The week that almost was

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 4, 2008, 4:00 pm
In Backspin, GolfChannel.com takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
 

ANNIKA'S FAREWELL: Annika Sorenstam completed her last major championship with a 10-foot birdie putt for a final round 4-under 68 at the Womens British Open. The 37-year-old Sorenstam tied for 24th at 6-under 282, 12-strokes behind winner Ji-Yai Shin.
 
Backspin The 10-footer for birdie to close out her British Open career wasn't exactly the 6-iron hole-out from the fairway that finished her 2008 U.S. Open, but it was fitting nonetheless. After her round, the 10-time major champion said, To finish with a birdie was special. There didnt seem to be any doubt it was going in.
 

V IS FOR VICTORY, L IS FOR...: Vijay Singh survived a balky putter and closed out his first-ever WGC title with a 3-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to beat Lee Westwood and Stuart Appleby by a stroke at Firestone CC. Phil Mickelson bogeyed three of his last four holes to fall two off the pace.
 
Backspin The victory was huge for Singh ' evident by the beaming smile on his face during a post-round TV interview ' and was his first win on TOUR this year. As for Lefty, it was another sloppy stretch of golf that we have now come to expect. If youre a Phil fan, you learn to take the good with the bad. Although it's tough trying to figure out why there's always so much bad from the No. 2 player in the world.
 

WIE BE GONE: Michelle Wie had yet another go at the PGA TOUR this past week in the Reno-Tahoe Open. After raising hopes following a 1-over 73 in the opening round, Wie crapped out with a second-round 80 to miss the cut.
 
Backspin Wie, whose nickname should now be 'Lightning Rod' instead of the once whimsical 'Big Wiesy,' will again be crucified by the press and fans for yet another missed cut. It should be noted, however, that she is an 18-year-old Stanford sophomore, doesn't run afoul of the law, and is a smart and talented kid. The vast majority of 'haters' have never even dared tried the things Wie has attempted. Here's a sensible and rational vote of confidence that things will straighten themselves out for 'Lightning Rod.' Hopefully sooner, rather than later.
 

NORMAN OUT OF GAS?: Playing in his third major championship in as many weeks, Greg Norman finished in fourth place at the U.S. Senior Open, six shots behind winner Eduardo Romero. Before the tournament started Norman had announced that he would not accept an invitation from the PGA of America to play in this week's PGA Championship.
 
BackspinEven though the Shark had another respectable finish, you cannot blame the man for declining to play in the PGA Championship. The 53-year-old's whirlwind tour around the world of golf was impressive, but Norman has to be running on fumes. Not to mention that with a new wife and a booming business, golf is no longer a top priority for the former world No. 1.
 

WIE'LL ALWAYS HAVE RENO...: Peter McLachlin routed the field at the Reno-Tahoe Open, cruising to a seven-shot victory for his maiden PGA TOUR triumph.
 
Backspin Wie got the headlines; McLachlin got the trophy. He took control of the tournament with a second-round 62, and added a 66 on top of that in Rd. 3. Even a closing 74 couldnt deny him win No. 1.
 

OLD GUY'S OPEN: Argentine's Eduardo Romero won the U.S. Senior Open by four shots over Fred Funk, becoming the second Argentine to win the senior title. He follows fellow countryman Roberto De Vicenzo's win 28 years ago.
 
Backspin If you didnt see the final 18 holes of this one, consider yourself fortunate ' for your game might never have recovered. This was U-G-L-Y ugly. Romero had a stretch of four consecutive bogeys on the back nine. Funk shot 75, complete with a triple-bogey on 13. And John Cook carded a closing 7-bogey, no-birdie 77.
 

ASIAN DOMINATION: The LPGA wrapped up its major season at the Women's British Open at Sunningdale with 20-year-old South Korean Ji-Yai Shin rolling to a three-stroke win over Japan's Yuri Fudoh. American Cristie Kerr was sixth and world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa tied for seventh.
 
Backspin The year started with people thinking that all four majors would belong to Mexico. It ended with Asia winning three of the four majors and perhaps forever changing the landscape of women's golf. Said seven-time major champion Juli Inkster, 'Asians. And its not stopping either. Theyre all coming. It certainly doesn't help U.S. TV ratings, but golf is without a doubt a global game at this point.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Ryan Hietala won the Cox Classic in Omaha, topping David Branshaw on the first playoff hole Purdue University researchers report that golfers who play well are more likely to see the hole as larger than those who play poorly A black bear made its way out onto the course at the U.S. Senior Open before wandering back into the wilderness. No spectators were injured.
 
Backspin Hietala earned his first victory since 2005. 'God, what a struggle. What a feeling,' Hietala said With gas prices through the roof and plenty of diseases yet to be cured, we can't help but wonder if the people over at Purdue couldn't have found something more productive, and less obvious, on which to focus their research Since the 'Golden Bear' Jack Nicklaus wasn't playing last week in Colorado, maybe the USGA improvised with the next best thing, a black one.
 
Editor's note: No bears were harmed in the writing of this Backspin.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage -- U.S. Senior Open
  • Full Coverage -- Legend's Reno-Tahoe Open
  • Full Coverage -- WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
  • Full Coverage - Ricoh Women's British Open
  • More Headlines
  • 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.