Tigers Absence Not That Big a Deal

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
HARRISON, N.Y. -- Tiger Woods has played four straight weeks on the PGA TOUR only five times in his career, and two of those stretches came in 1996 when he was a 20-year-old rookie trying to avoid going to Q-school.
 
So his absence from the first of four playoff events in the FedExCup should have come as no surprise.
 
Nor should it be a problem.
 
Once the inaugural 'PGA TOUR Playoffs' head toward a conclusion, no one will remember that Woods skipped The Barclays. Even if he doesn't win the FedExCup, odds are he'll be in the running. And that beats any interest golf used to have in the fall, which was next to nil.
 
Truth is, Woods might have done the tour a favor.
 
Considering how he has been playing lately (two straight victories), and how he finished last season (six straight PGA TOUR victories), it was conceivable the world's No. 1 player could have wrapped up the FedExCup and gone home before the TOUR Championship.
 
Which would have looked worse: Woods skipping what amounts to a wild-card game or sitting out the Super Bowl?
 
'Maybe he figured he had a first-round bye,' Woody Austin said Tuesday on a dreary day of rain at Westchester, which seemed to set the mood for those who believe the playoffs already are a bust because one guy didn't show up.
 
Woods, of course, cares more about himself than an organization he could have supported by showing up in New York.
 
Nothing wrong with that, either.
 
The TOUR is bringing a team concept to golf with these playoffs, but it's still an individual sport.
 
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem must have come to the same conclusion Sunday during the final round of the Wyndham Championship, the last tournament to qualify for the playoffs. Yes, he was disappointed that Woods decided not to play The Barclays, especially after the TOUR was banking on all the stars playing the final four weeks of the FedExCup.
 
'On the other hand,' Finchem said, 'I can't second-guess Tiger about what he thinks he has to do to win.'
 
History shows that Woods plays his best golf when he paces himself, just as Jack Nicklaus did before him.
 
The best example might have been in 1996, when he played four straight weeks while trying to earn enough money to get his PGA TOUR card. With a job secured and his energy drained, Woods unceremoniously pulled out of the Buick Challenge, then won two of his next three starts to qualify for the TOUR Championship.
 
The most he has ever played in a row on the PGA TOUR was five weeks in early 1999. His lone victory during that stretch came at the Buick Invitational, where he flirted with missing the cut before a 62-65 weekend.
 
Of his 59 TOUR victories, Woods has won only 10 times while playing his third consecutive week.
 
He has a formula, and it seems to work.
 
Contrast that with Brandt Snedeker, who won in Greensboro to improve his seeding in the playoffs from No. 32 to No. 9. The TOUR rookie also played in the PGA Championship, so he could finish the season playing six straight weeks.
 
'Some guys play their best golf after weeks off. That's just the way it is,' Snedeker said. 'Everybody is different. I seem to play my best golf when I go on stretches like this where I play a lot on the road for some reason.'
 
K.J. Choi once closed the 2000 season by playing six straight weeks. He missed the cut five straight times before a tie for 29th in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
 
'By the fifth week, I was so worn out,' Choi said. 'All my shots were weak and I had no energy.'
 
If there's a problem with the FedExCup, it might be asking players to cram so much golf into such a short stretch. Golf is more about quality starts than endurance, which is why so many players set their schedules accordingly.
 
Woods is among those who can get away with it.
 
Scott Verplank already is thinking about skipping round two at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He is No. 11 in the standings and is virtually a lock to play in the Tour Championship at East Lake, a course on which he feels as though he can win.
 
'I know me better than anyone else, and my body is not going to hold up over four weeks,' the 43-year-old Verplank said. 'If I'm beat up and dead tired going to Atlanta, on a course where I feel I can win, what good is that?'
 
David Toms loves to go to LSU football games in the fall and to play in the Tour Championship, but as the No. 25 seed going into the playoffs, he might miss both. Asked if he was planning to play all four events, he replied, 'Unless there's some way around it.'
 
'I'd hate to take a week off and not being able to go to the TOUR Championship,' Toms said.
 
Most players try to peak for the four biggest events of the year, which are spread over five months, not four weeks.
 
Woods said Tuesday in his monthly newsletter he supports the FedExCup playoffs.
 
'I need a little break to get ready for the final three events because I think it gives me the best chance to challenge for the title,' he said. 'Plus, I want to be sharp for the Presidents Cup the last week in September.'
 
The TOUR doesn't need Woods at Westchester for its playoffs to be a success. He will be at Boston, Chicago and Atlanta, joined by Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and the rest of golf's biggest names.
 
The only time so many stars have gotten together this late in the year was at the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.
 
That alone is a victory for the PGA TOUR.
 
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    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.

    “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

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    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.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    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.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    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.