Awards starting to pile up for Tiger Woods

By Doug FergusonOctober 21, 2009, 12:36 am

The awards are starting to pile up for Tiger Woods again.

Woods has won the points-based award as player of the year from the PGA of America, which was virtually a lock when the FedEx Cup ended and became a mathematical fact this week. His six PGA Tour victories (10 points each) were twice as many as anyone else, and Woods already wrapped up the PGA Tour money list (20 points) and lowest adjusted scoring average (20 points).

It was the 10th time Woods has won the PGA award.

He also wins the Vardon Trophy from the PGA of America and the Byron Nelson Award from the PGA Tour for having the lowest adjusted scoring average at 68.05. It’s the eighth time he has won the Vardon.

Woods wins the Arnold Palmer Award on the PGA Tour for winning the money title for the ninth time, earning just more than $10.5 million. Still to be decided is the Jack Nicklaus Trophy for the PGA Tour player of the year, which is a vote of the players. The other candidates likely will be Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson, with three wins each, or perhaps Y.E. Yang, who won the PGA Championship and Honda Classic. None of the other major champions won more than once.

If Woods were to win PGA Tour player of the year, it would be only the fourth time since it began in 1990 that a player won the award without having won a major. Woods (2003), Greg Norman (1995) and Wayne Levi (1990) were the others.

FRUITLESS FURYK: Jim Furyk ended his 2009 season on the PGA Tour with a 62 in Las Vegas and finished the year with 11 top 10s (second only to Tiger Woods) and nearly $4 million in earnings.

He will start next year with a question that is beginning to bug him.

When is he going to win again?

“I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me,” Furyk said. “Not that it’s brought up – it’s only my fault. I didn’t get it done.”

Furyk now has gone 54 starts without winning, his longest drought since he went 62 tournaments at the start of his career before winning for the first time in Las Vegas in 1995.

“I’m just not doing enough to keep those rounds going,” he said. “When you win a tournament, you always have that one day where you’re not really clicking on all cylinders. But you’ve got to find a way to scratch it out.”

SIM STAYS PUT: Michael Sim picked a bad time to win earn an instant promotion to the PGA Tour.

Sim won his third Nationwide Tour event on Aug. 23, right before the FedEx Cup playoffs began. That meant no tournaments in the big leagues for five weeks. And now that the Presidents Cup is over, his luck is not improving.

The Australian did not get in the field in Las Vegas, and he didn’t get in the Fry’ Open this week in Arizona. Instead, Sim is playing the Nationwide Tour Championship this week, with nothing to gain except a chance to build on his record earnings.

PGA Tour officials say Sim will get in the Viking Classic next week. That will give him at least two starts as a PGA Tour member, half as many as Nick Flanagan got in 2007 when he earned his instant promotion.

The Fall Series has some of the weakest fields of the year, although the field in Las Vegas was 18 percent stronger than last year. One reason could be so many players having to wait so long without competing during the playoffs. Along with a week off during the playoffs, there was another week break with the Presidents Cup.

Plus, with one fewer tournament in the Fall Series, more players might be competing in every event.

PGA BALLOT: The PGA Tour awards process began last week in Las Vegas with a Players Advisory Council meeting. The 16 members, along with four players on the policy board, can nominate up to five players each for player of the year and rookie of the year, and up to three players for comeback player of the year.

The five players and rookies with the most nominations go on the ballot.

How many for comeback player of the year?

That depends.

After Steve Stricker won the comeback award for the second straight year in 2007, the PAC decided it would be OK to not have an award if there was not a reasonable candidate who came back from injury, off-course issues or a long stretch of poor play.

The question is whether Tiger Woods – a shoo-in for player of the year –is a worthy candidate of comeback player of the year after missing half of last year with reconstructive knee surgery. Then again, Woods won four times in six starts last year, with the other finishes a runner-up and tie for fifth.

That prompted Stricker to dismiss Woods’ comeback candidacy by saying, “Where did he go?”

The ballot, once determined after the final tournament, will be sent out to PGA Tour members, who have 30 days to vote.

ROOKIES: Three tournaments remain to keep alive a streak on the PGA Tour: A rookie has won every season since 1998.

The closest call this year was Ricky Barnes, who was two shots behind Lucas Glover in a tie for second at the U.S. Open. Four months later, Barnes is in jeopardy of losing his card.

Marc Leishman of Australia tied for second in the BMW Championship, seven shots back of Tiger Woods. He is a leading candidate for rookie of the year because he is ranked highest on the money list (No. 44) and is the only rookie to make it to the Tour Championship.

Then again, winning a PGA Tour event doesn’t guarantee the rookie of the year award. Charles Howell III was voted the top rookie in 2001 without a victory, getting the honor ahead of U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, Garrett Willis, David Gossett and Jose Coceres, who won twice that year.

DIVOTS: The Quail Hollow Championship raised $1.6 million for local charity, with half of it going to Teach for America in Charlotte, N.C. The tournament has raised more than $11 million in seven years. … The PGA of America posed 25 questions to caddies of the four major champions in its Grand Slam program. Ruben “Gordito” Yorio, who works for Masters champion Angel Cabrera, was asked to choose between a caddie and a cart. “Caddie. Feet never go flat,” he replied. … Chad Campbell has won only twice when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead. However, he has never finished worse than runner-up the other five times.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Ernie Els is the only player to win the PGA Grand Slam of Golf when Tiger Woods was in the field.

FINAL WORD: “Winning three majors gives you a right to be heard.”— European Tour chief executive George O’Grady, on Padraig Harrington’s suggestions at a tour meeting on membership requirements.

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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.

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“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.