You Pick em - Tiger Phil or Vijay

By George WhiteAugust 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
So what we have here is three very good players who have won tournaments a total of 13 times this season. Which one is the best, according to the public perception, is predicated on who happened to win last.
 
This week that happens to be Tiger Woods. It could have been Phil Mickelson, of course, or Vijay Singh. Ill give you my first choice right here at the top ' Woods. But you see what I mean ' he won just last week, so the exploits of Tiger are firmly in the minds eye. Going back over the course of this season, though, he has been more consistent than the other two. And since he missed the cut back at the EDS Byron Nelson back in May, he hasnt finished worse than fourth in seven outings.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has regained his spot on top of the list of golf's elite.
There has never been a player in the history of the game who has been a better grinder than Tiger. Those of you who peek into this corner regularly know how I feel about this year versus Woods 2000 ' that year and Byron Nelsons 18-win year of 1945 are the two greatest seasons in history, in one mans opinion.
 
But let me say this ' the man is unbelievable when it comes down to making his strokes count to the ultimate. His putting is off sometimes, his driving is off sometimes, at times he doesnt hit his irons close to the pins ' but he is always, always in it the mix. He gets the maximum amount of pop out of every tournament. He, more than any golfer I can think of, has avoided more cuts with a birdie on the 18th hole. Like they used to say of Nicklaus, when he plays well, he wins easily. When he just plays so-so, he still wins more than his share. And when he plays poorly (for him), he still has a chance to win.
 
Woods has won five times this year. Tiger showed why he is a great grinder at his first victory this year, the Buick Invitational. He certainly didnt play exceptionally well the final 18 holes, in fact he hit a terrible iron shot at 18. Remember when he fanned the iron that just happened to squirt off way to the right? But he still won by three. Tiger just refused to let anyone near him.
 
At Doral, he defeated Mickelson in another battle of old-fashioned intestinal fortitude? He defeated Chris DiMarco in a Masters playoff when he was limping at the end ' but still clung to the green jacket like a nasty pit bull. He won the British Open when he was hitting on all cylinders. And he won Sunday when ' again ' he gritted his teeth and just willed the victory to come to him.
 
Singh, IMHO, is No. 2 here. Singh defeated Ernie Els in the second tournament of the year ' the Sony Open. He won playoffs in Houston over John Daly and at Wachovia over Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk. And he won at the Buick Open when he had to overcome a hard-charging Woods, among others.
 
Mickelson is in my No. 3 spot, simply because he hasnt been as consistent as Woods or Singh. He won at Phoenix and Pebble Beach, beat Arjun Atwal, Rich Beem, Jose Maria Olazabal and Brandt Jobe in a marathon at the BellSouth, and then broke out of a clutch of players to win the PGA with a brilliant pitch at the final hole.
 
To say that Mickelson has not had as excellent a season as Tiger and Vijay is certainly not to say that he has had a poor season. It just hasnt been as great a year as the other two.
 
Woods has been incredibly consistent in the 17 events he has played. Five wins, three seconds and two thirds, 11 times in the top 10. And, he is the leading money winner.
 
Singh, as usual, has been the workhorse of the three. Hes played in 24 events, and finished in the top 25 an impressive 21 times. He has four wins, two seconds and three thirds.
 
Mickelson has also won four times, that in 18 tournaments. But its either been a W or nothing, it seems. He had the second-place finish to Woods at Doral, but his next-highest non-winning finish is a T7 at Wachovia.
 
Dont read this to mean he hasnt played spectacular golf in streaks this year, though. He had a 60 in Phoenix, a 62 in the first round at Spyglass - the hardlest course in the Pebble Beach rotation - and 64s at the Bob Hope and Doral. Hes trying to learn a little strategy and a little different short game from Rick Smith and Dave Pelz. At 35, he has changed much of his game since he was in his 20s. And in his 20s he was still good enough to win 13 times.
 
There are still 12 tournaments remaining in this year, and you want to bet that the win totals of these three doesnt bulge even further? They have been the three bright spots in an unusually bright year. Players from around the world have emulated Singh and won in the U.S. But Woods, Singh and Mickelson have been something special. Theyre the top of the pyramid, and then you have the pyramid.
 
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Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.