Tiger Tackles Atlanta

By Mercer BaggsAugust 9, 2001, 4:00 pm
Each year the PGA Championship rolls around, ready to crown the seasons final major winner.

And each year, the PGA Championship endures the slings and arrows fired by critics who say the tournament truly brings up the rear in accordance to major championships.
However, things were different in 2000.
The final major was the most compelling. The most competitive. The most intense. Quite simply, the best tournament of the year.
Complete Coverage of the 2000 PGA Championship
Tiger Woods was looking for his second consecutive Wannamaker Trophy. Looking for his third straight major. Looking to cap possibly the greatest individual season ever.
All the while, the public was just looking for a challenge, a bit of drama.
Such was found that Sunday afternoon in Louisville, Kent.
It wasnt provided by David Duval. It wasnt provided by Phil Mickelson. It wasnt provided by Vijay Singh.
It was provided by Bob May.
May was Tiger before Eldrick. He tore up the junior circuit in Southern California, setting records that Tiger, in time, would break.
But Mays professional accomplishments never equaled that of his amateur days. At least not until that Sunday at Valhalla Golf Club.
Playing in the final pairing with Woods, May matched the worlds No. 1 ranked player shot for shot down the stretch, with both men coming home in just 31 strokes.
On the 72nd hole, May needed to make an 18-footer to stay alive. His birdie effort broke oncebroke twiceand gently dropped into the hole.
Tiger then confidently made a four-footer to force the first three-hole playoff in tournament history.
To the 16th the two combatants went, where Tiger made television highlight history by nearly picking his ball out of the hole before it fell in for birdie.
That putt proved to be the difference as both men parred the final two playoff holes.

The scene now shifts to the Atlanta Athletic Club in Atlanta, Ga. Its the first time the PGA of America has played the 7,213-yard, par-70 Highlands Course since Marietta resident Larry Nelson won the first of his three majors here in 1981.
This is the 83rd playing of the Championship. It began in 1916, when department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker hinted at the need for an annual all-professional tournament.
Wanamaker put up $2,500 as part of the prize fund, and voila!
Eighty-five years later, the 150 participants will vie for $5 million, with $900,000 going to the winner.
But more than gold coins and a silver trophy are on the line this week. For many, a spot on the 2001 Ryder Cup team is at stake.
This is the final event for U.S. players to qualify for the matches, to be contested in late September.
Many, including the man himself, will be trying to duplicate Brad Faxon's feat in 1995. On the outside looking in, Faxon shot a final-round 63 in the PGA Championship to lock up the 10th-and-final automatic spot on the team.
Faxon is currently 11th in the standings.
Aside from Tigers back-to-back victories in 1999 and 2000, the seasons final major has been known for crowning a first-time major champion.
From 1988 to 1998, only one victor had a previous major under his belt ' Nick Price in 1994.
That bodes well for those trying to make the trip to The Belfry for the Ryder Cup. Nos. 10 through 17 on the American side are '0-fer' in major championships.
Getty Images

McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

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

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

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.

Getty Images

Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

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

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

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."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

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.