Tigers FedExCup Runneth Over

By Associated PressSeptember 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- The FedExCup didn't change anything but Tiger Woods' bank account.
 
The PGA TOUR's 'new era in golf' came to a familiar conclusion Sunday when Woods captured the TOUR Championship in record-setting fashion, closing with a 4-under 66 for an eight-shot victory at East Lake and his seventh title of the season.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods hoists the FedExCup trophy. (WireImage)
The only difference?
 
This was the first time Woods walked away from one tournament with two trophies.
 
Along with winning the TOUR Championship and its $1.26 million prize, Woods was a runaway winner of the FedEx Cup and the $10 million that goes into his retirement account.
 
If this was supposed to be the 'Super Bowl' of golf, Woods spent most of the final round running out the clock.
 
He stretched his three-shot lead to four at the turn, and the only drama was whether he would break the 72-hole scoring record on the PGA TOUR. He had to settle for a 23-under 257, his career low on tour and breaking the Tour Championship record by six shots.
 
'I hit it good this week,' Woods said. 'It's been a phenomenal week'
 
Masters champion Zach Johnson closed with a 68 and tied for second with Mark Calcavecchia, who shot a 71.
 
Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson were the only players with a realistic chance of capturing the FedExCup, and their hopes were gone by the weekend. Stricker closed with a 67 and wrapped up second place in the PGA TOUR Playoffs, giving him a $3 million retirement boost.
 
The FedExCup was a points race that began in January, with the points reset after the majors for a four-week stretch of the PGA TOUR Playoffs. Woods skipped the first playoff event in New York, tied for second outside Boston, then won the last two tournaments to win by an overwhelming margin.
 
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem first presented Woods with the crystal trophy from the TOUR Championship. Before handing him the FedEx Cup trophy, Finchem alluded to the TOUR's promotion of the FedExCup by noting it had never been kissed.
 
And it still hasn't.
 
Woods simply held it aloft as the thousands around 18th green cheered.
 
'Once you got into the playoffs, you're playing against the best guys and the hottest players. You have to play well,' Woods said. 'We had some great drama. In the end, it was a lot of fun for all of us.'
 
There was no drama at East Lake, not with Woods hitting on all cylinders to wrap up another phenomenal season. He won seven times in 16 starts on the PGA TOUR, and was close to unbeatable the last two months of the season. Woods was 75-under par in his last five tournaments, four of them victories.
 
Woods' primary objective is winning majors, and he already has 13 of those. The World Golf Championships were created in 1999, and he has won 14 of 25. And now the FedExCup.
 
'It just makes it harder for the rest of us,' Johnson said. 'Why give him another thing to try to achieve. He's a very driven man. When you add another element to that drive, what are you going to do?'
 
It was the 61st career victory for Woods, which makes him at 31 the youngest player to reach that mark. Jack Nicklaus was 35 when he captured his 61st TOUR victory.
 
And while he has to wait at least until he's 45 to tap into the $10 million from the FedExCup, the $1.26 million in cash he earned Sunday pushing his season total to $10,876,052, the second-highest mark in PGA TOUR history. Woods came up $29,114 short of the record set by Vijay Singh in 2004, although Singh earned that in 29 tournaments. Woods played in only 16 this year.
 
Woods' previous low for 72 holes was a 21-under 259 at Firestone in 2000, when he won by 11 shots. This was the eighth time in his career that Woods has won by at least eight shots, and the margin set the record at the TOUR Championship.
 
Woods has never lost any tournament as a pro when leading by more than one shot going into the final round. The only historical hope for anyone Sunday was that Woods twice failed to win with a share of the 54-hole lead, both times at East Lake.
 
But that hope didn't last long.
 
Calcavecchia birdied the first hole to get within two shots, and while that was as close as anyone got to him all day, there were a few nervous moments.
 
Woods took bogey on No. 2 when his short par spun out of the cup, then his wedge to the third flew over the green and into a bed of pine straw. It looked like a sure bogey, which would cut his margin to one, but he hit a beautiful flop shot 8 feet and the putt caught just enough of the lip to drop in for par.
 
The pivotal shot, if there was one, came on the par-3 sixth hole. The tee was all the way back, a 200-yard carry over the lake, and Woods hit his tee shot to 3 feet for birdie. He slapped hands with caddie Steve Williams walking off the tee, and the rest became a formality with a few peculiar twists.
 
Johnson, who flirted with a 59 on Saturday to get back in the mix, made three straight birdies and was standing over a 30-foot eagle putt on the ninth that would have pulled him within two shots of the lead. But he was interrupted by the thud of a ball landing on the front of the green, and Johnson's caddie looked back toward the fairway waving his hand.
 
It was Woods' second shot from the left rough, from 286 yards away. Johnson ran his putt 4 feet by the hole and three-putted for par, and Woods got up-and-down for birdie to stretch his lead to five.
 
Woods hustled to the green to apologize, and everyone left with smiles.
 
The only drama remaining was how low Woods could go, a record that likely will never be broken at East Lake given the unusual circumstances. The greens were nearly died a few weeks ago from record heat and a drought, and while the tour staff did an admirable job getting them playable for the TOUR Championship, they were soft and slow, and the pins were kept away from the barren spots around the edges of the greens.
 
It was target practice from the opening shot, reflected it in the record scoring.
 
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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”