Memories from the 07 PGA TOUR Season
By finishing in last place at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, he became the first player to receive FedEx Cup points. And with some help from the draw at The Barclays, Curtis was the first to hit a shot in the inaugural PGA TOUR Playoffs.
That didn't earn him a bonus, or even an asterisk.
Even so, he played his part in a 'new era of golf' that featured some familiar themes. Tiger Woods won the most tournaments and the most money by taking the fewest strokes. And for the seventh straight year, someone won a major for the first time.
But there's always something different outside the ropes that make golf memorable beyond the birdies and bogeys.
John Daly got off to a tough start this year, one omen coming at Riviera.
Shortly before he teed off in the first round on No. 10, his sand wedge came loose at the hosel. An equipment rep took it to the truck for a quick repair, telling Daly he would get it back to him as he was walking down the fairway.
Daly hit driver through the green into a back bunker. Looking around, there was no sign of the equipment rep. Left only with a 52-degree wedge in his bag, it took him two shots to get out of the bunker, and Daly started with a bogey.
The rep showed up on the 11th tee.
Tiger Woods' last good chance to win the Masters ended on the 15th hole when the 3-iron he tried to cut around the trees hopped off the bank and into the pond fronting the green. He did well to escape with par, but couldn't make birdie the rest of the way and wound up two shots behind Zach Johnson.
The next day, a group of guests were on the 15th hole when one of the caddies stood on the bank of the pond with his back turned to the green. He looked into the murky water, then back toward the fairway, trying to figure out the path of Woods' errant shot.
Finally, he spotted a ball in the water. He dipped a wedge into the pond, scooped up the ball and balanced it on the face of the club as he slowly lifted it out of the water. Sure enough, there was that unmistakable swoosh.
But the grin faded when the caddie flipped the ball into his hand and noticed a corporate logo.
He tossed it back in the water and went to tend the flag.
Rich Beem showed how a little kindness can go a long way.
He was having dinner in the bar at Maggiano's in Charlotte, N.C., and customers stopped by to either wish him luck or tell him how much they enjoyed his victory in the '02 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.
The bartender came over and began spinning a yarn about a distant relative who knew Beem's mother-in-law. Instead of a hollow stare to end the conversation, Beem whipped out his cell phone and called her.
'Mom? Hey, it's Rich. How are you? I'm in North Carolina this week. Hey, listen, there's a guy here who says he's related to someone who you might have known ... hang on, Mom, I'll let you talk to him.'
And with that, Beem handed the phone to a very startled bartender.
'Hello? Uh, yes ma'am, I have an aunt on my wife's side ...' the bartender said.
This went on for a few more seconds until the bartender's eyes grew wide. 'Right! Right! That's her!'
After a few more minutes, the bartender handed the phone back and was positively beaming.
The bill for dinner arrived later, and Beem was charged only for two glasses of wine for him and his guest. He paid the bill, then left the bartender a $100 tip.
Billy Foster was a popular man this summer.
A rumor began circulating that Steve Williams would retire as the caddie for Tiger Woods, and Foster was the natural replacement. The English caddie usually works for Darren Clarke, and Woods used him at the Presidents Cup in 2005 when Williams stayed home in New Zealand for the birth of his first child.
The British tabloids all but pegged Foster as the new looper for the world's No. 1, but the caddies knew better.
Williams still keeps a text message that Foster sent him in July.
'Based on the strength of the rumors that I'll be caddying for Tiger in 2008, I've put a deposit on a new house.'
Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson practically handed Tiger Woods the claret jug on Monday of the British Open. Woods was going for his third straight title, the longest streak since Thomson won three in a row a half-century earlier.
'He has a chance to win eight in a row,' Thomson said at a press conference.
This is the same man who was Presidents Cup captain in 1998 at Royal Melbourne, where he introduced the U.S. team at opening ceremonies as 'the greatest collection of golfers in the world.' Four days later, the International team celebrated a 20 1/2 -11 1/2 victory, the biggest rout ever against an American team.
Thomson was having coffee in the dining area a few hours after his press conference at Carnoustie, and he was reminded of his famous speech at Royal Melbourne. He smiled, and one couldn't help but notice the twinkle in his eye.
'Yes,' Thomson said. 'We handed it to them pretty good that week.'
Maybe he was up to his old tricks. By the end of the week, Woods tied for 12th, and Thomson's streak was safe.
Zach and Kim Johnson conversed like most young married couples. She told him of an invitation they had for the evening. He took the husband's typical seat on the fence, unwilling to commit, leaving it up to her whether they should go.
'What do you want to do?' he said. 'I've still got to practice. What time does it start? I mean, if you really want to go, we can go.'
She deferred to his week of work, and they were headed toward an impasse until Johnson cracked.
'I was kind of hoping to watch some football tonight,' he admitted.
It was Saturday of the Deutsche Bank Championship, the first full schedule of college football. They wound up going, and Johnson ultimately was thrilled with the decision.
The evening entertainment turned out to be a sky box at Fenway Park, the night Boston rookie Clay Buchholz threw his no-hitter.
Clearly, this was a year when a lot of things went right for Johnson.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019
After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.
Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”
Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.
Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.
His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.
“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”
Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.
Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff
Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.
The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.
Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.
Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.
He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.
There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.
In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.
So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.
The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.
Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.
When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.
Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.
Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.
Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.
“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.
This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.
The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.
It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.
“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.
Pay per view does that.
“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.
If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.
Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.
Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena
AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.
District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.
Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.
Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.
Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything
LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:
But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.
Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.
If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.