Doug Ford receives the green jacket from Jackie Burke at the 1957 Masters. Getty Images

World Golf Hall of Famer Ford passes away at 95

By Associated PressMay 15, 2018, 10:02 pm

Doug Ford, the oldest surviving Masters champion who won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was the player of the year in 1957, has died. He was 95.

The PGA Tour said Ford's family notified the tour that he died Monday night. Details of his death were not immediately available.

Ford was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 for a career when prize money was so small that he earned most of his cash gambling during practice rounds. His best year was 1957, when his three victories included the Masters. He was runner-up twice, had 22 top 10s and earned $45,379.

''You could win $300 or $400 every day, which would get you to the next town,'' Ford said on the day he was inducted. ''You know, a guy they'd show you on TV has got about a 4-footer to win $800,000. If he misses he's going to get $500,000. I said, 'You should have played when I played, when you'd have that length of putt for $100 to get to the next town.' That's pressure.''

Ford won the 1955 PGA Championship by beating Cary Middlecoff, and then won the Masters in 1957 with a stirring comeback.

He trailed Sam Snead by three shots going into the final round and closed with a 66 for a three-shot victory. Ford holed out from a plugged lie in the bunker on the 18th, though he always thought the par-5 15th was the key moment.

Leading Snead by one shot, Ford went for the green with a 3-wood, even though he hit the same shot in the water the previous round. His caddie insisted he lay up with a 4-iron. This time it stayed on the green for a crucial birdie.

''In an era when giants of the game were building the PGA Tour, Doug achieved remarkable success and never lost his unmatched love of the game,'' PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. ''All of us owe a debt of gratitude to this great player.''

Beyond his 19 tour wins, Ford was instrumental when the PGA Tour broke away from the PGA of America in 1968. Ford was on the players' committee with Gardner Dickinson, Frank Beard and Jack Nicklaus when the players sought more control of tournament affairs.

''Doug was a tower of strength when we broke away from the PGA of America, and we owe Doug thanks for that,'' Bob Goalby said when he introduced Ford at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

He also played on the Senior Tour when it began in 1980, twice winning a division for older players at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

''Doug Ford was a true pioneer in our sport and tour,'' two-time U.S. Open Curtis Strange said on Twitter. ''A huge part of the creation of the tour as we know it today, as well as the Champions Tour.''

Ford was born Aug. 6, 1922, in West Haven, Connecticut. He always wanted to play for the New York Yankees, and had a chance to join their farm system in South Carolina for $30 a week.

''My dad said to me, 'How long will you last playing baseball?' I said, 'Maybe 10 years,''' Ford said during his induction. ''He said, 'Why don't you stay with the golf? You'll last forever.' That's right.''

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Watch: Dechambeau simulates dew on East Lake range

By Grill Room TeamSeptember 18, 2018, 11:02 pm

Bryson DeChambeau has certainly lived up to his nickname of "Mad Scientist" since joining the PGA Tour, using his eccentric style to win four events, including the first two tournaments of this year's FedExCup Playoffs.

And he's staying on brand at the season-ending Tour Championship, where he enters as the favorite to capture the FedExCup title.

The 24-year-old was spotted on the East Lake range Tuesday, preparing for potential morning dew on the golf ball this week - by having a member of his team spray each golf ball between practice shots:

While this type of preparation might come off as a little excessive to the average golfer, it's rather mild for DeChambeau, considering that in the last two weeks alone he has discussed undergoing muscle activation tests and measuring his brain waves.

DeChambeau goes off with Justin Rose on Thursday at 2 p.m. He could finish as low as T-29 and still have a mathematical chance of winning the season-long FedExCup.

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Fewer goals but more consistency for Thomas in 2018

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

ATLANTA – After winning last year’s FedExCup, Justin Thomas was asked about his goals for the season and he quickly went to his phone.

A list of 13 “goals” had been typed in, a rundown that ranged from qualifying for the Tour Championship to finishing in the top 10 in half of the circuit’s statistical categories. Nearly every goal had a “Y” next to it to denote he’d accomplished what he wanted.

Thomas was asked on Tuesday at East Lake how his goals are shaping up this season.

“I haven't looked in a while. I really haven't. I'm sure if I had to guess, I'm probably around 50 to 60, 70 percent [have been completed],” he said. “I definitely haven't achieved near as many as I did the previous year. But we still have one week left to knock a big goal off.”


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Thomas pointed out that although he didn’t add to his major total this season or win as many times as he did last year, he still feels like he’s been more consistent this year.

He has more top-25 finishes (19) than he did last year (14), missed fewer cuts (two compared to six last season) and has improved in nearly every major statistical category.

“It's been a really consistent year, and I take a lot of pride in that,” Thomas said. “That's a big goal of mine is to improve every year and get better every year, so if I can continue in this direction, I feel like I can do some pretty great things the rest of my career.”

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Woods' probation for reckless driving ends one month early

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 18, 2018, 9:00 pm

Tiger Woods' year-long probation stemming from last year's DUI arrest has been terminated a month early.

According to Sam Smink of WPTV, Woods, 42, was let off probation early for successfully completing all regular and special conditions of his probation after pleading guilty to reckless driving and entering a diversion program last October.

Under the conditions of the program, Woods was required to pay a $250 fine and court costs, attend a DUI school and undergo a substance abuse evaluation and treatment program. He was also subject to random drug and alcohol testing under the program.

The 14-time major champ was arrested on charges of DUI in May of 2017 after he was found unconscious behind the wheel of his parked Mercedes-Benz in Jupiter, Fla.

Although tests showed Woods was not under the influence of alcohol at the time, he admitted to taking several pain and sleep medications to cope with his fourth back surgery which was performed in April.

Since his arrest, Woods has returned to competition, rising to 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking after a pain-free campaign in 2018.

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Players wrapping their heads around FedEx changes

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2018, 8:01 pm

ATLANTA – Even players who have known the details of the PGA Tour’s plan to dramatically change the way it crowns a FedExCup champion were still digesting the details on Tuesday at the Tour Championship.

“I think it’s maybe easier to follow for people at home. Kind of definitely strange and very different to be on 10 under par starting on the first tee,” said Justin Rose, who begins this week’s finale second on the points list.

Next year when a new strokes-based system will decide the season-long race, Rose would begin his week at East Lake 8 under, two strokes behind front-runner Bryson DeChambeau and eight shots ahead of Nos. 26-30 on the points list.

Most players said the new format will be an improvement over the current model, which is based on a complicated points structure. That’s not to say the new plan has been given universal support.


Current FedExCup standings

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Under the current format, the 30th-ranked player has a .4 percent chance of winning the cup, while the first player on the points list has a 27 percent chance. Those odds remain virtually identical under next year’s strokes-based format.

“I’m not saying the 30th guy should have the same shot as the fifth guy, but just make the odds a little bit better. Give them a 5 percent chance,” Billy Horschel said. “The strokes could be distributed differently. Maybe put the leader at 6 under [instead of 10 under] and then you go down to even par. Five or six shots back, over four days, you still have a chance.”

There will no doubt be a period of adjustment, but after more than three years of planning, most players were pleased with the general elements of the new plan if not all of the details.

“It's never going to be perfect,” said Justin Thomas, last year’s FedExCup champion and a member of the player advisory council. “No system in any sport is ever going to be perfect, and the Tour has done such a great job of talking to us and trying to get it as good as possible. But it's just hard to understand the fact that you could be starting behind somebody else and still somehow win a golf tournament or an official win.”