May 17, 2007
Volume VI, Issue 8
It’s tough to figure out, except for who is at the top...
It’s often been misunderstood, and sometimes difficult to understand. But the Official World Golf Rankings have been around for 20 years. And five players who were among the initial top 200 still reside there today: Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Corey Pavin, Jeff Sluman and Scott Verplank, who recently won the Byron Nelson Championship. Of course, Tiger Woods is No. 1. And his lead over No. 2 Phil Mickelson is larger than Mickelson’s is over the 1,000th-ranked player. Don’t ask, just believe.
No truth to the rumors that Tim Finchem moved in...
They made a lot of changes at the Players Championship this year, none bigger than the clubhouse. The old clubhouse had a 70s-style architecture and was torn down and replaced by a Mediterranean-Revival look that is 40 percent larger that the old one. It is so big that the clubhouse can be seen from 12 of the 18 holes on the course. The design resembles downtown St. Augustine buildings constructed in the late 19th century by railroad and hotel tycoon Henry Flagler. The estimated cost was around $35-million, and it was put together in a year.
Yeah, but is he paid as well?
Masters champion Zach Johnson is a humble guy, so much so that he said “My caddie is probably a better player than me.’’ Not quite, but there is some truth to caddie Damon Green’s playing ability. Green is a former Nationwide Tour regular who is often named the best player among tour caddies. Johnson gave Green much credit for his win at Augusta. Green also used to work for Scott Hoch, who is now on the Champions Tour.
A rare off day, a rare off tournament...
When Tiger Woods failed to make a birdie during the first round of the Players Championship, it sent all who try to chronicle these things scurrying. How long had it been since Woods went one round without a birdie on the PGA Tour? A long time. He had not failed to make at least one birdie (or eagle) in every round dating back to the first round of the 2003 Masters. Since then, Woods had played in 74 PGA Tour events and played 270 rounds before the first round of the Players. He won more than $33-million between birdie-less rounds. And when he finished tied for 38th in the tournament, it was his worst finish since missing the cut at last year’s British Open. Woods has still won nine of his last 13 PGA Tour events.
Bracing for a brutal test...
Woods recently got in a couple of practice rounds at Oakmont Country Club, site of the U.S. Open. It was one of the few historic courses in the United States that Woods had never played. The venue, which will host the Open for a record eighth time, is considered one of the toughest member courses in the country. In fact, Woods was asked if it will play tougher than the 2006 U.S. Open venue, Winged Foot. “It’s not even close,’’ Woods said. “It’s this one.’’ Woods shot 76-76 last year to miss the cut, so that is saying something. Last year, he said, “Of all the tournaments I’ve ever played, no course was harder than Winged Foot.’’
You’d never know it, but apparently he likes target golf, spectator mounds and railroad ties...
Phil Mickelson’s victory at the Players Championship was his 10th on a TPC course, the most of any player. The PGA Tour owns or leases a network of courses around the country. Mickelson has won at the TPC StarPass (1991 Northern Telecom Open), TPC Scottsdale (1996 Phoenix Open, 2005 FBR Open), TPC Los Colinas (1996 Byron Nelson Championship), TPC Sugarloaf (2000, 2005, 2006 Bellsouth Classic) and TPC River Highlands (2001 and 2002 Greater Hartford Open).
Rules and more rules...
Andrew Magee, a PGA Tour player, had his ball accidentally knocked into the
hole by a fellow competitor in the group in front of him at a PGA Tour
event. To recount the incident, Magee, driving from the tee of a short par
four, hit a drive which he later said went much farther than he could ever
have imagined, bounded onto the putting green, accidentally struck the
putter of one of his fellow competitors on the green, and rolled into the
What was the ruling?
Click to learn the answer.
- Magee was penalized 1 stroke for hitting onto the green before the green was clear and had to hit over.
- Magee was penalized 2 strokes for hitting onto the green before the green was clear and had to hit over.
- Magee was credited with a hole-in-one
- The competitor on the green was penalized 2 strokes for striking Magee's ball
A huge move pays off...
When Phil Mickelson switched from his longtime swing coach Rick Smith to Butch Harmon after the Masters, there were plenty of raised eyebrows. Could Harmon, who helped Greg Norman and Tiger Woods achieve the No. 1 ranking, work miracles with Mickelson, whose ability to hit the fairway with a driver had become less than a 50-50 proposition? Apparently so. Even though Mickelson still had trouble off the tee at the Players Championship, there was obviously a comfort level and a feeling of progress. During the final round, when Mickelson shot 69 to win by two strokes over Sergio Garcia, he hit 10 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens. That kind of consistency will go a long way. “What’s most exciting is I feel like we’re just getting started,’’ Mickelson said. “This is only week No. 3. I feel like in three months, how much are we going to progress? In three years, where am I going to be?’’
Mickelson had already answered his own question.
When he walked off the 18th green to the cheers of thousands of fans, he spotted Harmon and put his arms around him. After signing his scorecard, Mickelson handed Harmon a signed flag from the Players Championship which read, “Butch: the first of many.’’
Dissing Tiger is a bad idea...
Rory Sabbatini apparently never got the memo. Calling out Tiger Woods is simply not a good idea, as several players have learned the hard way. No good can come from it. The South African looked silly when he said Woods appeared “more beatable than ever.’’ This after having played with Woods during the final round of the Wachovia Championship, where Sabbatini shot 74 and Woods shot 69 for the victory. After shooting 67 in the first round of the Players, Sabbatini apparently felt pretty good about himself. This is the same guy with three PGA Tour victories. Woods had that many this year. Perhaps Sabbatini simply wanted to say that he had hoped to compete with Woods. Fine. Woods did get the last word. Not only did he finish ahead of Sabbatini (despite playing his worst tournament of the year), he did get off a zinger.
“Well, if I remember the quote correctly, he said he likes the new Tiger,’’ Woods said. “I figure I’ve won nine out of 12 and I’ve won three times this year, the same amount he’s won in his career. So I like the new Tiger as well.’’