Tigers Prized Possession Koufax Autograph
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.'
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.
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.'
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.
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.
'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.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.