Mrs Toledo Holds Key to Hubbys Work Future

By George WhiteAugust 12, 2002, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods won. That was hardly news.
What would have been news ' gigantic news ' was if Esteban Toledo had won. Toledo has always sworn that he will quit the day he wins. Im waiting to see if he really does.
Toledo is hedging a little now. He says his wife isnt exactly pleased that he would quit at the height of his greatest accomplishment. He owned up to the iffy business Saturday when there was still a chance he might do it ' if you can call being a shot behind Tiger Woods on the final day a chance.
I dont know what I am going to do if I win or not, said Toledo the night before his most important day ever on a golf course. I told a lot of people that I will quit this game if I win. My wife doesnt agree with that because I have got to feed the family, but I dont know.
I want to win. And if I win, I go to the PGA ' hopefully if my wife lets me. And obviously my wife is more important than this game, and whatever she tells me to do, I will do.
But Esteban did not win, so his threat is still safe. If he wins, he quits ' maybe. Or maybe he wont. Hes 39 now, he was 36 when he first said it, and he might have reservations about it now.
Its not like I dont have anything left in this game, but its just I want to spend time with my family, he explained. So I am not into playing more golf ' unless my wife gives me the green light to go and then I will go.
One wonders if Mrs. Toledo will approve. Esteban is a very serious man, not much into joking. But he hasnt ever come this close to a victory, and when it actually appeared that he may have to put up or shut up, Esteban backpedaled a little. He may not actually do it, of course, but that is just the way he felt.
Hes from a poor family in Mexicali, Mexico, who learned to play golf while working at a driving range. The home he shared with 10 other children (hes the youngest) had dirt floors and no plumbing. Toledo was a boxer for four years in the 135-pound class, and he actually had a 12-1 record, but a bout with appendicitis changed all that. He discovered he was a pretty fair golfer, turned pro in 1986, played extensively on the Buy.Com (then Nike) Tour, and finally got his PGA Tour card for good in 1998.
Toledo has always been a journeyman ' which is to say he is tons better than any of us, but not good enough to really challenge for a title at this level. Maybe thats about to change, maybe not. He has played in the range of 35 tournaments a year, 36 last year, which tied him for the title of the tours busiest man. And ' he has made almost $3 million since he joined the Nike Tour back in 1990.
Of course, Toledo has to pay his expense out of that ' in the neighborhood of $100,000 per year if he is trying to poor-boy it, a little more if he is interested in sleeping well at night. Say he has spent $1.5 million just being a golfer. That means he has had about $1.5 million to live on the past 13 years ' a comfortable income. He is building a church in Mexicali by himself, so that eats into what is left. Not much for Mrs. Toledo to splurge on, obviously. Sounds like Esteban will be playing a few more years, regardless if he should win or not.
As for Tiger ' well, what is there left to say? He played like a Tiger the first two days, like a frustrated tabby the last two. But that was more than enough to win No. 33. When he wasnt really on, he just relied on his putter and that, predictably, bailed him out time and again. The announcers said he was playing a most un-Tiger-like round, and he still shot 70.
That was plenty to put down Mickelson, Goosen, Toms, Toledo ' whomever. He won it by, oh, just four. He continues to amaze, as much when he is just going on guts as when he is hitting one striper after another.
Toledo? God bless em, he had a great week. Mrs. Toledo probably wont let him quit, even if he should win. He has to feed the family, remember, and he can do nothing else that puts as much food on the table. Expect to see Esteban for many years to come.


Getty Images

Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

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


Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.