Notes Tiger Butchers College Fight Song

By Associated PressSeptember 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- The U.S. team room at the Ryder Cup must have looked like rookie orientation in the NFL, especially when captain Tom Lehman asked all his players to sing their college fight song.
 
The scouting report: Tiger Woods needs to stick to golf.
 
'He wasn't good,' Scott Verplank said. 'And he didn't like doing it. I wouldn't recommend he go to a recording studio or anything. Tom got him a little embarrassed, which was good, and everybody had a good laugh.'
 
Lehman was asked the name of the song for Woods, who spent two years at Stanford.
 
'I've never heard it before, and I couldn't recognize it when he was singing it, either,' Lehman said. 'I'm totally lost.'
 
Woods wasn't the only one who took it on the chin.
 
'Some of us, including myself, didn't really know all the words,' said Verplank, an Oklahoma State alum. 'You kind of exposed a few guys. They think they are pretty good fans, and they don't even know the words to the fight song at their school.'
 
It was another example of an American team that appears to be enjoying this Ryder Cup.
 
Jim Furyk recently told Golf World magazine that the Americans look like they are 'constipated' when they're at the Ryder Cup. Lehman has stressed that he wants his team to have more fun.
 
On the practice range Tuesday morning, the Americans huddled together before splitting up into their foursomes. They switched partners after nine holes and Lehman instructed everyone to put $100 in a pot for a skins game. Cink took home most of the money.
 
While on the Palmer Course, the Americans signed plenty of autographs, another change.
 
There is supposed to be a no-autograph policy on the course, but the Europeans violated that at Oakland Hills while trying to earn support from the American gallery, and Lehman said his team would do the same this year.
 
Told about the all the activities by the Americans, Colin Montgomerie was asked what he had been doing.
 
'We've actually been playing golf, believe it or not,' he said with a smile. 'That's why we're here.'
 
TUESDAY PAIRINGS
Lehman says he has had pairings in mind for a few weeks, and it was no surprise that Tiger Woods and Furyk were in the same group with Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco, two successful teams from the Presidents Cup.
 
In other U.S. pairings during the practice round, David Toms played with Chad Campbell, and Scott Verplank was with Brett Wetterich; Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink played with Vaughn Taylor and J.J. Henry.
 
Asked if the public could read anything into the Woods-Furyk and Mickelson-DiMarco pairings, Lehman said, 'I think we all know that there's a good chance those guys will play together.'
 
As for Europe, captain Ian Woosnam put together his two Swedes (Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson) and two Spaniards (Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia); Montgomerie and three Englishman (David Howell, Paul Casey and Luke Donald); and three Irishmen (Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke) with Lee Westwood.
 
'I think you can read a little bit into that,' Woosnam said.
 
TAKING ON TIGER
Word at Oakland Hills two years ago was that Casey had a hunch Woods would be first off in singles, and that the European rookie wanted a crack at him.
 
It was a good story, Casey concedes, but not entirely correct.
 
'Would you volunteer to play Tiger?' Casey said.
 
Casey said he was riding in a cart Saturday afternoon with European captain Bernhard Langer and teammate Clarke when Langer told them he had a few people in mind to send out first in singles, figuring Woods would lead off for the Americans.
 
'And he turned and looked at both of us,' Casey said. 'To which Darren leaned across to me, patted me on the back and said, 'Paul, you'll be fantastic!' It was just typical Clarkey. He was trying to give me confidence and he thought I was up for the task, I guess.'
 
He was wrong. Woods breezed past Casey, winning 3 and 2.
 
'What can you do? Can't refuse either of those two guys,' Casey said of his response to Clarke and Langer.
 
And would he do it again?
 
Casey smiled.
 
'Maybe not the same fashion as that,' he said.
 
EUROPEAN BACKING
The Europeans are getting some respect from where it counts: the pockets of bettors who like the chances of the defending champions.
 
Bookmakers William Hill credited a patriotic surge for the money on Europe, which is a slight favorite in most betting lines.
 
'It now seems certain that Ian Woosnam's team will go into the opening hole of the event as odds-on favorites -- the first time that has been the case,' said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.
 
Europe isn't much of a favorite, though. The betting line barely favors the Europeans at 10-11 odds, while the Americans are 11-10 underdogs.
 
To show how close oddsmakers think things will be, a tie is only a 9-1 pick.
 
CHIPS AHOY
Lehman started getting a little worried himself when he noticed airport workers warily eyeing the massive amount of luggage the American team brought overseas.
 
With good reason -- he had something to do with the added weight.
 
Lehman, who lives in Arizona, loves tortilla chips and salsa. He also knows from past experience that, while the Irish make a great stew, you can't find good chips and salsa in Ireland.
 
'So rather than try to find it, we decided we're going to bring our own corn tortillas, and you can make your own chips and salsa,' Lehman said.
 
Lehman's wife, Melissa, ordered several large bags of the tortillas and Lehman packed them into his golf travel bag. Trouble was, when he tried to move it, he couldn't get it off the ground. Lehman said his golf bag must have weighed 500 pounds loaded down with the tortillas. He won't have that problem on the way home.
 
'A one-way trip, absolutely, because we're going to eat those babies,' he said.
 
DIVOTS
Lehman will get to play his own team competition this year. Lehman will join Johnson and Cink on the PGA Tour team at the Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge, to be held Nov. 14 in Las Vegas. The silly season event matches three-player teams from the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Champions Tour. ... The forecast for Wednesday's practice round was 100 percent of rain and wind up to 30 mph. ... Ryder Cup officials issued a list of the players' wives or partners who have joined them at The K Club. Sergio Garcia is with Morgan Leigh Norman, the daughter of Greg Norman. They have been dating about two months.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Lehman is higher in the world ranking (No. 39) than four of his Ryder Cup players.
 
FINAL WORD
'If he played five matches here like he plays in 95 percent of the major championships, he's going to win four or five points. Judging by how we've done here recently, that would be a nice boost.' -- Scott Verplank on Tiger Woods.
 
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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    FALLING

    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.


    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.


    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1956-57

    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    EUROPE'S BIG 5

    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1969-70

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.


    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.