Tigers Prized Possession Koufax Autograph

By Associated PressDecember 18, 2007, 5:00 pm
Perhaps the most coveted autograph in sports is Tiger Woods, who signs sparingly at golf tournaments, more than he likes when requests are brought to him, and who has a deal with Upper Deck to combat forgeries.
 
There aren't many autographs he wants in return, but Woods recently got a prized possession -- a baseball signed by Sandy Koufax.
 
'How about that?' Woods said, breaking into a broad smile when asked about the autograph.
 
Why is Koufax so meaningful to him?
 
For one thing, Woods said they share the same birthday (Dec. 30), although Koufax arrived on earth 40 years earlier. Additionally, Woods grew up a Dodgers fan, and besides Jackie Robinson, he can think of no other player who better epitomizes his team.
 
'I've been a Dodger fan my entire life, and Koufax is the man,' he said. 'For pitchers, you wouldn't think of any other player. During those five years (in the 1960s), nobody could touch him.'
 
Woods asked an official at Upper Deck that if he ever ran into Koufax, would he ask for an autograph. The next time Woods saw him, the Upper Deck rep handed him a baseball.
 
'It's got a personal inscription,' Woods said. 'It's at home in my bedroom, sitting right there.'
 
Woods said it was only the second autograph of a sports figure he has sought in his life. The other came about a dozen years ago when he met Muhammad Ali. He wound up getting a signed pair of boxing trunks that Ali wore in a fight in 1977.
 
'I had never asked for any autograph ever, and I said to him, 'Could you please sign anything, a paper, anything, please?' He was shaking (from Parkinson's Disease) and said, 'I'll take care of it.' All of a sudden, I had a a pair of trunks. He said, 'I won't be needing these anymore.' I've got those hanging on my wall.'
 
SILLY SEASON
All it took was one tournament for Tiger Woods to be the unofficial winner of the unofficial season.
 
Woods was among three players who earned more than $1 million in the silly season, comprised of tournaments that did not count toward a money list or the world ranking. His victory in the Target World Challenge was worth $1.35 million.
 
Despite getting shut out in the LG Skins Game, Masters champion Zach Johnson came in second in the silly season with $1,108,750 in four tournaments, nearly 30 percent of what he earned in 23 events on the PGA TOUR that counted.
 
Coming in third was Colin Montgomerie, who earned $1.025 million from the World Cup and Target World Challenge.
 
And fret not for Fred Couples, the unofficial king of the silly season. He only played twice on the PGA TOUR because of a severe back injury, but managed to compete three times after the season ended and finished ninth on the list with $572,500.
 
LPGA IN FLORIDA
The LPGA Tour finally worked out the details for its new tournament in South Florida, announcing Tuesday that the Stanford International Pro-Am will be played April 24-27 at Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Aventura, Fla.
 
The $2 million tournament will be the first pro-am on the LPGA Tour since 2001.
 
Stanford Financial, the title sponsor, got involved in the LPGA beyond getting its name on the tournament. The company will make a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for every eagle made on the LPGA Tour, a program that it started last year on the PGA Tour when it took over title sponsorship in Memphis, Tenn.
 
It also signed an endorsement deal with Morgan Pressel, who joins a Stanford Financial stable that includes Vijay Singh, David Toms and Camilo Villegas.
 
The new event was held up by a scheduling conflict at Turnberry Isle.
 
The resort already had been booked that week by Presidential Holidays Southeast, which was hosting a Passover event for more than 500 Orthodox Jews. The Sun-Sentinel reported last week that Presidential Holidays received a financial settlement from the resort, and the Passover event will go somewhere else.
 
FLAG SIGNINGS
Zach Johnson finished a round at the Target World Challenge when a fan asked him to sign a 2007 Masters flag. Johnson asked for the man's name -- Darren -- and wrote it on the flag.
 
It didn't take him long to learn where most of those souvenir flags go.
 
'I got to Hilton Head the week after the Masters and signed I don't know how many flags,' he said. 'Later that week, some friends of mine went on eBay and found 40 of them for sale.'
 
HARRINGTON TIDBITS
British Open champion Padraig Harrington brought copies of his book, 'Journey to the Open,' to the Target World Challenge, and it includes some interesting notes about his victory at Carnoustie.
 
He used three drivers during the British Open, going from a 9-degree loft in practice to a 7.5-degree loft in the first two rounds to an 8.5-degree loft on the weekend. The latter, which he used to drive into the Barry Burn on the 72nd hole, is still in his bag.
 
He had to go to the pro shop to buy golf balls before the playoff because he couldn't find the extra balls he had set aside, although he located them moments before he teed off against Sergio Garcia.
 
And perhaps the most important piece of information?
 
His first drink out of the claret jug was John Smith's Extra Smooth bitter, a promise he had made to his manager.
 
DIVOTS
Sophie Gustafson tied for 15th at the Dubai Ladies Masters, earning enough money to capture the Order of Merit on the Ladies European Tour. Gustafson narrowly beat out Solheim Cup teammate Bettina Hauert of Germany. ... Zach Johnson first played in the Mercedes-Benz Championship in 2005, and he had such a great week that he vowed to bring his family if he ever won again. 'It just so happened, they didn't forget,' the Masters champion said. Johnson is taking both sides of his family, a party of 14, to Kapalua. ... The Albertsons Boise Open donated just over $2 million for charity, a record for the Nationwide Tour.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
All six continents where golf is played are represented by players in the top 14 in the world ranking.
 
FINAL WORD
'For all the people out there who have been extremely successful, they've always loved what they do, from athletes to whatever their job description. If you really do have a passion for it, then you don't ever get burned out.' -- Tiger Woods.
 
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.