hawkins test

By John HawkinsAugust 30, 2011, 1:43 pm

As disappointed as I was with the decision to end the Barclays after 54 holes, nobody should be disillusioned when it comes to the FedEx Cup playoffs in general. The series is in its fifth year, still flawed in a world where perfect barely exists, so we probably should accept the postseason for what it is. Better than what we had before, obviously. A four-week stretch of premium-field events that should bring the year to a close but doesn’t.

But hey, no need to sweat the small stuff. The golf has been very good, the tournaments etched in suspense, several of them featuring down-the-stretch duels between top-shelf players. Last week’s Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar tilt might have happened a day early, but in this game, you take what you can get. From Steve Stricker’s triumph in the inaugural playoff gathering (Westchester, 2007) to Johnson’s hurricane-shortened victory at Plainfield, the only duds have come at a Tour Championship or two, mainly because the overall winner already had been determined.

Just two of the 17 tournament winners came out of nowhere: Heath Slocum over Tiger Woods at the 2009 Barclays and Charley Hoffman at last year's Deutsche Bank. After a couple of early no-shows by the superstars, attendance has been strong -- and the best players have carried the product. Those two things had to happen for the playoffs to have any credibility, but until the PGA Tour makes the format sexier, only hardcore fans will understand the concept, much less embrace it.

That said, here are my top five postseason finishes -- this list was no gimme despite the FedEx Cup's youth. It might not be a real 'playoff' as much as it is a payoff, but if you love golf, the FedEx has, ahem, delivered.

5. 2008 Tour Championship (Villegas over Garcia): This one ranks because it involved two young stars in a sudden-death playoff, which ended on the first hole, but also because it exposed a huge problem in the postseason format. Villegas won the last two events but never had a chance to claim the overall crown because Vijay Singh had won the first two -- so much for the crescendo effect.

You would think all that money would buy the tour a decent mathematician, but Camp Ponte Vedra likes to do things their way. The points-allocation formula was soon overhauled to include a ton of back-end reward, but that doesn't change the fact that the wrong guy won in 2008.

4. 2009 Barclays (Slocum over Woods): The end of the Dynasty, although most would cite Tiger's loss to Y.E. Yang at the PGA Championship two weeks earlier as the official end. Regardless, Woods was beaten by a nobody in back-to-back starts -- Slocum holed a 20-footer on Liberty National's 18th, starting the clock on his 15 minutes of fame. As for Red Shirt, he was about to become infamous, but he did win the BMW and his second FedEx title before losing to the fire hydrant.

3. 2010 Tour Championship (Furyk over Donald): Let's not get carried away here. Yes, Furyk had to get up and down from a greenside bunker on East Lake's 18th to edge Donald in a FedEx photo finish for all the marbles, but the two weren't paired together and the weather was absolutely miserable, which made it hard to watch. Still, the bunker shot was as clutch as it gets -- it was the first time the season-long title came down to the final hole.

The problem was that Donald came within a whisker of that $10 million despite not winning a tournament all year. Sanity prevailed, however, band believe me, they don't get any saner than Jim Furyk.

2. 2008 Barclays (Singh over Garcia): A true overtime thriller at Woodbridge CC, which got the event after the tour dumped longtime host Westchester -- the 2008 Media Guide lists the deposed club as the tournament site. Sergio and Vijay holed bombs on the first extra hole, but if Garcia spent that summer running out of gas 50 feet before the checkered flag, this was a fitting sequel to the British Open and PGA losses to Padraig Harrington. Add the sudden-death loss to Villegas three weeks later, and it's no wonder Sergio has spent the last three years picking up the pieces of a broken heart.

Singh, meanwhile, trampled the field in Boston a week later, knocking in 40-footers like Chevy Chase in 'Caddyshack.' That appears to be his last hurrah, but the $10 million he picked up (instead of Villegas) will buy you a lot of good memories.

1. 2007 Deutsche Bank (Mickelson over Woods): One of the best final rounds I've ever covered -- and that includes the majors. The electricity running through TPC Boston that Labor Day was off the meter, a current powered by two primary sources: New England sports-fan intensity and the Tiger-Phil pairing in the second-to-last group. Both guys played well, with Mickelson's 66 matching low round of the day, one better than Red Shirt. The W vaulted Philly Mick to the top of the FedEx standings, where Woods had resided before skipping the Barclays a week earlier.

As if to prove he's as open-minded as any superstar on the planet, Mickelson announced during his post-round TV interview that he wouldn't be playing the following week in Chicago. Tiger won there, then again by eight in Atlanta. Phil didn't like the way the playoffs were structured. Not that it mattered back then.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

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