Hooks Cuts - The Best of 06

By Rich LernerNovember 17, 2006, 5:00 pm
Looking back on the 2006 season, here are my awards and my award winnners:
 
Breakthrough Player of the Year -- Geoff Ogilvy
 
Breakthrough Player II -- Lorena Ochoa
 
Comeback Player of the Year -- Karrie Webb
 
Comeback Player II -- Se Ri Pak
 
Most Significant Story -- The passing of Earl Woods
 
Most Impressive Tee-to-Green Performance -- Tiger Woods at the British Open
 
Most Inexplicable Meltdown -- Phil Mickelson at the U.S. Open
 
Inexplicable Meltdown II -- Colin Montgomerie at the U.S. Open
 
Favorite Leaderboard Mystery Guest -- Kenneth Ferrie at the U.S. Open
 
Low Point of the Year -- TOUR Championship without Tiger and Phil
 
Low Point of the Year II -- U.S. blowout loss at the Ryder Cup
 
Sentimental Moment of the Year -- Darren Clarke holing out at the Ryder Cup
 
Snapshot Picture of the Year -- Tiger in tears after winning the British, embraced by Stevie
 
Snapshot Picture of the Year II -- Camilo Villegas in his Spider-Man crouch
 
Snapshot Picture of the Year III -- Michelle Wie on a stretcher at the John Deere
 
Most Bizarre Scene -- Tigers roof ball at Firestone
 
Eye Popping Tournament by Someone Not Named Tiger -- J.B. Holmes in Phoenix
 
Eye Popping Tournament by Someone Not Named Tiger II -- Phil by 13 at the BellSouth Classic
 
Eye popping Tournament by Someone Not Named Tiger III -- Stephen Ames at The Players Championship
 
Eye Popping Tournament by Someone Not Named Tiger IV -- Corey Pavin in Milwaukee
 
Best In-Your-Face Effort -- Ben Curtis winning not once but twice
 
Most Surprising Non-Winner -- Sergio Garcia
 
Most Surprising Non-Winner II -- Retief Goosen
 
Most Surprising Non-Winner III -- Ernie Els
 
Most Exciting Finish -- Webb holes out for eagle at Kraft Nabisco
 
Most Exciting Non-Major Finish -- Chris Couch's cross-handed chip-in to win in New Orleans
 
Most Excruciating Miss -- Greg Owen from 40 inches for par at 17 at Bay Hill
 
Excruciating Miss II -- Greg Owen from 24 inches for bogey at 17 at Bay Hill
 
Excruciating Miss III -- Loren Roberts from 4 8' for a million in Sonoma
 
Puzzling Fall -- Justin Leonard, 109th on the money list in 26 starts
 
Puzzling Fall II -- John Daly, 193rd on the money list in 21 starts
 
Puzzling Fall III -- Craig Perks, 254th on the money list in 18 starts
 
Shot of the Year -- Tigers long-iron hole-out at 14 at Royal Liverpool
 
Shot of the Year II -- Paul Caseys Ryder Cup ace
 
Clutch Putt of the Year -- Geoff Ogilvys par-save on the 72nd hole at the U.S. Open
 
Player of the Year -- Tiger Woods
 
Player of the Year II -- Karrie Webb
 
Player of the Year III -- Lorena Ochoa
 
Feel free to e-mail me with your best and worst, your freakiest and favorite moments of 2006. Have a peaceful Thanksgiving. Ill be enjoying with family, missing the laughs and wisdom from Great Grandmom Ethel, the broccoli casserole and encouragement from Aunt Marcia, now sitting round the great turkey day table in the sky.
 
Email your thoughts to Rich Lerner
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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”