Picking Tiger Picking on Tiger

By Dena DavisMarch 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's note: As a part of the creative braintrust in the GOLF CHANNEL news department, Dena Davis thrives on uncovering compelling stories in golf for our shows, and finding unique, fresh ways to give viewers their golf news. These are her weekly thoughts, some random musings, and even a few programming notes. And she would like you to remember: It's all said in good fun.
You Know I Dont Speak Spanish!:
Well, nows as good of time as any to clear this up, as People magazines 2006 Hottest Bachelor is back in our lives this week in prominent fashion. Yes, as our dreamy, dapper-dressed Colombian golfer returns to the sight of his coming-out party in 06, its paramount we address the pronunciation of his name right here and ahora, so as to avoid all of those unnecessary disgruntled emails akin to those weve received over the past few years. (You know who you are!)
Ca-ME-lo Be-JAY-gahs. Say it with us. Camilo Villegas. Just as our British friend Tom Abbott says the English word toe-Mah-toe differently than Americans, there are varying dialects and pronunciations also within the Spanish language. (We know you know this.)
But in case you dont know this, we (Rich Lerner) DID ask the four-time All-America from University of Florida at the beginning of his rookie year at the 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. And he clearly explained how to say his name to us on-camera. We even aired it on Golf Central. And weve been saying it that way ever since. Wont you say it with us?
Oh, Louise, Louise, oh, oh:
Louise Friberg. You know her, you love her! Wait. No, you probably dont. She had only played in three LPGA events before last weekend. Shoot, we all did double and triple-takes (and then squints) at the giant leaderboard in the newsroom on Sunday... when she came from TEN strokes back (only Mickey Wright and Annika have done that!) to capture the MasterCard Classic in Mexico. The Swede (she does have a victory in 2005 on the Swedish Tour) had posted opening rounds of 72 and 73. But on that day, she made an eagle, six birdies and a bogey and carded a Bosque Real course record 65 - the best score by three strokes in the final round, leaving everyone in her wake. 'I guess Sundays are my day,' Friberg said. 'A lot of times I've played good in the last round and I did today. Well, one things for certain. She picked the right sport.
Out of Africa. Again:
In my first entry here I jested about unattainable 3-year plans, making light of Ernie Els goals to overtake Tiger in the world rankings. In all actuality, Ive always been a huge fan of the South African, which is probably why I give him a hard time. But I will not be giving golfchannel.com reader Ronald Mutebi a difficult time about his FIVE-year plan. No, Mr. Utebi, a Uganda native now residing in Chicago, is an avid golfer (plays to a 10 handicap) who has rather noble, admirable aspirations of which I believe he can achieve. He certainly seems to have the passion.
You see, his dream is to introduce the underprivileged youth in his homeland to our dear game. He wrote in to me after I mentioned Ugandas celebration of 100 years of golf last week. While his country does enjoy a century-long history of the game, not all inhabitants have been able to really enjoy it. Growing up in a lower middle class family there, Mr. Utebi was not afforded the opportunity to play, as it was (and is) a game strictly for the wealthy and elite. Instead, he played soccer as a child like most Ugandan kids. It wasnt until he suffered a knee injury while living in the United States as an adult that he grabbed a set of clubs, rather than a soccer ball. Now, after living in the U.S. for almost nine years, he is outlining designs to open up a youth golf school and a practice range in the capital of Uganda where he is a member of the main golf course, Kampala GC. Mr. Utebi is quickly becoming my favorite Ugandan golfer.
When His Chip Comes In?:
To borrow from (the love of my life) Stephen Colbert, in today's 'Better Know a WGC-CA Competitor' segment, meet the fightin' S.S.P. Chowrasia! He's the 29-year-old son of an Indian greenskeeper. He picked up the game at the age of 10 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club where his father worked. S.S.P. (Shiv Shankar Prasad. Say that three times fast!) is a self-taught golfer who recently claimed the biggest prize of his career when he defeated an elite field (which included Els) to win the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters, a co-sanctioned event by the Asian Tour and European Tour. You can call him Chowrasia, or you can go with his nickname: 'Chipputtsia', given to him because of his exceptional short game. Speaking of short, aren't nicknames traditionally supposed to save time and breath? Oh well. Here's wishing that our friend Shiv Shankar Prasad 'Chipputtsia' Chowrasia's Stateside ship will come in this weekend!
Turrrrrble Tiger:
So, Woods stinks. I dont know what all the fuss is about the man. He cant dance. He cant sing. He CANNOT hoop (Barkley said so). Hes an awkward high-fiver. He cant play a musical instrument. He cant speak Spanish (Camilo said so). He cant perform open-heart surgery (Dr. Gil Morgan said so?). He probably has no game on the dart board (which is key). When you stop and think about it, the dude really has limited skills. Trust me. Friends of mine who have hung out with him tell me these things. (Editors note: this may or may not be credible). All I know is, I can draw and paint circles around him. I can also strum a mean Take Me Home Country Roads on the guitar. Top that, Tiger! Oh, and Id like to see him blog on this Web site THREE WEEKS IN A ROW. Now, thats a streak.
The Iron Is Not Unkind!:
Okay, I promise I wont be so intertwined with college basketball hoop-twine every week. But until all those nets are cut down court to course: my sports madness knows no boundaries. Surely you can understand, given this time of year. So, marching on, here are my picks for this week at Doral and The Dance:
  • That guy who stinks. (See above). Five in a row. Hes a machine. Its so utterly ridiculous, I am looking for things he CANT do, because nothing else can be said about what he CAN do unless he does it again which he will. (Cripes! Im gonna need a better thesaurus.)
  • Michael Beasley (I don't care what anyone says, he's the best player in college basketball. Yeah, Tyler Hansborough is great ' blah, blah, blah. But Psycho-T's got a cadre of talent around him, which makes him look better. Although, he does looks pretty silly whilst running down the court in his fist-pumping crazed celebratory high-steppin'.)
  • UCLA (Well, I cant very well pick Kansas! Theyve burned me and my brackets too many times in years past. The Jayhawks cannot be trusted, kids.)
  • Martin Kaymer. (The 2007 European Tour ROY won his very first event in his very first start of 2008 -- the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, and then followed up that performance with a second-place finish to Tiger Woods at the Dubai Desert Classic. This 23-year old German golfer is poised to break out this weekend in an international field.
  • Purdue. (The Boilermakers should go deep with their guards.)
  • Richard Sterne. (The South African will finish in the top 10 this weekend and well all learn how to say his last name. Stir-knee.)
  • Davidson (Theyll defeat the Cinderella of yesteryear -- Gonzaga!)
  • Anyone bearing a surname resembling Hansen/Hanson, bro. (Soren, Anders, and Peter, respectively, have never played at Doral or in this particular tournament, nor do they have impressive WGC records.)
  • Bear Stearns stock
  • George Mason (its not 2006 anymore, people!)
  • Sergio controlling his saliva. (The bottom of the cup at the 13th hole beckons. Can he resist lubricating it this year at Doral? We think he can.)
  • St. Mary's taking down The U - Miami. (If the 10th-seeded Gaels can set and keep a fast-paced tempo and spread the floor, theyll edge the seventh-seeded Canes.)
  • Camilo Villegas. (Theres a muy grande community of Colombians in South Florida and theyll be out in full-force. Remember how Camilo fed off of that fan frenzy in 06 at the Ford Championship, finishing one stroke behind Tiger for second place? Repeaten, por favor.)
  • South Alabama. (At first glance, this up-and-coming mid-major doesnt seem to have much of a chance against the uber mid-major Butler. But considering the game is in BIRMINGHAM, we love the Jag's chances. Also, SoBam has the best player in their conference in their dynamic guard, the 6'4' 200 lb Demetric Bennett, who teams with two other guards to create a fierce backcourt. Giddy-up, Jags.)
    NEAT-O NEWCOMER TO WATCH (aka this years Prom Meesawat -- The Dolphin was a fun feel-good story in 2007. However, he sunk to a final T68.):
  • Chapchai Nirat. (His compatriots call him 'King Kong' due to his heavy hitting off the tee. The 24-year-old Thai who turned pro at age 15, recently won the 2007 TLC Classic, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. That's something to beat your chest about!)
  • American University (I'm pretty sure this is the school Eddie Murphy said he attended in 'Coming to America'. That alone, is neat enough for me to watch the Patriot League Champs play...even if it's against Tennesee, they'll give the Vols their all.)
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

    Getty Images

    Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

    Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

    But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

    Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

    “It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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    After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

    In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

    No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

    Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

    “I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

    Let it go.

    Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

    “I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

    It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

    During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

    Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

    “It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

    McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

    It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

    “I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

    The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

    Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

    The only thing left to do?

    Let it go.

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    Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.

    Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.

    Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    There is, however, one running wager.

    “Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”

    Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.

    Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.

    “I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.