Player of the Year to Name Only Winner
The leading candidates are Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, although most players would love to have three victories and the green jacket hanging in Mike Weir's closet.
It should be the closest vote since Mark O'Meara and his two majors trumped David Duval and his four victories, the money title and Vardon Trophy.
No one will know. The PGA Tour only says who won, not by how many.
'Our intention is not to release the vote total, but to declare the winner,' PGA Tour spokesman Bob Combs said. 'Just as the Oscars don't tell you who finished second or fifth, neither does the tour.'
Combs said the tour might one day announce final tallies -- just not this year.
'We started the balloting process under one set of guidelines, and changing that at this point doesn't seem the appropriate action,' he said. 'We may well review that for future years.'
MICKELSON'S MISERY: Phil Mickelson's miserable season ended at the Skins Game, where he missed a 3-foot birdie putt that eventually allowed Fred Couples to capture the final skin worth $200,000.
'It was a tough year,' Mickelson said.
Lefty's take from the Skins Game -- $170,000, third place behind Annika Sorenstam -- was his fourth-highest check of the season. This was the first time in his career that he failed to make the Tour Championship (38th on the money list), and the first time he failed to at least finish second on the PGA Tour.
He also went 0-5 in the Presidents Cup.
Mickelson will not play again until the Bob Hope Classic, about a two-month break.
'That will give me an opportunity to evaluate where I need to go with my game,' Mickelson said. 'Driving is pretty obvious, but there are some other areas, too.'
Mickelson averaged 306 yards off the tee -- more than 17 yards better than last year -- but hit only 49 percent of his fairways (189th on tour) and only 64.8 percent of his greens (102nd). One year after leading the tour in the all-around statistical ranking, he slipped to 17th.
The most glaring drop: His final-round scoring average was 71.72, which put him 144th on tour.
BRUIN POWER: Jay Delsing is trying to get back to the PGA Tour for the first time since 2000, and he had some strong support getting through the second stage of Q-school.
His caddie was former U.S. Open champion and UCLA teammate Corey Pavin.
'He called me and said, 'Man, I want to caddie for you in the finals,'' Delsing said. 'I told him I had to get through the second stage.'
Pavin was on the bag as Delsing made it through at Black Horse in Monterey, traditionally the toughest course on the qualifying rotation.
'To be where he was and want to do this shows what kind of guys he is,' Delsing said.
PORTABLE TEST: The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club have approved a portable test to measure the trampoline effect in drivers.
The test requires only a low-speed strike to the clubface by a small weight on a pendulum, which measures the contact time of the collision.
The PGA Tour plans to make the test available to players who want to check the coefficient of restitution (COR) and to rules official in case there is a need to test a driver, but commissioner Tim Finchem said last month there will not be mandatory testing.
'This is a game of honor and integrity. It will continue to be that way,' Finchem said. 'When you're dealing with your ability to stay eligible to play in a golf tournament, you're not going to fool around with whether your driver is above or below a COR limit.
You're going to test your drive.
'There's no doubt in my mind that every player is going to get their driver tested,' he said. 'And in about four weeks after we start this procedure, it's going to be a non-issue.'
DIVOTS: Wendy's has taken over sponsorship of the Champions Skins Game, to be played Jan. 31 at Wailea Resort on Maui with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino. ... Charles Howell III and his former agent, Rocky Hambric, reached a settlement over a breach-of-contract lawsuit over Howell leaving for IMG, Golfweek magazine reported. 'I want to start 2004 with a clean slate and want to be No. 1 in the world. Having a lawsuit hang over your head is not the best way to do that,' Howell said. ... The Gaelic Athletic Association has agreed to switch the date of the All Ireland Football Final in 2006 so that it won't conflict with the Ryder Cup, to be played Sept. 22-24 that year at The K Club near Dublin.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Fifteen of the 171 players in the finals of Q-school are past champions on the PGA Tour. A year ago, there were 14 former winners.
FINAL WORD: 'The trophy is going to sit in Ponte Vedra Beach either way.' -- U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus after the Presidents Cup ended in a tie.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut
After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.
Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.
The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:
Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.
"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."
Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.
Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store
More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.
Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.
The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:
What’s in my bag now?! They were selling at Play it again ... only $60 each in San Diego. Jack, Jeff, Paul watched my video with @alisonwhitaker1 in Singapore and found my remaining clubs and brought it back to me @lpga_tour this week at Aviara!! Btw... Where is the head covers? They might sell separately?Never mind.
Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.
WGC-Dell Match Play: Scoring, live stream, standings
New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match
AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.
But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.
The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.
“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”
The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.
“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”