BE LIKE TIGER...: Kenny Perry fired a solid 3-under 69 in Sunday's final round to overcome a three-stroke deficit to win the Memorial Tournament. In the process, he joined Tiger Woods as the only three-time winner of Jack's event.
It’s an absolutely huge win for the 47-year-old Perry for several reasons: A) this victory goes a long way for him reaching his stated, beginning-of-the-year goal of making the 2008 Ryder Cup team that will be played in his home state of Kentucky; B) it quells the demons in his head after two near misses in his last two events - THE PLAYERS and the AT&T Classic - were he played in the final round and couldn't close the deal; and C) turning 48 in August, he now is exempt on TOUR up until he is eligible for the Champions Tour. This, of course, is not to mention the other 1,080,000 reasons this was a big win for Perry.
...OR NOT: Tiger Woods didn’t play the Memorial Tournament for the second time in three years, but he was in the news this past week, giving a pre-tournament press conference for his AT&T National.
Woods said his game wasn’t up to snuff for competition, but he expects it to be for next week’s U.S. Open. He added that his knee is still a bit of a bother, but he didn’t expect it to keep him out of the winner’s circle at Torrey Pines. His coach, Hank Haney, told GolfChannel.com Insider Brian Hewitt: "Tiger (recently) hit the ball as good as I have ever seen him hit it with all his clubs. Tiger is an amazing individual and he feels good about his chances at Torrey Pines." Now it's just a wait-and-see situation.
'LET' HER PLAY: Michelle Wie made just her third start in 2008, competing in the Ladies German Open on the Ladies European Tour (LET). Wie opened in 4-under 68 and closed with a 5-under 67 to finish sixth.
Wie, who ranked second just two years ago, has plummeted in the world rankings, and this could turn out be the perfect spark for the 18-year-old to rebuild some much needed confidence. A year ago at this time Wie was all the (negative) talk in golf after bowing out of the Ginn Tribute through 16 holes of the first round while on the verge of shooting the dreaded 88. Now she barely makes a blip on the radar screen when she plays. And that’s probably a good thing. Then again, this solid showing in Germany quickly raises the bar.
WHERE'S THE LIFE PRESERVER?: Seon Hwa Lee may have won the Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA in a playoff over Karrie Webb, but the big story was the fact that Sophie Gustafson held a six-shot lead with 18 to play and didn't even make it into the playoff.
Gustafson, who hasn't won on the LPGA Tour win since 2003, looked to be in total control after shooting 66, 65, 67 in her first three rounds to reach 18 under. She even started Sunday's final round with birdies on two of the first three holes to reach 20 under par. What should have been smooth sailing from there on, quickly turned into a boat taking on water and eventually capsizing. She played the final 15 holes in 9 over par and missed the playoff by three shots. The good news is that she finished seven strokes better than fellow Swede and tournament host Annika. That’s good, right?
HANDLE WITH CARE: Ernie Els flip-flopped and decided to play at Jack's tournament, the Memorial. The Big Easy surprised everyone - though only momentarily - when his Web site reported that he would not play again until this week in the Stanford St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
We don't know the exact reasons for Els' change in heart, although we find it a little strange that the South African decided to play in the event after a certain someone withdrew. Coincidence? Yes. Smart move? No. Ernie went on to miss the cut in his second straight event and is seemingly limping toward Torrey Pines.
USA! USA! USA!: The American squad rolled to a 13-7 victory in the biennial Curtis Cup, which matches top female amateurs from the U.S. against those from Great Britain and Ireland. The United States now leads the series, 26-6-3.
This was the U.S. team's sixth straight win in the event and with it brought up suggestions that the event begin including all of continental Europe - as opposed to just GB&I - as the Ryder Cup did back in 1979. Countered legendary U.S captain Carole Semple-Thompson, “I can understand Great Britain and Ireland would be a little frustrated at this point since we’ve won six in a row, but I think that the level of their play is fantastic." Sounds like she is well aware of what has happened to the U.S. since the Ryder Cup changed its format.
SAD DEPARTURE: Lorena Ochoa withdrew prior to the start of the Ginn Tribute to be with her ailing uncle in Mexico. Two days after her withdrawal, her uncle, Pedro Ochoa, died after a long illness at age 73
Family is first and foremost to Ochoa and it showed when she left Annika’s event, a tournament which she lost in a playoff last year, to be by the bedside of her dying uncle. Ochoa’s Web site said she would return to competition this week for the season’s second major, the McDonald’s LPGA Championship, where she will go for her third straight major victory. Expect Ochoa to be focused and inspired at Bulle Rock.
DOUBLE REPEAT:Jay Haas won for the second straight week and the second straight year at the Principal Charity Classic, shooting 6-under 65 Sunday for a one-shot triumph over Andy Bean.
Haas now leads the senior circuit in money and on the Charles Schwab Cup points list. He’s also 1-for-1 in the majors this year. Chalk up another P.O.Y. campaign for Mr. Haas.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Colin Montgomerie wants to change the Ryder Cup format to extend it to four days of action; Scott Strange won The Celtic Manor Wales Open in wire-to-wire fashion, his maiden European Tour victory; Kris Blanks won his maiden Nationwide Tour event at the Bank of America Open.
Usually we feel if it ain't broke, don't fix it. However, an extra day of Ryder Cup excitement? Sign us up!; Strange admitted afterwards, "I felt numb on the last tee. I had a vacant brain.”; Blanks moves from 31st to fifth on the Nationwide money list.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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