Backspin Tiger vs Jack

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 13, 2007, 4:00 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.
 
13 and COUNTING: Tiger Woods won his second straight PGA Championship, his fourth overall PGA title, and his 13th career major, by beating Woody Austin by two strokes Sunday at Southern Hills. Woods is now just five professional majors shy of Jack Nicklaus' all-time record of 18.
 
BackspinSo much for the theory that Southern Hills didn't suit Tiger's game. With the 2008 Masters at Augusta (where he's won four times), the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines (where he's won five Buick Invit. titles), and the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale (where he finished 3rd in 1998), Woods has a great chance to already have the 'Tiger Slam' under his belt and the Grand Slam in his sights at next year's PGA at Oakland Hills.
 
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR: A couple of times Sunday, Woods was pressed for a challenge. But each time, he made a clutch birdie -- first at No. 8 and then again at No. 15 -- to pull away. Once again, however, that challenge did not come from Tiger's final-round playing competitior as Stephen Ames shot 6-over 76 to finish 10 back.
 
BackspinKudos to Woody Austin and Ernie Els. Both men held their own in the final round, and had it not been Tiger Woods in front of them then either one might well have the Wanamaker Trophy in their possession right now. On the other hand, Ames must be at a total loss. If he's critical of Tiger, Tiger kills him. If he's complementary of Tiger, Tiger kills him.
 
MR. PRESIDENTS: Austin's finish wasn't good enough to win, but it did vault him from 17th to 10th in the Presidents Cup standings, giving him a spot on the American team which will compete against the Internationals in Montreal in late September.
 
BackspinWhile the future of U.S. team golf wouldn't seem to benefit from having a 43-year-old first-time team member, it will be quite interesting to see what kind of influence Woody has. He's emotional, pretty confident at the moment, and a complete wild card in most every way. Wonder if captain Jack will go with the Tabasco golf shirt look?
 
A CLUB WITH NO MEMBERS: Woods pulled away from the field Friday, thanks to a major championship record-tying 63. His round included only 24 putts. Were it not for a vicious lipout on the final hole, that 63 would have been a 62 - something no man has ever shot in a major.
 
BackspinIt's hard to believe that Tiger's ball didn't fall on 18 Friday. It's even harder to believe that no man has EVER shot 62 in a major championship. With Tiger, however, you have a feeling it's just a matter of time before he owns that record, too. While no man has ever shot 62 in a major, one woman has. The oft-overlooked Minea Blomqvist of Finland shot 62 (10 under) in the third round of the 2004 Women's British Open at Sunningdale.
 
THE DALY NEWS: John Daly grabbed the early headlines Thursday with a solid, opening-round 67 that put him second on the leaderboard behind little-known Graeme Storm. The wildly popular Daly could not, however, sustain his mojo, following it with back-to-back 73s.
 
BackspinIn his now infamous response to how he prepared for the event at Southern Hills, Daly said he spent the early part of the week pulling on the arms of slot machines at a nearby casino and not pulling out clubs on the range. He did finish in a respectable tie for 32nd. And perhaps more impressively, despite a steady diet of cigarettes and diet soda, he didn't keel over in the extreme Tulsa heat.
 
THE HEAT IS ON!: Speaking of the oppressive heat, the PGA of America knew exactly what they were in for when they decided to hold their big event at Southern Hills in mid-August. During each round of the tournament the local heat index was well over 100 degrees, leaving players, fans and volunteers looking as if they all had taken a dip in the clubouse pool.
 
Backspin Players tried to keep a stiff, albeit sweating, upper lip about the harsh conditions, but did complain about the non-stop efforts of trying to keep their grips dry. Still, all they had to do was swing a golf club every now and again. Imagine being the caddies who were faced with having to lug a 40-pound bag for four (really six or seven) days. If caddies were animals, PETA would have put a stop to it.
 
ICING ON THE CAKE: In his first major tournament since losing the Open Championship in a playoff, Sergio Garcia was disqualified in the third round for signing an incorrect scorecard. Garcia, who was well out of contention by that point, signed for a four at the par-4 17th when he actually made a five.
 
BackspinSo who was to blame this time? Well, certainly playing companion Boo Weekley must accept his fair share for having written down the wrong score. But Sergio? Nah. Couldn't be his fault. The Man isn't keeping Sergio down; the Whole Darn World is against him.
 
A (NOT SO) PERFECT 10: Angel Cabrera hit his tee shot (1) at the par-3 sixth into an unplayable lie, early in his round on Thursday. He went back to the tee box and hit another shot (3) that went out-of-bounds. From the tee again, he hit his next shot (5) into a greenside pond. After a drop, he chipped (7) onto the green, 30 feet from the pin. His first putt (8) rolled 5 feet past the pin. His comebacker (9) lipped out. He then drained (10) the 2-foot knee-knocker.
 
BackspinCabrera was even par for the tournament entering the sixth hole, fresh off a birdie at No. 5. Twenty-five minutes later, he was 7 over and any thought of claiming a second major in 2007 was awash. Cabrera shot 81 and missed the cut. Masters champion Zach Johnson missed the cut as well. Open champ Padraig Harrington, who rounded out this Thursday/Friday threesome, finished tied for 42nd.
 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Jackie Burke, Jr. was honored last week with the PGA of America's Distinguished Service Award for his life-long contributions to the game; Brett Wetterich accepted an invitation to play in this year's Skins Game on Thanksgiving weekend; Catriona Matthew won the Scandiavian TPC; Maria Jose Uribe won the U.S. Women's Amateur, defeating Duke's Amanda Blumenherst, 1-up.
 
Backspin In his Hall of Fame career, Burke, Jr. was the winner of both the 1956 Masters and PGA Championship, and also competed on five winning Ryder Cup teams; Fred Couples, Zach Johnson, Stephen Ames and Wetterich - not exactly like the inaugural line up that featured Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Gary Player; Matthew won, while Annika Sorenstam finished in ninth place, nine back; Uribe is a 17-year-old freshman-to-be at UCLA. She almost seems old by today's standards.
 
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x