Bunker Shots

By Randall MellAugust 4, 2009, 4:00 pm
With football season just around the corner, we set the weeks storylines with the help of some great gridiron coaches:
Down, set, hike me another trophy!
Its not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference. ' Bear Bryant
Tiger Woods has made a good living in the rubber capital of the world.
In the land of B.F. Goodrich, Goodyear and Firestone, nobody bounces the competition better.
Woods will be looking to win for the seventh time at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, when he tees it up at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Of course, it probably wouldnt matter where he played this week if it were a World Golf Championship event. You think his winning percentage in major championships is impressive? Check out his WGC record.
Woods has won 14 of the 49 major championships he has played as a professional.
Thats a nice little 28.6 winning percentage.
He has won 16 of the 30 WGC events he has played.
Thats a whopping 53 percent of the time.
Woods won eight of nine WGC events in one stretch, including five in a row.

Feels like a home-field advantage
Believe deep down in your hearts that youre destined to do great things. ' Joe Paterno
WGC events are almost always about Tiger almost all the time, so here we go with a listing of where Firestone ranks among PGA Tour stops where Woods has won the most as a pro:
  • Torrey Pines ' 7
  • Firestone Country Club ' 6
  • Bay Hill Club and Lodge ' 6
  • Augusta National ' 4
  • Cog Hill Golf & Country Club ' 4
  • Muirfield Village ' 4

    Second-half comeback
    Ive had smarter people around me all my life, but I havent run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they cant outwork you, then smarts arent going to do them much good. Thats just the way it is. And if you believe that and live by it, youd be surprised at how much fun you can have. ' Woody Hayes
    Vijay Singh says his knee is healed, and now his swings rounding back into form, which bodes well as he prepares to defend his title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
    Singh, 46, hasnt won this season, which places him in a similar spot to a year ago. After making Bridgestone his first PGA Tour title last season, he went on to win the Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship in back-to-back starts and claim the FedEx Cup.
    Sing is looking to extend his streak of consecutive seasons with at least one PGA Tour title to eight.
    Guess who holds the longest ongoing streak? Of course, Sir Eldrick Woods, who has won in 14 consecutive seasons, every year since he turned pro in 96.

    Best player on the second unit
    Breaks balance out. The sun dont shine on the same ol dogs rear end every day. ' Darrell Royal
    Thirty-eight WGC events have been staged since they were initiated in 1999, including seven World Cups, which were dropped from the WGC umbrella after the 06 season.
    Whos the best player not named Tiger Woods in the WGCs short history?
    That would be Australias Geoff Ogilvy.
    Woods has his 16 WGC titles and Ogilvy has three (06 and 09 Accenture Match Plays and the '08 CA Championship).
    Northern Irelands Darren Clarke (00 Accenture Match Play and 03 Bridgestone) and South Africas Ernie Els (01 World Cup and 04 CA Championship) are the only other players to have won more than one.

    The women will scrimmage this week
    Any time you give a man something he doesnt earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect. ' Woody Hayes
    The LPGA has no event scheduled this week, but it feels like training camp is in session at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., with the American Solheim Cup team practicing for the Aug. 21-23 matches.
    After unveiling her team Sunday at the end of the Ricoh Womens British Open in England, American Captain Beth Daniel gets a chance to experiment with pairings for alternate-shot and best-ball competitions.
    There will be pressure on Michelle Wie, whose selection as a captains pick drew much scrutiny, even though her record stood out as superior to other captains pick possibilities. Who will Wie be paired with? How about pairing the oldest and youngest players on the team? How about Wie, 19, teaming up with Juli Inkster, 49? It might not be the best fit for alternate shot because Wies so much longer than Inkster, but it would be an intriguing best-ball combo.
    Inkster, with 31 LPGA titles, has a lot to offer the winless Wie. As far as alternate shot goes, Brittany Lincicomes a long bomber like Wie. Or theres Paula Creamer, who hits more greens than anyone on tour. The Creamer/Wie duo would be an intimidating team with Creamer leading the LPGA in GIR and Wie leading it in putting.
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
  • Full Coverage - Reno-Tahoe Open
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

    Getty Images

    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.