Notes Woods Better Than in 98

By Associated PressOctober 3, 2004, 4:00 pm
KILKENNY, Ireland -- Tiger Woods said he would not have placed odds on playing 72 holes at Mount Juliet at the start of the week, when his back hurt so much that he spent the first couple of rounds wincing in pain.
 
'Getting worked on three times a day isn't the best way to go about my business,' he said. 'I was able to compete. I played as hard as I could. I'm glad it's done.'
 
His only victory this year came at the Accenture Match Play Championship, and he has only three official tournaments left to win a stroke-play title ' Disney, the Tour Championship and the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan.
 
Still, Woods said he is better now than when he only won one time in 1998 while going through swing changes.
 
'I was more consistent, but I wasn't contending,' he said. 'I was back-dooring top 10s just by playing well on the weekend. This year, I've been in contention to win tournaments. I just haven't won.'
 
This was Woods' 13th finish in the top 10. In five of those, he has finished no more than three shots behind.
 
FIELDING A TEAM
Scott Verplank had to wait six years, but he finally gets to play in the World Cup. At No. 21 in the world, Verplank is the highest-ranked American who accepted a chance to represent the United States in the two-man team competition involving 24 countries. Nine other players, from Tiger Woods to Todd Hamilton, declined to play.
 
The World Cup will be played Nov. 18-21 in Seville, Spain.
 
Verplank will play with Bob Tway, his best friend on tour and neighbor at Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmond, Okla.
 
The PGA Tour changed the criteria this year to allow the qualifying player to choose his partner, as long as his teammate was in the top 100 in the world.
 
They should make a good team, although Verplank doubts they will sell many tickets.
 
'He and I play together great,' Verplank said of Tway, a former PGA champion and eight-time winner on tour. 'But if Bob and I play for the American team, they'll cancel the event next year. It's not the Tiger-and-Phil (Mickelson) they were hoping for.'
 
Verplank has not played in the World Cup since 1998 in New Zealand when John Daly was his partner. Verplank won the individual trophy that year.
 
'I won and they canceled the event,' he said with a laugh.
 
Not quite. The World Golf Championships assumed control of the tournament the following year, changing the criteria and the format.
 
The world ranking was used to select teams, so Tiger Woods played in 1999 and chose Mark O'Meara as his partner. The next year, it switched from combining both players' score to two rounds of better ball and two rounds of alternate shot. Woods and David Duval won in Argentina.
 
Mickelson, Davis Love III, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Chris DiMarco, Chad Campbell, Kenny Perry and Hamilton all were ranked ahead of Verplank. Hamilton wanted to play, but he has to be in Hawaii the Monday after the World Cup for the Grand Slam of Golf.
 
Verplank agreed to play Sunday, but only if his endless battle with a foot injury allows. If he can't play, next on the list would be David Toms.
 
RETURN TO EUROPE
The American Express Championship will return to Europe in 2006, played at The Grove just outside London for an $8 million purse.
 
It will be the first time the World Golf Championships have gone to Britain since they began in 1999.
 
The Grove, former home of the Earls of Clarendon, has been transformed into a contemporary country estate with an 18-hole course by American architect Kyle Phillips, who also designed Kingsbarns in Scotland.
 
The American Express began in 1999 at Valderrama in southern Spain for two years, and was played at Mount Juliet in Ireland in 2002 and this year.
 
It now alternates between the United States and Europe, with the tournament going to Harding Park in San Francisco next year with prize money of $7.5 million.
 
DIVOTS
Ernie Els won for the third time on the PGA Tour this year, making him and Vijay Singh (eight wins) the only player with at least three victories. ... Stuart Appleby tied for 16th, but leads the field in one category. The Aussie is the only player to have competed in all 17 official World Golf Championships. ... Davis Love III surpassed $3 million for the third time in his career, the first without winning a tournament.
 
Related Links:
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.