Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 1, 2008, 5:00 pm
In Backspin, GolfChannel.com takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
 

SPLIT PERSONALITIES: Tiger Woods and General Motors parted ways after a nine-year partnership. The cash-strapped company said in a statement that it is looking to reduce costs, and that the worlds No. 1 player also wants more personal time as he expects his second child.
 
Backspin Woods was reportedly making $7 million a year from GM, primarily promoting Buick. Oh, how will he survive in this economy? Guess he'll have to go back to work in 2009.
 

THANKS, BUDDY: Stuart Appleby, upset at John Daly's inclusion in the Australian Masters, referred to Daly as a 'walking train wreck.' Appleby was miffed that Daly had received a sponsor's invitation to compete, despite his numerous ' and recent ' personal problems.
 
Backspin Daly took the high road in discussing the remarks with the media, saying he was trying to focus on his golf and not what others were saying about him. Still, it had to burn. And you just know he wants to punch Appleby in the nose. In the end, both players had time to reflect, as both missed the cut and had the weekend off.
 

DOWN UNDER DRAMA: Rod Pampling outlasted compatriot Marcus Fraser in a tough, three-hole sudden-death playoff to win his first Australian Masters.
 
Backspin In addition to native son Pampling's victory, and aside from the abovementioned brouhaha between Appleby and Daly, Australian golf fans also were witness to Robert Allenby's emotional finish on Sunday in which his ailing mother ' diagnosed with liver cancer ' arrived at the course to watch her son try and win one last event. Coming up short, Allenby later tried to sum up his feelings in a press conference, saying, 'Obviously, you know, just the thought, of . . . I think you can put two and two together without me even saying it.'
 

BIG, FAT (AND SKINNY) CHECK: K.J. Choi was the big winner over the weekend at Indian Wells as he topped Phil Mickelson, Rocco Mediate and defending champion Stephen Ames to win the 2008 edition of the LG Skins Game.
 
Backspin Besides collecting a cool $415,000 in cash, Choi also locked up a return visit, as the champion is automatically invited back the next year. Already a tough sell going up against a weekend full of college football and the NFL, the name Choi ' no offense to smiling and friendly South Korean ' does not bode well for ratings at next years event. Much like the FedEx Cup, this event definitely needs some tweaking. Speaking of which...
 

IS CHANGE GOOD?: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced several changes to the FedEx Cup, beginning in 2009. Primarily, under the new formula, points that previously had been reset at the start of the four-tournament playoffs will not be changed until the Tour Championship, meaning all 30 players who qualify for the finale will have a mathematical chance to win.
 
Backspin So far Finchem and company are 0-for-2 when it comes to producing playoff drama. Tiger skipped an event in 2007 and still won, while Vijay Singh claimed the $10 million prize this year, before the final tournament. Will it now work? It all depends on who it comes down to in the end. If it involves Tiger and some other top players, then it worked. If it involves Briny Baird and Kevin Sutherland, then it didn't.
 

CENTER STAGE: Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson roared back from a four-stroke deficit with a closing 9-under 63 in alternate-shot format to win the Omega World Cup. It was Sweden's second-ever win in the event.
 
Backspin The victory is just another feather in the cap for Karlsson, who has enjoyed the best year of his burgeoning career. Two victories on the European Tour, the Order of Merit title, rising all the way up to sixth in the world rankings and now a World Cup winner. And as fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam exits stage left, it is now Karlsson who will be center stage for Swedish golf fans.
 

GOOSE BUMPS: Sorenstam captained her International team a 12 - 11 victory at the Lexus Cup in Singapore. Sorenstam won her Sunday singles match against longtime friend and foe Se Ri Pak and later admitted she experienced goose bumps after goose bumps.
 
Backspin With just one event remaining ' this week's Dubai Ladies Masters ' before she 'steps away,' it was nice to see Annika the Great taste victory at least one more time. And although it wasn't an individual title, a team-styled win was relished all the same for the Hall of Famer, who added, There is nothing like a team event and, when you pull it all together, the atmosphere and camaraderie is one of a kind. So, too, is Annika.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger wasn't the only player with whom GM severed ties. They also ended Fred Couples' 16-year run with Cadillac. ... A charity golf tournament cut ties with troubled former pitcher Roger Clemens after four years.
 
Backspin Did anyone ever associate Couples with Cadillac? We also associated him with La-Z-Boy. ... Clemens has been linked to steroid use, and no one else ' especially not a charitable organization trying to raise funds ' wants that kind of stigma.
 

Related Links:
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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.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    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.