Americas Best?

By John HawkinsMarch 16, 2011, 6:38 pm

To quote the immortal Jeff Spicoli, a 10th-place finish on the PGA Tour is worth righteous bucks: roughly $150,000 on any given week, depending on the purse size and how many others also wind up 10th. There was a five-man tie for 10th at Doral last week, a pileup that included Tiger Woods, and though it was Tiger¹s first top 10 since last June's U.S. Open, some top 10s are a lot better than others.

A pop-up, a snap-hook, a bushel of missed putts, then a 66 on Sunday. It all added up to $129,000, good work if you can get it but not exactly a billboard heralding the return of the Woods Dynasty. Top 10s can be very misleading – Woods and his fellow T-10ers ended up eight strokes behind Nick Watney. In Tiger's case, he teed off Sunday with basically no chance of contending, so that 66 probably deserves an asterisk.

He calls it progress. I call it a nice round played under zero competitive duress, which makes the Dude in the Red Shirt one heck of a warmup act.

Anyway, a T-9 was worth $150,800 at Torrey Pines and $163,800 at Pebble Beach. If Uncle Sam gets a third of that money, so should Sir Eldrick, whose extended stretch of greatness is the only reason everybody is playing for more than $5 million a week.

Not that you noticed or really care, but 'Top 10 Finishes' is now an official statistical category on the PGA Tour. I hear people talking about top 10s as if a four-way tie for seventh is better than a week in Cancun with Halle Berry. I hear people wondering aloud if Matt Kuchar, with his three career victories and an enormous collection of top 10s, has become America's top golfer.

Excuse me? Does past performance count for absolutely nothing when discussing the identity of our nation's finest? Once upon a time, Tiger Woods was the Greatest Golfer Who Ever Lived, and though he's still alive, I¹m guessing his brilliance will grow exponentially after he's gone. We love to glorify the past and hasten to the future, and thus, we rush to judgment on everything and everybody. Nowadays, the present is just a reason to look back and hurry forward.

You have to win tournaments to be the best – not just this week and next, but in the big picture as it is debated in taverns and clubhouses from coast to coast. Kuchar might be America's most consistent player, but calling him the best is a leap of nearsighted perspective. I understand the need to view this world in the here and now, but a slew of solo eighths does not a superstar make.

That said, the game's competitive landscape definitely is changing. At one point last Sunday, the top four spots on the leaderboard were occupied by young Yanks. Woods and Philly Mick were gassing up the jets, and more than on most weekends, you could feel the game's balance shifting. Out with the gold, in with the kinda new, but Kuchar hasn¹t come close to doing what Steve Stricker did for three years, and nobody referred to Stricker as America's best.

Woods hasn't looked very good in recent months, and at Doral, there were several swings that came straight from the land of the 12 handicap.

Compared with the glory days, it's easy to think that his best golf is far behind him, but that doesn't mean he can't win three or four tournaments a year and continue an honest pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' all-time record of 18 major championships.

The British oddsmakers have made Woods and Mickelson their co-favorites for next month's Masters, which ought to tell you something. Personally, I think Dustin Johnson has the best chance of winning, and if he were to wrap his chiseled shoulders in one of those snazzy green jackets, I still wouldn't consider him decorated enough to earn the label as America's best. Now and for the foreseeable future, that title belongs to Tiger.

It¹s not all about what you've done lately, but the entire body of work.

If the future is the great unknown, if the present is a work in progress, the past must count for something. Especially when your past features 14 majors and 71 Tour victories. By the way, that's a lot of top 10s.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

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.