not suited for a course like this, and she is a much better player than her score suggests.''

Wie has had a strong record this year on the LPGA Tour, with five top-five finishes, including three at major championships. But she has yet to win. Perhaps she ought to secure a few trophies before taking on the men again.
 
 
 

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