Day 11 Woodys All Wet in Canada

By December 12, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's note; In the holiday spirit, the GolfChannel.com Team is counting down the 12 Days of Golf, the most memorable days of the 2007 season. This is Day 11. Watch Golf Central Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET for their Year-End Special!
 
Day 11Sometimes in life, a persons reputation, or at least the way he is perceived, is changed literally overnight. Or in the case of Albert Woody Austin II, literally underwater.
 
On Day 2 of the 2007 Presidents Cup, Austin forever went from being thought of as a brooding, career PGA TOUR grinder to a quirky, late-blooming, star-in-the-making sensation. All in the matter of one swing of the club ' and one mighty splash in the water.
 
Woody Austin
Woody Austin broke out a pair of snorkel goggles in his Sunday singles match.
After hitting into the edge of a greenside pond at the par-4 13th at Royal Montreal in he and teammate David Toms match against Rory Sabbatini and Mike Weir, the 43-year-old Austin doffed shoes and socks and stepped down into the water, hoping to make something out of the messy situation.
 
And he succeeded; though, far from the getting-the-ball-on-the-green kind of way.
 
His ball ended up going nowhere. Yet it was where his body went that had all those in attendance at Royal Montreal in stitches. See, Woody lost his balance after making the swing and then compounded the problem by stepping on a rock with his bare foot, leaving him no other option than to fall face first into the cold, Canadian water.
 
And with it came a flood of jokes from the fans, players and captains alike.
 
'It's funny,' said Retief Goosen later that day. 'For years he was known as the guy who banged his head against his putter. And now he's the guy who banged his head against the water.'
 
While still on the course that day, the Canadian fans enjoyed alternating chants of 'Marco' and 'Polo' as Austin made his way down the fairways. And on the greens, the usual screams of Get in the hole! were replaced with Get in the water!
 
Not sure he had much choice, but Woody took the moment and the onslaught of comments in perfect stride, even producing some of the best golf of the day by making three straight birdies on the final three holes to salvage a half point for the U.S. side. Afterwards, Woody began adding to his ever-growing legend.
 
Well, I don't think I look any worse than I always do. Scotty (Verplank) says I smell different, but I think, you know, everything else, I think I look just as ugly as I always do. But the whole idea of the shot was just to try to get it to the bank, because I felt like from the bank I had a chance to make three. I knew, deep down, knew I probably couldn't pull the shot off, explained Austin. But between wanting really badly to pull it off and having my caddie urge me on; and I'm going to get Brett for that for a while. He kept saying, You've got to try, you've got to try, you've got to try.
 
And try he did.
 
I was doing okay until I stepped on the rock and once I stepped on the rock, I lost my balance, he said.
 
I can only tell you how much the competitive fire burns in me. It didn't douse it. I was still fired up and ready to go.
 
So, too, were the jokes.
 
'You couldn't see who it was because his head was underwater,' said Steve Stricker afterwards. 'But you figured it had to be Woody.'
 
Added Vijay Singh, as he passed Woody in the interview room later the evening, Hey, Woody. The Russian judge gave you an 8.
 
Moments later, captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player gathered to announce their pairings for the following morning. Nicklaus announced his team for the second game on Saturday.
 
'I'm going with Phil Mickelson and Jacques Cousteau,' Nicklaus quipped.
 
It was his partner Mickelson who then gave him the moniker 'Aquaman.'
 
For the record, Austin finished the Presidents Cup with a 1-1-3 record, gaining 2 points for his American teammates in their decisive 19 - 14 victory. I have the mentality where I will do anything I can for my part, my teammates, whatever, Woody said.
 
For Austin, who just so happened to be sandwiched between Ernie Els and Tiger Woods as the recipient of the PGA TOURs rookie of the year award back in 1995, it put the cherry on top of what became his best year ever on TOUR.
 
A flawless final-round 62 at the St. Jude Championship in June earned him his third career victory and his $2.8 million in earnings more than doubled his previous high for a season.
 
And then there was a memorable showing at the PGA Championship, where he finished runner-up to champion Tiger Woods by two shots. It was also there that Austin garnered snickers from those in the media center after making comments about out playing Tiger in Fridays second round, a round which saw the world No. 1 fire a major championship record-tying round of 63 to Woodys 70. And he didnt back away from the comments.
 
People always say, `Are you intimidated by him (Woods)?'' Austin added. 'What, are we going to get in a fight? I'm not intimidated by him. I'm intimidated by the fact that I have a chance to win a golf tournament. I'm not intimidated by any other person. I'm intimidated by the golf.'
 
And apparently not intimidated by greenside water hazards.
 
Related Links:
  • Woody Makes a Splash at Presidents Cup
  • 12 Days of Golf Countdown
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x