Player of the Year Much Ado About Nothing

By George WhiteOctober 30, 2003, 5:00 pm
Im sitting here frankly amazed at the way people are getting all worked up over Player of the Year. Its a merely a label, for goodness sakes, and a totally subjective one at that.
I always considered such a thing to be totally irrelevant, actually. But this year, Tiger Woods lapse into the world of the mere mortal has injected life into an old argument. Is it Tiger, people ask breathlessly? Or Vijay Singh? Those two are the golfers du jour, but most assuredly the peoples choice hangs the thinnest of threads. Ernie Els, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Kenny Perry or Jim Furyk could catapult themselves to the forefront with a couple of wins to close out the year.
Do you care?
Since the beginning of the season, the argument has raged. Woods, shame on him, was in sick bay, rehabbing a surgically repaired knee. And as if on cue, Ernie Els won two immediately. Els, everyone said sagely, is the new No. 1. Will he lose at all this year?
That lasted until Els went elsewhere after the first two events, out into the Pacific rim, into Australia and faded from collective minds. So now it was Woods again, winning the Buick Championship, winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play, winning Bay Hill. Suddenly, like a boat with too many people shifting from side to side, Tiger was it.
But even Woods said he didnt think he was 100 percent healthy yet, and so Weir became the Player of the Year in April after he won the Masters ' his third win of the infant season. Leap now on the count of three - dont want to be too late to jump on the new bandwagon, you know.
Alas, Weir cooled down a little and here comes Love. Love got lips flapping when he won three in the first half of the year, including the Players Championship. But Love couldnt keep up the torrid pace, and next up would be Jim Furyk. Furyk won the U.S. Open on an extremely difficult track, suddenly spinning heads of those who thought that Furyk had finally arrived as a big-time winner. Er, that is, until Tiger had won for the fifth time this year.
Woods won the Western and then won another big one, the WGC-AmEx. Oh dear, oh dear, fretted the golf scholars. How could we ever have thought anyone but Tiger?
But the train carrying the enormous Tiger crowd suddenly jumped the tracks when Singh got the lead in the money race. Well, many people thought, lets not be so hasty here. We might have been a little foolish in handing the thing to Tiger before the season was over. Maybe we shouldnt decide this thing until the curtain drops on the Tour Championship. Maybe it should have been Singh.
So, do you see what I mean? What does the Player of the Year really mean? In the space of one season, minds have changed at least half a dozen times. Regardless of who gets it, there wont be a clear-cut winner. The player who is tabbed by his fellow golfers will be a split winner, whoever it is.
But, thats basic to our sporting psyches ' we MUST have a single best player. Four different majors gave us four different winners. And golf doesnt have a year-end playoff, no World Series or Super Bowl or BCS champion. If a designated player hasnt won overwhelmingly by the end of the season, then there isnt a clear-cut champion. Its a case of one-man one-vote, with nothing ever firmly settled.
Player of the Year - its just a label, I suppose. Maybe youre into labels. Im not. This label certainly isnt going to designate which player had the best season. You see, its impossible to designate that this year.
Player of the Year? How about, Players of the Year, and leave it go at that. To do otherwise would be to slight some very worthy gents.
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.