Lets Hand Out Some Awards

By Kraig KannApril 16, 2004, 4:00 pm
After a four-day stay at Ft. Bragg for a mini-boot camp (no word if he wore Nikes), Tiger Woods will now focus on trying to catch, gulp, Phil Mickelson. Thats right, Woods doesnt have nearly as much to brag about in 2004.
Phils 2004 totals:
Nine events, two wins, $3.5 million (first on money list), eight top 10s, first in scoring.
Tigers 2004 totals:
Seven events, one win, $1.9 million (sixth on money list), four top 10s, 14th in Scoring.
So, many of you seem to think that the media has gone overboard on Tiger Woods. Heres what I believe. Woods is the PGA Tours best player. Woods is the worlds best player. The World Golf Rankings say Tiger is the top player. BUT, if the ranking is decided only by current status, form, etc., then Woods is hardly the best player right now.
When guys like me are on the air and say, Well be back with more on the Worlds No. 1, this is simply going by the World Golf Rankings and not said with any bias. Period. Dont think any different.
That said, here is my Top 10 based solely on personal opinion as it stands TODAY, given the years events:
1. Phil Mickelson
2. Vijay Singh
3. Ernie Els
4. Davis Love III
5. Padraig Harrington
6. Tiger Woods
7. Stuart Appleby
8. Mike Weir
9. K.J. Choi
10. Chad Campbell
Mickelson is the top money man, hes the most consistent this year and hes won the years first major. To tell you the truth, Id have given Mickelson strong consideration for the top spot even if Els had won.
Hilton Head is upon us which is the 16th event of 48 this season. So lets take it a step further and give out some early season awards:
Player of the Year: Mickelson ' should be the U.S. Open favorite (T4 95)
Rookie of the Year: Zach Johnson ' should reach Tour Championship
Surprise of the Year: John Daly ' I never expected it and hes probably just starting.
Disappointment of Year: Tiger ' this will turn around, but when? This year?
Impact Player of Year: Adam Scott ' a close choice over Z. Johnson
Storyline of Year: Just how close is Woods? Is Phil just warming up?
Next to Break Through: Jerry Kelly ' better than most, easily tougher than most
Feel Good Story of Year: Jay Haas ' 50-something, nothing to it! Just win one!
How about some random thoughts with the first major of the season behind us:
  • Go ahead, label Sergio Garcia as a whiner. But he might have a point about being forgotten of late. The problem is, hes obviously too worried about being forgotten. Still, I dont think there is a media member or golf fan around that doesnt consider him a threat to win a major at any time. Heres the difference, Sergio. Of late youre a threat, but not a favorite.

  • The new best player without a major might just be Chad Campbell. Im not putting pressure on him, just saying hes as good as they come and certainly has the level of talent necessary. Hes too tough to fold the next time he gets in the hunt.
  • Is Kirk Triplett not the most underappreciated player on the PGA Tour? All this guy does is play consistent golf. Hell kill the Champions Tour someday.
  • When Briny Baird wins a PGA Tour event this year, dont say Briny who? Hes really becoming one of the better players on tour. Watch his numbers and track his finishes.
  • Tiger usually is M.I.A. between now and the U.S. Open. Youll see him at the Memorial Tournament, perhaps the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. I just wish hed commit to a few more regular events to work his way out of the jam hes in. Heck, at 14th in scoring on the PGA Tour he could use the low rounds these days!
    And two final thoughts to leave you with:
  • Phil Mickelson would have every right to tell the media to buzz off for about a month. He endured more than his fare share of the wrong kind of spotlight. But, heres what I think: the media figured Phil would have won one (major) a long time ago. We realize he is deserving and just couldnt believe it didnt happen. Liken it to the Buffalo Bills if you want, but it gets magnified even further by the point that its a one-man game. Plus, we can all relate. Im just glad the storys over. Lets move on because as we discussed on the Sprint Post-Game, Lefty has a lot of great things to say other than why he hadnt yet won a major.
  • Lets hope Tiger gets it back quick. This is the best time ever for this sport. Phil at his best, Singh at his best, Els at his best, Love at his best and so many other stars who now want to beat Tiger at his very best. Trust me, its not nearly as rewarding to beat the best when theyre not even close to their best. And if Tiger has designs on being the best ever, he needs to consistently knock off the others while theyre at their highest level.
    Pretty great year already, huh?!
    Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
  • 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.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    “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

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    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 also one shot off 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 and Shanshan Feng 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.''

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    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.''