THE ROUND MOUND OF BOGEYS: Rick Rhoden rallied to birdie the last two holes to win his seventh American Century Celebrity Golf Championship on the shores of Lake Tahoe. But that was just part of the story.
This all-celebrity tournament has never been about winning and losing for the participants, just that the players beat Charles Barkley, who is infamous for his - for lack of a better word - atrocious swing. As Dallas Mavericks star and 2008 U.S. Olympian Jason Kidd said, 'As long as I'm ahead of Charles, I'm in good shape.' We are all in good shape when it comes to comparing our swings to Sir Charles. God bless him, he's still out there being a good sport.
CHA-CHING: According to Forbes Magazine, Tiger Woods is on pace to becoming the world's first billion dollar athlete by 2010. In last year alone, Woods earned $115 million, while his biggest endorser Nike reported over $600 million in sales.
We all knew Tiger was rich, but this is staggering. Before Nike signed Tiger in 1996, they didn't even have a golf line of shoes and clothing, and in only 10 years since they are pulling in half a billion dollars. Now, if he could only talk to Steve Austin, astronaut, about his knee. Because $6 million seems like a bargain these days, especially for the world's richest athlete.
NOTHING RUNS LIKE A DEERE: Kenny Perry won the John Deere Classic in a playoff on Sunday for his third win of the season. It was a victory that vaulted him to just behind Tiger Woods in both the FedExCup standings and on the money list.
And now here comes the now all-to-familiar awkward moment: Kenny Perry, the hottest player on the planet and a real good choice to be the odds on favorite to win the Open Championship is...playing next week at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. Perry's decision making on this matter will no doubt be debated forever - and rightfully so. But what's not to be debated is Perry's resolve over the last month or so and his lights out play.
PLANE AND SIMPLE: The John Deere Classic offered players set to compete across the pond this week at the Open Championship a chartered 100-seat 767 jet airplane. This is part of an ongoing effort to draw a stronger field to the due the fact that it is scheduled just a week prior the year's third major.
Around 22 players were scheduled to take the John Deere Classic up on their offer to give them a lift, nearly triple the amount who played in both events just one year ago. With the rising cost in gas, this has turned into quite the deal: all passengers can fly for a bargain 'donation' of just $1,000. The only player who didn't like this deal? Kenny Perry, because it ruined his, 'I couldn't find an available flight' excuse. We like to kid Kenny.
PINK PANTHER: Paula Creamer shot an opening-round 60 on Thursday and then held on for her third win of the season at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
Talk about the greatest karma for a sponsor: Creamer - already famously known in and out of golf circles as the 'Pink Panther' - won an event that is sponsored by Owens Corning, who lo and behold, have the cartoon character of the Pink Panther as their... spokesman, er, mascot, er, whatever. Nice job Paula, we're sure there will be a little something extra in the mail this week. And somewhere, Annika Sorenstam was surely happy knowing she still is the one and only Ms. 59.
LOCH AND KEY: Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell won the Scottish Open Sunday with three clutch birdies in a row coming home on the back nine for a 3-under 68 en route to his second victory this year. Phil Mickelson, who played this week as part of his tune up for the Open Championship, finished 11 shots off the pace in a tie for 38th.
Mickelson's struggles aren't a surprise, as he rarely performs well in Europe. The reason why is anyone's guess. As for McDowell, keep an eye on him next week at Birkdale. He will try to keep the Irish mojo, sort of, going at the Open Championship and he didn't get to No. 2 on the European's Order of Merit list by accident.
IT'S ALL RELATIVE: Tiger Woods' niece, Cheyenne Woods, announced this week that she will sign with Wake Forrest to play golf. Cheyenne, who was also first introduced to the game by Earl Woods Sr., is one of the top female high school golfers in the country, and a two-time Arizona state high school champion.
Cheyenne, the 17-year-old daughter of Tiger's half-brother Earl Jr., has hopes of one day playing on the LPGA Tour but wants to enjoy the college experience first. So the $64,000 question is: How much does she have in common with her superstar uncle? Cheyenne is so fascinated with the mental aspect of the game that she plans on majoring in psychology while attending Wake Forest, and we all know Tiger is the strongest player between the ears on TOUR. LGPA Tour players - take notice!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Rick Price won the Nationwide Player's Cup, collecting the lion share of the record $1 million purse; Luke Donald will not play in this week's Open Championship, as the Englishman had to withdraw with a wrist injury; Greg Norman's ex-wife received $103 million in their divorce settlement.
Price only had to make bogey on the first playoff hole to collect the largest check in Nationwide history of $180,000, not the way tournament organizers planned it; Bad news for Donald, is great news for Jerry Kelly. Kelly, the second alternate, will take Donald's spot at Royal Birkdale; Norman wasn't even in attendance at court, as the two-time major winner was on his honeymoon with new wife Chris Evert. However, the $103 million lost was surely made up for in the sale of Greg Norman wine at the wedding reception. That is, if it was a cash bar.
Full Coverage - Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic
Full Coverage - John Deere Classic