Memories from the 07 PGA TOUR Season
By finishing in last place at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, he became the first player to receive FedEx Cup points. And with some help from the draw at The Barclays, Curtis was the first to hit a shot in the inaugural PGA TOUR Playoffs.
That didn't earn him a bonus, or even an asterisk.
Even so, he played his part in a 'new era of golf' that featured some familiar themes. Tiger Woods won the most tournaments and the most money by taking the fewest strokes. And for the seventh straight year, someone won a major for the first time.
But there's always something different outside the ropes that make golf memorable beyond the birdies and bogeys.
John Daly got off to a tough start this year, one omen coming at Riviera.
Shortly before he teed off in the first round on No. 10, his sand wedge came loose at the hosel. An equipment rep took it to the truck for a quick repair, telling Daly he would get it back to him as he was walking down the fairway.
Daly hit driver through the green into a back bunker. Looking around, there was no sign of the equipment rep. Left only with a 52-degree wedge in his bag, it took him two shots to get out of the bunker, and Daly started with a bogey.
The rep showed up on the 11th tee.
Tiger Woods' last good chance to win the Masters ended on the 15th hole when the 3-iron he tried to cut around the trees hopped off the bank and into the pond fronting the green. He did well to escape with par, but couldn't make birdie the rest of the way and wound up two shots behind Zach Johnson.
The next day, a group of guests were on the 15th hole when one of the caddies stood on the bank of the pond with his back turned to the green. He looked into the murky water, then back toward the fairway, trying to figure out the path of Woods' errant shot.
Finally, he spotted a ball in the water. He dipped a wedge into the pond, scooped up the ball and balanced it on the face of the club as he slowly lifted it out of the water. Sure enough, there was that unmistakable swoosh.
But the grin faded when the caddie flipped the ball into his hand and noticed a corporate logo.
He tossed it back in the water and went to tend the flag.
Rich Beem showed how a little kindness can go a long way.
He was having dinner in the bar at Maggiano's in Charlotte, N.C., and customers stopped by to either wish him luck or tell him how much they enjoyed his victory in the '02 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.
The bartender came over and began spinning a yarn about a distant relative who knew Beem's mother-in-law. Instead of a hollow stare to end the conversation, Beem whipped out his cell phone and called her.
'Mom? Hey, it's Rich. How are you? I'm in North Carolina this week. Hey, listen, there's a guy here who says he's related to someone who you might have known ... hang on, Mom, I'll let you talk to him.'
And with that, Beem handed the phone to a very startled bartender.
'Hello? Uh, yes ma'am, I have an aunt on my wife's side ...' the bartender said.
This went on for a few more seconds until the bartender's eyes grew wide. 'Right! Right! That's her!'
After a few more minutes, the bartender handed the phone back and was positively beaming.
The bill for dinner arrived later, and Beem was charged only for two glasses of wine for him and his guest. He paid the bill, then left the bartender a $100 tip.
Billy Foster was a popular man this summer.
A rumor began circulating that Steve Williams would retire as the caddie for Tiger Woods, and Foster was the natural replacement. The English caddie usually works for Darren Clarke, and Woods used him at the Presidents Cup in 2005 when Williams stayed home in New Zealand for the birth of his first child.
The British tabloids all but pegged Foster as the new looper for the world's No. 1, but the caddies knew better.
Williams still keeps a text message that Foster sent him in July.
'Based on the strength of the rumors that I'll be caddying for Tiger in 2008, I've put a deposit on a new house.'
Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson practically handed Tiger Woods the claret jug on Monday of the British Open. Woods was going for his third straight title, the longest streak since Thomson won three in a row a half-century earlier.
'He has a chance to win eight in a row,' Thomson said at a press conference.
This is the same man who was Presidents Cup captain in 1998 at Royal Melbourne, where he introduced the U.S. team at opening ceremonies as 'the greatest collection of golfers in the world.' Four days later, the International team celebrated a 20 1/2 -11 1/2 victory, the biggest rout ever against an American team.
Thomson was having coffee in the dining area a few hours after his press conference at Carnoustie, and he was reminded of his famous speech at Royal Melbourne. He smiled, and one couldn't help but notice the twinkle in his eye.
'Yes,' Thomson said. 'We handed it to them pretty good that week.'
Maybe he was up to his old tricks. By the end of the week, Woods tied for 12th, and Thomson's streak was safe.
Zach and Kim Johnson conversed like most young married couples. She told him of an invitation they had for the evening. He took the husband's typical seat on the fence, unwilling to commit, leaving it up to her whether they should go.
'What do you want to do?' he said. 'I've still got to practice. What time does it start? I mean, if you really want to go, we can go.'
She deferred to his week of work, and they were headed toward an impasse until Johnson cracked.
'I was kind of hoping to watch some football tonight,' he admitted.
It was Saturday of the Deutsche Bank Championship, the first full schedule of college football. They wound up going, and Johnson ultimately was thrilled with the decision.
The evening entertainment turned out to be a sky box at Fenway Park, the night Boston rookie Clay Buchholz threw his no-hitter.
Clearly, this was a year when a lot of things went right for Johnson.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Day (68) just one back at Australian Open
Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.
Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)
What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.
Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.
Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.
Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.
Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.