Friday, August 11, 2006

Top 50. Whither young Americans?

If you ever wonder about the state of golf in the U.S., here's a fact to ponder: Among the Top 50 players in the World Golf Rankings, there is not a single American under the age of 30.

There are three 30-year-olds: Tiger Woods (1st), Zach Johnson (36th) and Ben Crane (39th), but none younger.

The highest ranked American yet to hit the big 3-0 is Lucas Glover (51st), 26, then West Chester's Sean O'Hair (54th), 24.

For the rankings, click here.

For $175,000, Wall Streeters dig new NYC course

From the Associated Press

BAYONNE, N.J. - Bill the caddie stayed positive as our foursome hooked and sliced around the challenging links of Bayonne Golf Club.

“You have to play here three or four times to get a feel of where to hit the ball,” he counseled, as if we were contemplating membership at this high-end private course with awesome views of Manhattan.

Not a chance. Initiation fees of $175,000 for locals and $75,000 for national or international members, plus $10,000 annual dues, are far beyond the means of journalists on an outing.

Two months after opening, Bayonne’s hilly layout on a peninsula jutting into the Hudson River is all the buzz among New York’s well-heeled golfers, along with the new Liberty National club a couple of miles upriver.

For more, click here.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Two very different takes on Michelle Wie firing her veteran caddie: E.M. Swing at and a more pro-Wie columun from Ferd Lewis in her hometown Honolulu paper.

First, Swift of SI..

Greg Johnston, who was Michelle Wie's caddie of less than a year before being fired Monday, a day after she finished tied for 26th at the British Women's Open, was reportedly "shocked and surprised" when he got the bad news from Wie's agent, Ross Berlin, of the William Morris Agency.

I wasn't. And Johnston shouldn't have been. Nor should he have been surprised about not getting the courtesy of a phone call from Wie or her family telling him he was unemployed. It's a pattern we've seen before.

For more, click here.

And then Lewis in the Honolulu Advertiser...

If Greg Johnston was truly "shocked and surprised" about his firing as Michelle Wie's caddie, as he has maintained to, he is definitely in the minority.

If he indeed missed the signs, no wonder she had been reading putts on her own for a while.
Anybody who has followed Wie's first year as a pro and the interplay between Team Wie and its caddies should have seen it coming. Maybe not the day after the apparently fateful British Open, but surely somewhere on the horizon.

From more, click here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oops, Mr. Cohan

In my story in Tuesday's paper on the six guys who made it through the local qualifier into the U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine National in a couple of weeks, I inadvertantly left out the name of Adam Cohan, from Wayne, who shot two stellar rounds of 68-68 on a hot, sticky day at Stonewall Golf Club for a 4-under total.

To make amends, here is a link to Cohan's stats and stuff on the Georgia Tech golf team website.

Sorry, Adam Cohan, and good luck at the Amateur.

Tiger and Stevie: When they became a couple

When did caddie Steve Williams know he had Tiger's complete trust? In 1999, at the PGA Championship at Medinah.

From AP golf writer Doug Ferguson's story...

They had been together for only five months and 10 tournaments, three of them victories, none in a major. Woods had lost his No. 1 ranking and gone 2½ years without a major since winning the 1997 Masters. The pressure was building that afternoon, especially when his five-shot lead over 19-year-old Sergio Garcia was down to one.

Woods hit 7-iron over the green on the par-3 17th, and his chip came up 8 feet short. Miss that putt, and his lead would be gone. He studied the line from both sides, crouched behind the ball and then called Williams over and asked what he saw.

The caddie spoke with clarity and certainty.

“Inside left,” he told him.

“Are you sure?” Woods replied.

He buried the putt in the heart of the hole, made a routine par on the 18th and won his second major championship.

For the complete story, click here.

Wie fires another caddie

Another veteran caddie can't last on Michelle Wie's bag...

By Ron Sirak

August 8, 2006 --Greg Johnston, who has caddied for Michelle Wie since she turned professional last October, was fired the day after the 16-year-old phenom finished T-26 in the Weetabix Women's British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, has learned.

For the details, click here.

Here's the AP version of the story.

Monday, August 07, 2006

O'Hair O'Happenin'

You might not have noticed but Sean O'Hair quietly bagged his first Top 10 finish of the year at the Buick Open, shooting four rounds in the 60s for T-4th.

The $198,400 payday, his biggest of the year, boosted O'Hair's winnings for the year to $845,285, 69th on the money list.

It's still not the kind of break-out year O'Hair had as a rookie, but he is trending upward, as he slowly regains his confidence. After missing seven cuts by early May -- including one stretch of four in a row -- O'Hair has missed only one since, at the Buick Championship in late June.

For O'Hair complete stats, click here.

Tiger will win PGA

No possible way Tiger Woods won't win the PGA.

Did you see him finish off the Buick, his 50th PGA Tour win, and the British before that?

Did you see the look in his eyes? With a year of getting comfortable with his new, rebuilt swing and his grief over his dad's death largely behind him, Tiger is now entering some zone the likes which the rest of us (or his PGA Tour peers) won't ever know.

After the way he faltered a year or so ago, I figured we'd seen the best of Tiger back in 2000 and 2001. I figured not even he could muster what it would take to get back to where he was, never mind get better. Wrong. From the looks of it, Tiger is in the early stage of what might be the most dominanting phase of his career.

By the way, for a look at Tiger's amazing stats and numbers, click here to check out Gary Van Sickle's blog on Sports Ill.