Memories of Payne Stewart Tigers favorite domain

By Doug FergusonAugust 10, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Robert Allenby checked in Monday at the PGA Championship, opened his blue locker at Hazeltine National and was surprised to see that someone had written on the inside panel with a felt pen.
 
It wasnt the words that jarred him, it was who wrote it.
 
Jim, thanks for the locker use, the note said. It was signed by Payne Stewart.
 
This must have been his locker when he won here in 91, Allenby said. It was pretty cool.
 
So cool, in fact, that Allenby took a picture of it with his cell phone.
 
Stewart won his first U.S. Open in 1991, taking advantage of two late bogeys by Scott Simpson to get into an 18-hole playoff. Stewart made only one birdie in the playoff, again rallying behind Simpsons mistakes.
 
The next time a major returned to Hazeltine, in 2002 for the PGA Championship, Stewart already was gone.
 
He won another U.S. Open in 1999 at Pinehurst No. 2, then died that October when his private plane from Florida to Dallas few uncontrolled across the country until it ran out of fuel and crashed in South Dakota.
 

 
NO LUMPY: The only PGA Tour player who lives in Minnesota will not be at the PGA Championship.
 
Tim Herron, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour in the midst of one of his worst seasons, did not qualify for what amounts to his only hometown event. This is only the fourth major Hazeltine has hosted, the first one played when Lil Lumpy was 4 months old in 1970.
 
Herron has only three finishes in the top 20 this year, the last two in his previous starts. He did not qualify through the money-based PGA points list, although he was the sixth alternate on Monday.
 
The PGA of America offered 35 special invitations to the 156-man field, mainly from the world ranking. It promotes this major as having the strongest field and tries to get everyone from the top 100. Herron is at No. 222.
 
The PGA did give spots to Darren Clarke, who was the highest-ranked player outside the top 100 and still a popular figure; former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, who grew up in Minnesota; Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin; and European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.
 
Why no Lumpy?
 
Performance, said Joe Steranka, the chief executive of the PGA.
 
He declined to say if the PGA had considered a spot for Herron, saying only that the association decided a decade ago to concentrate on picking quality courses and having the strongest field possible. He said the majority of its field comes from the PGA points list, which is money earned on the PGA Tour over the last year.
 

 
TIGERS DOMAIN: Tiger Woods won for a record seventh time at Firestone, although the debate rages on which course feels like home. Firestone or Torrey Pines?
 
Woods became the first player to win a PGA Tour event seven times on the same course. Sam Snead won the Greensboro Open eight times, although that alternated between different courses.
 
Someone asked Woods if he had ever won more on a single course, even as a kid. He couldnt think of one until another reporter pointed out that he won the Buick Invitational six times, plus the U.S. Open last summer at Torrey Pines.
 
That would be seven victories at PGA Tour-sanctioned events, one being a major. Woods didnt stop there, though.
 
Junior World, he said. Ha! Eight.
 
He won the Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines in 1991 at age 15.
 

 
PRESIDENTIAL FEELING: Robert Allenby has renewed optimism since changing his putting style, and the results paid off in more than a runner-up finish at the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
He moved up to No. 8 in the Presidents Cup standings for the International team, which is based on the world ranking. Behind him is Tim Clark and Rory Sabbatini at No. 10, and another decent week at the PGA Championship should sew up his first Presidents Cup appearance since the tie in South Africa in 2003.
 
That was one of my goals, to play well these two weeks to guarantee myself a spot in the top 10, Allenby said. I didnt want to have to rely on being a pick.
 
Missing from the International team is Adam Scott, who is having a difficult season and has fallen to No. 13.
 
I need a good week, Scott said. A really good week.
 
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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.