IN THE FLES(C)H!: Steve Flesch won for the second time this year at the inaugural Turning Stone Resort Championship. Flesch used rounds of 66-65-66 to take a four-stroke lead into Sunday and then held on with a 1-over 73.
This is the second win in eight weeks for Flesch. Ironically, neither victory qualifies him for the Masters, as Augusta National doesn't recognize Fall Series events as qualifiers to their tournament, nor opposite field events (one of which, Reno-Tahoe, was also won by Flesch). No worries, though, as the left-hander is now 25th on the money list, with the top 30 at season's end getting into the first major of 2008. And even if he doesn't, for some reason, get into that event, he'll have plenty of other places to play for the next three years.
AUTUMN IS HERE: On the heels of the inaugural FedExCup Playoffs, the PGA TOURs inaugural 'Fall Series' got underway in New York with the first-ever Turning Stone Resort Championship. As mentioned, Flesch walked away with the first-place prize -- but he wasn't the only winner.
This seven-week chase is more than just about who wins and loses each week, and in that way can make it far more compelling than its Cup predecessor. Just ask Michael Allen. The Q-school regular wrangled a second-place showing at Turning Stone and thus secured a place to play in '08. Expect storylines like this one on a weekly basis.
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: The leading governing bodies of the world of golf - the PGA TOUR, European Tour, LPGA Tour, the U.S.G.A, Royal & Ancient Golf Club, Augusta National Golf Club and the PGA of America ' all signed off on an anti-doping policy to take effect some time in 2008.
In a sport where players are routinely praised for calling penalties on themselves during competition, the governing bodies apparently decided that the players might not be calling every infraction on themselves off the course. On one hand, its foolish to remain nave about sports-enhancing drugs in todays world, but on the other hand lets hope the sport is as squeaky clean as its public image has always been. Somewhere Barry Bonds is wishing he'd had taken up hitting golf balls and not baseballs. Or maybe not.
AUGUSTA IN '96? GOOD TIMES: Greg Norman and his now former wife Laura have reportedly settled their much public and very contentious divorce. Their marriage lasted 25 years.
There are, however, a few points still needing to be settled, such as determining how they will split the tax liability on Norman's jet. Norman is now a business man, and perhaps even better at making money than he was at winning golf tournaments. We can only wonder which hurts more: Losing major money or losing major championships.
REMEMBER ME?: Lee Westwood won the British Masters over the weekend, closing the tournament with a 7-under 65 that included a 40-foot putt for birdie on the 16th hole and a 30-footer for eagle at the 17th. It was his second win this year.
Westwood was a shooting star in the golf world from 1998-2000, winning an astounding 18 times on the European Tour during that stretch. He then experienced a David Duval-like fall from grace, at times not sure if he would continue to play the game. As to be expected, his big win quickly went to his big head, as he said: 'I'd like to get back into the top-5 (in the world rankings).' Slow down Lee; no need to make Tiger's ears perk up.
FIRST TIME'S A CHARM: Playing in his first event on the Champions Tour, Mark Wiebe shot 18 under par to capture the SAS Championship. He became the 12th player to win in his debut on the senior circuit.
With all the hype surrounding the arrivals of Nick Price, Mark O'Meara, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Jeff Sluman this year on the Champions Tour, it's the little known Wiebe who has the only title among this group. Wiebe, who's last TOUR-related win came in 1986, might not sell tickets at the gate, but he's going to be taking home some serious money on the senior set.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: John Daly withdrew from the Turning Stone event in the first round due to 'flu-like symptoms;' Hawaiian teen Tadd Fujikawa again missed a cut - his third straight MC as a professional, this time coming on the Nationwide Tour; The U.S. won the PGA Cup, an event which pits American club professionals against their European counterparts, 13 1/2 -12 1/2; And finally, The Ginn sur Mer Classic has offered exemptions to twins Derek and Daryl Fathauer for next month's event in Florida.
Daly had talked just prior to the start of the event about how he was looking forward to finishing the season strong. Again, he talked about a strong finish; The 16-year-old Fujikawa didn't make it to the weekend, but he did provide some highlights as he became the youngest player in N'Wide Tour history to record an ace; The U.S. win sets up a possible clean sweep for America in recent 'Cup' play - Walker Cup, Solheim Cup, PGA, and now, perhaps, this week's Presidents Cup; This will mark the first time identical twins have played in the same PGA TOUR event since Curtis and Allen Strange in the 1981 Texas Open. Here's wondering which of the two Fathauer boys will become Curtis and which will become Allen?