COG THRILL: Tiger Woods shot 8-under 63 Sunday to claim his fourth career BMW Championship title, and in the process move into first place on the FedExCup Playoffs points list.
It's not surprising that Tiger could skip the first Playoffs event and still have the overall lead going into the finale. What may come as a bit of a shock, however, is the fact that Tiger is now only two victories behind Arnold Palmer on the all-time PGA TOUR wins list. This was Tiger's 60th career TOUR title -- before the age of 32. He also moved his official TOUR earnings to over $75 million.
STAYING ALIVE: Steve Stricker continued his amazing comeback this past week finishing solo third to give himself a chance to win the $10 million bonus. Stricker will enter the finale 3,133 points behind Woods, with 10,300 points going to the TOUR Championship winner.
Technically, there are five players still alive to win the big pot, but Rory Sabbatini and K.J. Choi would need separate meteors to fall on Woods, Stricker and Phil Mickelson in order to finish first. It will ultimately come down to those three players, which should make for a compelling finale.
FINCHEM FIRESTORM: PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem had to weather quite the firestorm last week after enduring Phil Mickelson’s withdrawal from the BMW; a sudden avalanche of complaints from other TOUR players about the perceived lack of communication between the two parties; and the weekend announcement that heat had wrecked the putting surfaces at East Lake, site of the TOUR Championship.
Finchem is one cool cat and has done a solid job as commissioner of the PGA TOUR – well, with a little help from a guy named Eldrick. Sports fans once hated the idea of expanding the Major League Baseball playoffs from four teams to eight. They also initially hated instant replay in football. But Finchem and Co. are without a doubt on the right track with the end-of-the-season playoffs. Tweaks? Sure. Lots of tweaks? Probably so. Going in the right direction? No doubt.
PHILLING LEFT(Y) OUT: After dropping his Finchem bombshell just moments after his impressive win over Woods at the Deutsche Bank, Mickelson officially announced his withdrawal from the BMW Championship on Tuesday.
Once again, Mickelson showed that things are never dull when he is in the picture. Mickelson did his best to shoot down FInchem in his post-victory interview, and then acted as if the bullets weren't intended for the commisioner when announcing his BMW withdrawal. Overall, the only person who was wounded in this battle was Mickelson. His absence may have cost him $10 million -- and some good PR.
UMBRELLA, PLEASE: The LPGA Tour's 54-hole NW Arkansas Championship was cursed from the get go. Massive rains left the course unplayable for most of the weekend, forcing the tour to shorten the event to just 18 holes and label it a 'non-event.'
It's a small miracle this kind of stuff doesn't happen all the time in golf. When you play a sport that is literally in the hands of Mother Nature, it's a blessing when a full tournament is completed. Just a hunch, but we suspect the 'golfing gods' and Mother Nature must run in the same social circles.
USA! USA! USA!: Jonathan Moore hit a pure 4-iron to 4 feet for eagle on the 18th hole to give the Americans the final point they needed Sunday to capture the Walker Cup, the first time in 16 years they brought back the Cup from across the pond.
The victory, bolstered by NCAA champ Jamie Lovemark from USC and Colt Knost, the U.S. Amateur champ, showed their mettle down the stretch, becoming the first U.S. squad to bring home the Cup from foreign soil since a certain team with the likes of Phil Mickelson and David Duval won at Portmarnock back in 1991. Which leads us to this: USA! USA! USA!
YOU WANT DRAMA?: Brett Rumford drained a 30-foot chip from off the green on the first playoff hole to beat Phillip Archer at the Omega European Masters. It was Australian's first victory since the 2004 Irish Open.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle because of the FedExCup going on in the States is the fact that the European Tour rarely lacks for excitement. The past four weeks are a case in point: Mikko Ilonen birdies the 72nd hole to win the Scandinavian Masters; Ross Fisher wins the KLM Open on the final hole with a birdie; Marc Warren captures the Johnnie Walker Championship with birdie on the second playoff hole; and then Rumford’s heroics on Sunday. Shameless plug alert! All this action is seen live each week on the GOLF CHANNEL!
THE LIGHTER SIDE: Sue McMeekin of Satsop and Les Bell of Montesano, Wash., had an usual partner for seven of their nine holes at the Oaksridge Golf Course -- an Emu. Yes, that’s right, an Emu. That would be the flightless bird, second only in size among avians to the ostrich, that can grow to more than 5 feet in size.
If you’ve ever ventured out by yourself to play some golf, you’ve no doubt encountered plenty of odd characters along the way. Some you have enjoyed playing with, while some have made you wish you would have stayed at home and finished mowing the lawn. But an Emu? Who wouldn’t love to have that golfing story? The giant bird apparently followed the ladies for quite a while, ‘watching each swing and sometimes walking between them or standing directly in front of them.’
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tadd Fujikawa missed the cut last week at the Omega; Fiddlesticks C.C. landed the 2010 USGA Senior Women's Amateur; Robert Allenby’s caddie, Matthew "Bussy" Tritton, quit during the middle of Friday’s second round of the BMW Championship.
Fujikawa may have missed the cut but he went out in grand style - making an albatross on his final hole, holing out a 3-wood from 285 yards on the par-5 18th; Normally, the announcement of the site of a future U.S. Senior Women's Amateur event wouldn't garner a spot in the 'In Case You Missed It' files, but when the name of the golf club is called Fiddlesticks, well, you can see why; Allenby seemed to be quite proud of the fact that yet another caddie had quit on him. Here’s thinking the Aussie will never be up for a ‘Boss of the Year’ award.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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