A game that taught Tiger how to break par

By Associated PressJune 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. ' Even when he was just learning to play golf, Tiger Woods never had any trouble breaking par. He owes that to his father making sure the bar was never set too high.
 
Earl Woods used to determine how many perfect shots his son needed to reach the green, then added two for the putts. As he got older and could hit the ball farther, par was reduced until it became regulation.
 
The biggest argument Tiger and I have ever been involved with was changing his par, Earl Woods said in a 2000 interview. I changed the par from 8 to 7 and he would complain, No, no, no. And then he would shoot sub-par. He never developed a comfort zone.
 
Woods recalled those days during his press conference Tuesday, especially when his father lowered par.
 
Say it was a par 4 and it took me four to get there, the first time I got there in three, par automatically went down, Woods said. Sometimes, he didnt know that I would lay up a couple times, not get the ball to the green, so I wouldnt have to drop par. And then he started catching on and hed drop par anyway. It was his way of being creative enough where it taught me never to be afraid to go low.
 
If I had a hot day, run with it.
 
Strangely, though, Woods doesnt prefer to play tournaments where he has to shoot 65 just to keep in contention.
 
Woods career-best is a 61, and he has won 28 times on the PGA Tour when his score was 270 or lower. He goes into the AT&T National having finished at par or better at every tournament over the last two years.
 
GOYDOS ON THE GO: Paul Goydos tied for second last week at the Travelers Championship, which came with a big check and a small consolation. He moved into position to qualify for the British Open on a special, cumulative money list.
 
The British Open exempts the top two players (not already eligible) on a money list that includes The Players Championship, Memorial, St. Jude Classic, U.S. Open, Travelers Championship and this weeks AT&T National.
 
Goydos earned $528,000 at Hartford, putting his total on the special money list at $759,467. That puts him atop the list among players not already eligible, leading U.S. Open runner-up Ricky Barnes ($588,762), John Mallinger ($584,319) and Kevin Na ($584,150).
 
PRO-AM PLAN: Starting next year, not playing in the pro-am wont necessarily mean being disqualified from PGA Tour events.
 
Under a plan the policy board adopted Tuesday, some players might have the option of skipping the round of golf with amateur clients in exchange for attending a corporate function during the tournament, such as a dinner or cocktail party with top clients.
 
The idea originated from the Tour Championship two years ago, when the greens at East Lake were in such bad shape from the heat that the pro-am was canceled and players instead took part in a Q&A with amateurs at breakfast.
 
The sponsors loved it, Davis Love III said. Thats what got this thing going.
 
Love said the players ultimately would have the last word in case they need to participate in the pro-am to see the golf course. But he said it might help some players decide to play a tournament if they otherwise would miss because of family obligations.
 
Under the guidelines, anyone finishing in the top 30 on the money list of FedEx Cup standings could pick two tournaments where they can elect something other than the pro-am. Also, no more than three players per tournament could sign up for something other than the pro-am. Most of the arrangements would be decided a month in advance.
 
MAJOR STREAK: Phil Mickelsons wife, Amy, is to have surgery Wednesday to learn the scope of her breast cancer. Mickelson has already said it was unlikely he would play in the British Open during the early stages of her treatment.
 
If thats the case, it would end the longest active streak in the majors.
 
Mickelson has played 61 dating to the 1994 U.S. Open ' he missed the Masters that year after breaking his leg while skiing. Next line would be Vijay Singh, who now has played 60 consecutive majors.
 
No one from this generation is likely to match the major streak set by Jack Nicklaus, who played 146 in a row from the 1962 Masters through the 1998 U.S. Open.
 
ENEMY TERRITORY: Tiger Woods didnt have a full appreciation of his market at the AT&T National.
 
Its one thing for Woods to play with a celebrity in the pro-am, even an NFL quarterback. Its quite another when that quarterback is Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys, playing before fans who live for the Washington Redskins.
 
I didnt realize it was going to be this big a deal, Woods said.
 
It will be the second quarterback Woods has played with in a pro-am this year. He played with Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts at the Quail Hollow Championship.
 
The difference might be in crowd reaction.
 
Its going to be a fun round, but also an interesting one, Woods said. Granted, he used to getting booed, and it is what it is.
 
DIVOTS: The Barclays will be held at Ridgewood Country Club in 2010, then move to Plainfield Country Club in 2011. Rich Beems effort to raise money for Dallas Cowboys scouting assistant Rich Behm, injured when the teams practice facility collapsed, raised $10,321. It started out as Beem wanting only to auction the clubs he used at the two Dallas-area tournaments. Rhode Island Country Club will host the U.S. Womens Amateur in 2011, and The Country Club in Cleveland will host it a year later. Kenny Perry went over the $30 million mark in career earnings last week.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Fred Couples won his first PGA Tour event in 1983 at Congressional when it was called the Kemper Open.
 
FINAL WORD: Fans actually knew who I was for once. ' U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover on the support he received in Hartford.
 

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    Kupcho wins NCAA title; final eight teams set

    By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 1:55 am

    STILLWATER, Okla. – On one of the more nerve-racking days of the college golf season two important honors were up for grabs at Karsten Creek – the individual title, and the top eight teams attempting to qualify for match play.

    Here’s the lowdown of what happened Monday at the women’s NCAA Championship:

    Individual leaderboard: Jennifer Kupcho, Wake Forest (-8); Andrea Lee, Stanford (-6); Bianca Pagdanganan, Arizona (-6); Cheyenne Knight, Alabama (-5); Morgane Metraux, Florida State (-4); Jaclyn Lee, Ohio State (-3).

    Team leaderboard: UCLA (+9), Alabama (+9), USC (+16), Northwestern (+21), Stanford (+28), Duke (+30), Kent State (+32), Arizona (+33).

    What it means: Let’s start with the individual race. Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho was absolutely devastated a year ago when she made triple bogey on the 17th hole of the final round and lost the individual title by a shot. She was bound not to let that happen again and this year she made five birdies on the last eight holes to win by two shots. Kupcho is the first player with three consecutive top-six finishes at the NCAA Championship since Duke’s Amanda Blumenherst (2007-09).

    The team race took an unexpected turn at the end of the day when Arizona junior Bianca Pangdaganan made eagle on the last hole to vault the Wildcats into an eighth-place tie, meaning they would enter a playoff with Baylor for the final spot in the match play portion of the championship.

    The Wildcats got a reprieve because they played terribly for most of the day and dropped from third place to 10th at one point. In the playoff, Arizona ultimately defeated Baylor in an anticlimactic finish.

    Best of the rest: Stanford played horribly the first round. So bad that it almost seemed like the Cardinal shot itself out of the championship. But they played steady over the next three days and ended with the fifth seed. This is the fourth year in a row that Stanford has advanced to match play.

    Round of the day: USC shot a 5-under total on Monday, the best round of the day by six shots. They landed as the third seed and will play Duke in the quarterfinals.

    Stanford sophomore Andrea Lee shot a 7-under 65, the best score of the day by three shots. Lee made seven birdies and no bogeys and vaulted up the leaderboard 11 spots to end in a tie for sixth place.

    Biggest disappointment: Arkansas, the second-ranked team in the country, missed qualifying for match play by one shot. The Razorbacks shot a 20-over 308 in Round 1 and played only slightly better with a 300 in the second round. Consecutive 1-over-par 289 scores were a good try, but results in a huge miss for a team expected to contend for the team title.

    Here are Tuesday morning's quarterfinal matchups:

    Cut and not so dry: Shinnecock back with a new look

    By Bradley S. KleinMay 21, 2018, 9:22 pm

    SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. - The last time the USGA was here at Shinnecock Hills, it nearly had a train wreck on its hands. The last day of the 2004 U.S. Open was so dry and the turf so firm that play was stopped in the morning just to get some water on the greens.

    The lessons learned from that debacle are now on display three weeks before Shinnecock gets another U.S. Open. And this time, the USGA is prepared with all sorts of high-tech devices – firmness meters, moisture monitors, drone technology to measure turf temperatures - to make sure the playing surfaces remain healthy.

    Players, meanwhile, will face a golf course that is 548 yards longer than a dozen years ago, topping out now at 7,445 yards for the par-70 layout. Ten new tees have assured that the course will keep up with technology and distance. They’ll also require players to contend with the bunkering and fairway contours that designer William Flynn built when he renovated Shinnecock Hills in 1930.

    And those greens will not only have more consistent turf cover, they’ll also be a lot larger – like 30 percent bigger. What were mere circles averaging 5,500 square feet are now about 7,200 square feet. That will mean more hole locations, more variety to the setup, and more rollouts into surrounding low-mow areas. Slight misses that ended up in nearby rough will now be down in hollows many more yards away.



    The course now has an open, windswept look to it – what longtime green chairman Charles Stevenson calls “a maritime grassland.” You don’t get to be green chairman of a prominent club for 37 years without learning how to deal with politics, and he’s been a master while implementing a long-term plan to bring the course back to its original scale and angles. In some cases that required moving tees back to recapture the threat posed by cross-bunkers and steep falloffs. Two of the bigger extensions come on the layout’s two par-5s, which got longer by an average of 60 yards. The downwind, downhill par-4 14th hole got stretched 73 yards and now plays 519.

    “We want players to hit driver,” says USGA executive director Mike Davis.

    The also want to place an emphasis upon strategy and position, which is why, after the club had expanded its fairways the last few years, the USGA decided last September to bring them back in somewhat.

    The decision followed analysis of the driving statistics from the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where wide fairways proved very hospitable to play. Players who made the cut averaged hitting 77 percent of fairways and driving it 308 yards off the tee. There was little fear of the rough there. “We didn’t get the wind and the dry conditions we anticipated,” says Davis.

    Moving ahead to Shinnecock Hills, he and the setup staff wanted to balance the need for architectural variety with a traditional emphasis upon accuracy. So they narrowed the fairways at Shinnecock Hills last September by seven acres. They are still much wider than in the U.S. Opens played here in 1986, 1995 and 2004, when the average width of the landing areas was 26.6 yards. “Now they are 41.6 yards across on average,” said Davis. So they are much wider than in previous U.S. Opens and make better use of the existing contours and bring lateral bunkers into play.

    This time around, with more consistent, healthier turf cover and greens that have plenty of nutrients and moisture, the USGA should be able to avoid the disastrous drying out of the putting surfaces that threatened that final day in 2004. The players will also face a golf course that is more consistent than ever with its intended width, design, variety and challenge. That should make for a more interesting golf course and, by turn, more interesting viewing.

    Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys Documentary Series Continues Tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsMay 21, 2018, 8:27 pm

    Monday’s third installment in the four-part series focuses on the Big 12 Championships and NCAA Regional Championships

    Reigning NCAA National Champion Oklahoma Sooners and Top-Ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys Prepare for Showdown Friday at the 2018 NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships

    ORLANDO, Fla., May 21, 2018 – Tonight’s third episode of the critically-acclaimed documentary series Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys (8 p.m. ET) wraps up the conclusion of the 2017-18 regular season and turns to post-season play for the top-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and reigning NCAA National Champions Oklahoma Sooners.

    Drivenwill take viewers behind the scenes with the conclusion of regular season play; the Big 12 Conference Championship, where Oklahoma captured their first conference championship since 2006; and the NCAA Regional Championships, where Oklahoma State and Oklahoma – both No. 1 seeds in their respective regionals – were both victorious and punched tickets to the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships.

    The episode also will set up the showdown starting Friday at the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships, where Oklahoma State will attempt to dethrone Oklahoma as national champions, all taking place at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., Oklahoma State’s home course. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be paired together for the first two rounds of individual stroke play Friday and Saturday.

    Driven’s fourth and final episode will air on NBC on Saturday, June 16 at 5 p.m. ET, recapping all of the action at the NCAA Golf National Championships and the two programs’ 2017-18 golf seasons.

    Golf Channel is airing back-to-back weeks of live tournament coverage of the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships. Golf Channel’s coverage begins today (4-8 p.m. ET) to crown the individual national champion and track the teams attempting to qualify for the eight-team match play championship. Golf Channel’s coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 22-23 will include all three rounds of team match play, ultimately crowning a team national champion. Next week (May 28-30), the same programming schedule will take place for the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships.

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    Mann's impact on LPGA felt on and off course

    By Randall MellMay 21, 2018, 8:00 pm

    Just a few short hours after winning the U.S. Women’s Open in 1965, Carol Mann was surprised at the turn of emotion within her.

    She called her friend and mentor, Marlene Hagge, and asked if they could meet for a glass of wine at the Atlantic City hotel where players were staying.

    Hagge was one of the LPGA’s 13 founders.

    “I’ll never forget Carol saying, `I don’t mean to sound funny, because winning the U.S. Women’s Open was wonderful, but is that all there is?’” Hagge told GolfChannel.com Monday after hearing news of Mann’s death.

    It was one of the many defining moments in Mann’s rich life, because it revealed her relentless search for meaning, within the game, and beyond it.

    Mann, an LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer, died at her home in Woodlands, Texas. She was 77.

    “Carol was a very good friend, and a really sincere and good person,” Hagge said. “She was intelligent and insightful, the kind of person who always wanted to know the `why’ of things. She wasn’t content to be told this is the way something is. She had to know why.”

    Mann’s search for meaning in the sport took her outside the ropes. She was a towering presence, at 6 feet 3, but her stature was more than physical. She won 38 LPGA titles, two of them major championships, but her mark on the game extended to her leadership skills.

    From 1973 to ’76, Mann was president of the LPGA, leading the tour in challenging times.

    “Carol was a significant player in the growth of the LPGA,” LPGA Hall of Famer Judy Rankin said. “She was involved when some big changes came to the tour. She was a talented woman beyond her golf.”

    Mann oversaw the hiring of the tour’s first commissioner, Ray Volpe, a former NFL marketing executive. Their moves helped steer the tour out of the financial problems that threatened it.

    “Carol was willing to do something nobody else wanted to do and nobody else had the brains to do,” Hagge said. “She loved the LPGA, and she wanted to make it a better place.”

    At the cost of her own career.

    Juggling the tour presidency with a playing career wasn’t easy.

    “My golf seemed so secondary while I was president in 1975,” Mann once told author Liz Kahn for the book, “The LPGA: The Unauthorized Version.”

    That was a pivotal year in tour history, with the LPGA struggling with an ongoing lawsuit, a legal battle Jane Blalock won when the courts ruled the tour violated antitrust laws by suspending her. With the tour appealing its legal defeats, a protracted battle threatened to cripple LPGA finances.

    It was also the year Mann led the hiring of Volpe.

    “I could barely get to the course in time to tee off,” Mann told Kahn. “There was so much other activity. I burned myself out a bit.”

    Still, Mann somehow managed to win four times in ’75, but she wouldn’t again in the years that followed.

    “I had launched a ship, and then I had to let it go, which was not easy,” she said of leaving her tour president’s role. “I was depressed thinking that no one on tour would say thank you to me for what I had done. Some would, others never would, and 10 years later players wouldn’t give a damn.”

    Mann’s reign as a player and a leader aren’t fully appreciated today.

    “A lot of players in the ‘60s haven’t been fully appreciated,” Rankin said.

    Mann won 10 LPGA titles in 1968, the same year Kathy Whitworth won 10. Mann won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average that year. She won eight times in ’69 and was the tour’s leading money winner.

    “Those were the toughest times to win,” Hagge said. “You had Kathy Whitworth and Mickey Wright, who is the best player I ever saw, and I saw them all. You had so many great players you had to beat in that era.”

    Mann’s good humor came out when she was asked about her height.

    “I’m 5-foot-15,” she liked to say.

    After retiring from the tour at 40, Mann stayed active in golf, working as a TV analyst for NBC, ABC and ESPN. She found meaning in her Christian faith, and she was active supporting female athletes. She was president of the Women’s Sports Foundation for five years. She wrote a guest column for the Houston Post. She devoted herself to the World Golf Hall of Fame, taught at Woodlands Country Club and became the first woman to own and operate a course design and management firm.

    “I’ve walked on the moon,” Mann once said. “I enjoy being a person, and getting old and dying are fine. I never think how people will remember Carol Mann. The mark I made is an intimate satisfaction.”