Defending Steve Williams

By Brian HewittDecember 19, 2008, 5:00 pm
First of all, The Comebacker wishes everybody a terrific Holiday Season and a Happy New Year. You all come back now in 2009. Hear?
Without further ado, more e-mails about Michelle Wie and some dish on Steve Williams, Tigers embattled caddie:
Jane writes: Steve Williams comments were totally inappropriate and he should be reprimanded. As Tiger's caddie, he is well known and has a responsibility to behave in a manner that is appropriate, recognizing that his actions and words may have a direct or indirect impact on his employer. When said employer has a high public profile it is even more important to conduct oneself appropriately. This applies to anyone in any profession where the association, be it with an individual or a corporation, is public knowledge.
The Comebacker
Jane, even though you write like a lawyer, I agree with what youre saying.

Joe writes: I never write into blogs like this but here goes: I think Michelle Wie is a terrific golfer with a combination of great genetics and the support needed to succeed as a great athlete. However, the problem I see with her game is that she has not developed a killer or winning instinct. I have played basketball and football in college and one thing I know about winning is that it has little to do with just talent. Winners believe winning is their right and they do not hope or wish for it. This is also the reason why no one currently on the PGA (Tour), except for perhaps Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington, will challenge Tiger for his top spot.
The Comebacker
Methinks Joe has forgotten the name of one Anthony Kim. And, yes, even if Michelle Wie had won at Q-School, despite a small first prize, I think it would have done wonders for her psychologically.

Brian writes: Tiger works hard to have an impeccable image on and off the course. He accepts the role of role model with precision. We are talking about a man who makes New Year's resolutions to be a better person. With this in mind, if these comments by Stevie (Williams) are true, seems to reason that some discipline is in order. Tiger's response and how he deals with it will be interesting. This is a modern day Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan relationship and one that should be handled with much more class and respect ' for the good of the game. Comments like these lower our gentleman's game to that of street hoops or a hockey match.
The Comebacker
Judging from Tigers response to Williams indiscreet use of the language toward Phil Mickelson, Williams better have learned some kind of lesson from this or he will be looking for work on another bag. Speaking of which, in the unlikely event that Woods does sack Williams ' you heard it here first ' I couldnt think of a better replacement than Terry McNamara, the man on Annika Sorenstams bag through her glory years. McNamara is a class act and would never campaign for a job that isnt open yet. But Annika and Tiger share the same agent, Mark Steinberg. Steinberg and everybody else in the golf division he runs at IMG know who McNamara is. McNamara is personable and tough when he needs to be. He is stable. He is hard-working and he is everything Tiger or anybody else could want in a caddie.
Scott writes: There is a ton of talent on the LPGA, and LOTS of great stories. Shame on you for picking the lowest hanging fruit of all ' the Wie (I hate typing that word) story. Stacy Lewis won the event, yet all she gets is a mention in passing. Anna Rawson provided everyone with a nice surprise by qualifying. Meanwhile, you focused your story on someone, who once again proved unable to even close strong, let alone win. Let's highlight the winners, and not recycle the leftovers.
The Comebacker
Wow, Wie is still only 19 years old and already she has been consigned to the status of low hanging fruit and leftovers. Harsh.

Bill writes: The Golf Channel is a business. The reality is, I checked the LPGA Q-School at least twice a day, and I wouldn't have done that if it wasn't for Wie. Show me the money. When Wie and Tiger are in contention, the viewership goes up. Actually, I'm sick of hearing about both of them, but I understand why they are in the headlines. This isn't NPR; golf is a business.
The Comebacker
Bill speaks the truth.

Kendall writes: After reading all the negative comments about Michelle Wie, I felt compelled to chime in with one fact: The game of golf needs stars ... superstars if possible. Michelle Wie is likeable, cute, and a real talent. She's just more fun to watch than most other golfers. And now she's proving her self the old fashioned way in Q-School. So hopefully everyone can stop treating her like somehow she's bad for the game, because we all know better. She's news. I'm shocked to hear people in the golf community be so negative ' she's a nice young lady, and an exciting story to follow.
The Comebacker
Support for Wie. We dont get a lot of that in this forum either. Still waiting, by the way, for someone to defend Steve Williams.

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt

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 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 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.''