RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE: Winning Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger was honored by his hometown of Tampa, Fla., by throwing out the first pitch before the second game of the Tampa Bay Rays playoff series against the Chicago White Sox.
Said Azinger of the tribute: "This is very special for me. I’ve been a Rays fan since the inception of the franchise and attend games at Tropicana Field as often as I can. This year’s Rays club shows what a team with talent, character and faith can do.” In other news, Welwyn Garden City, England, the hometown of losing Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo, had a similar honor, but with a twist – they actually threw him out. Oh, we love to kid.
TOUR HAS HEART: Erik Compton, who four months ago underwent a second heart transplant, has been granted the right to use a cart during PGA Tour Q-School.
The Tour let Casey Martin use a cart during Q-School in 1997, but got all bent out of shape when he actually made it through to the Nationwide Tour, and eventually the PGA Tour. It will be interesting to see what the Tour decides if Compton should make it to the final stage.
CALIFORNIA DREAMER: Paula Creamer withstood a small, but strong field, rolling in a putt to win on the 72nd hole at the Samsung World Championship. It was the fourth victory of the year for the 22-year-old Creamer and eighth of her career.
With the win, the California native became the first American to win four or more times in a season since Juli Inkster had five victories in 1999. The LPGA is probably doing cartwheels over this fact – like Creamer at last year’s Women’s British Open.
SINGH SIDELINED: Vijay Singh announced this past week that he will put his clubs on the shelf for at least two months to rest an ailing left forearm. Singh has dealt with tendinitis “for a good part of the 2008 season” and was instructed by doctors to take off some time in order to be fit for 2009.
Singh not playing golf? Singh not even practicing? It just doesn’t seem natural. Here are some suggestions for your time off, Vijay: 1) Create your own language and give all press conferences in this tongue. 2) Go to Tiger’s house and ask him if he’d mind if you two hung out for a while. 3) Spend some of that $10 million FedEx Cup bonus money on the Backspin staff.
TURNING POINT: PGA Tour rookie Dustin Johnson picked up his first career victory at the Turning Stone Championship with birdies on the final two holes to top Robert Allenby by one stroke.
The victory, while perhaps lost on many people in this football-crazed country, was no doubt huge for Johnson, who erased a two-shot deficit entering the final round. The South Carolina native stunned the Aussie Allenby, whose birdie chance at the last came up inches short. 'Dusty' – as we're sure Tiger would call him – has now locked up his Tour card for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. No doubt Dusty loves the PGA Tour Fall Series.
FIELD OF DREAMERS: Tiger Woods announced the field for his Chevron World Challenge. It includes: Singh, Padraig Harrington, Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, K.J. Choi, Kenny Perry, Justin Leonard, Mike Weir, Luke Donald, Stephen Ames, Hunter Mahan, Boo Weekley, Paul Casey and Fred Couples.
Of course, the field won’t include the tournament host. Tiger reiterated during his press conference that he has no timetable for a return. Somehow we don’t think that anyone he invited to play in his event is anxiously awaiting his return.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: John Daly said he is entertaining the thoughts of playing more on the European Tour in the 2009 season … Boo Weekley made a guest appearance on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' on Friday evening ... Robert Karlsson won a three-man playoff to capture the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Said Daly: “I saw guys hitting it by me that never hit it by me before. I was like, ‘there’s definitely something wrong here.’ ” … Showing he has the moxie to keep up with JD in the weird department, Boo told the national late night audience a story about fishing his keys out of a toilet … The tall, quiet Swede is not-so-quietly becoming one of the best players in the world. His win moved him past Harrington on the European Tour's Order of Merit list.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, PART DEUX: The Open Championship will exempt the top 30 from the FedEx Cup standings and top 30 from the European Tour’s money list … According to the Associated Press, Official World Golf ranking points will be given to players who compete in Tiger Woods’ year-end World Challenge event beginning next year …. The European Tour will make players compete in a minimum of 12 tournaments to earn tour membership, beginning in 2009
The criteria used to be top 20 on both tour’s money lists … Tiger wants something; Tiger gets something. It’s that easy … The lucrative “Race to Dubai” is grabbing players’ attention across the world. This will require those who want a shot at the millions on offer to play one more event on the European Tour.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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