Hooks Cuts Faldo to Phil

By Rich LernerOctober 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
  • Nick Faldos engineered the most remarkable personality transformation since George Foreman went from sullen bully to lovable teddy bear.
     
  • Whats the moment of the year in golf? Tiger breaking down in tears at the British Open? Daren Clarke holing a chip shot at the Ryder Cup? Sadly, its probably Phil Mickelson picking his ball out of the cup on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot -- the course of golf history so radically altered inside of 10 tragic minutes.
     
  • Lee Trevino offers this Ryder Cup fix: Make Tiger Woods the playing captain and let him pick whichever 11 guys he wants.
     
  • As it turns out, this was not, as expected, the year for the young stars on the LPGA, but rather for the established Hall of Fame members. Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer are winless, while Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb have recaptured greatness.
     
  • Hard to imagine that Coke, which sponsors the TOUR Championship, and Mercedes Benz, attaching its name and considerable dollars to the 07 season opener, are too thrilled with Mickelsons decision to stay home. Majors, not money, motivate Phil. Some of us would swim to Hawaii to stay in the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and play for a million.
     
  • Alex Hay, formerly the lyrical voice of the BBC, on Faldo: He used to say very little. Now you cant get him to stop talking.
     
  • Eyebrows are raised when Jack Nicklaus is mentioned as a possible Ryder Cup captain for 2008. Whats the difference? Hell, make Jack Black the captain, or Jack Daniels for that matter.
     
  • With both Tiger and Phil on different planets, golfs so starved for a new, charismatic, young American superstar whos willing to play in Houston and Greensboro and Memphis.
     
  • There are already 77 players on The PGA TOUR whove earned at least a million dollars this year, raising the question: Is the huge money making guys so comfortable that its killing that burning desire to actually win golf tournaments?
     
  • Lets amend the previous idea that Tigers on another planet. Hes actually in an unknown galaxy. His current win streak, longest in a calendar season since Hogan won six straight in 48, gives Tiger at least a half dozen of the 12 to 15 greatest achievements in golf history. In no particular order, lets obviously submit Jones grand slam; Jacks 18 majors; Nelsons 11 in a row; Hogans triple major season of 1953; and Sneads 81 PGA TOUR victories. Then, without argument, can we safely include the following from Tiger: four consecutive majors; U.S. Open by 15 in 2000; Masters at 21 by 12; three U.S. Amateurs in a row; 67.79 scoring average in 2000; the career slam at 24; first ever with three seasons of eight victories or more; and six in a row, not once but twice? Oh, and hes now won multiple majors in back-to-back seasons, each worthy of consideration in the discussion of the handful of greatest single seasons ever.
     
  • Finally, something to chew on from the late, great Byron Nelson: We had to play every week to make a living. We played because we loved to play. We were family, really. Today the players see each other only at the first tee and practice tee. In our day, when we left Phoenix, Louise and I would tell Valerie and Ben (Hogan) wed stop at Las Cruces, New Mexico, at a little bus stop that specialized in tamales.
     
    Email your thoughts to Rich Lerner
  • Getty Images

    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.