C. Woods motivated by 21-year-old letter from grandfather Earl

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2015, 12:55 am

PHOENIX – Cheyenne Woods revealed Tuesday that she finds special motivation in an extraordinary letter her grandfather wrote 21 years ago.

Earl Woods, father to Tiger and grandfather to Cheyenne, was doing some paid scouting for IMG at the time, according to Cheyenne. He regularly filed reports to IMG on promising juniors who caught his eye. He filed one handwritten report touting Cheyenne as future star.

She was 3 years old.

That’s not a typo. Cheyennne was just 3 when Earl sent IMG a detailed scouting report about her.

Cheyenne, 24 now, said Earl told her about the letter while making her breakfast one day when she was 9 or maybe 10.

“I think [IMG] kind of laughed about it,” Cheyenne said at the JTBC Founders Cup, which is a hometown event for her. “I asked him what he had written, and he wouldn't tell me. He's like, `You'll find out one day when they come to recruit you. You'll be going to the LPGA, and you'll be able to read it.’”

The man was prescient.

In fact, IMG did come recruiting Cheyenne when she was a senior at Wake Forest. The agent came bearing Earl’s handwritten letter.

“I got to read it,” Cheyenne said.

The letter meant so much to Cheyenne, she asked for a copy.  Today, it sits framed on a wall in her mother’s home in Phoenix, among trophies Cheyenne has won.

“I have it, and I always think about that, because that's the one thing that's really pushed me over the years,” Cheyenne said. “My grandfather passed away when I was, I think, 14, but I know how much he believed in me. So, that belief in me really has pushed me throughout the years to really just get through anything.”

What did the letter say?

“He spoke about how I swung the club, the look in my eyes when I had the club in my hand, and things that he thought I would do once I turned professional and once I was on LPGA, the effect I would have on the game,” Cheyenne said. “That sort of stuff.”

Jay Burton, who represents Lydia Ko and Paula Creamer today, was the IMG agent who came recruiting Cheyenne with Earl's letter.

"It was a bit of a surreal moment for me," Burton said.

There was wonderment knowing all those years earlier Earl had somehow foreseen him carrying this letter to Cheyenne.

"I couldn't help think, given Earl's intuition, what a historical document I had in my possession," he said.

Cheyenne is an LPGA rookie this season, earning her membership through LPGA Q-School last December. She got her start in golf much the same way Tiger did.

“I picked up my very first golf club in my grandfather's garage when I was like 2 or 3,” Cheyenne said. “It was one of Tiger's old cut down clubs. I guess Tiger was there, too, and I kind of picked it up and started swinging, and then my grandpa got me my first set of clubs when I was about 5.”

Cheyenne’s father is Earl Woods Jr., Tiger’s half- brother.

“Neither of my parents ever played golf,” Cheyenne said. “They didn't know anything about golf.  We'd watch Tiger here or there, but they had never been to a driving range or anything. My grandfather really told us what to do, what programs to be a part of, how to go about having fun with the game while still improving. So, my mom would chauffeur me around to lessons. I started with lessons and then we'd go see my grandpa during the summer, and he might come and watch me play, but, really, he was there for guidance.”

And inspiration.

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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 Web.com 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.