A tip from Tiger the lead for OHair

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2009, 1:41 pm

ATLANTA (AP)—Sean O’Hair first got to know Tiger Woods by showing up at dawnfor practice rounds at the majors.

The friendship grew stronger over the years, and reached a point this springthat O’Hair and Woods were playfully jawing at each other about the NBA playoffsbefore the final round of the Quail Hollow Championship. O’Hair jumped pastWoods and others that day for his biggest PGA Tour victory, and Woods hungaround after it was over to congratulate him.

Their relationship reached another level at East Lake.

They played a practice round on the eve of the Tour Championship, and whenO’Hair had a few questions about putting, Woods was only too happy to impartsome advice and a few tips.

Tiger Woods watches his tee sh…
AP - Sep 24, 6:51 pm EDT

Perhaps it was merely a coincidence, but in the opening round Thursday,O’Hair made enough putts on firm greens for a 4-under 66 that gave him aone-shot lead over a trio of British Open champions—Woods included.

“I’m going to go chew him out right now,” Woods said.

Woods was joking, for it is typical in this sport for players to help eachother even as they’re trying to beat each other. O’Hair is the first to concedethat his putting has held him back in his five years on tour, and he wasn’tafraid to ask for advice.

The tip was technical. O’Hair tends to take the putter back squarely, thenhold onto it through the putt. Woods suggested that he open the face on the wayback, which would allow him to release the putter on the way through.

O’Hair doesn’t have it down pat, at least not yet. It was the idea thatWoods was willing to help that meant so much.

“I believe in what he said, and I think it’s the key for me to kind of takemy putting to another level,” O’Hair said. “Getting advice like that from goodplayers is obviously awesome, but getting it from basically the greatest of alltime is pretty cool.

“I mean, I’m his competition. For him to help me out like he did was veryclassy.”

Woods recovered from a shaky start with three birdies over a four-holestretch on the back nine for a 67, putting him one shot behind with PadraigHarrington and British Open champion Stewart Cink.

Only eight players managed to break par in the final FedEx Cup playoffevent, with a $10 million bonus going to the winner. O’Hair is the No. 7 seed,meaning he would have to win the Tour Championship and have Woods finish in athree-way tie for second or worse.

So far, so good. And so much golf is left to be played.

O’Hair could only imagine what it would be like to try out his putting tipon the 18th green Sunday with a chance to go home with $11.35 million, thecombined earnings of the FedEx Cup and Tour Championship.

“If I do have that opportunity, I hope I have a five-shot lead,” he said.

Woods doesn’t regret giving O’Hair the putting advice.

“It’s very simple,” Woods said. “You always help your friends. Sean is afriend of mine, and like all my friends, you always try to make their lifebetter somehow. Sean has been struggling a bit on the greens this year, and Ithought I could offer a little bit of help and insight to how he could changethat.”

Woods, who is in the best shape to capture the FedEx Cup as the No. 1 seed,could have used some help early in the round. As O’Hair, Harrington and Cinkwere setting an early pace, Woods was headed in the wrong direction by failingto save par from a bunker on the par-3 sixth, and making bogey on the eighthfrom the rough to go 1 over.

He was six shots behind at one point, then closed quickly.

“This golf course, you have to be very patient, especially with greens thisfirm,” Woods said. “It’s really hard to get the ball close unless you drivethe ball in the fairway and have a short iron in.”

U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover had a 68, and only three other playersmanaged to break par—Retief Goosen, Steve Marino and Dustin Johnson, who wereat 69.

Stricker, the No. 2 seed, was among those at 70.

It was hard to believe that a course that was closed Monday and part ofTuesday because of 20 inches of rain over the past week could deliver some ofthe firmest greens on tour this year. Attribute that to a sub-air system on thegreens installed last year, and a hot sun that left players reaching for towelsto wipe sweat off their brow.

“The course was playing fairly long, and then the greens are justincredibly firm, probably the most firm we’ve played all year,” O’Hair said.“Maybe The Players Championship is a close second. Kind of ironic since we gotso much rain.”

O’Hair was sporty from the rough, too. He made his first birdie with a wedgeout of the rough on No. 3 that stopped a foot away, then made another birdie atNo. 12 under similar circumstances, from the right rough with just enough spinto stop 2 feet from the hole.

Cink narrowly made the 30-man field at No. 26 and the scenarios are too manyto count for him to win the FedEx Cup. All he cared about Thursday was breakingpar, like so many others.

“Considering all that rain we had, it’s really dried out, and the greensare like bricks,” Cink said. “You have to be very smart coming into the greensto give yourself any kind of aggressive birdies.”

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.