Haas Cup Win Wraps Up Champions Tour Season

By Associated PressOctober 31, 2006, 5:00 pm
SONOMA, Calif. -- Jay Haas won the Charles Schwab Cup on Sunday when Loren Roberts missed a 4 1/2 -foot putt on the final hole of the final tournament of the Champions Tour season.
Most of the tour's season-ending awards were won in much less dramatic fashion.
Haas earned a $1 million annuity when he claimed his first Schwab Cup, the over-50 circuit's reward for his narrow triumph in a season-long points competition. His 20-point margin of victory was the smallest in the award's history: 3,053 to 3,033 for Roberts.
Haas also won the Arnold Palmer Award as the tour's leading money-winner, finishing with $2,420,227 in earnings -- the most by any player on the Champions Tour since Hale Irwin won slightly more than $3 million in 2002.
According to Haas, who has won nearly $14.5 million in his still-active career on the PGA TOUR, his third full season on the Champions Tour was among the highlights of his professional life.

'It's a thrill to be taking a picture with that trophy,' Haas said of the golden Schwab Cup. 'And it was a goal of mine at the start of the year to lead the money list and win the Schwab Cup. ... That I've led the money list at least once in my life is a pretty neat thing.'
Haas and Roberts won four tournaments apiece and dueled throughout the season for both the Schwab Cup and the money title, as well as the Byron Nelson Award for the lowest scoring average.
Though Roberts just missed the 18th-hole putt at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship that would have clinched the Cup, he still won the Nelson Award with a 69.01 average -- barely better than Haas' 69.07.
'I'm happy for Jay, because he played great all year,' said Roberts, who shot 40 of his 67 rounds in the 60s to win the closest Nelson Award race since 2000. 'He deserves this, and he deserves the recognition, because he's been a great player out here for 30 years.'
Though Roberts' putter let him down at the worst possible time, the 'Boss of the Moss' was the Champions Tour's top putter with a 1.726 average. He only three-putted 19 times -- including that final hole, unfortunately -- in his 21 tournaments.
Tom Watson, who won the 2005 Schwab Cup, finished as the Champions Tour's leader in hitting greens in regulation, while Haas had the highest birdie average at 4.51.
Dan Pohl was the tour's longest driver with an average of 293 yards. He twice led the PGA Tour in driving distance in 1980 and 1981 -- both times with lower averages than he posted as a senior.
Jim Thorpe won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma on Sunday to become the 19th winner on the circuit, matching the number from last season.
And while Haas and Roberts rose to the top of the tour, the most dominant player in the circuit's history showed signs of slowing down.
Irwin, who has won a record 44 Champions Tour tournaments, failed to win an event for the first time since joining in 1995 -- a tour-record, 11-season streak.
Irwin had won at least two events every season, but won just $808,111 this year -- finishing 22nd on the money list after never missing the top 10. Though Irwin has struggled with injuries in recent years, he felt more frustration than pain as his least impressive season ended.
But 12 players won at least $1 million in another strong year for the Champions Tour, which will get a few high-profile additions next year.
Mark O'Meara, the 1998 Masters and U.S. Open champion, will turn 50 on Jan. 13, and two-time PGA Championship winner Nick Price will join him 15 days later. Both are expected to play regularly on the Champions Tour -- as is Seve Ballesteros, the two-time Masters champ who turns 50 in April, and Bernhard Langer, who follows in August.
'We've had great competition,' tour president Rick George said. 'Our scoring average continues to be on par, and I think it's becoming more competitive out here. The guys continue to raise the bar on the game.'
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''