Press Pass Tiger Raining on the TOURs Parade

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
Is Tiger Woods doing a disservice to the PGA TOUR by not playing in the first FedExCup event?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
No. The TOUR would be doing a disservice to Tiger to criticize him for not playing. Tim Finchem said it best Sunday: He is disappointed Tiger won't be at Barclays but he doesn't second-guess him. Put another way: Tiger has earned the right to take a week off whenever he wants. That having been said, the people at Barclays can't be happy and it will make it more difficult going forward for the TOUR to sell the Playoffs to potential title sponsors knowing Woods might not be in their field.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
I think the way the TOUR set up the new playoff system it allows players to skip events but still take place in the 'Playoffs'. It won't be a true playoff until players have to play in each event and then are eliminated each week as the number drops from 144 to 120 to 70 then 30. The regular season points total should get you in the Playoffs, then every player should start at zero and be eliminated based on that week's performance.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
I don't blame Tiger for skipping, and I even understand why he didn't want to say prior to last week that he was not going to play The Barclays. I do, however, place blame on the system. The system should be as such: it should be designed to force players to compete in all four events in order to win the grand prize. The current system doesn't do that. I'd bet on a change for next year.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
Absolutely not. The PGA TOUR should be happy that he is playing in the final three; particularly when they need him at the Presidents Cup in Montreal one week after Atlanta.
Hot Topic
Who is your pick to win the inaugural FedExCup?
I think Woods will win this thing and I will be surprised if he doesn't win at least one event given how successful he has been at TPC Boston and Cog Hill No. 4. Not just because of (this past week) but because of the last month, don't take your eyes off Brandt Snedeker, who starts at No. 9 on the point standings.
Vijay Singh. He's won at three of the four venues and gets a tournament head start on Tiger. Vijay will win this week and in Atlanta.
If Jim Furyk is healthy, then he's got a great shot. He finishes inside the top 10 of every event he plays, and if he can win one of them, he'll be tough to beat. I'd be surprised if anyone won the $10 million without winning one of the events. I think it comes down to Tiger, Vijay and Furyk.
I like Vijay Singh. With the readjustment of points he begins only 1000 points behind Woods and I expect Vijay to pass Tiger after Barclays. I think it will come down to Woods and Singh in the end.

With the $10 million prize money going to the winners retirement fund, how should he pay out his caddie?
Easy one. Compensate the winning caddie with an annuity equal to 10 percent of the deferred $10 million first prize going to the player. Maybe some of that 10 percent could also go to a caddie health insurance program or retirement fund program

I'd like to see the player who wins, put aside 10% of that annuity for the caddie. What a great retirement plan for guys who don't have that type of security. Regular percentage for the weekly money earned during the Playoffs then put aside a million for the caddie's own annuity from the winner.
Since the player can't officially touch the $10 million until he's at least 45, the TOUR should at least allow him to be able to designate a certain percentage to an annuity or retirement fund for his caddie. The caddie will already make a good sum of money based on his player's play over the Playoffs (prize money won at tournaments is different than the FedExCup payout), but a little bit -- doesn't have to be 10 percent -- of the big pie would be nice, too.
He should establish a retirement account for his caddy and contribute the normal percentage for winning a tournament.
What is the ONE thing you are most looking forward to this week?
It will be fun watching the bubble develop to see who advances from Westchester to Boston. But mostly I want to see if somebody passes the absent Tiger on the point standings. If so, that player will be a target for Woods when he returns.
The one thing I'm looking forward to the most this week is getting the 'Woody Allen Sandwich' at the Carnegie Deli. It's a combination of corned beef and pastrami. New York City is to food what Jack Nicklaus is to golf!
I want to see if any of the top players can get out of the gates quickly with a win and put some pressure on Tiger. I'd like to see Singh or Furyk win -- just to see if it lights a fire under Tiger over the next three weeks.
I am going to be really interested to see just how many players can still realistically win the FedExCup after the first event. My gut reaction is it will be less then 20 players.
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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

    ''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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    DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

    Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

    “He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

    The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

    It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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    Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

    BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

    ''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

    He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    ''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

    Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

    ''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

    Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

    ''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

    Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

    Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

    Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.