Notes Young Guns Firing OMeara Moving On
Ben Curtis is the only American in his 20s with a major. Curtis and Jonathan Byrd are the only U.S. players under 30 with multiple wins.
'I think it's ridiculous,' Howell said. 'I don't understand it to be honest with you. I think American golf under 30 is fine. If you look across the board, if you look at guys playing nowadays, I don't buy into that, no.'
Indeed, it has become a sensitive topic.
But the last few weeks on the PGA TOUR have offered some hope, starting with the 27-year-old Howell.
He had two chances to win in his first three tournaments, after an offseason in which he poured the majority of his time into putting. Three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the back nine put a brief scare into Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines. Howell needed eagle on the final hole to force a playoff and hit a 3-wood from a tough lie in the rough to the middle of the green.
Woods called it 'one of the best shots I've seen him hit.'
'The lie wasn't all that good, but he pulled it off,' Woods said. 'That shows you he's heading in the right direction.'
Howell had company at the Buick Invitational.
Brandt Snedeker, 26, opened with a 61 and remained atop the leaderboard going into the final round but finished third. Jeff Quinney, the former U.S. Amateur champion, tied for fourth at the Bob Hope Classic. He was tied for the lead at Torrey Pines, then stumbled over the final five holes and tied for seventh.
Meanwhile, Howell moved up to No. 43 in the world rankings after starting the year at No. 82. He must stay inside the top 50 in the world or the top 10 on the money list (No. 3) through March to get into the Masters.
Mark O'Meara finished his regular PGA TOUR career with a birdie, but not much fanfare.
O'Meara turned 50 two weeks ago and said he would devote his time exclusively to the Champions Tour, except for the Masters and British Open. As a former champion of both majors, he can play Augusta National as long as he wants and the British Open until he's 65.
'There comes a time when you have to move on,' O'Meara said. 'I feel like I can still get the ball around a little bit, but I'm kidding myself if I think I can compete against these kids.'
He picked Torrey Pines as his finale, because he grew up nearby in Mission Viejo and won the Buick Invitational in 1997. O'Meara easily made the cut but stalled on the weekend. In a quiet departure, he was first off the 10th tee Sunday in the final round, meaning he finished on the ninth hole, nearly a mile from the clubhouse.
But he had a few fans, playing with Phil Mickelson and being only two groups behind Tiger Woods.
O'Meara did not rule out an end to regular PGA TOUR events, although he is so serious about the Champions Tour that he will miss the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which he won five times.
'I'm looking forward to playing with guys my own age,' O'Meara said.
It's not as though Tiger Woods doesn't already win enough on the PGA TOUR.
In an oversight published on the back of its media guide, the PGA TOUR lists Woods as the defending champion at the Honda Classic, a tournament he never has played as a professional.
The defending champion is Luke Donald.
TOUR officials said last year that Mission Hills Golf Club in China would get the World Cup in 2007 and 2008, then stage a World Golf Championship every year through 2018.
That plan hasn't changed, even with Monday's announcement that the World Cup is no longer part of the WGC series.
Ty Votaw, executive vice president of international affairs for the PGA TOUR, said Tuesday a WGC event could be played in China as early as next year, more likely in 2009.
'Whether it's in China every year or not, those are details that haven't been worked out,' he said. 'The plan would be to have a presence in China on a regular basis.'
The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a mock trivia question last week asking who would be the first defensive back taken in the NFL draft. The answer was Tiger Woods.
Someone must have seen Woods' latest Buick commercial.
In one take, a fan runs up to him on the range and takes his stack of golf balls, then quickly returns and grabs his bag. Woods throws a ball and hits the man in the back, knocking him to the ground. Woods liked the commercial but felt it wasn't a natural reaction.
'If someone took my bag, I would do something a little bit more than just throw a golf ball at him,' he said. 'So I told the director, 'I have an idea. What do you think if I went out there and tried to grab the bag away from him?''
Only he didn't exactly grab him.
Woods lunged at the man and tackled him hard to the ground. What the commercial doesn't show is a small cut on the actor's forehead.
'As I got closer to him, I got into it a little bit,' Woods said. 'I got a little excited, and yeah, he had a little scratch on his forehead. Just a little scratch. He toweled off, and he was fine.'
After going 112 years without a corporate partner, the USGA now has two. Lexus has signed a deal to become the official car of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur. The USGA announced late last year a corporate partnership with American Express. ... Ryan Palmer withdrew from the Buick Invitational because his wife in Dallas went into labor. He got there with four hours to spare to see the birth of his first child, a son they named Mason Cooper. ... In the PGA TOUR's attempt to validate the Nationwide Tour as something more than a minor league, consider the disbursement of world ranking points Sunday. Miguel Carballo won the Nationwide event in Panama and received more ranking points than Andrew Buckle received for his tie for fourth at the Buick Invitational.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods is 166 under in his last 10 tournaments around the world, with 32 out of 40 of his rounds in the 60s.
'If you stick Tiger in anybody else's era, everybody else's total would be dramatically different.' -- David Duval.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
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.