Els Troubled by Devastation in Phuket

By George WhiteJanuary 6, 2005, 5:00 pm
The morning of December 26th dawned with a beautiful sky in Phuket, Thailand. It could have been the morning sky at any time in that part of the world - even in late January when the Johnnie Walker Classic was played at Phuket's Blue Canyon Country Club for a couple of years .
In 1994 Greg Norman swept to the world No. 1 position with a victory at Phuket. In 1998, a young Tiger Woods added another entry into his already impressive resume with a final-day, eight-stroke come-from-behind playoff win over Ernie Els at Blue Canyon.
By mid-morning on the 26th, with the pristine sky still beaming overhead, Phuket was a picture of devastation. The little island off the western coast of Thailand had been just been inundated by the awesome tsunami that swept the rim of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and all areas in the region. Phuket, a swanky tourist area roughly 500 miles south of Bangkok, was swimming under water. The tsunami had exacted a terrible price, equally hitting the poor people of Sri Lanka as well as the privileged people vacationing in Phuket.
Els heard the news and was deeply disturbed. He admires the area and has vacationed there often, even when there was no golf tournament. He spoke at the Mercedes Championship where he is playing this week in Hawaii.
That was terrible, he said at a Tuesday press conference. It seemed like it came out like a light, if you can call it that way.
Yeah, it was terrible. We've traveled over there many years now and it's a tragedy, you know, obviously. So I don't know what it's going to do for the tourism in that part of the world, but it's obviously really hit them very hard.
Less than a year ago, Ernie and his family were on vacation in Phuket. It was between stops in Asia and Australia, part of the convoluted itinerary the world traveler keeps. Els thought back on that stop, fully aware that he could just as easily have been right in the path of the deadly tsunami. Think about the million or so years that earthquakes and tsunamis have been occurring in that part of the world, and Els is extremely fortunate that his Phuket experiences came a mere 10 months before the latest tragedy occurred.

Last February, we spent 10 days in (Phuket), he said. And actually (his caddy) Ricci just gave me a ride over here (to Kapulua), and one of those pictures those people took was at one of the hotel he stayed at (on the island of Phuket) when we were there last year in February. Yeah, definitely it would have affected us.

Els gets a bit queasy now just thinking about it. But much more than missing a golf outing, he thinks about the missing 160,000 people who will never have that experience again of just walking in a lush green meadow.
His wish, as is mine, is that all golfers around the world would contribute to the fund to help the ravaged areas. Dont know where to give your donation - $5, $10, $50, $100? Give to the Salvation Army. Give to the Red Cross. Give to UNICEF, to Save the Children, to World Vision, to any one of the many donation sites set up on the Internet.
Already I am already embarrassed at the amount I gave to the reconstruction effort. But like Ernie Els, I am simply in awe at what the ocean can do. God alone knows when a tsunami will hit the next time. It may very well be at a golf tournament in Asia.
Or it could very well may be on the West Coast of the United States. Give as though your neighbor were involved ' for the next time it happens, he well might be.
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Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 4:54 pm

Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.

In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."

What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:

After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."

Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.

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Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.

Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.

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“We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”

This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.

“The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.

Westchester Country Club hosted the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. (Getty) Getty Images

Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 3:20 pm

The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.

The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.

The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.

"The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."

First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

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Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar

By Ryan LavnerMarch 20, 2018, 12:48 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.

Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.

Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.

Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.

Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.


Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.

Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.  

P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.

Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.

Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.