Golf Talk Live - Robert Damron Transcript Segment 1

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2001, 4:00 pm
WHAT'S IT LIKE GROWING UP AROUND THE KING ARNOLD PALMER? ROBERT DAMRON HAS MORE THAN A FEW STORIES TO SHARE. MEET THE WINNER OF THE VERIZON BYRON NELSON CLASSIC, ROBERT DAMRON, NEXT ON GOLF TALK LIVE.

(MUSIC)

PETER KESSLER (MALE):
THE FOLLOWING IS AN ENCORE PRESENTATION OF GOLF TALK LIVE.

(MUSIC)

RICH LERNER
ROBERT DAMRON DOESN'T SEEM TOO WALK WHEN HE PLAYS GOLF. IT'S MORE OF A BOUNCE OF THAT OF A KID WHO STUFFED HIS POCKETS WITH CANDY AND

HASN'T A CARE IN THE WORLD. TO BE SURE, ROBERT DAMRON'S LIVED A CHARMED GOLFERS LIFE. DO YOU KNOW ANYBODY WHO PLAYED GOLF WITH ARNOLD PALMER WHEN THEY WERE A YOUNGSTER? WHO'S FATHER COMPETED

AS A REGULAR MEMBER OF THE KING'S GROUP AT BAY HILL? ROBERT'S DAD, BILL, STRUCK IT RICH IN THE KENTUCKY COAL BUSINESS ABD RETIRED IN HIS EARLY 30'S. HE MOVED THE FAMILY TO FLORIDA AND

BOUGHT A HOME OFF THE 10TH HOLE AT THE COURSE THAT ARNOLD BUILT. BILL FELL IN LOVE WITH THE GAME AND HIS SONS FOLLOWED SUIT. NOT UNLIKE ARNOLD, BILL MADE A SUCCESS OF HIMSELF FROM A WORKING CLASS

BACKGROUND AND THE TWO, BILL AND ARNOLD, WITH A LOVE FOR GOLF AND COMPETITION BECAME FAST FRIENDS. BILL BEAT BALLS UNTIL ON THE RARE OCCASION, HE COULD ACTUALLY BEAT THE KING HIMSELF. HE WOULD ALSO WIN

THE INTENSELY COMPETITIVE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP AT BAY HILL. YOUNG ROBERT, WHO HONED HIS SKILLS WITH HIS FATHER AND BROTHER IN THE LEGENDARY BAY HILL DAILY SHOOTOUT

TOOK NOTICE AND STILL TO THIS DAY, ONE OF HIS PROUDEST MOMENTS REMAINS, THE FIRST TIME HE BEAT HIS FATHER AT AGE 13.

AS A TEN YEAR OLD WATCHING THE PROS PARADE THROUGH HIS BACKYARD FOR THE BAY HILL INVITATIONAL, ROBERT KNEW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO AND STAYED CLOSE TO HOME TO PLAY

COLLEGIATELY AS A THREE TIME ALL AMERICA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA IN ORLANDO. HE LEFT AFTER THREE YEARS TO PURSUE THE PROFESSIONAL DREAM WITH SEVERAL

TRIPS TO Q-SCHOOL, AND A STOP ON THE CANADIAN TOUR. BY 1997 HE HAD MADE THE SHOW AND BY MEMPHIS LOOKED LIKE HE BELONGED. HE LED AFTER 54 HOLES BEFORE FINISHING TWO BACK OF

SOME GUY NAMED NORMAN. IN FOUR YEARS PRIOR TO THE 2001 SEASON, DAMRON HAD MADE NEARLY TWO MILLION DOLLARS, BUT BILL DAMRON

TAUGHT HIS SON THAT YOU PLAY TO WIN AND ROBERT HAD YET TO DO THAT. THEN, MAY OF THIS YEAR AT THE HOME OF ANOTHER LEGEND, BYRON NELSON, ROBERT DAMRON OUTPLAYED THE BEST

IN THE WORLD, INCLUDING TIGER WOODS WHO'S BRILLIANT FINAL ROUND 63 WASN'T ENOUGH TO CATCH DAMRON. IN A THRILLING PLAY OFF AGAINST SCOTT VERPLANK, DAMRON ANSWERED EVERY CHALLENGE AND NO WHERE DID THEY

CHEER LOUDER THAN BACK AT HIS HOME CLUB. HOW DID ROBERT DAMRON, POCKETS NOW STUFFED WITH CANDY AND GOLD REACH THE PINNACLE OF HIS SPORT? IT'S HELPFUL TO KNOW THAT SO

COMPETITIVE WERE HIS FORMATIVE YEARS, HE STILL HASN'T WON THE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP AT HIS BELOVED BAY HILL.

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AND GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE. RICH LERNER, AND IT IS WITH GREAT PLEASURE WE INTRODUCE YOU TO ONE OF THE RISING STARS ON THE PGA TOUR, ROBERT DAMRON.

GOOD TO SEE YOU PAL.

ROBERT DAMRON
GOOD TO SEE YOU. THANKS RICH.

RICH LERNER
YOU'VE HAD QUITE A SPRING. YOU WIN YOUR FIRST TOURNAMENT. YOU GOT MARRIED. THAT'S PRETTY GOOD.

ROBERT DAMRON
IT'S BEEN A NICE LITTLE STRETCH OF LUCK I'VE HAD. YEAH.

RICH LERNER
I WOULD SAY IT'S A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN LUCK. THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF, OF SKILL INVOLVED.

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL, A FEW YEARS OF SETTING UP THIS LITTLE RUN OF LUCK WE CALL IT.

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHS)
HOW GOOD WERE THOSE GAMES AT BAY HILL AND, AND WHAT WERE THEY LIKE ON A DAILY BASIS?

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL, A LOT OF COMPETITION. YOU KNOW, THERE IS ALWAYS, AND, AND TO THIS DAY THERE STILL ARE PLAYERS IN THE BAY HILL SHOOTOUT THAT ARE BETTER THAN I AM.

WE'VE HAD NAMES LIKE GREG NORMAN, SCOTT HOCH, ARNOLD PALMER, DALE (?) FINSTROM (??), WELL PAYNE STEWART, CORY PAVIN, JUST TO NAME A FEW THAT I CAN THINK OF, FREQUENT THE SHOOT OUT, SO YOU KNOW, THEIR

YOU ALWAYS GOT YOUR HANDS FULL, SO

RICH LERNER
HOW, HOW DOES IT WORK? HOW DOES THE SHOOTOUT WORK?

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL, THERE'S A GUY NAMED LEE HAVER, WHO IS THE COMMISSIONER. THEY CALL HIM THE SHOOTOUT.

RICH LERNER
GOT TO HAVE A COMMISH

ROBERT DAMRON
OH YEAH. GOT TO HAVE SOMEBODY TO, TO KIND OF LAY DOWN THE LAW THERE.

RICH LERNER
SURE

ROBERT DAMRON
SO HE, YOU GIVE HIM YOUR MONEY, HE MAKES THE TEAMS, NO HANDICAPS. IT'S A,B,C,D PLAYERS, E PLAYERS IF YOU HAVE A FIVE SOME AND THEN YOU GO OUT AND YOU TEE IT UP AND, YOU KNOW, THEY,

THEY MAY PLAY AN ACKERGOOD (??) OF A FEW BALLS OR, OR SPLIT THE MONEY UP TO WHERE THE FIRST, SECOND, THIRD BEST BALL GET PAID BUT THE REAL MONEY, I DON'T KNOW IF I SHOULD SAY THIS

RICH LERNER
GO AHEAD

ROBERT DAMRON
IS UH... YOU KNOW THE SIDE ACTION, WHERE, YOU KNOW, YOU GRAB THOSE OTHER GUYS AND SAY HEY, YOU KNOW, I KNOW WE'RE PLAYING THE SHOOTOUT BUT, I WANT YOU FOR A HUNDRED BUCKS OR, OR

WHATEVER IT IS AND SO THERE'S ALWAYS COMPETITION. THERE'S ALWAYS REASON TO TRY HARD OUT THERE.

RICH LERNER
I'VE GOT A SNEAKING SUSPICION, NUMBER ONE, THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF CHATTER WHILE THE GAME IS GOING ON. YOU, YOU DON'T TURN TO A GUY AND SAY KEEP QUIET.

ROBERT DAMRON
NO NO NO

RICH LERNER
I, I, I THINK CHATTERS IN PLAY.

ROBERT DAMRON
YEAH IT'S DIFFERENT THAN ON TOUR.

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHING) IN THIS GAME.

ROBERT DAMRON
YEAH IT'S DIFFERENT THAN ON TOUR. IT'S DIFFERENT THAN ON TOUR. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU KNOW MY DAD WAS ALWAYS TOUGH ON ME WHEN I WAS YOUNG WITH THAT. HE COULD, IF, IF HE

AND I WERE, WERE PLAYING AGAINST EACH OTHER JUST FOR FUN, HE COULD ALWAYS SAY THE RIGHT THING TO MAKE ME GOOF UP

AT THE RIGHT TIME.

RICH LERNER
SURE

ROBERT DAMRON
YOU KNOW AND I THINK I'M A LITTLE TOUGHER NOW BECAUSE OF THAT.

RICH LERNER
I HAVE A FEELING ALSO THAT AT THE SHOOTOUT YOU RAN INTO A COUPLE OF GUYS OR MORE NORTH OF THE AGE OF 45

ROBERT DAMRON
OH, I KNOW

RICH LERNER
WHO COULD STRING 3 WOODS ABOUT 215 YARDS ON A LINE WHO COULD LONG PUTTER YOU TO DEATH AND

ROBERT DAMRON
MHMM

RICH LERNER
WHO COULD UP AND DOWN YOU UNTIL YOU WERE BLUE IN THE FACE.

ROBERT DAMRON
OH

RICH LERNER
YOU SORT OF, THE KIND OF GUYS WHO RENDERED THAT IMPORTANT LESSON THAT THERE'S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO MAKE A GOOD SCORE IN THE GAME OF GOLF.

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL THERE'S NO QUESTION. YOU SEE GUYS WHO, I, I KNOW ONE GUY OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD, IN PARTICULAR, HIS NAME IS BOB HOFF, NEW YORK STATE SENIOR CHAMPION AND HE'S WELL INTO

HIS 70'S, AND, I MEAN THE GUY'S A GREAT PLAYER AND I'VE HEARD FROM HIM SINCE I WAS A KID, HEY, YOU KNOW, YOU GOT TO PLAY IN TOURNAMENTS. AS MANY TOURNAMENTS AS YOU CAN GET IN.

AND I WATCHED THIS GUY AND I'M LIKE YOU KNOW, HE SHOOTS HIS AGE WITH NO PROBLEM.

RICH LERNER
MHMM

ROBERT DAMRON
AND, A GREAT PLAYER AND I WATCH HIM AND I'M LIKE, YOU KNOW, HE, THIS GUY KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT, AND

LIKE I SAID, YOU'VE GOT GUYS LIKE, YOU KNOW, DALE FINSTERWALD AND ARNOLD PALMER ALSO THAT, THAT YOU KIND OF ASK, YOU KNOW, HEY WHAT UH, YOU KNOW, WHAT DID YOU GUYS DO TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE? SO, I ALWAYS HAD
MY MOUTH SHUT AND MY EARS OPEN.

RICH LERNER
YOU, SOMEBODY ONCE SAID OF YOU THAT YOU WERE GROOMED FOR SUCCESS BECAUSE YOU WERE AROUND SO MANY OF THOSE GREAT NAMES FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE.

ROBERT DAMRON
MHMM

RICH LERNER
GUYS THAT YOU MENTIONED. FINSTERWALD, PALMER, NORMAN, HOCH, AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON, SO THAT BY THE TIME THAT YOU ARRIVED, YOU WERE NOT INTIMIDATED. IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

ROBERT DAMRON
OH YEAH. VERY FAIR. I THINK BEING AROUND THOSE GUYS AT HOME MADE IT THAT MUCH EASIER TO, YOU KNOW, WHEN I SHOWED UP AT MY FIRST TOURNAMENT

TO NOT LOOK OVER AND GO, WOW, THERE'S, YOU KNOW, FRED COUPLES, OR THERE'S DAVIS LOVE, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THEY'RE JUST, BECAUSE I KNEW A LOT OF THEM AND THEY'RE JUST GUYS LIKE ME AND YOU AND YOU KNOW, THEY'RE OUT TRYING TO DO THE SAME THING I AM, SO

I FELT VERY COMFORTABLE. JUST KIND OF AT HOME WHEN I, WHEN I FIRST GOT OUT ON TOUR.

RICH LERNER
HITCH A RIDE WHEN YOUR DAD, BILL, WAS GOING HEAD TO HEAD AGAINST ARNIE, JUST ON ANY GIVEN AFTERNOON? DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO WATCH SOME OF THOSE?

ROBERT DAMRON
I STILL DO. I'LL STILL GO OUT AND WATCH THOSE GUYS GO AT IT. THEY'RE FUN, YOU KNOW, THERE'S, LIKE YOU SAID, THERE'S
A LOT OF CHATTER GOING ON, BUT, MR. PALMER LOVES TO COMPETE. I'VE NEVER

SEEN ANYONE LOVE TO PLAY GOLF AS MUCH AS HE DOES. I MEAN HOW MANY YEARS HAS HE BEEN PLAYING NOW AND HE ISN'T SICK OF IT. YOU KNOW, I GET TIRED OF IT AFTER A MONTH ON THE ROAD SOMETIMES.

RICH LERNER
THAT, THAT'S THE AMAZING THING ABOUT ARNIE, IS, IS HE HAS SUCH A DEEP ROOTED LOVE FOR THE GAME THAT WILL NEVER GO AWAY. I CAN RECALL PULLING UP TO A

PARKING LOT AT A SENIOR EVENT MANY YEARS AGO AND MAYBE 20 CARS DOWN YOU COULDN'T MAKE OUT WHO IT WAS AND THERE WAS GUY AT HIS TRUNK, JUST LIKE ANY SATURDAY OR SUNDAY AMATEUR PLAYER AT THE LOCAL MUNI

PUTTING A CLUB IN THE TRUNK, PULLING ANOTHER ONE OUT.

ROBERT DAMRON
MHMM

RICH LERNER
A LITTLE FIDDLE AND WE PULLED CLOSER AND IT WAS ARNIE

ROBERT DAMRON
SURE

RICH LERNER
AND JUST A LITTLE SNAPSHOT OF WHAT A REGULAR GUY IS BUT HOW MUCH THIS GUY REALLY LOVES THE GAME.

ROBERT DAMRON
IT'S, IT, IT REALLY IS UNBELIEVABLE. HE, HE YOU KNOW HE NEVER RUNS AWAY FROM IT BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE APPROACHING HIM OR, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY HE HASN'T PLAYED AS WELL AS HE'S USED TO IN THE LAST FEW YEARS

AND, AND HIS ENTHUSIASM DOESN'T
FLICKER AT ALL. IT'S, IT'S JUST AS STRONG AS IT EVER WAS.

RICH LERNER
ALRIGHT, SO YOU TEED IT UP WITH ARNIE FOR THE FIRST TIME AT 13. HOW OLD WERE YOU?

ROBERT DAMRON
IN THERE. 13.

14

RICH LERNER
14, 14 YEARS, YEARS OLD?

ROBERT DAMRON
IN THE SHOOT OUT. I, I

RICH LERNER
DO YOU RECALL AND, AND COULD YOU PULL, COULD YOU GET A CLUB BACK OR?

ROBERT DAMRON
NO, UH

RICH LERNER
COULD YOU BREATHE?

ROBERT DAMRON
NO. I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER, THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME TWICE WHERE I WAS SO NERVOUS THAT I LOOK BACK DOWN AT THE BALL RIGHT BEFORE I PULLED THE TRIGGER AND I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING.

IT'S KIND OF WHITE, LIKE FUZZY WHITE. EVERYTHING, SO PURE INSTINCT THAT I EVEN LAID THE, LAID THE CLUB ON THE BALL. I, I HOOKED TWO ONTO THE DRIVING RANGE WHEN I FIRST

SAW BAY HILL.

RICH LERNER
WOW

ROBERT DAMRON
AND YOU KNOW, PLAYED OKAY AFTER THAT BUT IT TOOK A FEW HOLES TO CATCH MY BREATH.

RICH LERNER
HOW DID YOUR DAD KEEP YOU HUNGRY GIVEN THAT IN MANY CASES THE COUNTRY CLUB LIFE DOES NOT PRODUCE THE KIND OF DESIRE THAT ONE WOULD NEED TO SUCCEED AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL?

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL, I, I THINK A PARENT CAN ONLY SHOW YOU THE WAY, I THINK UNLESS I HAVE THE DESIRE TO DO IT IT'S JUST NOT GOING TO WORK OUT. THERE'S NO WAY I THINK THAT HE COULD HAVE INSTILLED

IT IN MY HAD I NOT BEEN WILLING TO DO IT ANYWAY, BUT, YOU KNOW, HE KEPT, HE, HE, IT WAS GREAT THAT WE MOVED TO BAY HILL AND, BECAUSE IT GAVE ME THE MEANS. I CAN HIT FROM MY MOM AND DAD'S BACKYARD, I CAN HIT 5 OR 6 IRON

ONTO THE BACK OF THE RANGE, SO IT'S RIGHT THERE FOR ME AND THAT WAS, THAT'S SOMETHING I (??) TO DO.

RICH LERNER
BUT YOU, YOU NEVER VIOLATED ANY OF THOSE RULES OUT THERE.

ROBERT DAMRON
NO, I WOULD NEVER DO THAT.

RICH LERNER
NOW, NOW, YOU WOULD NEVER, NEVER DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

ROBERT DAMRON
OF COURSE NOT.

RICH LERNER
WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK WITH ROBERT DAMRON AS OUR GUEST. WHEN WE COME BACK WE'RE GOING TO FIND OUT HOW THE DAMRON FAMILY MADE IT FROM KENTUCKY TO BAY HILL.

IT'S AN AMAZING STORY. WE'LL SHARE THAT WITH YOU WHEN WE COME BACK IN JUST A MOMENT.

(MUSIC)

NEXT SEGMENT
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Snedeker joins 59 club at Wyndham

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 4:19 pm

Brandt Snedeker opened the Wyndham Championship with an 11-under 59, becoming just the ninth player in PGA Tour history to card a sub-60 score in a tournament round.

Snedeker offered an excited fist pump after rolling in a 20-footer for birdie on the ninth hole at Sedgefield Country Club, his 18th hole of the day. It was Snedeker's 10th birdie on the round to go along with a hole-out eagle from 176 yards on No. 6 and gave him the first 59 on Tour since Adam Hadwin at last year's CareerBuilder Challenge.

Snedeker's round eclipsed the tournament and course record of 60 at Sedgefield, most recently shot by Si Woo Kim en route to victory two years ago. Amazingly, the round could have been even better: he opened with a bogey on No. 10 and missed a 6-footer for birdie on his 17th hole of the day.


Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Snedeker was still 1 over on the round before reeling off four straight birdies on Nos. 13-16, but he truly caught fire on the front nine where he shot an 8-under 27 that included five birdie putts from inside 6 feet.

Jim Furyk, who also shot 59, holds the 18-hole scoring record on Tour with a 58 in the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship.

Snedeker told reporters this week that he was suffering from "kind of paralysis by analysis" at last week's PGA Championship, but he began to simplify things over the weekend when he shot 69-69 at Bellerive to tie for 42nd. Those changes paid off even moreso Thursday in Greensboro, where Snedeker earned his first career Tour win back in 2007 at nearby Forest Oaks.

"Felt like I kind of found something there for a few days and was able to put the ball where I wanted to and make some putts," Snedeker said. "And all of a sudden everything starts feeling a little bit better. So excited about that this week because the greens are so good."

Snedeker was hampered by injury at the end of 2017 and got off to a slow start this season. But his form has started to pick up over the summer, as he has recorded three top-10 finishes over his last seven starts highlighted by a T-3 finish last month at The Greenbrier. He entered the week 80th in the season-long points race and is in search of his first win since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open.

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Woods' caddie paid heckler $25 to go away

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 4:05 pm

Tiger Woods is known for his ability to tune out hecklers while in the midst of a competitive round, but every now and then a fan is able to get under his skin - or, at least, his caddie's.

Joe LaCava has been on the bag for Woods since 2011, and on a recent appearance on ESPN's "Golic and Wingo" he shared a story of personally dispatching of an especially persistent heckler after dipping into his wallet earlier this month at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

According to LaCava, the fan was vocal throughout Woods' final round at Firestone Country Club, where he eventually tied for 31st. On the 14th hole, LaCava asked him to go watch another group, and the man agreed - under the condition that LaCava pony up with some cash.

"So he calls me a couple of names, and I go back and forth with the guy. And I said, 'Why don't you just leave?'" LaCava said. "And he goes, 'Well, if you give me $25 for the ticket that I bought today, I'll leave.' And I said, 'Here you go, here's $25.'"

But the apparent resolution was brief, as the heckler pocketed the cash but remained near the rope line. At that point, the exchange between LaCava and the fan became a bit more heated.

"I said, 'Look, pal, $25 is $25. You've got to head the other way,'" LaCava said. "So he starts to head the other way, goes 20 yards down the line, and he calls me a certain other swear word. So I run 20 yards back the other way. We’re going face-to-face with this guy and all of a sudden Tiger is looking for a yardage and I’m in it with this guy 20 yards down the line.”

Eventually an on-course police officer intervened, and the cash-grabbing fan was ultimately ejected. According to LaCava, Woods remained unaffected by the situation that played out a few yards away from him.

"He didn't have a problem," LaCava said. "And actually, I got a standing ovation for kicking the guy out of there."

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Highlights: Snedeker's closing blitz to 59

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

Brandt Snedeker's first round at the Wyndham Championship began with a bogey and ended with a birdie for an 11-under 59.

Snedeker made four consecutive birdies on his opening nine holes and then raced home in 27 strokes to become the ninth different player in PGA Tour history to break the 60 barrier.

A very good round turned historic beginning when he holed a 7-iron from 176 yards, on the fly, for an eagle-2 at the par-4 sixth. Playing his 15th hole of the day, Snedeker vaulted to 9 under par for the tournament.



With Sedgefield being a par 70, Snedeker needed two birdies over his final three holes to shoot 59 and he got one of them at the par-3 seventh, where he hit his tee shot on the 224-yard hole to 2 feet.



Snedeker actually had 58 in his crosshairs, but missed an 6-foot slider for birdie at the par-4 eighth.



Still, 59 was on the table and he needed this 20-foot putt to shoot it.


At 11 under par, Snedeker led the tournament by five strokes.

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Rosaforte Report: A tale of two comebacks

By Tim RosaforteAugust 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Comeback (noun): A return by a well-known person, especially an entertainer or sports player, to the activity in which they have formerly been successful.

Even by definition, the word comeback is subjective.

There is no question that Brooks Koepka has completed his comeback. With two major championship victories that encompassed wins over Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods, Player of the Year honors have all but been locked up for the 2017-18 season.

But knowing Koepka, he wants more. A No. 1 ranking, topping his boy D.J., is a possibility and a goal. A Ryder Cup is awaiting. By all rights, Koepka could be Comeback Player of the Year and Player of the Year all in one, except the PGA Tour discontinued its Comeback honor in 2012. Even without an official award, the conversation comes down to the two athletes that hugged it out after finishing 1-2 at Bellerive.

What Woods has recovered from is remarkable, but not complete. He hasn’t won yet. With triumphs in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, Koepka has completed his comeback from a pair of wrist injuries that could have been equally as career-ending as the physical issues that Woods had to overcome just to contend in the last two majors.

“There was a question on whether or not I’d ever be the same,” Koepka said Sunday night in the media center at Bellerive, following his third major championship victory in six tries. “Whether I could do it pain-free, we had no idea.”



The wrist traumas occured five months apart, with the initial issue, which occured at the Hero World Challenge in December (in which he finished last in the limited field), putting him in a soft cast with a partially torn tendon. That cost the reigning U.S. Open champion 15 weeks on the shelf (and couch), including a start in the Masters.

His treatment included injecting bone marrow and platelet-rich plasma. When he returned at the Zurich Classic in April, Koepka revealed the ligaments that hold the tendon in place were gone – thus a dislocation – and that every time he went to his doctor, “it seemed like it got worse and worse.”

Koepka’s second wrist injury of the season occurred on the practice grounds at The Players, when a cart pulled in front of Koepka just as he was accelerating into the ball with his 120-plus mph club-head speed. Abruptly stopping his swing, Koepka’s left wrist popped out. His physio, Marc Wahl, relayed a story to PGA Tour radio in which he advised Koepka before he reset the wrist: “Sit on your hand and bite this towel, otherwise you’re going to punch me.”

Koepka admitted that he never dreamed such a scenario would threaten his career. He called it, “probably the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, setting that bone back.” But, testament to Koepka's fortitude, four days later he made an albatross and tied a TPC Sawgrass course record, shooting 63.

Woods’ physical – and mental – recovery from back surgery and prescription drug abuse was painful and career threatening in its own way. As he said in his return to Augusta, “Those are some really, really dark times. I’m a walking miracle.”

As miraculous as it has been, Woods, by definition, still hasn’t fully completed his comeback. While he’s threatened four times in 2018, he hasn’t won a tournament.

Yes, it’s a miracle that he’s gotten this far, swinging the club that fast, without any relapse in his back. As electric and high-energy as his second-place finish to Koepka was at the PGA, Woods has made this winning moment something to anticipate. As story lines go, it may be better this way.

Coming off a flat weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone, Woods was starting to sound like an old 42-year-old. But instead of ice baths and recovery time, the conversation was charged by what he did on Saturday and Sunday in the 100th PGA.

A day later, there was more good news. With Woods committing to three straight weeks of FedExCup Playoff golf, potentially followed by a week off and then the Tour Championship, that moment of victory may not be far away.

Scheduling – and certainly anticipating – four tournaments in five weeks, potentially followed by a playing role at the Ryder Cup, would indicate that Woods has returned to the activity in which he was formally successful.

There were times post-scandal and post-back issues, that Woods stuck by the lines made famous by LL Cool J:

Don’t call it a comeback
I’ve been here for years
I’m rocking my peers

Not this time. As he said Sunday before his walk-off 64 in St, Louis, “Oh, God. I didn’t even know if I was going to play again.”