Notes: Choi works hard to master English

By Doug FergusonDecember 25, 2012, 8:16 pm
Na Yeon Choi won her first major at the U.S. Women's Open, and she closed the season by winning the LPGA Titleholders.

But her most remarkable performance came when the season was over.

Players for whom English is their second (or third) language can get by in an interview with print reporters. They tend to be a lot more uncomfortable when cameras are involved. Choi showed how much progress she has made the day after winning the Titleholders. She went into the studio for a live segment on Golf Channel's ''Morning Drive.''

The LPGA staff helped her prepare for questions that might be asked, and when it didn't go according to script, Choi still handled it beautifully.

That wasn't an accident.

As hard as Choi has worked on her game, she might have worked even harder on her English. Last year, she hired a personal tutor – Greg Morrison, a Canadian based in South Korea – and brought him with her on the road. She had a one-hour lesson every day, and practiced her English with him in casual conversation.

Se Ri Pak would have been proud. The pioneer for South Koreans on the LPGA Tour, Pak preached years ago about the importance of learning English. Along with fitting in, Pak said it would make them feel more comfortable in public and ultimately improve their golf.

''First year when I was here, I couldn't speak English well and then very hard to tell my feelings to people, even media or fans or even swing coach,'' Choi said. ''When I learned English and when I tell my feelings to people, I feel way more comfortable than before. I think that made it good golfer, too. And on the golf course, I can relax and I can talk with the other players.''

Morrison couldn't travel with her this year, though they still practiced through Skype. She had another one-hour lesson during the Titleholders and planned to meet with him again while she was home during the offseason.

''We talk about not only golf, we talk about anything,'' Choi said. ''Like, I said I'm going to look for a new house and he tried to help me with which house is better for me. He's more like, not just English tutor, he's more like manager or assistant to me.''

Do they ever talk baseball?

''Not really,'' she said. ''I think he's a hockey fan.''


RANKING TOURS: Most of the world's best players are going to the Middle East in the winter and the Far East in the fall, both part of the European Tour.

But over the course of the year, the PGA Tour is where the biggest offering of world ranking points can be found.

Throw out the four majors and the four World Golf Championships, and the PGA Tour averaged 46.7 points for the winners of its tournaments, compared with 34.9 points for the winners of regular European Tour events.

Add the majors and the WGCs, and the winners received an average of 54.3 points on the PGA Tour and 44.6 points on the European Tour.

The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth is guaranteed 64 points as the flagship event on the European Tour. After that, the strongest fields on the European Tour (based on points awarded the winner) were Abu Dhabi and the season-ending event in Dubai (58 points), and the BMW Masters in Shanghai (56).

The Players Championship gets 80 points as the PGA Tour's flagship event. That was followed by The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship (74), the BMW Championship (70), Memorial (68), and the Northern Trust Open and Tour Championship (62).

Along with attracting the best from all over the world – the top 28 players in the world are PGA Tour members – it is helped immensely in the ranking by the FedEx Cup playoffs. Those events are nearly as strong as WGCs.

An argument could be made that The Barclays features the strongest field of any PGA Tour event, including The Players Championship. It might not have as many players from the top 50 or top 100 in the world ranking, but it has the top 125 players based on current form.

Take a bow, Nick Watney.


TIME TO RECHARGE: Before winning his final event of the year at Sherwood, Graeme McDowell talked all week about how badly he was in need of a 10-week break.

He feels he made a mistake by playing the first FedEx Cup playoff event, and that he was out of gas even in the high-charged atmosphere of the Ryder Cup. And that concerned him. He says he played so much this year that he lost an estimated 10 percent of what he calls his ''buzziness.''

''I love the sport. I love to play,'' he said. ''But too much of a good thing ... you start going through the motions. I don't want to be like that. I want to get my excitement level up for the game.''

McDowell wants to cut back on his schedule, aiming for about 26 tournaments a year on two tours. But where to cut back is going to be difficult, for there are too many good tournaments, especially at the end of the year.

''The end of the year has become a joke,'' he said. ''It's almost too much golf.''

Being among the top 50 in the world and having Europe as his home tour (meaning he doesn't need releases from the PGA Tour), McDowell said he gets to cherry-pick the tournaments he plays. But there are so many important events to him that he can't get to some places he would like to play.

That includes the Memorial at Muirfield Village.

''I'm dying to go there,'' McDowell said. ''But I looked at the schedule and, nope, I can't go.''

To play Muirfield Village would mean four straight weeks in three countries, and no doubt would cost him plenty of ''buzziness.''


BIGGEST TROPHY: The iGATE CEO Cup thinks so much of its new tournament – executives of Global 2000 companies in North America on Jan. 12-13 on the Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass – that it wanted a trophy to mark the occasion.

So it commissioned the largest gold sports trophy in the world, even bigger than the FIFA World Cup trophy.

Designed by India-based sculptor Amit Pabuwal, the iGATE CEO Cup trophy will be 21 inches tall, weigh 18 pounds of gold and be adorned with diamonds and rubies. The World Cup trophy is more than 14 inches tall and weighs 11 pounds.

''The iGATE CEO Cup is a premier event and we should have a trophy that a CEO will be proud to lift,'' iGATE chief executive Phaneesh Murthy said.

Gary Player is the co-host of the $100,000 event, with the CEOs donating all the prize money to their chosen charities.


DIVOTS: Tom Lehman was voted Champions Tour player of the year, even though Roger Chapman won two majors this year – the Senior PGA Championship and the Senior U.S. Open, the two most prestigious events in senior golf. ... The fledgling OneAsia Tour is holding one of its two Q-schools in the United States. The tour cites ''unprecedented demand'' for staging two Q-schools, one of them at Industry Hills east of Los Angeles on Jan. 29, the other a week later in Malaysia. OneAsia chairman Sang Y. Chun said more Asia-Pacific players were based in California, and the additional Q-school would create more awareness of the tour in the U.S. ... Kia Motors America has signed a multiyear contract extension with the LPGA Tour to sponsor the Kia Classic, which will move next year from La Costa to Aviara Golf Club. It will be played March 21-24.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Robert Karlsson started the year at No. 24 in the world. He ended it by going to Q-school to earn back his PGA Tour card.


FINAL WORD: ''It's a game of mistakes, it's a game of misses. And if you dwell on all those misses and mistakes, you're not going anywhere.'' – Steve Stricker.

Second-round tee times for the Tour Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 10:29 pm

Tiger Woods will go out last and Phil Mickelson will go out first in Rd. 2 of the Tour Championship.

Woods and Rickie Fowler share the 18-hole lead. The field is re-paired after each round, according to their scores. Here’s a look at second-round tee times at East Lake Golf Club.

(All times ET)

11:40AM: Phil Mickelson (+3), Keegan Bradley (+3)

11:50AM: Patrick Reed (+3), Marc Leishman (+2)

Noon: Hideki Matsuyama (+2), Kevin Na (+2)

12:10PM: Billy Horschel (+1), Bryson DeChambeau (+1)

12:20PM: Patton Kizzire (+1), Patrick Cantlay (+1)

12:30PM: Cameron Smith (Even), Bubba Watson (Even)

12:40PM: Aaron Wise (Even), Francesco Molinari (Even)

12:50PM: Brooks Koepka (-1), Dustin Johnson (-1)

1PM: Tommy Fleetwood (-1), Webb Simpson (-1)

1:10PM: Jason Day (-2), Kyle Stanley (-1)

1:20PM: Jon Rahm (-2), Xander Schauffele (-2)

1:30PM: Tony Finau (-3), Paul Casey (-2)

1:40PM: Rory McIlroy (-3), Justin Thomas (-3)

1:50PM: Gary Woodland (-4), Justin Rose (-4)

2PM: Rickie Fowler (-5), Tiger Woods (-5)

Getty Images

FedExCup projected standings after Rd. 1 of Tour Championship

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 20, 2018, 10:13 pm

ATLANTA – Bryson DeChambeau started the week in the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings. But after the first round of the Tour Championship, he’s surrendered his lead.

Justin Rose, the current world No. 1, is the new projected winner of the $10 million bonus. Rose shot 4-under 66 in the first round and is tied for third in the tournament. He began the week in second place in the FEC standings.

DeChambeau struggled to a 1-over 71 and is currently tied for 21st in the field of 30.

Here’s a look at the projected standings after 18 holes at East Lake Golf Club, which includes Tiger Woods jumping from No. 20 to No. 2.

FedExCup Rank PLAYER NAME FedExCup Points
PROJ. OFFICIAL PROJ. TOTAL
1 2 Justin Rose 2450
2 20 Tiger Woods 2219
3 23 Rickie Fowler 2182
4 1 Bryson DeChambeau 2160
5 3 Tony Finau 1920
6 5 Justin Thomas 1680
7 4 Dustin Johnson 1528
8 6 Keegan Bradley 1238
9 7 Brooks Koepka 1192
10 8 Bubba Watson 992
11 9 Billy Horschel 800
12 28 Gary Woodland 783
13 12 Jason Day 678
14 10 Cameron Smith 672
14 17 Rory McIlroy 672
16 11 Webb Simpson 616
17 18 Xander Schauffele 561
18 13 Francesco Molinari 544
19 24 Jon Rahm 480
20 19 Tommy Fleetwood 463
21 26 Paul Casey 461
22 14 Phil Mickelson 454
23 16 Patrick Cantlay 453
24 15 Patrick Reed 450
25 21 Aaron Wise 398
26 25 Kyle Stanley 393
27 22 Kevin Na 330
28 27 Hideki Matsuyama 278
29 30 Patton Kizzire 275
30 29 Marc Leishman 242
Getty Images

Tiger's driver now a great asset to his game

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 20, 2018, 9:57 pm

ATLANTA – Tommy Fleetwood hit a handful of tee shots past Tiger Woods on Thursday at the Tour Championship. But Woods found more fairways [10 to eight] and shot four strokes lower [65 to 69].

Ever since making adjustments to his driver – which included adding loft and changing the shaft – at The Northern Trust, Woods’ long game has become one of his greatest assets.

Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways in the first round at East Lake Golf Club, which led to hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation. Twenty-eight putts equaled a 5-under round and a share of the lead.

It’s not as though Woods has completely traded distance for accuracy. He hit his drive on the par-5 18th 320 yards and that helped produce an eagle.


Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


It’s more like he now has the ability to control his driver. Those wayward tee shots we had become accustomed to seeing aren’t so offline. That means sometimes he’ll send one 296 yards – like he did on the first hole – and sometimes he’ll gear up and knock one 328 yards – like he did at the fifth.

“[I]f I hit it normal, I hit it just as far. And so that's to me like 300 yards in the air,” he said. “But … the neat thing about this one is that if I miss it and spin it a little bit, those spinners stay in play instead of chasing off on me, and I can turn this ball.

“Like the tee shot I hit down 18, I didn't have that shot earlier with – not enough loft. … [M]y spin rate would be so low that it wouldn't stay in the air.”

“And so, yeah, if I hit controlled shots, they're in play and they're shorter. But if I go ahead and step up and launch one, I'm just as far. The neat thing is I don't have to swing it as hard to hit the ball as far. And so it puts a little less toll on my body. I don't have to have my speed up there at 120, 121, 122 miles an hour to carry it 305, 310 like I did before.”

Often times you hear players talk about aspects of their game and it sounds like they are trying to convince themselves that things are OK. Tiger's actions are backing up his words.

Getty Images

TT postscript: This 65 better than Aronimink 62

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 9:21 pm

ATLANTA – The start wasn’t much to look at, but that finish was something else. Tiger Woods eagled the final hole on Thursday and shares the 18-hole lead at the Tour Championship. Here are the things you know you want to know:

• First of all, let’s give a pat on the back to the man who most deserves it today: Me. Early this morning, I sent this tweet:



Never doubt my good feelings. Ben Crenshaw doesn’t have my good feelings. We may have 54 holes to play, but I gotta good feeling we’re going to be changing that Tiger Tracker avatar Sunday night.

• Now onto Tiger. After all, he did hit 10 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation and took 28 putts. It wasn’t looking good early when he had nine putts through four holes and was 1 over par. But he birdied Nos. 5 and 6, turned in 1 under, and really turned it on down the stretch with two birdies and an eagle over his final seven holes. And if you take a good look at the scorecard below you’ll notice he didn’t make a bogey after the first hole.



• How good is a 65 at East Lake? Better than his opening 62 at Aronimink, according to Woods: “This was by far better than the 62 at Aronimink. Conditions were soft there. This is – it's hard to get the ball closer. There's so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can't get the ball close.”

Woods added that you had to play “conservatively” and be patient – take what the course allowed. Tiger missed five putts – four of them for birdie – inside 15 feet. But in the 93-degree heat, he kept his composure and made putts of 26 and 28 feet for birdie, and 28 feet for eagle.

• This week feels different. It feels like Tiger is really ready to win again. He seems very serious, very focused. He talked about “getting the W” on Wednesday and said on Thursday, “[T]he objective is to always win.”

After shooting 65, Woods signed a few autographs and eventually made his way to the putting green. If he gets those 15-footer to fall, we’re going to be two wins away from tying Sammy.

• So, what about that eagle on 18, you ask? Tiger said he “hammered” a driver – which was listed at 320 yards – and then hit a 5-wood from 256 yards to 28 feet. As for the putt: “It took forever for that putt to start breaking, grain coming down off the left. But once it snagged it, it was going straight right.”



Right into the cup. Right into the lead. Our man is making history this week.