Meanwhile, it turns out all kinds of people are talking about Woods.
Over the weekend GolfChannel.com got a private audience with Annika Sorenstam near her Lake Nona, Fla. home and one of the subjects discussed was Tigers injury. Specifically, Annika was asked if she thought Tiger would be able to stay on top of mens golf when he returns even if the knee forced him to change his swing in any significant way.
Absolutely, Sorenstam said. Hes a very smart guy. One of the things that I was impressed with him is that he can imitate a lot of golf swings. He reads a lot, he watches a lot of TV, and he can just pick up a tip and try it. For him, if his knee is not perfectly healed ' even if he slows down a little ' hell still be very long. But powers not everything; he can do without the power and still be able to play.
Next, GolfChannel.com got into a discussion with Texas native Scott Verplank on why Woods has played just once (1997) at Colonial on the Texas Swing. Verplank said he wasnt sure why but said he had heard that Woods had once said Colonial was not a great golf course.
The only dumb thing Tigers ever said, Verplank said. Verplank added that Colonials test, although not a long one, calls for a full examination of shapes and trajectories and that it would be perfect Woods versatile arsenal.
Wish that all the rest of us could say we had only said one dumb thing in our entire lives.
Finally, rookie Kevin Streelman was a virtual one-man publicity machine for Woods at Disney last week.
I think any event he plays in is good for the U.S. Tour, Streelman said. And its good for the world of golf. This was a pretty cool year for him (not counting the injury). Ill vote for him for Player of the Year. I think he played six times in 2008 and won four. And the other two were top 5s.In my opinion its pretty evident whos Player of the Year.
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Streelman, who tied for sixth at Disney and wound up 35th on the season-ending money list, calls himself a huge golf nerd.
Asked to define huge golf nerd, Streelman said, .Courtney (his wife) sometimes has to cut me off and say, you cant watch the Golf Channel anymore, I want to watch a movie.
The fate of the Fall Series next year is not on the front burner up in Ponte Vedra right now. But it's a definite priority.
The problem is an economy that has weakened many of the financial institutions that serve as Tour title sponsors. That same economy isn't expected, according to the experts, to rebound any time soon.
When I asked PGA Tour executive VP Ty Votaw if there might be contraction next fall from seven events to a lesser number, his text messaged reply was: Still working on that. Will have definitive answers when we announce the Fall Schedule.'
The good news here for the Tour is that the amount of money it contributed to charity in 2008 is expected to surpass the $123 million it reported, across all three Tours, for 2007.
To be sure, the optimism is cautious at best. When I asked Votaw if he expected the Tour's charity contribution number to increase again in '09, his three-word reply was, 'We don't predict.'
The best golf played, by anybody, this year was authored by Tiger Woods in June at Torrey Pines South where he won his third U.S. Open.
The best year turned in by anybody this year was the one produced by Sergio Garcia, who climbed al the way to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Rankings with his recent HSBC victory in China.
Garcia won The Players Championship in May and finished his PGA Tour season with four top 5s in his last five events.
Having stated all of that:
The Player of the Year for 2008 is Padraig Harrington. You can debate this all you want. And it all makes for great bar talk. But the plain fact remains: Two major championship wins in one year trumps all. Harrington won the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. Case closed.
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