Notes: A look back at the 2013 PGA Tour season

By Doug FergusonSeptember 24, 2013, 10:23 pm

ATLANTA – Tiger Woods said he was tired. Phil Mickelson already was looking for ways to reduce his schedule by 25 percent.

''Just wait until next year,'' Jim Furyk said, more out of dread than anticipation.

The PGA Tour has agreed to create a week off before the Ryder Cup in 2014. That means two majors and a World Golf Championship in a four-week span. And then four straight FedEx Cup playoff events, including a three-day window between the final round in Boston and the opening round in Denver.

And don't forget: With the new wraparound season, ''next year'' is only 16 days away.

That leaves just enough time to review a 2013 season marked by weather (wind, fog, snow), surprises and slumps, rules violations, deer antler spray and the first time in 24 years that none of the 54-hole leaders in the majors went on to win.

The PGA Tour announces its player of the year on Friday. Here are a few other awards to consider until then.


COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: The PGA Tour did away with this award a few years ago because too many winners were ''coming back'' from bad play rather than a serious injury. Henrik Stenson would be the popular choice under that context.

The winner, though, should be Boo Weekley.

Three years after playing in the Ryder Cup, he lost his full PGA Tour card and then failed at Q-school. Playing on sponsor exemptions in 2012, he earned back his card on the last day of the season with a 67 at Disney. Weekley started the year at No. 299 in the world. He won at Colonial, advanced to the Tour Championship and now is among the top 50. He will be playing all four majors next year for the first time since 2009.


BEST YEAR WITHOUT A WIN: Steve Stricker won $4.4 million despite going into semi-retirement. He was runner-up at Kapalua, Doral and the Tour Championship. Then again, he played only six fewer tournaments than normal.

The nod goes to Graham DeLaet of Canada, who was 95th on the money list a year ago. He had seven top 10s, more than his previous two seasons on tour combined, and two of his best results came in the FedEx Cup playoffs. DeLaet played in his first two majors, rose to No. 32 in the world and earned a spot on the Presidents Cup team.


PACE OF PLAY AWARD: The 30-man field at Kapalua.

A fluke weather pattern that brought 40 mph gusts was so bizarre that the Tournament of Champions didn't start until the day it was supposed to end. Rickie Fowler hit the opening tee shot on Monday morning, and the 54-hole tournament ended 29 hours later. It can be done.


TIMING AWARD: Vijay Singh filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour for ''public humiliation and ridicule'' over its investigation of his admission that he used deer antler spray, which was reported to contain a banned substance.


BEST DECISION: Jordan Spieth had a pair of top 10s in South America and was closing in on full Web.com Tour status for the year. He wanted to go to Chile to lock up his card, but the Texas teenager felt compelled to honor a sponsor's exemption he had received in the Puerto Rico Open.

Spieth tied for second, which got him into the Tampa Bay Championship, where he tied for seventh.

He then earned enough money to secure a PGA Tour card, became a PGA Tour member by winning the John Deere Classic, locked up a spot in the Tour Championship with a 62 on the final day at the TPC Boston, was picked for the Presidents Cup team and ended the year 10th on the PGA Tour money list.

Just think if he had gone to Chile.


WORST DECISION: Even with video evidence that his golf ball moved slightly as he tried to remove a twig, Woods maintained that it only oscillated. It was clear enough that he was given a two-shot penalty. Woods accepted the penalty. But in seven answers to the media, he insisted the ball didn't moved.

The question went from ''What was he seeing?'' to ''What was he thinking?''


BEST ROUND: Jim Furyk at the BMW Championship became only the sixth player in PGA Tour history with a 59, and the only one to do it with a bogey on his card.


BEST ROUND BY A WINNER: Phil Mickelson shot 66 on Sunday to win the British Open at Muirfield. Some call it the best closing round in a major. It would have to rank behind Jack Nicklaus' 65 at the 1986 Masters, and Johnny Miller's 63 at Oakmont. It was the best on Sunday at Muirfield, which is all that mattered to him.


BEST SHOT: Justin Rose's 4-iron to the 18th at Merion to wrap up the U.S. Open. Too bad it didn't stay on the green, but that wasn't his fault.


BEST PUTT: Adam Scott's 20-foot birdie on the 18th hole in regulation at the Masters.


BEST ADVICE: Steve Williams, the caddie for Adam Scott, who said before they walked off the green, ''This isn't over yet.'' And it wasn't.


BEST DRESSED: Condoleezza Rice. In a green jacket.


BEST YEAR: Arnold Palmer. He hosted a PGA Tour event at Bay Hill for the 35th year, and this time was able to stick around to see Woods win. His Pittsburgh Pirates clinched a playoff berth for the first time in 21 years. He celebrated his 84th birthday. And he had dinner with Kate Upton.

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.