Tiger Adam and Harmon-y
It doesn't surprise me that a 20-year-old won again, especially since it's Adam Scott. The kid's got game, as he proved at last week's Alfred Dunhill Championship. It was his first start of the year on the European Tour and most likely, the first of many wins to come.
I'm sure you've heard the endless comparisons between his golf swing and that of Tiger Woods. If you haven't, believe me, they exist. CBS has gone so far as to put them side by side in slow motion on the television screen to point out the parallels. The analysts all agree that their form is very much alike: they both have powerful positions at the top and their clubs travel on a similar, almost perfect path around their respective torsos. Given that, it shouldn't surprise you at all that Scott has taken his talents to one Butch Harmon to be further groomed for life on the professional level. Why not, it works for Tiger!
Man, I bet Butch Harmon's lesson book is loaded with junior 'I-wanna-be-famous-one-day' golfers. Tiger turned him into a teaching icon and Adam Scott is adding to his already-golden reputation by bringing home a victory shortly after picking him up as a swing coach. Granted, both Tiger and Adam came to him with God given talents and he claims that he's just honing them, but there must be something to this man's teaching method to keep the future of this game staking out on his personal practice tee. He truly 'harmon'izes with his studly students.
There is no guarantee that Adam Scott will ever reach the level of Tiger Woods, for that matter it's hard to believe anyone will. But Scott continues to reach for the stars just like Tiger and along the way, he just may land a few large contracts himself. Not only is the kid a fully capable golfer, he's also incredibly marketable. He's blessed with those Australian good looks and a smile that lights up the camera, just like Greg Norman and Stuart Appleby. When I was down covering the Franklin Templeton Shootout, Adam was partnered with his friend Charles Howell III. After each round I personally witnessed a pack of young girls giggling away and gossiping amongst themselves while positioning themselves at the scorer's tent for Adam's autograph. I felt like I was at a small-town Ricky Martin concert or something. Of course, after interviewing him I told Adam that those girls were lined up to see him and he thought I was kidding. After a little more ribbing, I convinced him that the girls had been waiting there for almost an hour. He humbly made his way over and signed their hats with a bashful smile. What a nice kid!
Adam Scott and Tiger Woods- they are two golfers on two completely different levels, yet their parallels continue to grow by the year. When Tiger was getting started, no one knew the impact he was about to make. We remain hopeful that someone will rise to bring him competition in the future. Wouldn't Butch be in a pinch if his most recent student were to make the first move on his most prized student? Of course, I could think of a few more frustrating situations to experience in life. Soak it up, Butch! You've got the future under your wing.
McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School
One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.
McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.
It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.
McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).
Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).
Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.
Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award
The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.
The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.
Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.
The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.
Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.
South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.
Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.
The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout
It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.
Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.
Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.
"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."
Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.
Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.