Gregorys journey ends Garcia wins scoring title
Gregory is a 30-year-old with cerebral palsy who was given little hope of ever walking. But he earned a bachelors and masters degree from Springfield (Mass.) College in sports management, and walked every hole to raise awareness.
He wound up walking 3,256 holes for a total of 988 miles. He traveled 79,838 miles to get to every event, starting with Mercedes-Benz Championship on Maui and ending at Disney. He consumed 280 bottles of water, 259 bottles of sports drink and 332 sodas. He traveled to 23 states and two countries (England and Canada).
The other statistic he kept: Gregory fell 29 times during his journey, a source of pride and some humor.
The worst was at the Bob Hope, he said earlier this year. I tripped over some TV cables twice in 30 seconds.
Gregory chose one player to walk with at each tournament, interviewed them later and spent the year writing a blog. He has considered writing a book on his quest. He walked the final event at Disney with Jason Gore, but when he finished, Robert Gamez and Rich Beem were at the 18th green to celebrate.
But he might not be finished.
His legs stiff, body rocking from side to side as he walked, it was easy to spot him heading toward the induction ceremony Monday night at the World Golf Hall of Fame.
When someone mentioned that he still had the silly season, Gregorys eyes lit up.
I think Im going to the Merrill Lynch Shootout, he said.
With the PGA Tour season officially over, its now official: Sergio Garcia has won the Vardon Trophy, the first European-born winner since 1937 to have the lowest adjusted scoring average.
Garcia played 72 rounds with an adjusted average of 69.12, overtaking Phil Mickelson (69.17) at the Tour Championship. Anthony Kim finished third at 69.28.
The last European-born winner was Harry Lighthorse Cooper in 1937, the first year of the award when it was based on points. Tiger Woods was not eligible because it requires 60 rounds, and Woods only played 25 before he was injured.
Padraig Harrington wrapped up the points-based PGA player of the year award after winning the PGA Championship, which came with a 50-point bonus for winning two majors in one year. Harrington, who also won the British Open, finished with 116 points to finish ahead of Woods, who had 78 points in six events.
The Kiwi Challenge will be shown this weekend on NBC Sports, and while Hunter Mahan won the 36-hole event on two courses in New Zealand two weeks ago (along with $1.5 million), the broadcast marks the debut of Steve Williams as a commentator.
Based on one exchange, the caddie for Tiger Woods might want to stick to looping or racing.
Williams said he was amazed how much information was available on all the players. But he wishes he could have one mulligan.
On the 13th hole at Kauri Cliffs, the moment Hunter Mahans second shot left the club, I knew it was well over the green, and my first thought was that it was a bad yardage, Williams said in an interview with tournament organizers. But these days, caddies who work for this caliber of player dont make mistakes with yardages.
I made the call on air, which was a poor call on my behalf, he said. However, it was the first thought in my head.
WHATS IN A NAME:
For all the fretting over the future of the Wachovia Championship after the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank was acquired by Wells Fargo, not much will change.
Tournament director Kym Hougham said officials decided to leave the name alone ' Wachovia Championship.
SHARE THE WEALTH:
Vijay Singh didnt start winning tournaments until there were two months left in the season. Tiger Woods didnt play the final three months of the season. There were seven multiple winners, the most since 2005.
All that did was spread some of the wealth around on the PGA Tour this year.
Singh won the money title for the third time in his career with $6,601,094, the lowest amount to lead the money list since Woods won $5,687,777 in 2001.
But a record eight players won at least $4 million. And just 20 years after Curtis Strange became the first player to earn $1 million in a season, 104 players made $1 million or more this year.
And the most staggering number might have been the $852,752 by Martin Laird to finish at No. 125 and keep his card.
Bubba Watson is best known for his prodigious length, and he used to love showing it off. Three years ago at Doral, he pulled out his driver with the pink shaft and belted one shot after another over the golf school on the back of the range. With each strike, he would casually look over both shoulders to see who was watching him.
Now, it seems Watson has figured out that its best to spend more time on other parts of his game.
Putting is the name of the game, he said recently. If you can putt, it doesnt matter how many fairways you hit and how many greens you hit. If you putt well, youre going to win golf tournaments. So Ive tried to work on my putting and my short game and my irons.
As for the driver? Its still in the bag. It still goes longer than anyone else. But Watson says he doesnt hit driver on the range when hes warming up.
Im always going to hit it long, so I dont ever practice that, he said. I practice the other stuff more than I do the driver.
Joe Steranka, chief executive of the PGA of America, was elected a PGA honorary member during the associations annual meeting last week in Phoenix. Jim Murray, the late sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, was inducted into the Southern California Golf Association Hall of Fame. Others included longtime Bel-Air pro Eddie Merrins and George C. Thomas Jr., who the architect whose designs include Riviera and Bel-Air. Ian Woosnam became the first player to win the Order of Merit in Europe on the regular and senior tours.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Bob Tway led the PGA Tour in actual scoring average (69.94) but finished at No. 132 on the money list and failed to earn his card.
I feel like I could be a worldwide player and be able to make a name for myself in every country, not just the United States. ' Anthony Kim, on why he joined the European Tour.
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:
The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.
We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.
The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.
Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.
''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''
Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open
Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.
Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.
Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.
The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.