Notes Tiger Controversy Alive One Year Later

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WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- One year later, the three-story clubhouse at Firestone is still a hot topic of conversation. And it still doesn't have white stakes around the perimeter to mark it out-of-bounds.
 
'Same as it's been for 50-something years,' PGA TOUR rules official Slugger White said Tuesday.
 
Tiger Woods' victory in the Bridgestone Invitational last year came with an enormous break in the second round when his 9-iron from the rough on the ninth hole sailed over the green, bounced off a cement path and onto the clubhouse roof, then fell off the other side into a service driveway where a member of the kitchen staff picked it up and drove away.
 
After a chaotic search, he was given free relief from the immovable obstruction -- the clubhouse -- and some of his peers (Sergio Garcia the noisiest) complained of unfair treatment.
 
White said Colonial has the only clubhouse he could recall that is marked out-of-bounds, and TOUR officials saw no need to change simply because of one bizarre incident. The only difference this year is that Warner Road -- the street separating the South course from the North course at Firestone -- is listed as out-of-bounds.
 
Dillard Pruitt was the official who made the ruling, using a two-way radio to figure out where Woods was allowed to drop, which turned out to be between the first tee and the driving range. Woods wound up with a bogey, and he ultimately beat Stewart Cink in a playoff.
 
Pruitt said had no one found the ball, Woods might have received a really good break -- a free drop behind the green, because that's where the ball was last spotted before being lost in the obstruction.
 
CHOI CHALLENGE:
K.J. Choi can think of 10 million reasons why he wants to win the FedEx Cup, and it adds up to one reason why he might be a sentimental favorite.
 
'If I'm able to win it, I want to give it all to charity, 100 percent,' Choi said Tuesday.
 
The FedEx Cup is a yearlong points race that culminates with four tournaments at the end of the year, with the winner getting $10 million in deferred compensation. Choi was asked what it would feel like to be paired with Tiger Woods in the final group with something that large riding on the outcome. That led him to talk about charity.
 
'I could think of so many things I could do with that money, so many good things,' Choi said through his agent and interpreter, Michael Yim of IMG. 'I want to help a lot of the unfortunate kids around the world. I want to set up my own foundation, like Tiger. Thinking about what I can do with that money, it just motivates me.
 
'I think I'd be too happy thinking about that to feel any pressure playing with Tiger,' he said. 'I'm looking forward to the PGA Championship and the FedExCup. It's just a lot of opportunity for me to do some good deeds for those kids that really need it.'
 
Choi already has won twice this year, at the Memorial and AT&T National, putting him at No. 5 in the FedEx Cup standings.
 
NICKLAUS FILES:
Jack Nicklaus played five majors at Southern Hills without winning, his best finish a tie for sixth in the 1970 PGA Championship. But he didn't leave empty-handed.
 
His first trip to Tulsa, Okla., was for the 1953 U.S. Junior Amateur. His opening match was at 7 a.m., and he recalls walking up to the tee about 30 seconds before his starting time. Former USGA executive director Joe Dey was waiting for him.
 
'Joe Dey looked at me and said, 'Young man, 30 seconds later, you would be starting 1 down on the second tee,'' Nicklaus said. 'He said, 'You need to show up to the starting time earlier than 30 seconds.' I never missed a starting time, I think largely due to that lesson. May not have won at Southern Hills, but I learned a lot of lessons, had a lot of fun.'
 
ROOKIE RACE:
The last five players to be voted PGA TOUR rookie of the year were a relatively simple choice because all had won at least one tournament, and two had won majors (Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton).
 
That might not be the case this year, although the race is no less compelling.
 
The leading candidates with three months remaining are Brandt Snedeker, Jeff Quinney, Anthony Kim and Stephen Marino, with Snedeker the presumed favorite.
 
Snedeker has five top 10s this year, including third place at the Buick Invitational, where he flirted with a 59 and settled for a record-tying 61 on the North course at Torrey Pines. He is 25th in the FedEx Cup standings and has earned $1.6 million.
 
Quinney also has five top 10s, including third place in the FBR Open when he squandered a back-nine lead. He is 34th in the standings.
 
Kim tied for fifth at the Wachovia Championship, his best finish among four top 10s, and is 36th in the standings. Marino has four top 10s, and his best finish was a tie for sixth at the AT&T Classic outside Atlanta. He is 59th in the standings.
 
All but Marino are in the field for the PGA Championship next week, and likely will qualify for the first three playoff events.
 
DIVOTS:
The PGA of America has signed an endorsement deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland. ... The Canadian Women's Open will be played next year at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the club. ... The Tour de las Americas has become an associate member of the International Federation of PGA Tours. Among other things, associate membership allows it to host a World Golf Championship event. The tour staged 14 events last year.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods has earned $6.587 million in nine appearances at Firestone. He has never finished lower than fifth.
 
FINAL WORD:
'If you compare it to Tiger or Vijay or Phil, 13 doesn't sound like a lot. But there's a hell of a lot of guys out there (that) 13 sounds like a lot to.' -- Jim Furyk, whose Canadian Open victory was the 13th of his PGA TOUR career.
 
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