High Re-Definition

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship Stewart Cink, overcome with the enormity of the moment, found his first Tweet post-Open Championship beyond the scope of a mere 140 characters. For those assembled scribes afforded considerably more space, the task was no easier.
 
Did Cink win, or did the ageless Tom Watson punt his sixth Open title in spite of the collective wishes of an entire nation? Is Cinks Open legacy destined to suffer the same fate as Paul Lawries? For those unfamiliar with that name Lawrie's the answer to the trivia question: Which Scot pinched the Claret Jug when Jean Van de Velde vomited his way down Carnousties 18th hole in 1999.
 
Stewart Cink sent a photo of himself kissing the Claret Jug to Twitter that read: 'Not sure what to say yet but this picture should do the trick.' (Getty Images)
History will be the ultimate litmus test, but know this about 50-Cink ' as the Alabamian playfully referred to himself as on Tuesdays Late Night with David Letterman ' no one, perhaps in the history of the game short of Francis Ouimet, has redefined himself so quickly or so thoroughly.
 
It was two months to the day that Cink began his transformation from ATM ' Tour talk for a decent player whose ultimate accomplish seemed to be top-20 in career earnings and a lifetime exemption in the Skins Game ' to major champion.
 
Cink, you see, was a ballstriker with a blind spot. Some said he lacked a killers heart, turns out the only thing he was missing was a routine.
 
He came to me just after (The Players), said Dr. Morris Pickens, the Sea Island (Ga.) Resort sports psychologist who is a PGA title away from a career Grand Slam following victories by Zach Johnson (2007 Masters), Lucas Glover (2009 U.S. Open) and now Cink (British Open).
 
His routine was terrible, but I knew he could be a great putter. He led the Tour in putting in 04.
 
Cink ditched his long putter for a conventional-length model, but it wasnt easy. During a conversation at the Memorial he conceded the old crutch was still in his trunk.
 
I just wanted to totally shock the system so I would have no choice but to go the new rout, Cink said at Muirfield Village. I had a funeral basically for the old guy. Its too easy if you dont change if you fall back into the old habits. Ive totally changed my outlook on my whole game, especially on the greens.
 
A headline in a Scottish newspaper pulled no punches and offered what we imagine is a from-the-hip consensus statement about an Open that was a 10-foot par putt away from immortality. Stew Stinks the headline read ' and thats a shame.
 
A Watson victory on Sunday at Turnberry would have been an out-of-body experience, bigger in size and scope than Jack Nicklaus magical run in 1986 at Augusta National and Ben Hogans medical miracle at the 1950 U.S. Open. Too big to write, as they say in fourth estate circles.
 
Lost amid all that hyperbole, however, is a gutty finish and textbook execution by a player who, just eight weeks earlier, was as adrift as one of Watsons tee shots in the playoff.
 
When Cink rolled in his 15 footer for birdie on the 18th hole Sunday, nearly an hour ahead of Watson and the other leaders, 2 under was the score to beat. But thats not why he celebrated with such zeal.
 
He was so excited about that shot at (No.) 18, not because it would get him in a playoff, but because he faced the challenge of an important putt and controlled his emotions and his energy, Pickens said.
 
For four days Pickens texted Cink the same message: It was like Ground Hog day, Pickens laughed. Invite the challenge of the shot, the text essential read. And the message got through.
 
Even in the playoff, with the whole of Aryshire routing against him, Cink, as much a golf historian as any on Tour, executed his game plan, regardless of historical underpinnings or sentimentality.
 
It all sounds a tad cold blooded, but the hard truth is Tiger Woods is not closing on Nicklaus major record reluctantly or with any consideration for those he walks over.
 
He was playing Turnberry last week, not the 138th Open Championship, said Pickens, reiterating the same theme he drilled into Glover at Bethpage. He wasnt playing Tom Watson in the playoff, either. He was playing the fifth hole at Turnberry.
 
Cink ultimately decided to post a simple picture of himself kissing the Claret Jug on his increasingly popular Twitter page late Sunday. The rest of us gathered to record history did not have the same luxury.
 
Instead, 140 characters seemed about right: Stewart Cink ends Tom Watsons historic bid at Open Championship with historic execution.
 
Related Links:
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    Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

    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.

    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.

    Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

    By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

    Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

    The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

    LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

    "The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

    It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

    "He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."