No 1 is 1st No 2 is 2nd

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 4, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
HELLO, DUBAI: It's a pretty good time to be Tiger Woods. The world's No. 1 came from behind to win the Dubai Desert Classic with six back-nine birdies to edge 54-hole leader Ernie Els. It seems painfully obvious that Woods feeds off of comments like the one Ian Poulter made, and is now 2-foir-2 in 2008.
 
BackspinAfter opening the week with a 65 it seemed like it would be another runaway for Tiger. But to make things interesting Woods cooled off, spotting the leader, Ernie Els, a four-stroke cushion, only to shoot a 65 on Sunday to win by one. After being asked whether he liked winning at the Buick by eight or in Dubai Woods said, 'I like (winning) by seven or eight a lot. It's a lot less stressful.'
 
OH, ERNIE: Els stood four back of Tiger as they headed into the weekend at Dubai and proceeded to blow by the worlds No. 1 and his arch nemesis with a near flawless third-round 65. Four ahead of Tiger entering Sundays final round, Els suffered yet another collapse with three back-nine bogeys, none worse than the one coming on the 72nd hole, when a birdie would had gotten him into a playoff.
 
Backspin Much has been made ' mostly by Els ' of the South Africans three-year plan of overtaking Tiger as the games No. 1 player. Already one of the most resilient players on tour, this latest collapse, however, could take a serious toll on the Big Easys three-year plan and perhaps his overall legacy on the game. A few more choking incidences like this and he will be treading in Greg Norman waters.
 

WHAT'S UP, HOLMES?: The playoff between Phil Mickelson and J.B. Holmes was a fitting end to the PGA TOUR's most exciting week in golf. Holmes, in his first ever playoff, defeated Mickelson on the first playoff hole to win the FBR Open at the TPC Scottsdale.
 
BackspinMickelson battled his way into contention late, but just didn't have enough juice to win in the playoff. The Arizona State graduate got some of the biggest cheers of the weekend, particularly at the par-3 16th. But in the end it was Holmes getting the victory and walking away with the giant check.
 

PARTY IN THE DESERT: The FBR Open cemented its legendary status as the biggest party on the PGA TOUR this year. A record of over 500,000 fans made their way out to TPC Scottsdale for the drinks, women, and debauchery... Oh, and when they had time, some golf, too.
 
Backspin With the Super Bowl nearly within a Bubba Watson tee shot, this year's FBR broke all sorts of attendance records. Just to put it in perspective, all the fans who attended the final round made the TPC Scottsdale the seventh biggest city in Arizona, with a higher population than the city of Scottsdale itself.
 

BRAIN F*RT:'I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger,' Ian Poulter recently told Golf World magazine. Poulter later called it a misquote saying, 'The whole answer to the question has been taken out of context.' Poulter finished tied for 39th in Dubai, a mere 13 strokes behind Woods.
 
Backspin Poulter proved to be all talk this weekend in Dubai, and why he felt the need to challenge the best golfer in the world to play better is beyond us. But for as good as Poulter is, and there is little doubt the Englishman is talented, maybe he should call Rory Sabbatini, or Stephen Ames, to ask how it turned out for them after verbally challenging the Mr. Woods
 

WIE WOULD LIKE TO PLAY:Michele Wie accepted a sponsor's exemption to play in The Fields Open in Hawaii, hopeful of getting her career back on track after last year's tough season. Wie has started her season at the Sony Open on the PGA TOUR the previous four years but she did not play the Sony this year, a sign that she plans to concentrate on the LPGA while trying to regain her form.
 
Backspin After a tumultous 2007 season Wie will be looking for a more consistent 2008 as she tries to manage professional golf with being a freshman at Stanford. Wie is still trying to live up to her lofty expectations, but it is easy to forget that she is only 18-years-old.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:Jarrod Lyle won the Nationwide Tour's Mexico Open event in Morelia; Leo Fiyalko, a 92-year-old blind man, recorded a hole-in-one on the fifth hole at the Cove Cay Country Club in Clearwater, Fla.
 
Backspin Lyle, a 26-year-old Australian, won his first Nationwide Tour victory in style, firing a final-round 63 for a five-shot win; A 92-year-old blind man gets a hole in one? Who saw that coming? Well, certainly not him. Here's hoping his other senses are heightened and at least he could hear the ball go into the cup.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage -FBR Open
  • Full Coverage - Dubai Desert Classic
  • Full Coverage - Mexico Open present by Corona
  • More Headlines
  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''