Notes Tiger Controversy Alive One Year Later

By Associated PressJuly 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- One year later, the three-story clubhouse at Firestone is still a hot topic of conversation. And it still doesn't have white stakes around the perimeter to mark it out-of-bounds.
'Same as it's been for 50-something years,' PGA TOUR rules official Slugger White said Tuesday.
Tiger Woods' victory in the Bridgestone Invitational last year came with an enormous break in the second round when his 9-iron from the rough on the ninth hole sailed over the green, bounced off a cement path and onto the clubhouse roof, then fell off the other side into a service driveway where a member of the kitchen staff picked it up and drove away.
After a chaotic search, he was given free relief from the immovable obstruction -- the clubhouse -- and some of his peers (Sergio Garcia the noisiest) complained of unfair treatment.
White said Colonial has the only clubhouse he could recall that is marked out-of-bounds, and TOUR officials saw no need to change simply because of one bizarre incident. The only difference this year is that Warner Road -- the street separating the South course from the North course at Firestone -- is listed as out-of-bounds.
Dillard Pruitt was the official who made the ruling, using a two-way radio to figure out where Woods was allowed to drop, which turned out to be between the first tee and the driving range. Woods wound up with a bogey, and he ultimately beat Stewart Cink in a playoff.
Pruitt said had no one found the ball, Woods might have received a really good break -- a free drop behind the green, because that's where the ball was last spotted before being lost in the obstruction.
K.J. Choi can think of 10 million reasons why he wants to win the FedEx Cup, and it adds up to one reason why he might be a sentimental favorite.
'If I'm able to win it, I want to give it all to charity, 100 percent,' Choi said Tuesday.
The FedEx Cup is a yearlong points race that culminates with four tournaments at the end of the year, with the winner getting $10 million in deferred compensation. Choi was asked what it would feel like to be paired with Tiger Woods in the final group with something that large riding on the outcome. That led him to talk about charity.
'I could think of so many things I could do with that money, so many good things,' Choi said through his agent and interpreter, Michael Yim of IMG. 'I want to help a lot of the unfortunate kids around the world. I want to set up my own foundation, like Tiger. Thinking about what I can do with that money, it just motivates me.
'I think I'd be too happy thinking about that to feel any pressure playing with Tiger,' he said. 'I'm looking forward to the PGA Championship and the FedExCup. It's just a lot of opportunity for me to do some good deeds for those kids that really need it.'
Choi already has won twice this year, at the Memorial and AT&T National, putting him at No. 5 in the FedEx Cup standings.
Jack Nicklaus played five majors at Southern Hills without winning, his best finish a tie for sixth in the 1970 PGA Championship. But he didn't leave empty-handed.
His first trip to Tulsa, Okla., was for the 1953 U.S. Junior Amateur. His opening match was at 7 a.m., and he recalls walking up to the tee about 30 seconds before his starting time. Former USGA executive director Joe Dey was waiting for him.
'Joe Dey looked at me and said, 'Young man, 30 seconds later, you would be starting 1 down on the second tee,'' Nicklaus said. 'He said, 'You need to show up to the starting time earlier than 30 seconds.' I never missed a starting time, I think largely due to that lesson. May not have won at Southern Hills, but I learned a lot of lessons, had a lot of fun.'
The last five players to be voted PGA TOUR rookie of the year were a relatively simple choice because all had won at least one tournament, and two had won majors (Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton).
That might not be the case this year, although the race is no less compelling.
The leading candidates with three months remaining are Brandt Snedeker, Jeff Quinney, Anthony Kim and Stephen Marino, with Snedeker the presumed favorite.
Snedeker has five top 10s this year, including third place at the Buick Invitational, where he flirted with a 59 and settled for a record-tying 61 on the North course at Torrey Pines. He is 25th in the FedEx Cup standings and has earned $1.6 million.
Quinney also has five top 10s, including third place in the FBR Open when he squandered a back-nine lead. He is 34th in the standings.
Kim tied for fifth at the Wachovia Championship, his best finish among four top 10s, and is 36th in the standings. Marino has four top 10s, and his best finish was a tie for sixth at the AT&T Classic outside Atlanta. He is 59th in the standings.
All but Marino are in the field for the PGA Championship next week, and likely will qualify for the first three playoff events.
The PGA of America has signed an endorsement deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland. ... The Canadian Women's Open will be played next year at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the club. ... The Tour de las Americas has become an associate member of the International Federation of PGA Tours. Among other things, associate membership allows it to host a World Golf Championship event. The tour staged 14 events last year.
Tiger Woods has earned $6.587 million in nine appearances at Firestone. He has never finished lower than fifth.
'If you compare it to Tiger or Vijay or Phil, 13 doesn't sound like a lot. But there's a hell of a lot of guys out there (that) 13 sounds like a lot to.' -- Jim Furyk, whose Canadian Open victory was the 13th of his PGA TOUR career.
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  • 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.

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    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.”

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    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 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 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.''