TOUR Notes Wachovia a Crystal Ball

By Pga Tour MediaApril 29, 2008, 4:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
PGA Tour (75x100)PGA TOUR:
  • If you want to know how the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will end this year, watch the final leaderboard at this weeks Wachovia Championship. At least that was true last year. The top four finishers at the Wachovia Championship in 2007 were Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Rory Sabbatini'the exact same order in which they finished the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
  • Experience seems to count at the Wachovia Championship. All five previous winners had at least 11 years experience on the PGA TOUR. David Toms won in 2003 (11th year), Joey Sindelar in 2004 (21st), Vijay Singh in 2005 (13th), Jim Furyk in 2006 (13th) and Tiger Woods in 2007 (11th).
  • Tiger Woods will be unable to defend his Wachovia Championship title this week while recovering from knee surgery. The last TOUR player to not defend his title was Woods'at the 2007 Buick Open. The last player besides Woods to not defend a title was Ernie Els, who missed the 2005 World Golf Championships-CA Championship after undergoing knee surgery.
  • Phil Mickelson and Stewart Cink, currently second and third, respectively, in the 2008 FedExCup standings, were the only two players to record top-five finishes at the Wachovia Championship and THE PLAYERS Championship in 2007. Those two events are the next two tournaments on the PGA TOUR schedule. Mickelson tied for third in Charlotte and won THE PLAYERS a year ago, while Cink tied for fifth at the Wachovia Championship and tied for third at THE PLAYERS.
  • In Adam Scotts last two victories, his final shots were both 48-foot putts. In winning the 2007 Shell Houston Open, Scott made a 48-foot par putt to win by three. Last week at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, Scott sank a 48-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to defeat Ryan Moore.
  • Adam Scott liked the redesigned TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas last week, particularly the 429-yard, par-4 18th hole. In six times playing the finishing hole, Scott made two pars and four birdies, including a tying birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff and the winning putt on the third playoff hole.

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • Tom Kite will return to his native Texas this week for the FedEx Kinkos Classic. Kite is still looking for his first career win in his home state after 104 starts. Hes been a strong contender at this event in previous years, however. In five previous starts at the tournament hes tied for second (2006), tied for fourth (2003), finished fifth (2007), tied for 12th (2005) and tied for 27th (2004).
  • The FedEx Kinkos is still looking for its first Texas winner. None of the previous five winners of the tournament have been natives of the state.
  • Last year Tom Kite had top-10 finishes in all three Texas events (FedEx Kinkos Classic, Administaff Small Business Classic and AT&T Championship). Since the Administaff Small Business Classic began in 2004, giving the Tour three Lone Star State stops on the schedule, only three other players have had top-10 finishes in the three Texas events in the same season: Larry Nelson and Morris Hatalsky in 2004 and Jay Haas in 2006.

    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • The Nationwide Tour heads back to Georgia this week for the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta where the players will face the longest course on any of the three Tours'the 7,781-yard Kinderlou Forest Golf Club.
  • The Kinderlou Forest Golf Club was the sixth-most-difficult course (of 34) on the Nationwide Tour last year, playing to a stroke average of 73.549 (+1.549).
  • While Kinderlou Forest Golf Club is the longest course in Tour history, no player who finished among the top 10 in Driving Distance last season was in the top 10 at the 2007 South Georgia Classic.
  • Until last year, an international player had never led the Nationwide Tour money list. That changed when Wales Richard Johnson earned $445,421 to finish No. 1 on the list in 2007. After eight tournaments, three international players, all from Australia'Jarrod Lyle ($189,090), Greg Chalmers ($161,154) and Ewan Porter ($149,745)'are the top-three money-earners this year.

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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''