Backspin Tigers Romp Davies Dig

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 17, 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.
 
OH, NO HE DIDN'T?: Oh, yes he did. Tiger Woods won the the TOUR Championship in predictably easy fashion, pretty much lapping the field en route to a record-breaking eight-stroke win at East Lake. It was Tiger's second win at the TOUR Championship, his last coming in 1999.
 
BackspinAlthough it is somewhat surprising that Tiger has only won this premiere PGA TOUR event only twice in his career, not surprising is how he completely beat down this elite field. He beat the Masters champion, Zach Johnson, by eight strokes; British Open champ Padraig Harrington by 16 strokes; and world No. 2 Phil Mickelson by a whopping 18 strokes. Tiger eats 'elite' for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
 
FEDEXCUP: THE CURTAIN COMES DOWN: Tiger, who caused quite a stir by skipping the first-ever Playoff event at The Barclays at Westchester, ultimately made that a mute point by finishing off the inaugural FedExCup Playoffs atop the points list - by a wide, Tiger-like margin over runner-up Steve Stricker.
 
BackspinAll the talk. All the promotion. All the hype. And all the bickering. And all for no reason. In the three events Tiger played, he finished first, second and first, thank you very much. Sure there will be tweaks to the Playoff format, even though it did well in providing much needed excitement to the end of the PGA TOUR's 'regular season.' But like Micheal Jordan back in his heyday, the only tweak the TOUR can't make involves the inevitability of Tiger kissing the trophy.
 
SINGULARLY SENSATIONAL: The U.S. Solheim Cup team won going away on Sunday, coming from behind on the final day to make the final victory margin 16-12. It marked just their second-ever victory on foreign soil.
 
BackspinComing into the matches, the U.S. squad, like their Ryder Cup brethren back in the day, looked like the easy favorites on paper. And much like their Ryder Cup peers (back in the day and currently), they struggled with the foursomes and four-ball matches, trailing the competition going into the singles. But lo and behold, the ladies thoroughly enjoyed their American-style singles expertise in typical fashion, winning eight of the 12 singles matches on the final day.
 
NAME TAG PLEASE: England's Laura Davies, stirred the pot a bit prior to the opening matches in response to a question about how she tried to get fired up playing against the American team. Said the affable Davies, 'We're all good friends now. Except for maybe that one.'
 
BackspinHmmm. Thanks, Laura. The fact that she declined to name a name left the rest of us to go down the roster to try out figure out this mystery. She did get us started on the man, er, woman hunt by saying that it wasn't her elder, Juli Inkster. It makes for a good board game however - give it a shot by going through the American team to see who you think 'that one' could be. Fun for all ages!
 
NO SERIOUSLY, THESE GUYS ARE GOOD!: The facts and stats: Lee Westwood shot a 61 in Germany on Thursday; R.W. Eaks fired a 63 in his opening round on the Champions Tour; Zach Johnson posted an eye-popping 10-under 60 on Saturday in Atlanta; and then, of course, there are Tiger's scorecards for the week: 64, 63, 64, 66 - breaking the TOUR Championship record by six shots.
 
BackspinYikes! Just when you finally break 90 for the first time at your local muni, you look up at the TV in the clubhouse and see these insane numbers on the screen. Quickly, and rightfully so, your dreams of making it to the PGA TOUR or Champions Tour are smashed. Seriously, believe the commercials - these guys are good!
 
AN HONOR THAT'S AN HONOR: Hal Sutton was honored on Wednesday as the recipient of the the Payne Stewart Award, given annually to the player who reflects Stewart's respect for golf traditions, his charitable work and presentation in dress.
 
Backspin Sutton, winner of 14 PGA TOUR career events, joins the esteemed company of past winners Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer (2000); Ben Crenshaw (2001); Nick Price (2002); Tom Watson (2003); Jay Haas (2004); Brad Faxon (2005); and Gary Player (2006). Sutton, who has drifted away from the bright lights emitted from TOUR life, no doubt considers this one of the greatest awards in his lifetime.
 
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED: Soarin' Soren Hansen eagled two of his final nine holes in Germany to win the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne, Germany. It was Hansen's second career tour victory.
 
BackspinThe field this past week was limited to just 78 players and it included the likes of Retief Goosen, Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke, Michael Campbell, John Daly and a host of notable Ryder Cup players. And, of course, none of them won. Perhaps now with the PGA TOUR's FedExCup in the books, the light will shine a little more on the European side. And maybe one of its stars will actually get a win.
 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: R.W. Eaks won for the second time on the Champions Tour this past week, holding off none other than 2006 Player of the Year Jay Haas; Phil Mickelson announced the first project of his newly formed golf course design company; Kyle Thompson won for the second time on the Nationwide Tour.
 
Backspin It didn't take long for Eaks to play the greedy card, saying, 'Winning earlier this year, I still didn't believe I could win. Now that I've won twice, I can't wait to win a third time.' But that's just R Dub being R Dub; Oh, and the site for Mickelson's new course? Just a mere 90 miles away from Tiger's own first American course in N.C.; This gives Thompson six more events to join Nick Flanagan as a winner of the PGA TOUR's 'Battlefield Promotion.'
 
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    PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

    The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

    PGA Tour:

    The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

    LPGA:

    We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

    Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

    Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

    Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

    The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.