Hooks Cuts Motown Magic

By Rich LernerAugust 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Geoff Ogilvy thinks this may well be the first time that the U.S. Open will have been the easiest of the four majors. Augusta and Birkdale were impossible, he said. Oakland Hills wont be impossible, but it wont be easy either. Its a beast, said Paul Goydos.
  • Last weeks back-nine backpedal at Firestone did little to inspire confidence in the ability of those not named Tiger to close. On the other hand, Padraig Harrington going 4 under over the last six to win the British impressed.
  • By the way, I like Harrington this week, but not that much more than I like a guy like Bart Bryant. Think Steve Jones. Think Andy North.
  • One of our directors, Eric Rutledge, is a Detroit native and die-hard Red Wings fan. He swears that Steve Yzermans Game 7, overtime, game-winning goal in the 1996 Conference finals against Wayne Gretzky and the St. Louis Blues is the greatest slap shot in hockey history. He roofed it, top left corner from the blue line, up where Momma hides the baby Tylenol, said Rutledge. Im no hockey expert, but when he showed it to me on YouTube, I was blown away. And I share it with you because I love the phrase, roofed it.
  • Heated debate broke out in our production trailer over the best sports cities in America. My list: New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia.
  • Motown legend Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas recalls meeting a prodigal talent, in some ways the Tiger Woods of music. This young man came in for an audition and while he waited he played the trash can and the typewriter back when typewriters made sounds. His name? Stevie Wonder.
  • T.C. Chen double tapped on the fifth hole here at the 1985 U.S. Open. His entire four-shot lead Sunday was wiped out in one hole when he made quad. Admit it, youve double tapped in your career ' high rough around the green and you try to get too cute. Ive done it. The reactions always the same: You pause in disbelief. No one in the group says a thing. They stare at you, waiting for you to acknowledge the gaffe. And then you say it. I just T.C. Chen-ed it.
  • Tigers not here so the chance for a runaway wins gone. Add to the mix a brutal golf course and you could be looking at a 10-player pileup late on Sunday.
  • Donald Ross designed 22 courses over an 80-mile stretch, from Oakland Hills to Inverness on the border of Michigan and Ohio.
  • Looking at some archival footage of Hagen, Oakland Hills first pro, what struck me was the old school action. The swing was so rubbery, so free with the left heel off the ground, the big turn and liquid tempo. In the film clip, with a stogie and a smile, he runs off the tee box down the fairway and Im thinking, Wow, I knew he was a good-time Charlie and you can see that; but hes an athlete, too! Haigs in my dream foursome with Tiger and Old Tom Morris. With a nod to Old Tom, who didnt have wheels, well fly Tigers private jet to Prestwick to play.
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    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.

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    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.