Backseat Driver

By Rex HoggardJuly 31, 2009, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods makes the cut, noteworthy only because hes never missed consecutive weekends on Tour as a professional, and yet Buick officials, who have benefited the most from his celebrity, will be slamming trunks, perhaps for forever.
During the dog days of summer the line between those making the cut and those heading home early is tough to distinguish.
Made Cut
  • Phil Mickelson: Golf is never better than when Mickelson is playing well and there couldnt be a more encouraging sign coming from Camp Lefty than his commitment to next weeks WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and probably next months PGA Championship.
    Mickelson wouldnt be playing unless his wifes treatment for breast cancer is going well and, as he proved earlier this year at Bethpage, he shouldnt be dismissed as a favorite at Hazeltine National.
    Besides, theres only a single member of Butch Harmons stable that currently holds a major, Stewart Cink, and to a competitor like Mickelson that just wont do.
  • Erik Compton: What could have been the years most inspiring story ' after, of course, that 59-year-old crashing the kids party at Turnberry ' was put on the DL when the double heart transplant patient broke his right hand in June.
    We hear the cast is off and Compton recently told a friend he has his V back (broad shoulders, narrow waist) after spending his down time in the gym. Expect to see Compton version 4.0 in the Fall Series which is good news for all those who like good comeback stories.

    Made Cut ' Did not finish (MDF)
  • Golf in the Olympics: Still not sure if golf in the Olympics is in the games best interest, but thats a Cut Line for another day. With the support of the games biggest hitters (Tiger Woods, Augusta National, PGA Tour, et al), golfs gold medal future is now in the hands of others.
    The 15-member executive board of the International Olympic Committee will recommend the two sports that will be added for the 2016 Games on Aug. 13 and a full IOC vote later this year will make it official.
    Among the games competing against golf for inclusion are karate, squash, roller sports and rugby sevens which begs the question, do they really need to vote?
  • Buick: Or maybe we should call out the car czars. Either way, the embattled auto manufacturer is one step closer to being out of the golf business after this weeks Buick Open at Warwick Hills, a run that spans a half century.
    Maybe even more concerning is the fate of San Diegos Buick Invitational, which has become something of the unofficial start to the Tour season in recent years and as close to a lock in the Woods sweepstakes as one gets, non-major championship division.
    When a pair of scenic layouts and the games alpha male arent enough to keep a sponsor happy, perhaps it is time for the folks in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to panic.

    Missed Cut
  • Greg Norman: While our initial guess is that the Great White Sharks comments regarding his ex-wife last week were the result of journalistic nudging more so than some sort of deep-seeded desire to throw stones, the episode still reeks of revisionist history.
    A reporter recently asked Norman if he had new wife Chris Evert in his life 20 years ago would all those majors have gotten away from him?
    Chrissie would have instilled a different thought process and I would have said the answer would probably be yes, Norman said.
    Last we checked, ex-Laura never chipped in on the Aussie or hit any of those 78 final-round pops at the 1996 Masters. It was good to see a rejuvenated Norman last year at Royal Birkdale, but blaming the ex for all ones missteps is bad form, and a bit of a clich.
  • Major Scheduling: If its Thursday on the Champions Tour that must mean theyre playing a major championship. Or so it seems.
    The five major concept is hard enough to wrap ones arms around, but playing three consecutive in the middle of the summer just devalues the product. Timing and scheduling is always a concern, but the Tradition ' played Aug. 20-23 following a two-week break ' can be slotted in earlier in the year with a week or two between the Senior Open Championship, played last week in England, and the U.S. Senior Open, this weeks Grand Slam.
    These guys may be in good shape, but theyre still 50-plus. Give them a chance to get their second, or third, wind before sending them back out.

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    McCoy earns medalist honors at 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 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 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 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.