CA$HING IN: Vijay Singh officially claimed the second FedEx Cup championship, winning the $10 million bonus prize. Singh, who only had to complete 72 holes at the Tour Championship in order to capture the cash, finished in 22nd place at 9 over.
Through two years, the FedEx Cup has produced two great champions and zero drama. It’s back to the drawing boards for Finchem and company. Really, though, what can you do? If you make the process any more volatile you could end up with a WGC-Match Play scenario, in which all of the big names bow out early. But, then again, you can’t leave things the way they are either. The commissioner has a conundrum. We’d feel sorry for him – if he didn’t make a reported $4.5 million per year.
MO MONEY, MO MONEY, MO MONEY: Camilo Villegas collected his second consecutive victory at the Tour Championship in a sudden death playoff over Sergio Garcia. The Columbian had six birdies over his last 11 holes to force the playoff. With the win, Villegas also clinched second place in the FedEx Cup playoffs over Garcia, earning a total of $4.26 million between his victory and Cup finish.
It has been that type of year for Sergio: close, but no cigar. Credit Villegas, however, who had to wait 85 starts for his first victory, only to pick up his second his next time out. And even though we knew who the FedEx Cup winner was, you couldn't ask for much more drama in the race for second place. A sudden death playoff for over $4 million – if only it was for all the marbles.
CAPTAIN IN DISTRESS: European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo was under siege in the wake of his team’s loss to the Americans. He was railed for his decision to back-load his line-up on Sunday and was actually called “America’s 13th Man” by the Daily Mirror.
This was what so many people in Europe have been waiting for: a chance to slam Faldo. Some European press members – and even players – were probably happy to see their side fall just so they could blame it on the captain. Certainly Faldo wasn’t Bernard Gallacher, but it’s not his fault Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood didn’t win a match between the three of them. Why are they getting a free pass? Is the Ryder Cup all of a sudden not as important to the Europeans as it was when they were winning?
SOAKIN IN THE SUN: On the other end of the spectrum, U.S. captain Paul Azinger is being treated like he just cured small pox. The Azinger support has grown into a rallying cry for him to captain once again in 2010.
If we were Azinger there is no way we would captain again. It’s not going to get any better than it is right now, and should something go wrong at Celtic Manor in ’10 people will quickly forget what he did in ’08. The public loves nothing more than to put people on a pedestal and then swipe it out from under them. Remember when the Europeans reveled in Faldo’s Ryder Cup success?
QUITE AN HONOR: Davis Love III was announced as the Payne Stewart Award recipient. The award goes to the player who “reflects Stewart’s respect for the traditions of the game, his commitment to uphold the game’s heritage of charitable support and his professional and meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct.”
Named after the late Stewart, who died in a plane accident the week of the 1999 Tour Championship, the recipient Love simply said: “Payne was a great competitor and a great friend of mine, and to have my name on the trophy is going to be quite an honor.”
LOVELY THOUGHT, BUT … Meanwhile, Love was asked if he might be the captain of the next U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2010. “I would consider myself too young and too interested in still playing,” the 44-year-old said.
Love will one day captain the team, but he’s still got a chance to be competitive over the next couple of years and maybe make the team. We think Tiger Woods should be the next captain. The U.S. seems to fare better when he’s not playing on the team.
WELCOME BACK: Lorena Ochoa returned to the winner's circle for the first time since May with her playoff victory over Candie Kung and Cristie Kerr at the Navistar LPGA Classic. It is the seventh win this year for the Mexican star, who had been away from the tour for the last month.
It sure seems like a long time ago that we were wondering if anything could stop Ochoa from winning the 'Senorita Slam'. Despite the time span between, seven wins is seven wins, and that is impressive. Hopefully she can build some momentum towards next year so we can prematurely talk about the Grand Slam again.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Retief Goosen and his caddie Colin Byrne have reportedly decided to call it quits ... Cristie Kerr was inducted into the Miami Sports Hall of Fame … Eduardo Romero won the Champions Tour's SAS Championship by three shots over Tom Kite.
Byrne caddied for Goosen for five years, but when you haven’t won a PGA Tour event since 2005, something has to change … The enshrinement class also featured former Dolphins linebacker John Offerdahl, Marlins broadcaster and former major-league shortstop Cookie Rojas and Homestead-Miami Speedway chief Curtis Gray … The victory by Romero marked his third win of the season and made the Charles Schwab Cup race all the more entertaining. If that's possible.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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