Notes Tiger Goes Modern for PGA GIft


PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Tuesday night at the PGA Championship is the annual dinner for former PGA champions, just like at the Masters, but this one has a tradition that began some 15 years ago. The defending champion is responsible for giving all past winners a special gift, with his spouse picking out something for the champions' wives.
Tiger and Elin Woods went for the modern gift this year.
Elin Woods picked out a digital picture frame for the wives that came with a selection of photos of their husbands winning the PGA Championship. Woods gave the winners an iPod that had broadcast video highlights of their PGA victory.
Rich Beem, the 2002 winner at Hazeltine, gave the gift two thumbs up.
'I think it was cool, this being the digital age,' Beem said. 'And it was a cool that the PGA would take time to download those pictures. Sometimes you forget. It's been awhile since I've seen anything I've done extraordinary on the golf course. Any time you see that, it can be inspiring.'
Paul Azinger's squad at the Ryder Cup is starting to take shape.
Azinger named three assistant captains for the 2008 matches at Valhalla, tapping two captains for whom he played in Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton, and good friend Olin Browne as someone considered more of a contemporary for the players.
'There's a lot of wisdom in Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton, and a lot of experience that I plan on leaning on,' Azinger said Wednesday. 'Together, we're going to do everything we can to try to get this next Ryder Cup right.'
The Ryder Cup has gone downhill for the Americans. Europe won last year in Ireland by an 18 1/2 -9 1/2 margin, matching the record rout from the previous time at Oakland Hills. Europe now has captured the cup eight of the last 11 times.
Stockton was the captain in 1991, when Europe was trying to retain the cup for the fourth straight time. That was the infamous 'War on the Shore,' when the Ryder Cup fever turned it into perhaps the most fierce competition in golf.
'We had not had the cup back here in six years,' Stockton said. 'And I was glad that it was able to stay. I'm looking forward to helping Paul in any way I can, as with Raymond and Olin, so that when they bring the cup back over next year, it stays here.'
European captain Nick Faldo has said he would have four assistants, and Azinger likely will add another.
Jim Furyk supported Azinger's first major decision as captain.
'He's going to have two guys that have previously gone through it ... and I think it's a wonderful idea to get them involved,' Furyk said.
Rich Beem will have seen his share of Tiger Woods in the majors by the time Friday afternoon rolls around. That will be his third straight round paired with the world's No. 1 player, dating to the final round at Carnoustie when Woods closed with a 1-under 70 to tie for 12th and Beem shot a 72 to tie for 20th.
'I won't say anything stupid like Rory,' Beem said.
That was a reference to outspoken and ultra confident Rory Sabbatini, who said after Woods beat him at the Wachovia Championship that the world's No. 1 player looked 'as beatable as ever.' Woods beat the South African again in the final round at Firestone to win.
'It's not like I'm going to shake hands on the first tee and say, 'Good luck today, Tiger -- you'll need it,'' Beem said with a laugh.
Ian Baker-Finch will return to the Presidents Cup for the fourth time as an assistant captain.
Baker-Finch, a former British Open champion who now works as an analyst for CBS Sports, agreed to work for International captain Gary Player for the third straight year. He previously was assistant to Peter Thomson in 1996.
'He has been a great team man in the past, and his thorough knowledge of the players on the PGA TOUR makes him the ideal man to assist me in leading our team,' Player said.
The Presidents Cup will be Sept. 27-30 at Royal Montreal. The United States leads the series 4-1-1.
'It looks like we are going to have a very strong team, and it would be great to come away with a win after being so close on the last two occasions,' Baker-Finch said.
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