SPLIT PERSONALITIES: Tiger Woods and General Motors parted ways after a nine-year partnership. The cash-strapped company said in a statement that it is looking to reduce costs, and that the world’s No. 1 player also wants more personal time as he expects his second child.
Woods was reportedly making $7 million a year from GM, primarily promoting Buick. Oh, how will he survive in this economy? Guess he'll have to go back to work in 2009.
THANKS, BUDDY: Stuart Appleby, upset at John Daly's inclusion in the Australian Masters, referred to Daly as a "walking train wreck." Appleby was miffed that Daly had received a sponsor's invitation to compete, despite his numerous – and recent – personal problems.
Daly took the high road in discussing the remarks with the media, saying he was trying to focus on his golf and not what others were saying about him. Still, it had to burn. And you just know he wants to punch Appleby in the nose. In the end, both players had time to reflect, as both missed the cut and had the weekend off.
DOWN UNDER DRAMA: Rod Pampling outlasted compatriot Marcus Fraser in a tough, three-hole sudden-death playoff to win his first Australian Masters.
In addition to native son Pampling's victory, and aside from the abovementioned brouhaha between Appleby and Daly, Australian golf fans also were witness to Robert Allenby's emotional finish on Sunday in which his ailing mother – diagnosed with liver cancer – arrived at the course to watch her son try and win one last event. Coming up short, Allenby later tried to sum up his feelings in a press conference, saying, 'Obviously, you know, just the thought, of . . . I think you can put two and two together without me even saying it.'
BIG, FAT (AND SKINNY) CHECK: K.J. Choi was the big winner over the weekend at Indian Wells as he topped Phil Mickelson, Rocco Mediate and defending champion Stephen Ames to win the 2008 edition of the LG Skins Game.
Besides collecting a cool $415,000 in cash, Choi also locked up a return visit, as the champion is automatically invited back the next year. Already a tough sell going up against a weekend full of college football and the NFL, the name Choi – no offense to smiling and friendly South Korean – does not bode well for ratings at next years event. Much like the FedEx Cup, this event definitely needs some tweaking. Speaking of which...
IS CHANGE GOOD?: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced several changes to the FedEx Cup, beginning in 2009. Primarily, under the new formula, points that previously had been reset at the start of the four-tournament playoffs will not be changed until the Tour Championship, meaning all 30 players who qualify for the finale will have a mathematical chance to win.
So far Finchem and company are 0-for-2 when it comes to producing playoff drama. Tiger skipped an event in 2007 and still won, while Vijay Singh claimed the $10 million prize this year, before the final tournament. Will it now work? It all depends on who it comes down to in the end. If it involves Tiger and some other top players, then it worked. If it involves Briny Baird and Kevin Sutherland, then it didn't.
CENTER STAGE: Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson roared back from a four-stroke deficit with a closing 9-under 63 in alternate-shot format to win the Omega World Cup. It was Sweden's second-ever win in the event.
The victory is just another feather in the cap for Karlsson, who has enjoyed the best year of his burgeoning career. Two victories on the European Tour, the Order of Merit title, rising all the way up to sixth in the world rankings and now a World Cup winner. And as fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam exits stage left, it is now Karlsson who will be center stage for Swedish golf fans.
GOOSE BUMPS: Sorenstam captained her International team a 12½ - 11½ victory at the Lexus Cup in Singapore. Sorenstam won her Sunday singles match against longtime friend and foe Se Ri Pak and later admitted she experienced “goose bumps after goose bumps.”
With just one event remaining – this week's Dubai Ladies Masters – before she 'steps away,' it was nice to see Annika the Great taste victory at least one more time. And although it wasn't an individual title, a team-styled win was relished all the same for the Hall of Famer, who added, “There is nothing like a team event and, when you pull it all together, the atmosphere and camaraderie is one of a kind.” So, too, is Annika.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger wasn't the only player with whom GM severed ties. They also ended Fred Couples' 16-year run with Cadillac. ... A charity golf tournament cut ties with troubled former pitcher Roger Clemens after four years.
Did anyone ever associate Couples with Cadillac? We also associated him with La-Z-Boy. ... Clemens has been linked to steroid use, and no one else – especially not a charitable organization trying to raise funds – wants that kind of stigma.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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