Monday, November 26, 2007

While I'm away...

I'm leaving this lady in charge.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

We interrupt this blog...


In an unexpected development, I have been drafted by the Inquirer mother ship's News Department, to help out for the next couple of months. Apparently, News is even more short-staffed than Sports.

Until my return -- and my editors swear on a dogeared copy of the Rules of Golf that I will return in mid-January -- my postings here will be limited.

Back in a jiffy.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More from Sean O'Hair



After a 1½-hour lunch with Sean O’Hair last week, I came away with enough stuff for a story twice as long as the one that ran in Sunday’s Inquirer.

So, here are some of his comments and quotes that didn’t make it into the paper:

Sean on the early part of the year…
The beginning of the year was a train wreck. I think I missed five out of my first six cuts.

I went back to an old instructor at the Houston event (Steve Dahlby). Ever since I went back to him things are good. I stared playing well. It was almost like an immediate improvement.

On his bad starts to the last two years…
I think it is more a matter of rust. Last year I was hitting the gym hard. I didn’t practice hardly at all. The year before, same thing. The (Philadelphia winter) weather is a problem for me. That is something I’ve got to figure out, whether it’s renting a place in Florida or buying a second home or just going down there every so often and staying in a hotel. That is something I am going to do differently this year. I’m not too keen on buying a second home but you never know.

On going into next season…
That’s what I will be focused on this winter: what can I do to prepare myself for the beginning of the year. I’ve never had a good beginning to the year. If I do, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it won’t be bad.

On Michelle Wie…
She has already sunk. She’s done. It would be very difficult for her to come back. For her to come back, she is going to have to separate herself from her parents, unfortunately. Her parents are good people, nice, but they are a little hard on her. She needs to take responsibility for her own life. It’s her life, it’s not her parents life. She needs to take responsibility for what is going on.

All I know is she is 18 years old. She is an adult. She needs to start doing things on her own, taking responsibility for her own life, her own career. But it’s none of my business. I was in a situation like that. It’s not easy to get out from underneath that thumb.

On the Players Championship…
People said, “You should have played for the middle of the green, taken your par and finished second.

I wanted to win. You could put me in that situation 100 more times and I am still going to try to win, being in the same situation. Now, I would do it in a different way. I wouldn’t fire at the pin. I’d probably take it 20 feet to the left and try and make the putt.

I hit the wrong club off the tee. I hit nine. I probably shouldn’t have gone for the pin. But you know what, I proved a lot to myself. When the time comes, I am not scared of winning the golf tournament. I am not scared of failure. It builds character.

On Tiger’s supremacy and his own efforts to become No. 1…
Tiger is not going to be on top forever. So there is a chance, if I work my tail off. One day, I have the capability of becoming the best player in the world.

Could I do it next year? Probably not. Five years? Probably not. But I’m only 25 years old. Look at Phil Mickelson. He’s what, 36 and he’s in the prime of his career. Where’s Tiger going to be 10 years from now? Where’s Phil going to be 10 years from now? Where am I going to be 10 years from now? Well, Tiger’s going to play well until he’s freakin’ 60. All I’m saying is I’m not close to the prime of my career and I’ve got some big goals. I want to be in the Hall of Fame, I want to win major championships.

On his life away from golf…
I love my life. I am so fortunate. There are times I sit there and think about things I didn’t experience as a 20-year-old. Honestly, I don’t care, because I have a lot of nice things kids my age don’t have. I have two beautiful kids and a beautiful wife who love me to death. Not to sound corny, but I am very blessed and I don’t appreciate it enough, to be honest.

You need to count your blessings. I kind of hit home the last two weeks of the Fall Season. I’m playing with guys who are on the verge of losing their jobs, and I’m thinking it could be a hell of a lot worse.

On living in Philadelphia…
I do feel like it’s home. I don’t like the winter. Winter sucks. But you know, my friends are here, my family is here. We have talked moving, going down to Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, Arizona. The big reason we don’t move is my family, my wife. She is dead-set on living here.
If I did move, I would miss the beauty here. There is nowhere in the country prettier than this place.

I was driving late one night because I couldn’t sleep. It was after the Players and I was still kind of living it. It was 1 in the morning and went for a drive. I turned on the radio and they were talking about it. Obviously I’m going to listen to it to hear the bad things they were going to say. But they were very supportive. It was nice.

I’ve never had a home, dude. I’ve never been based out of anywhere. I moved out of Lubbock when I was 13. I moved to Arizona for three years, moved to Florida, but I didn’t’ didn’t live there for anytime. I’ve been here for five years. I’d love to be a Philadelphian. My plan is just to stay here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Class of '07


For guys on the Nationwide Tour, there's no bigger thrill -- or opportunity -- than being one of the Top 25 on the money list who play their way onto the Big Show, the PGA Tour for the following year.

Here's a link to thumbnail bios of this year's crop of fresh and not-so-fresh faces for 2008. Several of them are retreads.




Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Congrats, Ron Pilot


Congratulations to Ron Pilot, 79, board member at Glen Mills Schools and winner of one of Golf magazine's Innovator Awards.

Pilot, seen here with a few members of the grounds crew, conceived and ramroded the Golf Course at Glen Mills. Retired, Pilot still spends every day at the golf course, meeting and greeting golfers, interacting with the students. The magazine cited Pilot as the Samaritan.

Good call.




Saturday, November 03, 2007

Requiem for a country club



Berkleigh Country Club in Kutztown, which for years was the home to the LPGA's Betsy King Classic, ceased to exist last week and its contents auctioned off.

Longtime member Rich Lerner of the Golf Channel, who grew up in Allentown, wrote a loving tribute to his boyhood haunt for the Golf Channel website.

Rich begins his piece:

Berkleigh Country Club died last week. It ended by auction -- pin flags, tee markers, club championship boards, hole-in-one plaques and kitchen equipment. As collectibles go, we’re not talking the ’86 Masters, but for those of us who loved the modest Pennsylvania course, it was a sad occasion.

For the rest of the story, click here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Say it ain't so


In a crime against the game, if you ask me, a Richmond advertising and PR firm has been hired to rebrand Natalie Gulbis from LGPA hottie to...well, who cares.


Here's the story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rules changes



This just in from the USGA...



RULES OF GOLF CHANGES FOR 2008 SET BY USGA AND R&A

Far Hills, N.J. – Beginning in 2008, a golfer will be allowed to lift a ball for identification in a bunker or water hazard. However, there now will be a two-stroke penalty for playing a wrong ball from a hazard. In match play, the penalty will be loss of hole.

For the entire annoucement, click here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wie-doggies


Not a good week for Michelle Wie.

First the former teen phenom finishes next-to-dead last in the 20-player field of the Samsung World Championship, shooting 79-79-77-71, then her agent, Greg Nared, quits after a year. If you're counting, that's two agents in two years.

If you ask me, Nared bailing is one more indication that the Wie star is crashing to earth. A former Univerisity of Maryland hoops star who lived and worked as Nike's man inside the Tiger Woods bubble for years, Nared evidently had more than a bellyful of Mom and Dad Wie. That and the high-maintence coddling of the prodigy.

What happens now? What self-respecting, respectable agent will sign on now? Especially at a time when Wie seems to want to shelve her golf life for the life of the Stanford student.

She's too young and too good to be written off forever, but the road to the top keeps getting longer and steeper for Michelle Wie.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Golf




A report from the front lines of vacation: I played golf Sunday, I played golf yesterday, I'm playing golf today and I'm playing golf tomorrow.




Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Outtahere...

I'm outta here for a week or so...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Gimme the Prez


I've now covered four Presidents Cups and three Ryder Cups and I've got to say, I prefer the Prez.

It's not because the U.S. tends to wins the Presidents Cup, whereas it generally gets whupped in the Ryder Cup. It's because in the Presidents Cup, both teams keep things in perspective. It's a golf match, not a clash of civilizations, not an statement on the superiority of one culture over another.

At the Ryder Cup, somewhere along the line things got too serious, too testy, too anxiety-ridden. Sit through a press conference at a Ryder Cup and nobody is smiling, nobody is loose or even looking forward to playing the matches. It has become a cliche in recent years but it's true: The Americans don't play the Ryder Cup to win, they play not to loose. The result, in the media center and on the golf course, is that they are too tight.

Of course, the Europeans know that and use it to their advantage. They can see the fear and dread in the Americans' eyes and they use it for all its worth. They laugh and joke and brag about how the mighty Americans are so much better on paper, yet, somehow, they can't seem to win against the lean, mean Euros.

By contrast, at Royal Montreal Golf Club, the Americans were glad to be here, eager to tee it up and play the game. Sure, they wanted to win, and they were facing a team in the Internationals that is superior to the Europeans, but there wasn't the pressure, the fear and loathing.

I credit the captains, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, for setting the tone. Both are a couple of old lions in winter, with their legacy's firmly in place. They've got nothing left to prove. They're just happy to still be involved in the game and hanging around the young stars of today, basking in the limelight. At the Ryder Cup, the captains tend to be younger and much more concerned about their place in the history of the Cup and the game.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Player on comebacks


One of the pleasures of the Presidents Cup is watching Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, a couple of old guys, ramble on and on...and on.

Jack is good, but he's no match for Gary, king of the press conference...

Q. Obviously you're in a unique position of how far back you are, and you've got all of this experience; can you relate to anything you've done in your career that leads you to talk to your players tomorrow or tonight and explain to them, I've had a situation similar, or something that can give them something to hang their hat on for tomorrow?

GARY PLAYER: I was seven behind in the Masters going into the last round, and I felt quite confident of winning. I was always an eternal optimist. I was down to (Tony) Lema with 18 holes to go in the World Match Play Championship, which I won that. But I'm certainly not going in as an old poop and telling young guys, I did that, I did this, I did that.

If they don't know that -- they know these stories, so I'm certainly not going to blow my trump and tell them the time I came back. They know what they have to do. And I've always said it this to my team: Play well. It doesn't matter who you play. There's no such thing as well I hope I can play against this guy tomorrow, because they are all good. I've always said to them, you expect every match to be tough. There ain't no such thing as an easy match. Go out there, if you play well, you win.

Friday, September 28, 2007

You say Mon-re-all, I say Montreal


I knew Montreal was French, but until the Presidents Cup, I didn't know it was that French.

It is. Very French.

From the moment the plane lands, you realize you ain't in, say, Toronto. At the airport, at least, signs are in French and English, but once you climb behind the wheel of your rental car and start driving, you see less and less English and more and more French.

Road signs are in French. Quick, at 60 miles per hour, when the I-40 splits, do you want to go ouest (west) or est (east) or nord (north) or sud (south)? High school French, don't fail me now.

Also, after Mapquest-ing the route from the hotel to Royal Montreal Golf Club, I'm driving along, wondering (A) why none of the exits and turns match up with the reading on my odometer and (B) come to think of it, I don't feel like I'm going 100, as the speedometer reads. Ah, of course, everything is in kilometers.

Everything has a vague European feel. Turn on the TV and you can find CNN and Canada's version of ESPN, but most of the news and programs are in French. Of course, they pronounce Montreal as Mon-re-all. Last night, eating dinner in a sports bar, Canadian ESPN was doing a countdown of the 10 most questionable coaching decisions. About half of them were hockey-related and the rest seemed to involve the Argonauts.

Yesterday, I needed to get a new mouse for my laptop. I drove around for 30 minutes looking for a computer store (Le Super?) Who knew from the names of the stores what most of them sold. Finally, I stumbled onto a Wal-Mart. Case closed.




Thursday, September 27, 2007

Steinmetz wins Section Championship


A major tip of the visor to Rich Steinmetz, head pro at Spring Ford Country Club, who shot three straight rounds of 1-under 70, for a 3-under three-round total, to win the Philadelphia Section PGA Championship at Concord Country Club.

Steinmetz takes home $7,500 for his efforts.

Jim Masserio, head pro at Aronimink Golf Club, finished second, two shots back.

For the full scoreboard, click here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

R.I.P. British Mid-Am


This just in from the R&A


THE R&A TO DISCONTINUE BRITISH MID-AMATEUR

The R&A has elected to discontinue the British Mid-Amateur Championship and remove it from its championship calendar. The British Mid-Amateur, first played in 1995, restricts entry to male amateur golfers aged 25 and over. Despite various reviews of the championship over recent years, small fields for the event and a subsequent lack of quality in depth, mean that the event is no longer viable.

Commenting on the decision The R&A’s Director of Championships, David Hill, said: "The British Mid-Amateur has produced some notable champions beginning with Gary Wolstenholme in 1995 but it has struggled to establish itself as a sufficiently distinctive event in the British men's amateur golfing calendar.”

Matthew Cryer will be the final player to have his name engraved on the Mid Amateur trophy, having won earlier this year at Alwoodley Golf Club. A place in history awaits the Englishman as the trophy is destined for the British Golf Museum in one year’s time.

The drug policy press conference




The players...


Jim Armstrong, Augusta National
Carolyn Bivens , LPGA
Peter Dawson, R&A
David Fay, USGA
Tim Finchem , PGA Tour
George O'Grady , European Tour
Joe Steranka. PGA of America



Q. So spring of 2008, is that a realistic chance that drug testing will take place, say, the Masters or even earlier than that?


TIM FINCHEM: Well, the question of testing protocols with regard to each of these organizations is a function of a determination by the individual organizations. What I mean by that is that we will be recommending testing protocols which we think will have credibility that will be over the course of the year, etc. Now, whether or not Augusta National at the Masters wishes to have testing at all, or testing using PGA TOUR doping agencies or whatever is a determination that they have to make. And you know, I can't answer that question yet. I suspect that having conversations with and certainly these organizations, the USGA, the R&A, the PGA and Augusta National can speak; they are all on the phone. But my sense is that they are waiting to see what the testing protocol plan will be for the PGA TOUR before they determine whether, A, if it's in any way necessary; or B, it's desirable to include any kind of testing protocols the week of their tournaments.


Q. I guess we'll pose that question to Augusta National if there's a representative on the call.


JIM ARMSTRONG: Yeah, this is Jim Armstrong. As Tim said, this is all in development, the protocols, and we'll be looking at the entire issue, we'll be watching what the PGA TOUR and the other Tours do before determining just how we'll proceed.


Q. Tim, you just said that you'd begun the process of deciding what penalties for the PGA TOUR; can I ask George if it's the same with Europe?


GEORGE O'GRADY: We are well down the line on the recommendations, but as I said in other press conferences at the end of last year, we will do if all the world agrees, is far better than one side going off on its own. I think this is still a work in progress.


Q. Is the plan for random testing, after competition testing, everything that other sports do?


GEORGE O'GRADY: It's the whole full-scale policy. As I said before, this isn't some quick move and thinking as we go. This is the whole basis, well thought out and what we've got today is all sides agreeing and working together to make sure this is really a fully thought-out policy that we will all be on the same side of. We haven't got all of the answers today, but we are well down the road.


Q. We saw during the FedExCup how a lot of players didn't really focus in on a lot of the details and the whole ins and outs of it until too late or certainly later than you guys had wished. How do you avoid that happening again with this drug testing policy to make sure that all of the players get involved and understand completely exactly what is going to happen here?


TIM FINCHEM: Well, first of all, this is a different kind of subject matter. This is a subject matter that does relate to rules of the game from the standpoint of performance-enhancing drugs and the violation of which can trigger -- will be able to trigger significant penalties. So I don't think there's going to be -- we don't have too much concern about players focusing on it. However, we are not going to leave anything to chance and we will be out with consultants and have a multiple number of player meetings and consultation sessions, probably six or eight in the first couple of three months of the year. We will probably have consultants out with us to answer questions. We'll have a 24-hour consultation line for questions from players, their agents, their fitness trainers, etc. And we will not just be talking about the rules, the substances. We will educate players on how these substances can get into your body; things that you need to watch out for; as well as, of course, bringing them up to speed on what they could expect if they get to a tournament and we are doing testing. So it's a comprehensive effort. We are not going to just have a player meeting and 30 players come and call it a day. We will be out sitting down with players aggressively and we will have a lot of people involved in that process. We're just not going to leave anything to chance.


Q. If you don't mind me paraphrasing, you've always said that there was no evidence of any performance-enhancing drug use, and the honor system of golf, etc. All that said and wherever you are today, do you consider this a landmark day for golf or a sad day for golf?


TIM FINCHEM: Well, I think that as everybody else has spoken, it's a day where we are going to be proactive in light of the realities of what's happening in sport. But for the problems in other sports, I doubt we would be at this point. But certainly the problems in other sports have created a growing perception among fans that athletes generally in many cases, in the minds of many fans who utilize substances that in other sports are banned. Now we don't ban substances in our sport, but when you combine that in the reality that for example, in the case of The European Tour, they have to undergo testing protocols because governments are requiring that they do; as does the LPGA in some instances, all of these things argue for moving forward. I think it doesn't mean we like it and it does mean we are concerned about shifting the culture of the sport from one where you know the rules and you play by the rules, and if you violate the rules, you call a penalty on yourself; to if you engage in testing, perhaps creating the specter that an organization doesn't trust what the player says, which is certainly not the case. So we are going to have to work hard on that point, but we are where we are given the way of the world and I think it's a positive day for golf because we are, A, together; B, we are spending a lot of energy to do it right. We are learning from watching what the other sports have done that in some cases have not been perhaps the right thing to do. It's taken them awhile to get it right, and we've been quite deliberate about where we're headed. And all of these things I think are positive. I think that's a positive message for the game.


Q. I was wondering if Peter Dawson, David Fay and Joe Steranka could weigh in. Are you going to sit back and see how it plays out with the testing on tours in the Europe and the U.S. before deciding on whether you'll test individually? Because obviously you have the autonomy to do that.


PETER DAWSON: It's Peter Dawson here first. As far as The Open Championship is concerned, we've taken a policy decision that The Open will fall into line with whatever drug testing regime the tours and specifically in our case, The European Tour, develops. So The Open Championship will be just as another week on Tour.


JOE STERANKA: Same for the PGA of America. We see the PGA TOUR carrying the biggest load and we plan to coordinate our activities to fall in line. We're supportive generally of announced testing, so that would mean that no single event would be known in advance that it would be a sight for testing.


Q. David, you have obviously the Men and Women's Open.


DAVID FAY: That's right. We'll be following very carefully the PGA TOUR policy, The European Tour policy because players in the Open, Senior Open come from various tours. And of course, we'll be working very closely with the LPGA for the U.S. Women's Open.


Q. But no plans to do any testing of your own?


DAVID FAY: No, not at this point. I think that as Joe said, the professional organizations have been taking the lead on this, and this second stage which will include the medical waiver procedures, the testing protocols, penalties and the like will be developed and we'll be taking our cue from that.


Q. If I could, one final question for George and Tim, do you guys have any idea what the approximation on cost is going to be for something like this on an annual basis?


TIM FINCHEM: Well, there's two levels of cost really. One is the administration of the program, including testing. And then the other is no sport has gotten into testing without litigation arising in some fashion or form, and that's a whole other level of cost, but we're not worrying about that right now. We anticipate, I think we've said this, but we're going to spend a million to a million and a half dollars a year most likely in that range, and the first two or three years, we're looking to pass that right now with respect to administering the program; it's not an inexpensive situation to get involved in.


GEORGE O'GRADY: And from our side, we've made an announcement what we're going to compute what the cost of every individual test is going to be, and you multiply that around; that's an easy one that you can quantify. The thing is, if we haven't got everything thought through and the education program to our players really has gone straightaway, we have no desire to spend the rest of our life living in a courtroom. So this is an education ensuring that the game is as clean as


Q. Joe, you have the club pros; David, you will qualifiers who could be from almost any background and not a member of a tour or college player where there is testing of college athletics. Are there any plans on what to do in the cases of qualifiers for your events who are not members of a professional tour?


JOE STERANKA: On behalf of the PGA of America, we'll be reviewing that with our board. We conduct not only the Championships, but host a number of tournaments at the national section and chapter level, and some amateur competitions, our Junior PGA Championship Series and Junior Ryder Cup and McGladrey Team Championship. So we see this as the banned substance list to becoming almost another rule of golf in which we'll administer tournaments, and then the protocol that we'll have in administering that throughout all of our competitions is yet to be determined and is something that we'll spend the rest of the year focusing on.


DAVID FAY: And that's pretty much our position, and talking about it with our board, we expect close to 9,000 to 10,000 entrants in the U.S. Open, so it's a slightly different kettle of fish. And I think education is clearly going to be, as mentioned before, a very key component. Because getting past any possible performance benefits, the possible side effects of many of the substances, detrimental side effects are real, and players should be made aware of that.


TIM FINCHEM: Let me just chime in that I don't think that there is no set of testing protocols that will come forward that will create a situation will every single person that plays in one of our events will be tested because we have Monday qualifiers. We have sponsor exemptions, and candidly, I don't think the public or we are particularly concerned about a player that plays in one tournament a year, anyway. I think it's the people that are competing, really the core competitor group, in our case is a couple of hundred players on the PGA TOUR, and then more on the other two tours. But we'll be addressing all those kind of details downstream. Thank you for joining us today, and to those who asked questions, we appreciate it. Obviously each of our organizations are available to answer follow-up questions regarding our own situations or the collective focus. And I would say finally that there will be an opportunity during the Presidents Cup next week where a number of the directors from the World Golf Foundation will be together to make some comments about, not on this subject perhaps, although questions would be answered, but on the direction of the World Golf Foundation going forward, which we look forward to probably next Wednesday in Montréal. And to the media, we encourage you to come to Montréal. I know most of you are planning to be there, and to everybody else on the call, I look forward to seeing you next week. Have a good day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tiger's Tour Championship press conference


Excerpts from Tiger's post-victory press conference...


PGA Tour: Tiger Woods, congratulations. We've got a couple of nice big trophies here for you. First and foremost, winning the TOUR Championship for the second time in your career and winning the inaugural FedExCup. Maybe some opening comments about a great week and a great year for you. You finished the year with seven wins.


TIGER WOODS: Well, I really played well today. I mean, I hit a bunch of good shots. I think the putt at 3 today was a big putt. I needed to make that putt, didn't want to lose two shots back-to-back and give the guys ahead of me all the momentum. You know, that was a big putt to make. And then from there I really played some good golf, got on a birdie run there in the middle part of the round and basically put it away.


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Maybe some thoughts on your season. Right now your scoring average is going to be identical to 2000, so obviously those years are pretty comparable.


TIGER WOODS: Yes. You know, I made a lot of improvement. It's interesting how people questioned whether I should try and improve or not or try and change my game, and here we are.


Q. Not to dwell too much on the money, but $11.26 million just got deposited into someplace with your name on it. Is that even jaw dropping to you, given your endorsements and all that? That's a pretty healthy chunk of change and accomplishment.


TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, for me I don't look at what the purse is or prize money. You play, and when you play, you play to win, period. You know, that's how my dad raised me is you go out there and win. If you win, everything will take care of itself. You take great pride in what you do on the golf course, and when you're able to win events, that's when you can go home and be very proud of what you've done.


Q. Where would you say your confidence level is right now? And have you seen it grown over these last two years? Was there ever kind of a turning point for you?


TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the last couple years has been -- I've made a bunch of changes obviously on my swing. But last year as we all know, I think the Western in the second round I really played well. Finally I went back to just playing golf again. I got over all the things that happened earlier, my dad passing, and I finally got back to just playing golf again, didn't have to -- that mourning period was finally -- I felt I was done with it. Once I got back to playing golf, I felt I was back in my rhythm again. And from then on, if you look at my results since then, it's been pretty good.


Q. You've gone 1, 1, 2, 1, 1.


TIGER WOODS: Right. I think my driving has gotten better. I feel as if I'm able to shape the ball in there and actually work the golf ball better both ways than I did early in the year. My trajectory control has been about the same, been pretty good, but being able to shape the ball both ways and being able to land the ball on the number has been good.


Q. You've won 61 TOUR titles. Do you think you've reached your prime?


TIGER WOODS: I don't think so. Well, I don't know when it's going to be (laughter). What do you want me to tell you, it's like January 5th of such-and-such a year? I mean, you don't know. The whole idea is to try and keep improving. When all is said and done, when you rack the cue and go home and retire, you can honestly say these were my best years, when I was at my peak. But when you're in it, you're always trying to improve that a little bit to get to the next level.


Q: How would you assess winning the first FedExCup?


TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that overall the FedExCup was a success. I think that there need to be tweaks, yes, there needs to be some tweaks, but I think overall it provided a lot of drama towards the end of the season, especially post-PGA when most of the guys shut it down. You know, post-PGA it's either Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup and that's basically all anyone ever talks about, now that the Bridgestone has moved to the week before the PGA especially.


Q. You said again today that you never imagined this victory at this stage of your career. When you were just starting as a pro, what did you envision as a successful career at this stage?


TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that if you have gone through your 20s with just a few majors, it would be a huge success. Most golfers reach their prime in their 30s. Hopefully you can carry that momentum from your 30s into your 40s, especially now that guys are working out and their longevity and their standard of play is longer than it used to be, you feel like you can carry it into your 40s. I didn't see winning this many times in my 20s and now in my 30s. I never would have foreseen that.


Q. You talked about tweaks. Do you have any comments on what tweaks you would consider to make the tournament better? And what's it like, the final tournament for you this year, to go out with such a big bang?


TIGER WOODS: Well, I think -- what I described earlier to Fergie here, a couple days ago, I think that when you have 125 exempt players on TOUR and your first event is 144 guys, I thought a playoff was play all year for a smaller field, you're supposed to narrow it up, not have more players. Especially when we have limited field events, invitationals that have smaller fields, more elite, and I just think that the playoffs should be that many players. I think the playoffs you narrow the field down, and when you have 10 percent over what you do on the exempt player list starting off the first event, I think that's too many.


Q. Steve Stricker said he found the last couple of weeks very exhausting, and he almost reached the end of his rope today mentally. How mentally tiring has the last few weeks been for you?


TIGER WOODS: Very. Very. That's one of the reasons why -- people questioned why did you take the first week off. I won the PGA and the Bridgestone event, a World Golf Championships and the PGA, those are big events. When you're in contention, it takes a lot out of you. I wanted to be fresh coming into these events. It takes a lot out of you when you're in contention. I think that's what Steve was probably alluding to. It's one thing to play, and if you play four days and you don't play well, it's really no big deal. But when you're in contention, it wears on you all the time. It's not like you can go home and get away from it because you're right there with a chance to win a tournament. It definitely drains you. You know, four weeks of it, for me it was three weeks of it, four for Stricks, it takes a toll on you, not necessarily from the physical side but definitely from the mental side.


Q. You've driven the ball beautifully over the last month or so. Do you think that is the main key to this nice run of four wins and a second? And was there a time when you felt that the driver really kicked in because of the swing change or whatever?


TIGER WOODS: Well, not necessarily, because I didn't really drive it very good at the British Open. I think it's just -- as I said, I was able to shape the golf ball both ways and still hit the ball -- the number I wanted to hit it. I think that's where I needed to make some improvement, and obviously when you start feeling confident and are able to work the golf ball either way, off the tee, into the greens, and you're able to land the ball wherever you want to land it, you start feeding off of that.


Q. Zach came in here and said that dangling any more carrots in front of you was bad news for the rest of the guys in the field. Do all of these things when you add them all together, Player of the Year, Money List, FedExCup, majors, do all those little carrots add up in your head? Does it drive you even more to win them all?


Q. After The Presidents Cup, you've got an extended break and some quality time with your wife and daughter. Just wondered if there was anything in particular you were really looking forward to doing?


TIGER WOODS: Yeah, putting the clubs away, not picking them up, not swinging a club, just getting away from it. Like Stricker said, I can't wait to go hunting. For me, I'm the same way, I can't wait to hop in the water and go driving.


Q. As much as Tim was kind of leading you in that direction, I noticed you didn't kiss the Cup on the green. Do you have a policy on which trophies you kiss?


TIGER WOODS: Damn, Fergie (laughter).


Q. Claret Jugs only?


TIGER WOODS: Have I?


Q. We've got pictures of that, yeah.


TIGER WOODS: There you go.


Q. Secondly, as you look forward to next year, you're defending champion of BMW and here, and Deutsche Bank supports your foundation. Do you see any way around playing four in a row next year?


TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's going to be extremely hard, hard on the body and hard on the mind. We'll see what happens. First of all, I've got to qualify (laughter).


Q. For the Ryder Cup or for the Playoffs?


TIGER WOODS: For the Playoffs (laughter).


Q. Running the numbers, you didn't even have to show up this week to still win the FedExCup. I know that wasn't the intent, to miss events, at least the TOUR didn't plan it that way. Do you think the schedule needs to be rejiggered to allow guys like yourself to play two in a row, then have a week off and play two more?


TIGER WOODS: It's not just four in a row, it's playing Firestone followed by the PGA and then you have that week off, and then next week four in a row plus one more, so it's five in a row. Seven out of eight weeks is a lot to ask of guys. They're all big events. Some guys have hometown events and they can go out there and have a great time. These are big events, a World Golf Championships, a major, followed by our new Playoffs system, followed by a Ryder Cup. You can't take an event off. So I think that's what guys were having a complaint with, is that because they're all such big events with such big meaning to them, it's going to be hard for all the guys to play all the events. It'll be easier for the international guys next year because they won't have to play the Ryder Cup.


Q. How important is that when you think about these four events?


TIGER WOODS: Well, they're all big events, like I said. I think that's where the guys would like to have a break, to get recharged, mentally recharged and ready to go for all those events. We have a few Europeans that play on our TOUR full-time, and I'm sure a few of them will probably play in the Playoff system, but not their entire team. We have our entire team playing the Playoff system, which adds to the fact that it's going to be a little more difficult for us to do and then compete in the Ryder Cup the very following week.


Q. You had referenced sort of the light coming on at the Western, putting your dad and the grief behind you and the streak you've been on. You've won 13 of 22 on the U.S. TOUR ending today. I'm wondering, given what you did in those earlier years, '99, 2000, eight-win, nine-win season, where you think this stretch, 14 months, fits in in terms of your best-of list, and if you're as good or better than ever, how you would evaluate it?


TIGER WOODS: I think you would probably say I didn't win as many majors through that stretch, but World Golf Championships along the way. I think that I have a better understanding of how to play the game now by far than I did back then, and I certainly have a lot more shots to get me around golf courses than I did then. That's just seven to nine years of more experience, just understanding all the mistakes I've made and how to improve and how to get myself around the golf course. My course management skills have certainly improved over the years.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Crump Cup, Day 1


2007 Crump Memorial Tournament / Qualifying Round 1 Results
Pine Valley Golf Club


Open Division 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 OUT 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 IN TOTAL
Chip Lutz 4 4 3 4 3 4 5 4 4 35 3 4 4 4 3 5 3 4 4 34 69
Bryan Norton 3 4 3 4 3 3 5 4 6 35 3 3 4 5 4 4 4 4 3 34 69
Scott M. Rowe 4 4 3 5 3 4 5 4 4 36 4 3 3 3 3 5 4 4 4 33 69
Carlton Forrester 4 3 2 4 3 4 4 4 4 32 2 6 3 4 3 5 4 6 5 38 70
Kelly R. Miller 4 4 3 5 2 4 5 4 4 35 3 4 4 5 2 5 4 4 4 35 70
John Pate 4 4 4 4 3 4 5 3 4 35 2 4 4 4 4 5 5 3 4 35 70
Arnie Cutrell 4 4 3 4 3 3 6 5 3 35 2 4 4 5 2 5 4 5 5 36 71
ThomasGramigna 4 5 3 3 4 3 6 5 3 36 3 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 4 35 71
Roger W. Hoit 4 3 4 3 2 3 5 4 5 33 3 5 3 7 4 4 4 4 4 38 71
Jim Lehman 5 4 3 4 3 4 5 4 4 36 3 4 4 3 3 5 5 4 4 35 71
Michael McCoy 4 5 2 5 4 4 4 4 4 36 3 4 4 5 2 5 3 4 5 35 71
Richard Caldwell 4 4 3 4 3 5 5 4 5 37 3 5 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 35 72
Michael Kelley 4 3 4 4 3 4 5 4 4 35 3 5 4 5 3 5 4 4 4 37 72
MichaelMcDermott 3 4 4 5 4 4 6 4 4 38 3 4 3 4 3 6 3 4 4 34 72
Pat Tallent 5 4 3 4 3 4 5 4 4 36 4 3 4 4 4 6 4 3 4 36 72
Jeff Belk 3 4 4 4 3 4 5 3 5 35 3 4 5 5 3 5 5 4 4 38 73
Don DuBois 4 4 3 5 2 3 4 3 5 33 3 5 3 5 3 5 5 5 6 40 73
Edward Gibstein 5 4 3 4 3 3 5 3 4 34 3 5 4 5 3 5 5 5 4 39 73
Bill Jeremiah 5 4 3 3 5 5 5 5 3 38 3 4 4 4 2 6 4 4 4 35 73
Stephen R. Johnson 4 4 3 5 3 4 5 4 4 36 3 4 5 5 2 5 4 4 5 37 73
Oscar Mestre 4 4 4 4 3 4 8 4 4 39 3 4 3 4 4 5 4 3 4 34 73
Skip Berkmeyer 4 4 4 3 3 3 5 4 4 34 3 4 4 5 5 7 4 4 4 40 74
Brian P. Gillespie 4 4 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 35 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 4 4 39 74
WilliamHadden, III 3 4 3 4 3 4 7 4 4 36 3 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 5 38 74
ChristopherLange 3 5 4 3 3 4 5 4 4 35 3 5 4 5 2 5 5 6 4 39 74
GeorgeMarucci, Jr. 4 4 3 4 4 4 5 4 4 36 3 4 4 5 3 6 4 5 4 38 74
Garth McGimpsey 5 5 4 4 3 3 5 3 4 36 4 5 4 6 3 4 4 4 4 38 74
WilliamMcGuinness 5 4 3 3 4 5 6 4 4 38 4 4 4 4 3 6 4 3 4 36 74
Kris K. Mikkelsen 4 4 4 4 4 4 7 3 4 38 2 4 4 4 2 5 5 4 6 36 74
Eoghan O'Connell 5 4 4 4 4 3 5 5 4 38 3 5 4 5 2 5 4 4 4 36 74
Steve Slayden 5 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 36 3 4 4 5 3 6 4 4 5 38 74
GeorgeZahringer, III 5 4 3 4 4 4 5 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 3 6 4 4 4 36 74
Jerry Chang 5 5 3 6 3 4 5 4 5 40 3 3 4 4 3 6 4 4 4 35 75
Gene Elliott 4 5 3 4 3 4 5 4 5 37 4 4 4 4 4 6 4 4 4 38 75
SamMacNaughton 4 5 3 5 3 3 5 6 4 38 2 6 4 4 4 5 4 4 4 37 75
Michael Muehr 4 5 3 4 5 4 5 4 5 39 4 4 4 3 3 5 5 4 4 36 75
David Nelson 3 5 2 5 2 6 4 4 5 36 4 4 4 4 3 7 6 4 3 39 75
Jamie Slonis 4 4 3 4 4 4 6 4 4 37 4 4 4 5 3 6 5 3 4 38 75
Tom Brennan 4 4 4 4 5 4 6 4 5 40 3 4 4 5 3 5 5 3 4 36 76
Robert C. Funk 4 5 3 6 3 4 5 4 4 38 4 4 6 4 2 6 4 4 4 38 76
RobertGerwin, II 5 4 3 4 4 5 5 3 4 37 3 4 5 4 4 7 4 4 4 39 76
Steve Harwell 4 5 4 4 3 4 5 4 4 37 3 5 4 6 3 5 4 4 5 39 76
Mike Moffat 5 4 3 4 3 4 5 5 4 37 3 3 4 4 6 6 4 4 5 39 76
Scott M. Stahr 4 4 3 5 3 3 7 4 4 37 3 4 4 5 4 5 4 5 5 39 76
Patrick F. Brady 5 5 3 5 3 4 5 4 6 40 4 3 4 5 4 5 4 4 4 37 77
Patrick D. Carter 6 4 4 4 5 4 4 5 6 42 4 3 3 5 4 4 4 4 4 35 77
Michael Deo 3 4 3 3 3 5 5 4 4 34 3 5 5 4 4 7 5 4 6 43 77
Alan Fadel 4 4 3 4 4 5 5 4 5 38 3 4 4 6 3 6 5 4 4 39 77
Michael R. Foster 5 4 3 4 5 4 5 4 5 39 2 4 5 6 2 6 4 3 6 38 77
Randy Haag 4 4 3 5 3 4 5 4 4 36 3 5 4 6 2 5 5 4 7 41 77
Matthew Sughrue 5 5 3 5 4 4 5 5 4 40 2 5 3 4 3 5 6 4 5 37 77
JamesSullivan, Jr. 5 5 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 41 2 4 4 5 3 6 4 5 3 36 77
P. Chet Walsh 5 4 5 4 3 4 6 5 4 40 3 5 4 4 3 6 4 4 4 37 77
AndrewBiggadike 4 5 3 4 4 5 5 4 4 38 4 4 3 6 3 5 4 4 7 40 78
Grady Brame 4 4 3 3 3 5 6 6 5 39 3 5 3 6 4 6 4 4 4 39 78
WilliamCostin, IV 6 4 3 4 5 5 5 4 4 40 3 3 4 5 4 5 5 5 4 38 78
Craig Nichols 4 5 2 4 4 4 6 4 4 37 3 4 4 5 4 5 6 5 5 41 78
Robert Vallis 5 5 3 5 3 4 6 5 5 41 3 4 4 4 4 5 4 4 5 37 78
JohnFulkerson 4 5 4 5 3 4 5 8 4 42 4 4 3 5 3 8 3 3 4 37 79
Douglas Gregor 4 5 4 4 4 7 6 4 3 41 3 4 4 5 3 6 5 4 4 38 79
John Lobb 4 4 3 5 3 4 5 5 5 38 3 4 4 4 3 6 4 7 6 41 79
Eric L. Sexton 4 4 4 4 3 4 5 5 4 37 3 4 4 5 5 7 6 4 4 42 79
ChrisAnderson 4 5 3 6 4 4 6 4 4 40 3 3 5 4 4 8 4 4 5 40 80
WarrenChoate 4 4 3 3 6 6 7 4 4 41 4 4 4 5 4 6 4 4 4 39 80
MichaelMcGowan 5 4 3 4 3 4 6 5 4 38 4 5 4 4 5 6 6 4 4 42 80
Steve Smyers 4 6 5 5 3 4 6 4 5 42 4 4 6 5 3 4 4 3 5 38 80
GaryDurbin 4 4 4 5 3 4 6 5 6 41 5 5 4 5 4 5 4 4 4 40 81
MPalmer 6 4 3 4 4 3 6 4 6 40 5 4 4 5 3 6 5 5 4 41 81
Robert Young 4 6 4 4 3 5 5 4 5 40 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 4 6 41 81
Sam Manning 4 4 4 5 3 4 5 5 6 40 3 5 5 5 2 8 4 4 6 42 82
Clay Uselton 6 4 5 4 3 5 5 4 5 41 3 5 4 7 4 5 4 4 5 41 82
JohnBauman, III 5 5 4 4 4 4 8 3 4 41 3 4 4 5 4 8 4 5 5 42 83
JamesBryan 4 4 6 4 3 6 5 5 6 43 3 4 4 5 5 6 4 4 5 40 83
Davis Driver 4 3 3 4 3 4 4 5 5 35 4 4 5 5 9 6 6 4 5 48 83
Gary Daniels 4 5 3 5 7 4 7 6 4 45 3 5 4 4 4 6 4 5 4 39 84
Chick Wagner 6 5 4 5 3 4 5 4 4 40 4 4 5 4 6 7 5 5 4 44 84
Michael J. Brown 6 4 4 4 4 5 7 5 6 45 3 5 4 4 2 5 6 5 6 40 85
Rob Savarese, Jr. 3 4 3 4 5 6 6 6 7 44 3 5 4 7 5 5 5 4 3 41 85
Thomas Yellin 5 4 4 5 4 4 6 6 5 43 5 4 5 5 4 5 5 4 6 43 86
Steve Nicklaus 4 5 3 5 7 5 7 7 4 47 4 5 3 6 5 7 5 4 5 44 91

Senior Div 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 OUT 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 IN TOTAL
Joseph P. Keller 4 4 2 4 3 4 5 4 6 36 3 4 4 4 3 4 5 4 4 35 71
Kent Frandsen 4 3 3 4 4 3 7 4 5 37 3 4 4 4 3 5 5 4 4 36 73
Marvin Giles, III 5 4 4 4 4 3 4 5 4 37 3 4 6 4 4 5 3 3 4 36 73
John Y. Howson, Jr. 5 4 3 4 3 4 5 4 5 37 3 4 5 4 3 5 5 3 4 36 73
NormanSwenson, Jr. 5 4 3 3 3 4 5 4 5 36 3 4 5 4 3 5 4 4 5 37 73
O.Gordon Brewer, Jr. 6 5 4 4 3 4 5 7 5 43 3 4 3 5 3 4 4 3 4 33 76
David K. Brookreson 5 5 3 4 4 4 5 4 4 38 3 5 4 4 4 5 4 5 4 38 76
Thomas Graham 4 6 3 4 5 4 5 5 5 41 2 5 5 4 3 5 4 3 4 35 76
Jerry Greenbaum 4 4 3 4 4 4 6 4 4 37 3 5 5 4 3 6 5 4 4 39 76
Joseph Quillinan, Jr. 3 4 6 5 3 4 5 4 5 39 3 4 4 4 4 6 4 4 4 37 76
Randy Reifers 4 4 3 5 4 4 4 4 5 37 3 4 4 5 3 7 5 4 4 39 76
Jack Vardaman 4 4 4 4 3 5 7 4 4 39 2 5 4 4 5 5 5 3 4 37 76
Thomas Case 4 6 3 4 4 5 6 4 5 41 3 4 4 5 3 5 4 4 4 36 77
Allan Small 4 5 4 4 4 4 5 4 5 39 2 4 4 5 3 6 5 4 5 38 77
A. Harcourt Kemp 6 4 3 5 4 6 5 5 4 42 3 5 4 4 3 5 4 4 4 36 78
Andres Palandjoglou 4 4 4 5 4 4 6 5 4 40 5 3 4 4 3 7 4 4 4 38 78
Robert G. Housen 5 4 4 5 4 5 6 4 4 41 3 6 5 4 4 5 4 3 4 38 79
W. Logan Jackson 5 4 2 6 6 5 5 5 4 42 4 5 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 37 79
John D. McKey, Jr, 4 5 4 5 3 5 6 5 4 41 3 4 4 6 4 5 5 4 4 39 80
Ned Steiner 5 4 3 4 3 4 7 4 6 40 4 4 4 6 3 7 4 4 4 40 80
Gayle Sanchez 4 5 4 4 4 5 5 4 4 39 3 5 4 4 5 7 5 4 5 42 81
J. Stuart Francis 5 6 3 5 4 4 6 3 5 41 3 4 6 6 3 5 7 4 3 41 82
Jarrett B. Kling 4 4 3 5 3 5 6 4 6 40 3 5 4 6 4 6 5 4 6 43 83
Michael B. Rose 5 7 5 5 4 4 5 5 6 46 3 4 4 5 3 7 4 3 4 37 83
Hugh Kenworthy, III 6 4 5 5 4 4 7 4 5 44 4 4 5 6 3 6 3 4 6 41 85
Ben F. Brundred, III 7 4 3 6 5 4 5 4 6 44 4 6 3 4 4 4 5 6 6 42 86

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quote of the Day, Part II


Mark Calcavecchia, when asked about the motivation for him and the others in the Tour Championship who can't win the FedEx Cup?


Cash. It's a golf tournament. We're here to win. There's only 30 guys. You figure five or six of them are just going to flat-out play bad. Hopefully, I won't be one of those five or six. If you've got any game at all, you've got about 21 or 22 guys to beat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Quote of the Day

From Mark Calcavecchia at the Tour Championship...

I'm wrecked, I'm destroyed. Like someone else said, Tiger is tired after two weeks. I've got him by 80 pounds and 17 years. How do you think I'm doing after eight out of nine (weeks)? He could run from here to downtown. I couldn't run out of a burning house (laughter). Yeah, I'm tired.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

FedEx Cup f-e-e-e-l-i-n-g-s


Two down, two to go.

Laugh if you must, but watching Phil and Tiger battle to the finish Sunday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, I found myself actually giving a damn.

I can't be certain if it was the eventual outcome of the FedEx Cup that interested me or merely the chance to see another good nip-and-tuck showdown between the two best players in the game. But I felt it, it was there -- a small twitch in my give-a-hoot muscle.

After sniffing at all the bells and whistles that make up the FedEx Cup, I also confess that I have checked the points standings after the Barclays and the Deutsche Banks. More than anything, I enjoy seeing who failed to advance to the next week.

Also, I'm starting to think Tiger skipping the first week was a good thing. Next year, to make things fair, maybe the PGA Tour ought to write him skipping the first event into the rules and regulations.

Still, the FedEx Cup has problems, starting with the four straight weeks of play-offs. I know most sports fans think four straight weeks of golf sound like a vacation, but four straight weeks on the road is a slog.


O'Hair makes it to FedEx Week 3


With a strong T-9th finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Sean O'Hair has lived to play another week of the FedEx Cup play-offs.

When week two the Cup began in Boston, O'Hair, 25, from West Chester, ranked 68th in FedEx Cup points, barely over the Top 70 cut -off that would advance to week three in Chicago. He made a significant jump, though, with rounds of 68-66-74-68, for an 8-under total for the week. The 74 on Saturday derailed any chance he had of contending. Still, he left Boston ranked 58th in points, with a little cushion.
O'Hair will need an even better week at the BMW Championship to have any chance to crack to Top 30 who will advance to the fourth and final week at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Doak pokes



If you saw Michael Bamberger's article about Tom Doak in Sports Ill last week, you're probably dying to know of the cruel and unusual comments the outspoken architect made about Philadelphia area courses in his controversial book The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses.

As it happens, I have a copy of the hard-to-find tome. So, without further ado, here are snippets from a couple of his mini-reviews:

Huntingdon Valley CC
Set in a wooded bowl that bottoms out just a bit too abruptly, the front nine goes around the exterior of the property like it was routed by Richard Petty -- all left turns with high right-to-left banks.


Gulph Mills GC
The premier old-money clulb in Philadelphia...There are some excellent holes -- the short 4th over a deep valley, and the 6th and 11th with their distinctive greens...but some of the supporting cast are fairly dull, and a couple are radically overdone (the 10th in particular)

Philadelphia Cricket
Some observers favor this course as one of Philadelphia's top five, but only to break up William Flynn's monopoly. It wouldn't make a list of Tillinghast's best work...

Stone Harbor
Without a doubt, this is the most ridiculous golf course I have seen to date...

...more to come

Who cares if Tiger skips The Barclays


I've been trying to work myself up into an indignant lather over Tiger Woods blowing off the first of the four FedEx Cup play-off tournaments, this week's The Barclay's. Can't do it.

I know the PGA Tour is seething over the news. For crying out loud they've spent millions trying to get fans interested in the FedEx Cup. A few readers have sent me angry emails, accusing Tiger of being a lazy lout.

I don't see it that way. Tiger's absence is bad news for The Barclay's tournament organizers who are trying to sell tickets, and it's bad news for the Golf Channel and CBS, who draft off his popularity. But bad news for me and you? Why? I don't see it.

The way I figure it, Tiger is just spotting the field a one-tournament head start and making it a little more interesting for himself. You know, while the cat's away, the mice will play. Let Phil and Vijay and a few others grab a few early freebie points while Tiger is sleeping. Let the golf puditocracy wring its hands over whether Tiger can come back from this points hole he has dug for himself.

I'm betting he can. I'm betting Tiger returns to action at the Deutche Bank Championship next week, win's that, maybe finishes Top 10 at the BMW Championship the week after at Cog Hill outside Chicago, then wins the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.

Game over. Tiger wins the first FedEx Cup. What else is new?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Even Dan Jenkins gets razzed


One of the benefits of this job is that I've gotten to hang a little Dan Jenkins, the legendary sportswriter and author.

Last week at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, Dan and I and a couple of others were sitting at a small table in the media center dining room, watching the tournament on a 42-inch, high-def TV when one of those Crowne Plaza commericals came suddenly filled the screen.
You know the commercials I'm talking about, with Dan, Lee Trevino, David Feherty, Alice Cooper and Natalie Gulbis sitting around a conference table debating all things golf.

When this one came on during the PGA, everyone in the dining room within earshot fell silent, watching Dan watch himself on TV. After his line was over, from all around us, there came an O-o-o-o-h, Dan...

Dan grinned and nodded took the razzing like a man.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Boo Weekley, Part 2


If you aren't a Boo Weekley fan yet, you will be. How can you not be. The guy gives the best interviews in golf -- not that he's trying to.

Here are excerpts from his post-round media chat Saturday after the PGA Championship, after he three-putted the 18th to shoot 65. If he had sank his 40-foot birdie putt, he could have tied Tiger's record-tying 63 on Friday.

Q. I suppose you know as you're playing 18 what birdie there does for you, right, had somebody told you what 63 would have meant and all that since it had been shot yesterday?

BOO WEEKLEY: No, I didn't know.

Q. It would have matched the lowest score ever in a major championship, 63.

BOO WEEKLEY: Really, that would have been nice.

Q. You're kidding me, right, you had no idea?

BOO WEEKLEY: No, I was just trying to make par. You try to make par, look where I ended up (laughter), trying to be safe.

Q. When you lopped that first putt short on 18, looked like you said something to Sergio and to the crowd. Can you share that with us?

BOO WEEKLEY: Sergio asked me what I was fixing to do and he said, Do you want to trade? And I said, no, I think I like what I got right here. And then as I hit the putt and I said, well, maybe I should have traded. After I hit my second putt as I was marking it, I looked over at him and I said, Maybe I should have traded you, you know.

Q. Were you surprised at just how popular you proved at Carnoustie and how much the crowd still seemed to be getting behind you here again?

BOO WEEKLEY: Yeah, I was very surprised over there for the people that would root for me. I mean, being a foreigner, you know, I didn't know what to expect, especially coming over here for the first time. I didn't know how the people would respond to me, being who I am. And I reckon as long as you're being yourself, you can't go wrong there.

Q. As you move forward, what do you know about the FedExCup and are you looking forward to that?

BOO WEEKLEY: I don't know nothing about the FedExCup (laughter) and I just know I'm playing golf and that's all that matters to me.

Q. Do you hope to find out?

BOO WEEKLEY: Maybe in a couple of years (chuckling).

Q. After Carnoustie, you were talking about going home, going fishing, getting away a little bit, eating some real food, I guess. (Laughter) so can you talk about what you did between Carnoustie and here and is this a little bit more your comfort zone to be south of the Mason-Dixon Line and sweating?

BOO WEEKLEY: I like to sweat. I like it hot. The hotter the better, the way I feel about it. And I didn't do nothing when I went home. I just hung out at the house, me and the wife and my little boy, we went to the beach. Just had a good time. Fished and swam and played around.
Q. Have you any ambitions to play in the Ryder Cup next year and do you know about that, have you followed it in the past?

BOO WEEKLEY: If they invite me to come play, I'll come play. But, no, I really don't know a whole lot about it. I've seen some clips of it. I think Justin Leonard made a putt or something. That's about the only thing I remember of the Ryder Cup stuff.

Q. When you were growing up, you realized you had a talent to play golf, who were the players on Tour that you used to hero worship and watch?

BOO WEEKLEY: I never really watched golf. I honestly couldn't tell you. That's just something that I've never done. Still to this day I will go home and watch a little bit of golf, like if I've seen they caught a little bit of me on TV and maybe my friends Slocum or Bubba Watson or Joe Durant. I just can't sit there and watch golf. It's just not my cup of tea. And I couldn't tell you if I had somebody that I looked forward to seeing out there when I was playing, when I was younger.

Q. You had no interest in the pro game when you were learning to play the game?

BOO WEEKLEY: No, sir.

Q. You've said before that winning majors isn't really what drives you. You just want to earn enough money to retire and go fishing. When you have days like these, does it change your view of that at all? Does it make you want more or less?

BOO WEEKLEY: No, sir, I want to play 10, 12 years, whatever it takes to get enough money in my bank. I'm done. I love the game. I get tired of the grind. I get tired of being away from my family. I get tired of being away from my friends and my heart is really set on -- I love to play the game, but my heart is really with hunting and fishing.

Q. You don't really get a kick out of this kind of day?

BOO WEEKLEY: No, I mean, I had a good day and it was fun. But, I mean, what would be even funner if I'm sitting at the house catching about a 10-pounder (laughter). That's about how you have to relate this day to. That day is over. This day is over with golf. Tomorrow we'll see what it brings.

Q. Do you know where you are in the Presidents Cup points list at all and what if Nicklaus called you on Monday and said, You're on the team, what would it mean to you?

BOO WEEKLEY: That would be great. I don't know where I am on the points. I haven't got a clue.

Q. You've kind of established that you're not a golf historian. You don't like to watch golf. What got you interested enough in this to become as good as you are. Who and what got you interested in golf?

BOO WEEKLEY: I had a golf coach at the house. I played every sport you could play growing up through high school as a kid. And I got hurt in every one of them. I figured I might want to pick up a sport that ain't so much where I don't get hurt as much. I don't want to hurt myself, get hit with something. Gene Howard was his name, the golf coach that taught me how to play. And I kind of went off to college and then came back and went to a chemical plant and worked for three years there. And then my buddy Keith Slocum and his daddy talked me into coming back out and playing. They said, You've got too much talent; come out and try something a little different. So they were laying off at the plant. I took the layoff and I started playing golf. And I played my first major event and I won it. I was like, man, this is an easy way to make a living right here (laughter). So I just kind of stuck with that. Easy way of making a living.

Q. You mentioned before that you're going to play for 10, 12 years until you have enough money to go hunting and fishing. What's enough money?

BOO WEEKLEY: I don't know. I ain't got that far yet (laughter).

Friday, August 10, 2007

McDermott wins Patterson Cup, Silver Star




This just in from the Golf Assn of Philadelphia...

FLEETWOOD, Pa. -- Michael McDermott of Merion GC saved the best for last and carded nine birdies in his final round, including four birdies in a row on his final eight holes, to win 105th Joseph H. Patterson Cup and Silver Cross Award Thursday

For the rest of the story click here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Welcome to Tulsa


How hot is it in Tulsa for the PGA Championship?

Well, this is me after walking a few holes at Southern Hills.
On local TV tonight, the forecast for the next several days is: 100, 100, 100 and 100. There might have been a 101 in there somewhere. And careful, because the push-you-in-a-pool humidity is what's going to make it feel really uncomfortable.

Monday, August 06, 2007

USGA names patrial Walker Cup team

Here's Monday's annoucement from the USGA...

Far Hills, N.J. – Two collegiate champions, a USGA champion and three who have qualified for a U.S. Open are among the eight chosen as part of the 10-man squad to represent the United States of America team for the 2007 Walker Cup Match that will be played Sept. 8-9 at Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Ireland.

Billy Horschel
20 (12/7/1986)
Grant , Fla.

Dustin Johnson
23 (6/22/1984)
Myrtle Beach , S.C.

Chris Kirk
22 (6/26/1985 )
Woodstock, Ga.

Colt Knost
22 (6/26/1985 )
Dallas, Texas

Trip Kuehne
35 (6/20/1972 )
Irving, Texas

Jamie Lovemark
19 (1/23/1988)
Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Jonathan Moore
22 (4/17/1985)
Vancouver, Wash.

Webb Simpson
21 (8/8/1985)
Raleigh, N.C.

Captain
George “Buddy” Marucci
55 (3/6/1952)
Villanova, Pa.

For the rest of the annoucement and bios of the players, click here.

Ochoa on top


Wow, have times changed in women's golf. Forever, it seemed like, the No. 1 woman in golf was Annika Sorenstam. Her grip was firm, her future certain.


Not any more. Even before Lorena Ochao's first victory in a major at the Women's British Open this past weekend, the young Mexican was had overtaken Sorenstam as No.1. Now, it's Ochoa's grip on the top spot that is firm. Sorenstam has even slipped to No. 3, behind Karrie Webb.

Here are the latest women's world rankings.

Rank Change Name Country Events TotalPoints AveragePoints
1 0 Lorena Ochoa MEX 51 883.68 17.33
2 0 Karrie Webb AUS 48 514.11 10.71
3 0 Annika Sorenstam SWE 39 417.71 10.71
4 0 Cristie Kerr USA 52 447.96 8.61
5 0 Se-Ri Pak KOR 38 295.99 7.79
6 0 Suzann Pettersen NOR 45 335.24 7.45
7 0 Morgan Pressel USA 42 294.86 7.02
8 1 Ji-Yai Shin KOR 34 233.24 6.66
9 1 Paula Creamer USA 57 371.84 6.52
10 -2 Juli Inkster USA 42 273.87 6.52
11 0 Mi Hyun Kim KOR 60 370.96 6.18
12 0 Ai Miyazato JPN 55 337.45 6.14
13 3 Jee Young Lee KOR 54 312.01 5.78
14 -1 Jeong Jang KOR 58 330.77 5.7
15 -1 Brittany Lincicome USA 48 268.72 5.6
16 -1 Shiho Oyama JPN 70 369.5 5.28
17 0 Stacy Prammanasudh USA 52 255.95 4.92
18 0 Seon-Hwa Lee KOR 56 269.5 4.81
19 0 Mi-Joong Jeon KOR 64 297.81 4.65
20 1 Yuri Fudoh JPN 50 225.6 4.51
21 -1 Momoko Ueda JPN 55 242.4 4.41
22 2 Nicole Castrale USA 46 196.07 4.26
23 -1 Hee-Won Han KOR 44 186.56 4.24
24 -1 Pat Hurst USA 49 203.64 4.16
25 0 Angela Park BRA 37 150.55 4.07
26 1 Natalie Gulbis USA 54 218.76 4.05
27 -1 Sakura Yokomine JPN 67 271.39 4.05
28 0 Sherri Steinhauer USA 52 204.73 3.94
29 0 Julieta Granada PRY 51 196.92 3.86
30 4 Catriona Matthew SCO 41 147.91 3.61

Tiger on Tiger


You've got to hand it to Tiger Woods. Rory Sabbatini does a little trash talking and Tiger responds Sunday with a 65 that blows away the field -- Sabbo included -- by eight shots in the WGC-Bridgestone Invy.


Here are few highlights from Tiger's post-victory press conference:


Q. Twice this year you've gone against Rory in similar situations, pretty much even, and on Sunday you've prevailed. Is there a special motivation there that you get from him?


TIGER WOODS: Well, the whole idea is just -- everyone knows how Rory is, and I just go out there and just let my clubs do the talking.


Q. He said, by the way, that your performance today was far better than the one in May when he lost. Do you feel --


TIGER WOODS: Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. The one at Charlotte, I made everything. I did not hit it all that well on Sunday, but I just holed everything. That's the only reason why I probably won that tournament on Sunday.


Q. It's usually over and it's break time. Could you talk about the difference now of this being over and what's coming up?


TIGER WOODS: Well, you knew that starting, basically, this week that it was going to be a two-week stretch, and you're probably going to play golf every day. So there really wasn't going to be a day off. The whole idea was obviously to win this event but be playing well going into next week. I feel I made some nice strides this week, and I feel very good going into next week, getting a few days to prepare and getting adjusted, and off we go.


Q. Did you hold anything back this week? I'm not suggesting you didn't try or didn't play your best, but just anything inside, reserve some strength, whatever you want to call it?


TIGER WOODS: No, that's one of the reasons I train as hard as I do. You go all-out every day.


Q. Being the only guy under par, I don't know if you care about that, but I would think that would be -- the last guy, and I looked it up back to '99, and it's been 15 or 20 guys.


TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's just because the golf course played so demanding this year. We've never seen it this fast. We've never seen the greens this hard and this fast. The rough was up high enough where you hit the ball in the rough -- one, you couldn't get to the green, but if you did get a good enough lie to get to the green, there's no chance of stopping it. And then with the pin locations, it just made for just a very difficult week, and you just had to keep your patience. It just felt like this event was playing more like a major than anything else. You just had to grind it out. Some years here you just feel like you've got to make birdie, three or four per nine, just to keep yourself in the tournament, but this week that wasn't the case. You just had that feeling that it was set up more like a major championship where just having a lot of pars -- pars were probably basically going to win the tournament.


Q. You were so almost emotionless and just focused on that front nine. Was that just a product that you're playing well, or did you kind of have some extra motivation to zero in and really --


TIGER WOODS: No, I just got in my own little world, like I tend to do every now and then. I just wanted to not make any mistakes out there today. I just wanted to keep putting the pressure on the guys that were chasing, because as I said, I got off to a great start, and once I got off to that start, the whole idea was to never go back to them, make them earn their way back into the tournament. I just kept making par after par after par, and the weather kept changing, kept getting more difficult, and I felt if I could just keep making a bunch of pars, the guys were going to have to get greedy and aggressive to some of these pins and probably make a mistake.


Q. Well, with what Rory has said before and the mere fact that he had kind of challenged you or called you out.


TIGER WOODS: I won both tournaments, too (laughter).


Q. He brought up beating you in the NCAAs, though. He said he beat you in the last round.


TIGER WOODS: Who won the tournament?


Q. There are a lot of people, I guess, Rory, some guy said something to him at 9, he had him tossed. Did you get the sense of people kind of -- this is your town here.


TIGER WOODS: Well, certain events people say things, and you just have to become immune to it. You just have to -- the more you acknowledge it, the worse it gets. You know, the toughest crowd I've ever had to play in front of was probably Bethpage. They were all over me and Sergio in the final group. But it was just the way it was. I mean, you just put your head down and you just go. That's fine. But the more you acknowledge it, the more you'll incite them, especially if they've tipped back a couple. That usually helps.


Q. Do you get the sense of the way people have embraced you?


TIGER WOODS: Yes, no doubt about it. This may be a home away from home for me. The crowds have been just as supportive as I've ever played in front of. Even the days where I really haven't felt good with my game, they're always out there supporting me.


Q. Have you ever thought much about Sam Snead's record at Greensboro, eight victories?


TIGER WOODS: It's not too bad, is it?


Q. Have you ever thought about doing that, and if you did, where would be the most likely place to do it?


TIGER WOODS: Well, I would like to have eight at Augusta would be nice (laughter).


Q. You're halfway there.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Golf Cart One


I offer, without comment, this photo of President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown from their recent meeting at Camp David.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Women's British Open at St. Andrews


For the first time ever, the Women's British Open is being played at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

For as good a preview as you'll find, check out Ron Sirak's story in Golf World:

History says the first woman to play the Old Course at St. Andrews was Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, sometime in the mid-1500s. But likely the real first female on the Home of Golf was Sheena the shepherd's daughter who most probably sneaked on during one of those endless summer evenings in Scotland when a full moon can illuminate the landscape in a dull brilliance bright enough to follow the flight of the ball.


For the rest of the story, click here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Whatever happened to David Duval?


I don't know why but something about David Duval still fascinates me.

True, in his comeback attempt, I watched him hit it sideways. During a practice round at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock, I stood there on the tee behind him and watched him pump three in a row so deep into the woods that the smattering of fans couldn't believe it. Me, either. It was that bad.

Still, with so much talent still residing somewhere in that angst-ridden mind and body of his, how could the former No. 1 in the world effectively walk away from the game? A long-overdue happy family life waiting for him had a lot to do with it.

But as John Hawkins of Golf World wrote in this recent piece, Duval had one foot out golf's door before his game went south. If you like Duval, it's worth reading.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Natalie Gulbis wins!












Ever since Natalie Gulbis joined the LPGA, the rap on her has been that she was the Anna Kournikova of golf -- all hot babe, no victories.



All that changed Sunday when Gulbis, in her sixth year on tour, won the Evian Masters in a play-off in France. Now, sudenly, male golf fans can oogle her without feeling guilty. They are, after all, studying the finer points of her golf swing.



Here are excerpts from Gulbis' post victory press conference:



Q. What does this mean to you in?



NATALIE GULBIS: What does it mean? How long do you have? This is my sixth year on Tour, and obviously the U.S. has been quite a bit of hype on if I would ever win a tournament. I was really close last year where I lost a playoff, and coincidently it was right after the match play. It was like déjà vu. There was a match play event in the United States. Lost in the first round. Worked really hard on my game. Came over here was hitting the ball well, and these two events I really wanted to play well in. I had been injured for a lot of the season and was way back on the Money List, like 44th, maybe 50th. Probably the lowest I'd ever gotten to. Just tried to stay positive, so that means a lot, that the hard work has paid off. So many great people supporting me in the U.S. from the media to my team to my fans. It's great.


Q. Was it special to have your mom here with you?



NATALIE GULBIS: Having my mom here is really, really special. The last time I was in a playoff she was not here and she was really mad. So this was great to have her over here this week. She's helped me so much throughout the week and throughout my career, I'm very happy that she was here to see it. She was way more nervous than me. Like I couldn't look at here because she was biting her nails and wouldn't drink water. So it was great.


Q. Would you say there was one thing that sort of turned your game around?



NATALIE GULBIS: Yeah: My back injury.


Q. Clarify that one.



NATALIE GULBIS: I got hurt two months ago. Had a lower back injury and had to take about a month off. I had to change my golf swing because of my injury. I had to work on my posture and I had to do all the things that I had been working on with my father for about four or five years. We had been working on these same things and they just weren't happening, and it took an injury. I was kind of thinking this might be a blessing in disguise with the injury, and I kept working on it and working on my posture and I kept hitting it further and all the things I wanted to happen on my golf swing started happening.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

She's b-a-a-a-c-k


Contrary to advice from me and pretty much everybody but her inner circle, Michelle Wie is not taking a long break from golf. Rather, she's in France for the LPGA's Evian Masters.

Here are excepts from her pre-tournament press conference:

PAM WARNER (LPGA media staff): You've had a wrist injury this year. Talk about how it's doing right now. How everything is going?

MICHELLE WIE: My wrist is doing BETTER. Unfortunately I had a tough year this year, because it was very unfortunate that I fell on it, but it's all better; it's healing. The bone's healed and everything, and I have to get it stronger because it's been in a cast and splints and bandages, and it needs some fresh air now. It needs to get stronger. I've been working out a lot now and trying to get back into the shape and trying to get the feel back.

Q. Are you in favor of introducing doping controls?

MICHELLE WIE: I think drug testing is drug testing. I mean, they do it in every other sport, but I think it's sad that they have suspicions of people, but drug testing is drug testing. I don't think I'm going to get caught, so I'm not worrying about it.

Q. I saw you here a couple of years ago when you played. How do you think you have changed in the last two years with your maturity as a golfer? What are the things that you've learned about dealing with media people, et cetera? How much better are you now in those two years?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't know. Hopefully I got a lot better. The first time I played here I was 14, and it seems like way back! I look at pictures back then and I think, wow, I look really different. A lot of things have changed. The world has changed, I've changed, grown a little bit taller, hopefully my game has matured a lot. I felt like last year playing when I was healthy my game was consistent, and I feel like my putting and my short game I'm gaining a lot more shots on. I feel like I'm getting better and better. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked this year with my injury, but I feel like what doesn't kill me is going to make me stronger, and hopefully this will make me a stronger mentally and physically. I feel like I'm maturing as a person, changing a little bit every year, but hopefully staying true to myself.

Q. What will you do if it starts bothering you?

MICHELLE WIE: If it does hurt during the round, I know I have some things I can do, I have a brace, so it puts comfort into my mind. I don't feel like I need it at this point. Like I said, it's getting stronger and stronger, and I just have to play until it feels better.

Q. You turn 18 in October. Will we see you full time on the LPGA?

MICHELLE WIE: I'm not sure yet. I haven't really decided what I really want to do yet. 18 is a big year. It changes everything. I'm going to make a smart decision, figure out what I really want to do and move forward onto it. I'm not really sure yet.

Q. Is it in the back of your mind -- you are incredibly young. Is there something other than golf that interests you in doing as a career?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I mean, obviously I'm still so young. Other kids my age are just thinking about what they want to do as a career, and obviously golf is what interests me the most, and I just love it. I love doing it; I don't think of it as my career, I just love playing golf. Obviously, I do have a lot of interests; that's why I'm going to college, to broaden my interest, in case I turn 25 and I want to do something else, then I have my education to fall back on. I'm interested in the whole business side of things and really interested in that and obviously fashion. I like a lot of things. I just don't want my life to revolve around golf. Golf is my main interest and my main passion, and I love doing it, but at the same time I love doing other stuff as well, and you never know what's going to happen ten years down the road or whatever. So I'm keeping my options open but right now golf is my only interest.

Q. So the world actually expects to see you on the LPGA, but in reality that may not happen?

MICHELLE WIE: A lot of things happen. People don't realize that I'm still young and I have my whole life in front of me, and it's just -- I want to be able to choose what I want to do in my life, and right now I'm just so happy playing golf right now.

Q. Can I just check, which wrist is it? I thought you had problems with both wrists?

MICHELLE WIE: It's mainly the left now.

Q. So the left was the real problem?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, they were quite big, but the last one was the "accident" one, so to speak.

Q. Do you have a target in mind for this event?

MICHELLE WIE: This week I just want to be able to play as freely as I did last year, as happy as I did. No thoughts in my mind, just out there, me and the golf ball and the golf hole and the beautiful golf course and just to play. Just to be my 17-year-old self again and to have no worries and hit the golf ball into the hole, and that's all I'm asking right now. I just want to be able to play a pain-free round, not hurt and be able to play very well.

Q. Does that mean if you play rounds without pain but perhaps miss the cut you will be satisfied then?

MICHELLE WIE: Is there a cut this week? There is? Oh, yeah, there is. You know, it all depends. I just want to be able to play pain free. If I do play pain free and I don't play very well, it's going to disappoint me, but I just want to be able to play care free, and I think if I do that then I'll play very well.