Fan Mail for Captain Tom

By Jerry FoltzAugust 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
Dear Tom,
 
Remember that time back in 1991 when we were playing the final round in Boise on the then-Hogan Tour? Remember when I beaned the spectator on the 16th hole and couldnt gather the nerve to hit the next shot? Remember when you noticed how shook-up I was and put an arm around me to let me know that things would be all right and that he was already joking with his friends as the paramedics arrived? Remember how I birdied the next two holes and then displayed my complete incompetence by skulling (no pun intended) a sand wedge over the last green to bogey and miss the playoff by one?
 
Well, since then Ive made a remarkable career out of incompetence, and since then, youve made a remarkable career out of the grit, wisdom, and selflessness you displayed to me that day. Its the wisdom I want to appeal to, and the selflessness I want to bypass.
 
Dean Wilson is a wonderful man and a true feel-good story. What he accomplished last week in defeating you for his first PGA TOUR victory was remarkable. But I must be honest; Ive never rooted against a friend more than I was on Sunday evening. I so desperately wanted Dean to lose so you could win and be faced with your toughest decision in this whole Ryder Cup hoopla. You would have been forced to field a team that wasnt as good as it should have been. Thats assuming, of course, that what you said this week was accurate. You know'that statement about not playing even if you made the team.
 
Let me get straight to my point here.
 
If anybody else was captain, and I mean anybody, theres absolutely no way they wouldnt pick you. And I think you owe it to your team, to your fans, to all golf fans, to yourself, and for that matter, to Ed Gordon (the aforementioned header victim in Idaho), to reconsider. Whether or not you qualify for the team this week, you should be on it. You need to be on it'and not just as captain.
 
When Ben Crenshaw had a feeling, his feeling involved you. You were a captains pick for his team'a team that was like three touchdowns behind going into the two-minute-warning and whod he give the ball to? You. And whatd you do with it? Well, if I remember right, you hit 16 consecutive greens, applied your foot firmly to the throat of Lee Westwood, and set the pace for the day by winning 3-and-2 in the opening match of the day. What followed was a piece of golf lore forever, and you authored the foreword, opening chapter, and epilogue.
 
Ben had a feeling, all right; he had a feeling that the best man in the world for the job was you. If you dont win that match, his feeling would have been recorded in history as optimistic, delusional, or simply indigestion. But you won.
 
Yes, it was seven years ago and you were only 40 years old, but you didnt make any more putts then than you do now. You cited your putting ability as the reason why you wouldnt play this year, but selflessness doesnt win Ryder Cups. In my opinion, the most selfless thing you could do this year is to pass the torch to Corey if you think that a playing captain would be too much of a distraction. Given the inexperience of Nos. 7 through 10 in the current standings and your stated desire to offset that with your picks, only Love and Couples are ahead of you in the standings with more experience'and both would be great picks. But you would be better. You are the only one of the three with a winning overall record in past matches.
 
The whole point is to get the players who are playing the best, and absent something remarkable this week out of Freddie and Davis, I think that question is already answered.
 
Davis hasnt earned any points since February, and Freddie since the Masters. You lost in a playoff, last week.
 
You probably should have been picked for the 2002 team. You were 11th in the standings when Curtis Strange announced his picks in 2001. In 04, you werent in the running, but Jay Haas was picked, and although he only scored 1 points, it was more than four members of your current team: Campbell, Furyk, Mickelson, and Toms.
 
Is 47 too old to be picked? Raymond Floyd didnt pick himself in 89 when he was captain at the age of 47, and that year Europe retained the Cup. But, he was 49 when Dave Stockton picked him, and he won 2 out of 4 points in that epic battle at Kiawah Island in 91. Better yet, he was 51 when Tom Watson picked him two years later and he won three points in a successful American defense. And lest we forget, Haas was 50 the last go-round.
 
Do we need experience to offset some of the rookies? Thats your call, and I think that the PGA of America picked the perfect man to figure that out. But if you decide that we do, I urge you to look in the mirror Sunday night and do that which the PGA did when they named you captain'pick the perfect man for the job.
 
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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


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    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

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    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


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    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''