Notes Tigers Huge Impact Strickers Comeback
Tom Cannon, dean of business at the University of Buckingham, says in his research for HSBC that Woods' presence in England and Ireland over the next three weeks will boost the golf economy by as much as 5 percent. Including press coverage, travel, sales of golf equipment and broadcast rights, Cannon estimated the total value on the core golf economy could be as high as $320 million.
'The size and reach of the Tiger economy is remarkable,' Cannon said. 'Drawing these figures together gives an astonishing picture not only of the impact of a single, outstanding sportsman but of the growing power and influence of sport and sporting celebrity.'
After the World Match Play, Woods will play the Ryder Cup in Ireland, then return to the London area for the American Express Championship.
STRICKER'S STIRRING COMEBACK
Steve Stricker went from desperation to disappointment, a wild swing in emotions that ultimately indicates a successful season.
Consider his toughest adjustment.
'It was weird to change your focus from trying to get into tournaments to trying to get on the Ryder Cup team,' he said.
Having failed to make it through Q-school, the only status Stricker had at the start of the year was as a past champion. That only got him into three tournaments the first 15 weeks of the season. Four months later, he did well enough in limited opportunities to finish 21st in the Ryder Cup standings and get serious consideration from Tom Lehman as a captain's pick.
Like others who got passed over, the disappointment has grown stronger as the Ryder Cup approaches. But at least Stricker has some perspective on how far he has come.
'I couldn't be that upset, not with the year I've had,' Stricker said.
His year isn't over. Stricker shot four rounds in the 60s and finished 10th in the Canadian Open. Not only was that his third consecutive top 10, he moved up to No. 36 on the money list with just over $1.6 million, nearly as much as he earned the last four years combined. An even stronger indicator of his play is that Stricker ranks fifth in scoring average.
Stricker's last victory was the Accenture Match Play Championship in Australia at the start of the 2001 season. He felt his game sliding a year later, and it fell off the map the next two years. The harder he worked, the more it seemed he went backward. The low point was not turning in his application for Q-school in 2004, then falling out of the top 150 by one spot in the final tournament.
'Going back to Q-school was a shot in the gut, a real wake-up call,' Stricker said.
He only made it to the final stage last year, but he was headed in the right direction. He finally broke through with a third-place finish in Houston, then followed that with a tie for sixth in the U.S. Open and a tie for second a week later at the Booz Allen Classic.
He wasn't eligible for any of the majors at the start of the year, but qualified for two -- tops 10s in the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship -- and couldn't qualify for the British Open because the 36-hole qualifier was rained out.
What also might have spurred him on was having another mouth to feed.
Stricker's wife, Nicki, gave birth to another daughter (Isabella) on May 10. She learned she was pregnant about the time he was getting for the second stage of Q-school. Their other daughter was born in August 1998, the year he finished 13th on the money list and was runner-up to Vijay Singh in the PGA Championship at Sahalee.
'Maybe we need more kids,' he said with a laugh.
Stricker and his wife joked during the offseason that he should try to get comeback player of the year, which would mean he at least earned his card for the '07 season. That now seems a lock.
And at 36th on the money list, the Tour Championship isn't out of the question.
YOUTH IS SERVED
The latest teenager to make a splash is Gipper Finau, a 16-year-old from Salt Lake City, who earned a spot in the Nationwide Tour event last week by shooting 63 in the Monday qualifier, then became the youngest player in that tour's history to make the cut with a 67 in the second round.
He finished at even-par 288 to tie for 58th among the 61 players who made the cut, turning heads along the way. Finau averaged 339.3 yards off the tee -- the highest average of any player this year in a Nationwide event -- and led the field with 24 birdies.
Finau, a junior at West High School, was the youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since 15-year-old Bob Panasik in the 1957 Canadian Open.
Cristie Kerr's victory turned the LPGA Tour's player-of-the-year award into a four-way race. Lorena Ochoa is still in control with 216 points, followed by Annika Sorenstam (194), Karrie Webb (184) and Kerr (174).
Sorenstam has won the award the last five years, and even though she is having to catch up, she likes her position. Sorenstam has finished first and second in her last two events, 'so I would say I'm ready.'
With 30 points available for winning, all it takes is one victory to put Sorenstam into the lead. And with the ADT Championship worth double points, the race could be decided in the final tournament of the year.
Charlie Sifford has been selected to receive the Old Tom Morris Award, the most prestigious honor by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. ... The top five players from the Futures Tour money list earned LPGA Tour cards for 2007 -- Song-Hee Kim, Charlotte Mayorkas, In-Bee Park, Kristy McPherson and Meagan Francella. ... Peter Jacobsen's season on the Champions Tour most likely ended when he had surgery to replace his left hip over the weekend. Jacobsen said he expects to be out six to seven weeks, although he expects to be 'as good as new.' It was the fourth surgery in the last three years for Jacobsen, who said this about his hopes for 2007: 'I like to use 14 clubs, and I don't want one of them to be a scalpel.'
STAT OF THE WEEK, PART I
Paula Creamer used the phrase, 'I mean,' 12 times during her news conference at the John Q. Hammons Classic.
STAT OF THE WEEK, PART II
Michelle Wie used the phrase, 'You know,' 13 times during her news conference at the Women's British Open.
'There have been enormous galleries, which have been difficult to control. But I still think the worst crowd you can have is no crowd.' -- European Tour chief executive George O'Grady after Michelle Wie missed the cut at the Omega European Masters.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
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. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.
PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation
Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.
The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
The statement reads:
The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.
The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.
The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.
The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.