Notes: Tiger tells tales about ol' Tom

By Doug FergusonJanuary 23, 2013, 3:02 am

SAN DIEGO - Tiger Woods and Tom Watson are both Stanford alums and have won player of the year multiple times on the PGA Tour. They have never been particularly close, though they have a long history that dates to when Woods was still in elementary school.

That mainly involves Watson's caddie, though.

Woods was talking Tuesday about how his father took him to PGA Tour events when he was a kid, to Torrey Pines and Riviera, when he recalled a moment with Watson at Riviera in 1985. Watson's caddie was the late Bruce Edwards, who died of Lou Gehrig's disease.

''So No. 8, Tom snipes it to the left off the tee, and I'm right there,'' Woods said. ''He hits it again, left of the green - pin was back left. I'm up there ... He basically yelled at me saying, 'I moved you out of here once,' and basically moved me out of there twice. I just wanted to see, you know? Tom Watson. He sniped one, and sniped another one, and I happened to be right there on both of those shots. And Bruce let me know about it.''

Many years later, is it safe to assume that some young fan watching Woods might have gone through the same experience?


HISTORY MAKER?: Geoff Ogilvy of Australia has a chance to be a small part of history on the PGA Tour, even if he thinks history is against him.

Ogilvy is among five players on this year's 16-member Player Advisory Council who has been nominated to be a chairman of the PAC. The chairman serves one year before he is elevated to player director on the PGA Tour's policy board.

There has never been an international player serve on the board.

''I don't think I'll get voted in because I'm an international player,'' Ogilvy said Tuesday. ''I guess there's more international players every year. I think their position - the current board and Ponte Vedra, if you like - think if the Tour is 25 percent international players, maybe of the four player directors there might should be one that's an Americanized international. You can't just bring someone from another country and put them on the board. But once you've been on Tour for a certain amount of time, you get a feel for it.''

Roughly one-third of the Tour now consists of international players.

Steve Stricker and Paul Goydos are in their final year on the board, so there will be two chairmen elected from the PAC. The other four candidates are Joe Ogilvie, Mark Wilson, Bo Van Pelt and Jason Bohn.

Ogilvy is respected among his peers for his clarity and his insightful thoughts on the game, particularly his outlook on golf course architecture and how courses are set up. He has served on the PAC a few times before, without any interest in being a chairman.

''It would be interesting to be on the board. This is an interesting time for the Tour,'' Ogilvy said. ''I'm not inclined that way, but I am interest in the operations of the tour.''

The former U.S. Open champion, who also has three World Golf Championships to his credit, is not about to campaign for votes.

He's not even sure what players want in a chairman and future board member.

''I would have said at least 50 percent of the players don't mind who the board members are and really don't care about the operating of events. As long as they get $6 million to play for 30 times a year, they're happy - and they like the way the courses are set up. That's pretty much the interest of half the tour. They don't go much further than that. They vote for their friends, I would think. That's how politics work in general, isn't it?''


CLINTON'S LESSON: Tom Watson gave former President Bill Clinton the best advice he ever received in golf - and perhaps in politics, too.

Clinton last week at the Humana Challenge recalled the time he was in office and hosted the 1993 U.S. Ryder Cup team, when Watson was the captain and the Americans last won on European soil.

''The best political lesson I ever got from a golfer,'' Clinton said. ''And practically the best political lesson I ever got from anybody.''

Watson asked the president to grip a club, and immediately told Clinton that he was gripping it too tightly, a common mistake of average golfers. Watson showed him the proper grip, and Clinton was able to take the club out of his hands.

Then, Watson asked to see the grip again and focused on the position of his hands. And then came the lesson.

''He said, 'Golf is the way politics is,''' Clinton said. '''If your grip is too far to the right, you're going to get in trouble on the left. But if your grip is too far to the left, you're going to get in big trouble on the right.'''

As the laughter subsided, Clinton finished the lesson.

''The trick is for your grip to be just right,'' he said. ''Worth remembering these days.''


MASTERS RETIREMENT: Jim Armstrong was working for an accounting firm that had Augusta National Golf Club as one of its clients. Clifford Roberts was the chairman at the time, meaning that by extension, Armstrong will end his career having worked with every chairman at the home of The Masters.

Roberts died the year before Armstrong went to work for the club in 1978, and a year later, he became the director.

After serving directly under the last five chairmen - William Lane, Hord Hardin, Jack Stephens, Hootie Johnson and Billy Payne - Armstrong is retiring this year after 35 years as what amounts to the highest-ranking person at the club who is not a member.

''Jim Armstrong has given Augusta National Golf Club more than three decades of exceptional vision, impressive leadership and outstanding service as our executive director,'' Payne said. ''Jim has certainly earned and deserves his retirement. As a consequence of his longtime commitment, he is leaving a permanent and positive impression upon the legacy of Augusta National, its membership and the Masters.''

Will Jones was appointed to the new executive director. Jones has worked under Armstrong since 1993 and currently is senior director of business affairs.

''My career at Augusta National Golf Club has been one of remarkable good fortune, and my affection for this wonderful place is immeasurable,'' Armstrong said. ''It is nearly impossible to put into words the privilege I have experienced in serving the club.''


DIVOTS: This will be the final year the U.S. team for the Presidents Cup is decided by PGA Tour earnings. The 2015 team will be determined by FedEx Cup points. ... LPGA commissioner Mike Whan takes over for USGA executive director Mike Davis has chairman of the World Golf Foundation for 2013. ... Kevin Sutherland, who missed most of last year with a neck injury, was planning to return at the Humana Challenge until his back went out on him while putting on a pair of gym shorts. He plans to play next week in the Phoenix Open.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods has 74 wins on the PGA Tour, with 42 percent of them on five golf courses - Torrey Pines (7), Firestone (7), Bay Hill (7) Muirfield Village (5) and Cog Hill (5).


FINAL WORD: ''Any time Tiger has a record, I put an asterisk by it, because it's Tiger's record. It's not normal. It's not the way it's normally going to be for most people.'' - Brandt Snedeker.

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1

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Perez (T-3) looks to remedy 'terrible' major record

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 7:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez’s major record is infinitely forgettable. In 24 Grand Slam starts he has exactly one top-10 finish, more than a decade ago at the PGA Championship.

“Terrible,” Perez said when asked to sum up his major career. “I won sixth [place]. Didn't even break top 5.”

It’s strange, however, that his status atop The Open leaderboard through two rounds doesn’t seem out of character. The 42-year-old admits he doesn’t hit it long enough to contend at most major stops and also concedes he doesn’t exactly have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the game’s biggest events, but something about The Open works for him.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I didn't like it the first time I came over. When I went to St. Andrews in '05, I didn't like it because it was cold and terrible and this and that,” he said. “Over the years, I've really learned to like to come over here. Plus the fans are so awesome here. They know a good shot. They don't laugh at you if you hit a bad shot.”

Perez gave the fans plenty to cheer on Friday at Carnoustie, playing 17 flawless holes to move into a share of the lead before a closing bogey dropped him into a tie for third place after a second-round 68.

For Perez, links golf is the great equalizer that mitigates the advantages some of the younger, more powerful players have and it brings out the best in him.

“It's hard enough that I don't feel like I have to hit perfect shots. That's the best,” he said. “Greens, you can kind of miss a shot, and it won't run off and go off the green 40 yards. You're still kind of on the green. You can have a 60-footer and actually think about making it because of the speed.”