Notes: Woods not interested in Palmer's record

By Doug FergusonDecember 10, 2013, 9:00 pm

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Tiger Woods said long ago he would give up golf when he felt he could play his best and still not win.

That includes his lifetime invitation to the Masters.

''Let me put it to you this way,'' Woods said last week at his World Challenge. ''I'm not going to beat Arnold's record. I'm not playing that long, that's for sure.''

Palmer set a record in 2004 by playing in his 50th consecutive Masters. Woods won his first green jacket when he was 21, and with reasonable health (a big assumption considering his injuries), he would seem to be in the best position to break that record. Even with his injuries, the Masters is the one major Woods has never missed.

He just doesn't appear the least bit interested in that kind of a record.

''For me, I always want to win,'' he said. ''So if I can't win, why tee it up? That's just my own personal belief. And I know what it takes to prepare to win and what it takes to go out there and get the job done, and there's going to become a point in time where I just can't do it anymore. We all as athletes face that moment. I'm a ways from that moment in my sport, but when that day happens, I'll make a decision and that's it.''

But for Woods or any golfer, it's tough to know when that day happens.

Palmer never won another PGA Tour event after the Bob Hope Classic in 1973, though he remained competitive for many years. Several players eligible for the Champions Tour are hesitant about moving on.

When is it time?

''In golf, you can still win golf tournaments in your 50s, and guys have done it,'' Woods said. ''Probably the more difficult thing is that you can still finish top 10, top five, but you're probably just not quite as efficient as you need to be to win golf tournaments. But you can still be there.''

Might he change his mind about the Masters as he gets older? It doesn't sound like it.

''Mellowing on that? No. I'll be on that first tee starting out the event, I'm sure,'' he said with a smile and a dose of sarcasm. ''So I mean, you hit a good drive and you can't get to where you can see the flag? I don't know why it's even fun.''


STENSON AWARD: Henrik Stenson has won the Golf Writers Trophy from the Association of Golf Writers, awarded to the top golfer who was born or lives in Europe, along with European teams. Stenson became the first player this year to win the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour and the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.

Nearly two-thirds of the AGW members made Stenson their first choice on a ballot that included U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Europe's Solheim Cup team that won on American soil for the first time.

Stenson was the first Swedish male to win the award. Annika Sorenstam won the award twice.

''I'm looking forward to getting a few of these trophies I've won into the summer house in Sweden,'' said Stenson, who primarily lives at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla. ''It has been such a great year that I can have a few in Europe and a few in my house in America. What a great thrill it is going to be over Christmas to sit by the fire with my family and take stock of the season, look at trophies such as this one and reflect on the year of my life.''


IN THE BAG: Jack Nicklaus won't have a bouquet of head covers in his bag when he plays the PNC Father-Son Challenge this weekend, though the 14 clubs in his bag have changed from his prime.

Nicklaus said when he played on the PGA Tour he carried a driver and a 3-wood, a 1-iron through a 9-iron, pitching wedge, sand wedge and putter.

''Now I've got a driver, a 3-wood, a 4-wood and a 5-wood,'' he said last week in a conference call. ''I'm not a big hybrid guy, although I'm playing with one right now and I took out the 2-iron. That's pretty much where I am. I'm usually a 3-iron through 9-iron, pitching wedge and sand wedge. I don't know if that's 14 or 15 (clubs), but it'll be 14 when I tee it up.''

No other player hit more memorable shots with a 1-iron than Nicklaus, a club that featured in three of his majors – the 1972 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the 1975 Masters and the 1967 U.S. Open at Baltusrol.

But there were times when he benched the 1-iron.

''I used to even go to Augusta when I carried a 1-iron a lot, and sometimes I'd put in maybe a 4- or 5-wood, simply because you needed some elevation to stop it on the greens and some of the lies you played,'' Nicklaus said.


THE HANEY SHOW: Hank Haney has gone from writing a book on his years with Tiger Woods to hosting his own radio show on SiriusXM.

The radio network continues to beef up its programming. It already has shows for Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter, along with two-time Masters champion, architect and golf savant Ben Crenshaw. Haney will host ''Hank Haney Golf Radio,'' an instructional-based show that will air Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. ET starting on Jan. 3.

The program will be geared around Haney's teaching philosophy, and he will take calls from listeners who want help with their games. Haney also will offer his analysis on today's players and take on current topics, which are sure to include Woods.

''This show will be truly interactive and I'm eager to speak with golfers across the country,'' Haney said.


DIVOTS: K.J. Choi donated his $100,000 from the World Cup to help with relief efforts in the Philippines. ''I wanted to represent Korea in sharing the sentiment of my fellow countrymen to our friends in the Philippines,'' Choi said. ''I send my deepest condolences to the people of the Philippines who have lost their families and homes. The donation from the KJ Choi Foundation was sent to the American Red Cross. ... Redstone Golf Club is now called ''Golf Club of Houston'' under a contractual requirement when it changed ownership. It still is host of the Shell Houston Open, the final PGA Tour event before the Masters. ... Cal coach Steve Desimone has been selected U.S. captain of the Palmer Cup next year. The Palmer Cup, matches between college players from the United States and Europe, will be June 26-28 at Walton Heath.


STAT OF THE WEEK: The 19 tournaments Tiger Woods played this year offered an average of 72.7 world ranking points to the winner.


FINAL WORD: ''Driving accuracy far outweighs distance. And I sleep better at night knowing that.'' - Zach Johnson. He was No. 8 in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour last year and No. 153 in driving distance.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.