A Claret Jug from which all can take a sip

By Doug FergusonAugust 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio ' Stewart Cink has had possession of the Claret Jug for just over two weeks since his British Open victory, long enough to know that it holds about 2 1/2 pints of any beverage.
 
He had first choice of what was poured ' Guinness, his favorite beer. Then it was filled with Coca-Cola for his teenage sons. Cink lost track of what else has been in golfs oldest trophy, or the number of people who taking a sip from the Claret Jug.
 
He has shared it with friends and strangers alike.
 
Its been in public twice, he said. And both times the response was almost overwhelming to the point where I felt like I needed to somewhat protect it.
 
After returning home to Atlanta, Cink said a group of about two dozen friends went to his favorite restaurant for a celebration. They sat in a corner of the restaurant with the Claret Jug on the table.
 
Then came another celebration at a restaurant that had more of a bar scene, and thats when mayhem broke out.
 
There were a lot of people that wanted to take a sip out of it and get a picture made, and we accommodated I think everyone that was there, Cink said. We stayed around for a few hours doing nothing but that.
 
Cink estimated 75 people at the bar, and he doesnt think anyone was denied a sip from the jug.
 
There was one point where I was thinking, OK, is this a good idea? he said. And it never really was in danger. None of us were really in danger. It was a crowded bar on a Thursday night in a big city. You can imagine.
 
As for what was in the jug that night?
 
I wasnt in charge of that, Cink said. One of my best friends at home took the lead on that. He went to the bar and filled it up. Come to think of it, I dont even know where the tab went on that.
 

 
WESTWOODS RECOVERY: Lee Westwood missed the playoff at the British Open by one shot, a three-putt from some 70 feet following a bunker shot that was among the best shots of his career.
 
It was his closest call in a major, mainly because he was in the lead for much of the back nine. And the Englishman was rightfully devastated, especially upon learning that his 7-foot par putt that he missed became even more meaningful when Tom Watson later bogeyed the 18th hole at Turnberry.
 
Adults tend to react with great sensitivity in such situations.
 
Out of the mouths of babes came some brutal honesty.
 
Westwood spent Monday conducting a junior golf competition, then he flew by helicopter the next three days doing work with his golf academies for kids between the ages of 7 and 16. He described some of their questions as less than subtle.
 
It was interesting, some of the questions that came out, Westwood said. Most people wanted to know what was going through your head when youre in that situation. A couple wanted to know if it was a fake tan or a real tan that I had.
 
As for the unsubtle question?
 
Why did you hit the first one (putt) so hard? Westwood said. So that will bring you down to early with a pretty big bump.
 
Westwood, seeing Watson in the fairway behind him, figured the 59-year-old would make par, so he would have to make his 70-foot birdie putt. He ran it by the hole, then missed the putt coming back.
 
The initial response came from his son as Westwood walked off the 18th green.
 
I was pretty deflated afterward, Westwood said. He said, Dad, you did really well. You finished third. So there you go.
 

 
MAJOR POWER: Tiger Woods already has won 15 times in the World Golf Championships, so he skews the statistics. Even so, the WGCs have a strong record of having a major champions as their winners.
 
Stewart Cink, who won at Firestone in 2004, enhanced those numbers.
 
Every winner of what is now the CA Championship is a major champion ' Woods six times, Mike Weir, Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy and Phil Mickelson. The Bridgestone Invitational counts Woods (six times), Vijay Singh and Cink as its winners.
 
In all, 23 of the 31 winners at WGC events are major champions.
 
The exception comes at the fickle Accenture Match Play Championship. Winners include Woods, Ogilvy and David Toms ' but also Jeff Maggert, Steve Stricker, Darren Clarke, Kevin Sutherland and Henrik Stenson.
 

 
STAYING PUT: Martin Kaymer of Germany started the year with hopes of earning a PGA Tour card. The more he thought about, he wants to concentrate solely on the European tour, and cherry-pick his tournaments in America.
 
So far, it seems to be working out well.
 
I love to come to America, Kaymer said. But the way it worked out this year was very, very good. I played all the big events in America. I played a few more at the beginning of the season in America, and I could play in Europe. I hope I can do the same next year. Thats my plan, definitely for next year and for 2011. Then well see how I feel.
 
Kaymer will have played 10 times in the United States. Along with three majors, three WGC events and The Players Championship, he was given exemptions to the Houston Open, Quail Hollow and the Memorial.
 

 
CINKS STRATEGY: For the second straight summer, a playoff in a major championship didnt start until one of the competitors could make a pit stop for the bathroom ' Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines and Stewart Cink at Turnberry.
 
The difference was Cink really didnt have to go.
 
He wanted to be late to the tee, knowing who ' not what ' he was up against. Cink faced 59-year-old Tom Watson, a hero in Scotland ever before he nearly won the British Open.
 
With the crowd pulling for him so much, I didnt want to be on the tee standing there when he walked up, Cink said. I wanted to be the last on the tee. Because if anything, I wanted him to hear some applause for me walking up there instead of the other way around. So I didnt really have to go to the restroom, but I decided to go anyway, just to take a few extra seconds to go down there.
 
Or maybe it was something else.
 
Im getting old, so sometimes I dont know if I have to go to the bathroom, the 36-year-old Cink said, laughing.
 
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  • 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.