Round 1 Goes to Tiger

By Rex HoggardJuly 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. ' There are all different types of torch-passings: metaphorical, meaningful, magical.
 
Arnold Palmer bulled his way past a chubby Jack Nicklaus at the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills, but even in defeat the seeds were sown for the man who would set the standard for major greatness. Forty years later Nicklaus would give a ceremonial nod to Tiger Woods at the 2000 PGA Championship. On Sunday just the other side of Washington D.C.s Inner Loop the makings of a similar epiphany emerged.
 
The golf world has waited a dozen years for a challenger to the throne Woods assumed the moment he said, Hello world, and based on Anthony Kims passion, if not his game, there may finally be a legitimate heir to the contender title.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods raises his hands in victory for the 68th time on the PGA Tour. (Getty Images)
It was perfect in many ways ' two titans playing ready golf, or as close as the Tour comes to ready golf, on a breezy Sunday at the AT&T National before 45,000, or about a months gate at a Nationals game. Gen X vs. Gen Y in real time.
 
Kims game was nowhere near close enough to out-duel Woods at his own soiree, to say nothing of Hunter Mahans masterful 62 that lifted him from a tie for 16th into second place and perhaps front-runner status in the best player to not win a major category. But the kid who learned the game on the scruffy L.A. munis under the tough hand of a driven father learned something about himself and perhaps showed Woods something.
 
I know I can play at the highest level, said Kim, who began the final lap tied with Woods and briefly took the lead before his putter went cold and driver went left. I feel like Im one of the top players in the world. I just need to go out there and take care of those careless mistakes.
 
In golf there is no better on-the-job training than a one-on-one with Woods, who went birdie-birdie at Nos. 6 and 7 to go 2 up and withstood Mahans closing pyrotechnics to card Tour title No. 68 and, perhaps more importantly, his first victory at his keepsake stop.
 
The significance of Kims Congressional encounter ' his first pairing of any kind, be it friendly or otherwise, with Woods ' was not lost on the world No. 1.
 
As the two made their way up the 18th hole with Woods staked to a one-stroke lead and facing a 20-footer for par that screamed cozy, he drew his young pursuer close.
 
I enjoyed it, Woods told Kim. There will be many more to come. Just keep working hard, and well do this for many more years.
 
Whether Kims first head-to-head with golfs head of state is a harbinger of things to come remains to be seen, but the outcome does not blur the significance of the event.
 
All that promise that Kim showed in winning the mini-major combo last year at Quail Hollow and Congressional, the stuff that was cut short after his Ryder Cup heroics by a litany of nagging injuries, reemerged at Congressional.
 
Kim opened with a course-record 62, grinded out an even-par round with something less than his best stuff on Friday and wedged his way into the marquee matinee on Sunday with a third-round 68. The kid who would roll in putts in the L.A. twilight to beat Woods in fantasy championships all those years ago finally had his shot at the legend.
 
Anthonys a team guy. He grew up playing team sports and loves that head-to-head stuff, said Kims swing coach Adam Schreiber.
 
The Tours ShotLink system calls it left rough tendency. A sports psychologist would probably mark it down as nerves. Either way, after holding his own for four holes with Woods, Kim started slinging his drives left of House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
 
He missed the fairway left at Nos. 5, 11, 14, 16, 17 and 18 and yet still had his chances to catch Woods and Mahan but could never capitalize on key birdie opportunities.
 
Mahan, however, didnt have any problem turning the beastly Blue Course into a pitch and putt. The man who Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger rode as a secret weapon last fall turned quietly with a 3-under 32, but carded just two pars on the inward loop for a 12-under 268 total with the leaders finishing the 12th hole.
 
I dont know what golf course (Mahan) was playing, Woods said of Mahans round. I didnt see a 62 out there. He put a lot of pressure on Anthony and (me).
 
Mahan, who was done in at Bethpage by bad breaks and last week in Hartford by a red-hot Kenny Perry, spent the next hour waiting for Woods, who, on cue, did what Woods does on Sundays.
 
It was funny, said Mahan, who hasnt finished worse than sixth in his last three starts. I was watching with Elin (Woods) and then when (Woods) missed on 14 I yelled, yes, in a joking manner. It was funny because you usually dont see him miss putts.
 
At least not putts that count, like the curling 20-footer for birdie he faced on the 16th with two demanding par-4s waiting and a share of the lead. But then no one responds to a competitive nudge more thoroughly than Woods.
 
For the third time this season Woods delivered a dramatic performance with a birdie at the 16th. Two fairways, two greens and four putts later hed secured the third leg of the Legends Slam following victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Nicklaus Memorial Tournament.
 
Its also the third time this year Woods has won in his major tune-up. Or maybe he was inspired by good friend Roger Federer, who held off Andy Roddick in a marathon final at Wimbledon, and simply refused to be the gracious host.
 
The victory moves Federer one clear of Woods in Grand Slam hauls, 14 to 15, a statistic Woods is sure to hear about. Before he teed off he fired Federer a foreshadowing text: Great job. Now its my turn.
 
Hell get a chance to square his major match with Federer in two weeks at Turnberry. And if Kims play at Congressional is any indication Woods may soon end up with someone to chase history with in his own sport.
 
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    Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

    By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

    A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

    The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

    The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

    Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

    Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

    "This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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    LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

    By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

    The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

    While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

    The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

    The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

    An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

    The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

    The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

    “Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

    While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

    The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

    The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

    For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

    Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

    Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

    Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

    Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

    March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

    March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

    March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

    March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

    April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

    April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

    April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

    May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

    June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

    June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

    June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

    June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

    July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

    July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

    July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

    Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

    Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

    Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

    Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

    Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

    Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

    Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

    Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

    Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

    Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

    Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

    Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

    Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

    And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

    Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

    Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

    Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

    Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

    In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

    THE MAJORS

    Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

    Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

    Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

    Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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    U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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    The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

    Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

    Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

    Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

    Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

    Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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    PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

    Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


    TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

    AT&T Pebble Beach

    Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

    Travelers Championship

    Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

    Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


    FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


    PHOTO GALLERIES

    Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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    Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm