After Further Review: Don't read too much in Woods' performance

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 2, 2014, 11:12 pm

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on Tiger Woods' lackluster performance in Dubai and the raucous week at TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

For those fretting about Tiger Woods’ scruffy start to 2014, remember this: The world No. 1 still has three stroke-play events to figure it out before the Masters, where he has finished outside the top 6 just once in his last nine appearances.

It’s clear now that when Woods said that he “didn’t do much” this offseason, he meant so literally. He shut it down completely after his World Challenge event – perhaps to rest his aching back, maybe because all of his focus is on the majors, not tournaments that might as well fall under spring training.

Ramping up for the year, it’s reasonable to expect there will be spells of rust and poor form. The first event that truly matters is still two months away. Chances are, he’ll be ready, like usual.  - Ryan Lavner

After spending parts of four afternoons in and around the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, I'm convinced of two things: 1. This scene isn't going away anytime soon; and 2. The PGA Tour wishes it would.

For years, the 16th has toed the line between fun and fury. This year, there were some subtle changes that left the 15,000 fans a bit more subdued and TV viewers missing some of the antics. Let's give 'em credit, though: This isn't just about squashing something fun; it's about keeping the environment safe for both players and spectators, and maintaining decorum in a party atmosphere.

That's a difficult balance to strike, but it's become painfully obvious the Tour is trying to reverse the recent trend as much as it can. - Jason Sobel

Bubba Watson moaned and groaned about slow play on the PGA Tour all week in his post-round interviews at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He was unceremonious and unabashed in his criticism, saying things like, “I don’t know if you know, but the PGA Tour plays slow” and “I want to watch the Super Bowl. … Under five hours tomorrow, boys. That’s not going to happen.”

Watson’s Sunday round – where he bogeyed the final hole to lose to Kevin Stadler by one – was five hours and 15 minutes. So while he didn’t get everything he wanted, at least he can make it back to his Scottsdale home in time for kick-off. Bailey Mosier

So Tiger Woods is off to his worst start as a pro. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, and he’s just switching up the formula. It can’t hurt as he seeks to end his five-year drought in majors.

He was sharp early last year. When he won at Torrey Pines in 2013, we all thought he was on his way back to hoisting trophies in majors again. He did, after all, seem to win a major every year he started off with a win at Torrey. The first six times he won at Torrey at year’s start, he went on to win a major five times. It didn’t happen again, of course.

Woods is 38, and you can’t blame him if he gave his body and even his mind some extra rest this offseason. What he’s sacrificing now may pay dividends later. It’s too early to tell. Doral and Bay Hill in March will give us the real feel for how ready he is for Augusta National. If he's off at those places, after being off at Torrey Pines, something's wrong. – Randall Mell

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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.

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“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.