Backspin Troubled Waters for Shark

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 20, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
HITTING THE PAUSE BUTTON: Citing exhaustion, Tiger Woods announced he would be skipping The Barclays at Westchester Country Club, the first event in the new FedExCup playoff.
BackspinExhaustion, huh? Isn't this the same guy who says he's just as fresh after a round in 100-degree heat as before it? With Woods winning the WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship in back-to-back starts, the PGA TOUR was ready to ride that wave of momentum into their first-ever playoffs. Then Tiger took his golf ball and went home. You can add another name to the long list of phrases used to describe the world's No. 1: party pooper.
GOIN' LOW IN GREENSBORO: Brandt Snekeder started five off the lead Sunday in Greensboro, but birdies on his first two holes were a harbinger of things to come: nine birdies total for a final-round 63 to capture his maiden PGA TOUR title at the Wyndham Championship.
BackspinSimply put: it was the all-time greatest final round in the last event of a regular season in PGA TOUR history. Granted, it was also the first such thing, as the TOUR has labeled all the events leading up to the FedExCup playoff as their 'regular season.' Snedeker wins the pennant! Snedeker wins the pennant! Snedeker ... well not quite.
YOU'RE OFFICIALLY INVITED: Jeff Overton, Shigeki Maruyama and Anders Hansen all wisely played in the Wyndham Championship and were rewarded with their good finishes by vaulting into the top-144 on the FedExCup points list.
BackspinThe Greensboro event suddenly has a real good thing going - just like tailgating before the big game, er, playoffs. The fans are treated to birdies and eagles dropping from all over the Forest Oaks Country Club and the players - well, some players, like Overton, Maruyama and Hansen - are treated to a shot at $10 million.
MAJOR HEADACHE: As reported by the Associated Press and according to her lawyers, Greg Norman has cut off his wife's credit cards and held 'hostage' other disputed money and property in a contentious yearlong divorce.
BackspinOne can imagine that Norman probably yearns for the days of yore. Like, say, the final round of the 1996 Masters; his wonderful afternoon spent at Augusta with Larry Mize back in 1987; and maybe even ol' pal Bob Tway showing him some pointers on how to get out of greenside bunkers at Inverness. Even those experiences must be better than this current one.
NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN: Mexico's Lorena Ochoa won the Canadian Women's Open by three stokes over American Paula Creamer. It was Ochoa's second straight win and her fifth of the season.
BackspinAlthough Ochoa took over the No. 1 world ranking from Annika Sorenstam back in April, she wasn't necessarily viewed as the real No. 1 until she finally won her first major three weeks ago at the Women's British Open at St. Andrews. After this win, there will be little doubt from anyone as to who is the new grand dame of women's golf.
COPY THAT: Nick Flanagan won for the third time this year on the Nationwide Tour, shooting a Snedeker-like 63 (7 under) to win the Xerox Classic. The win moved Flanagan to second on the 2007 Nationwide money list. But, more importantaly, moved him to the PGA TOUR.
BackspinThree wins and you're in. Flanagan might not be able to play for the next four weeks on the PGA TOUR, but he should have plenty of opportunities to play the seven Fall Series events. The Aussie is finally living up to all the promise that came along with his 2003 U.S. Amateur triumph.
TRADITION: Mark McNulty pulled away from the field early in the final round to win the JELD-WEN Tradition, the fourth of five majors on the Champions Tour schedule. It was the Zimbabweans first career major victory.
BackspinVying for attention in a week that saw Ochoa win her second straight event and a wild shootout at the PGA TOUR's Wyndham Championship, the JELD-WEN Tradition kinda flew under the radar. McNulty's win may have been a bit more exciting if Tom Watson could have been in the mix. Or had it been remotely competitive on Sunday.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: John Daly played in the Scandinavian Masters this past week but missed the cut; Phil Mickelson participated in his foundation's annual back-to-school shopping spree; Michelle Wie missed another cut; and Tiger announced plans for his first course design project in the U.S.
BackspinNo worries about the missed cut for Daly. He probably made more money for just showing up than everybody but the winner; Some call Mickelson a phony. Pretty good bet that 1000s of kids in the San Diego area would beg to differ; Wie missing a cut is fast becoming the norm and not a surprising news story; It'll be interesting to see if Woods' new course will be open to the public given his past stance on making golf available to everyone.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Wyndham Championship
  • Full Coverage - Canadian Women's Open
  • Full Coverage - JELD-WEN Tradition
  • 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.