Tiger Leaves 50 Different Runners-Up in His Wake

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
MIAMI -- Davis Love III was the first.
 
He was in a playoff against Tiger Woods when he failed to save par from a bunker and lost the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational.
 
Brett Wetterich was the latest.
 
He was faced with a four-shot deficit against the world's No. 1 player in the CA Championship at Doral. He held his own, kept it interesting as long as he could, but wound up in second place and in the record books as a footnote.
 
Wetterich became the 50th player to be runner-up to Woods on the PGA TOUR.
 
'Guess I had to become some kind of statistic,' he said.
 
At least he's in good company.
 
The 50 victims include 21 major champions and 18 of the top 30 players in the world ranking, a list that goes from A (Stuart Appleby) to Z (Paul Azinger) when allowing for nicknames (Zinger).
 
The milestone even caught Woods by surprise, based on the fact he said nothing for a few seconds and even then had little to offer except for, 'Where do you come up with that?'
 
Matt Gogel (Pebble Beach) is now retired. Frank Nobilo (Western Open) works for the GOLF CHANNEL. Esteban Toledo (Buick Open) is on the Nationwide Tour. The list includes four Ryder Cup captains -- Tom Kite, Hal Sutton, Tom Lehman and Azinger.
 
'I wouldn't have guessed that,' Woods said. 'I would have thought some guys had been there more often than others.'
 
Woods' victory at Doral was No. 56 in his PGA TOUR career, and while 13 players have been runner-up multiple times, there have been 12 tournaments where at least two players tied for second. In two tournaments, there was a four-way tie for second.
 
That puts Brian Gay on the list.
 
'Who?' Woods said. 'When did I beat him?'
 
That would be the 2002 Buick Open, along with Toledo, Fred Funk and Mark O'Meara, the only time on tour Woods' best buddy from Isleworth finished second to him.
 
Considering the record Woods has compiled, it might be a badge of honor to be runner-up. Better yet is to never be on that list, something David Duval once mentioned. Duval and Woods were rivals once, trading the No. 1 ranking during the summer of '99. At THE PLAYERS Championship that next year, it was mentioned to Duval that he had never been runner-up to Woods.
 
'Nope. And I won't be,' he said.
 
That didn't last long.
 
He might have finished second at the British Open in the summer of 2000 at St. Andrews if he could have escaped the Road Hole bunker in fewer than four attempts. His luck ran out in 2001 at the Masters, when Duval missed putts inside 12 feet on the final two holes to finish two shots behind as Woods captured his fourth straight major.
 
Only three major champions from this decade have stayed off the list -- Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton and Geoff Ogilvy, although the latter had done it overseas.
 
'I was runner-up to him in the Johnnie Walker,' said Ogilvy, who finished three behind in Thailand seven years ago. 'He's had 50 guys on this TOUR? That's pretty amazing. If anything, it shows how much he's won, especially for a guy in his early 30s.'
 
Ogilvy contemplated this for a few more seconds.
 
'Who's finished second the most?' he added. 'That would be interesting.'
 
That would be Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, five apiece.
 
Els is generally known as Woods' favorite whipping boy, probably because some of his runner-up finishes were dramatic and all of them came in such a short span of time.
 
Starting with the Disney Classic in 1999, Woods won nine of the 16 events on the PGA TOUR, and Els was a runner-up in five of them. It's hard to count the U.S. Open and British Open because the Big Easy was a combined 23 shots behind. It's hard to forget Kapalua, where they matched eagles on No. 18 in regulation, birdies on No. 18 in the playoff, and Woods finally outlasted him with a 35-foot birdie putt that the locals still try to make, without much luck.
 
'He's probably going to be bigger than Elvis when he gets into his 40s,' Els said that day.
 
Singh never had it that bad, and his Avis moments were spread out. Perhaps the most noteworthy came outside Atlanta in 2003 at the American Express Championship, when they were vying for the money title and there actually was a race for PGA TOUR player of the year. Woods beat him by two shots that day.
 
'Here's a better stat,' Ogilvy said. 'Who's won the most times with him in the field?'
 
No surprise there, either -- Singh with 13 victories, followed by Mickelson at nine.
 
Now, it doesn't always work both ways, because Woods has been a runner-up 20 times on the PGA TOUR. He has been second to Singh and Mickelson three times apiece, with Lefty winning the tiebreaker.
 
Singh beat him at the Deutsche Bank in 2004 to take away the No. 1 ranking. Mickelson ended Woods' winning streak at six at the 2000 Buick Invitational, and he became one of only three players to beat him when Woods had a share of the 54-hole lead at the Tour Championship later that year.
 
It all started with Love hitting 8-iron into the bunker and missing a 6-foot putt for par. It was Woods' fifth tournament as a pro.
 
'As disappointed as I am, I'm that much happy for him,' Love said. 'He's a great, great player, and he's great for the tour.'
 
Wetterich might have spoken for the other 49 players after his runner-up finish at Doral.
 
'Finishing second,' he said, 'is not a bad thing.'
 
Related Links:
  • List of 50 Different Runners-Up
     
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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.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    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.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.''