Anything Tiger Can Do

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS: Lorena Ochoa made her LPGA season debut at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore and showed aboslutely no signs of rust as she blew away the field, winning by a whopping Tiger-like and career best 11 strokes.
BackspinAfter seeing Sorenstam and Creamer win the first two events of the LPGA Tour season, there was no doubt Ochoa was itching to get into the mix. The final leaderboard looked like a dream scenario for golf fans with the names Sorenstam, Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Stacy Prammanasudh and even Karrie Webb all positioned in the top-10. The only problem was Ochoa decided to go Tiger on everyone, thus sucking the air out of what could have been a race to the finish with Tour's top stars. Shame on Lorena for being so good, so early in the season.

WORTH THE WAIT?: Ernie Els got off to a hot start in the final round of the Honda Classic and then held on to claim his first PGA TOUR victory since the 2004 season. The win vaulted Els pass Steve Stricker in the world rankings, right behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Backspin The golfing gods must have figured it was time to even things out for the Big Easy. His share of misfortune and missed opportunities over the last couples years has been well documented and this time Els watched as others made the mistakes coming down the stretch. Just two days into March, the TOUR has already seen Tiger, Lefty and now Els all visit the winner's circle - just the kind of build up we want to see heading towards Augusta National.

FREDDIE AND THE SHARK: The Presidents Cup will have two new captains as it was announced that Greg Norman will head the International team and Fred Couples the United States squad. The two will become the first captains who have competed in the matches Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were captains at the last three competitions.
BackspinThe announcement this week moves the Presidents Cup into a new era as it said goodbye to two icons from the '60s and '70s, Nicklaus and Player, and welcomed two stars from the '80s and '90s in Freddy and the Shark. This was an honor clearly not lost on Couples, who said, Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen. And Robin Williams as a vice-captain should be fun.

CUT IT OUT ALREADY: The PGA TOUR announced early last week that the much-maligned new cut rule that went into effect at the start of the year has been altered and will now have a 54-hole cut if the situation arises in which 78 or more players are on the number.
BackspinThe new cut rule has not only been controversial to many players, but also quite confusing to many fans as well. Perhaps best to sum up the seemingly ongoing sticky situation is none other than TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, stating, 'I just think we didnt think through the new rule. Its hard to understand. People see players making the cut and not playing. Nobodys happy with that.' Mark one up in the accountability department for the commish.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: New Zealand's Mark Brown heated up on the back nine on Sunday - posting birdies at the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th - to pull away and win the Johnnie Walker Classic in New Delhi, India. It was Brown's first career European Tour title.
BackspinThe amazing story here is the fact that Brown gave up on the game several years ago after he became completely frustrated with his lack of good results - to the point of taking an office job. But the lure of the game once again came calling and the 33-year-old found his way back out onto the course in 2006 and in just over two years remarkably found himself in the winner's circle. Said Brown in an understatement, 'It's a dream come true.'

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: David Duval missed the cut at the Honda Classic, shooting 72-78; Billy Walters, who teamed with Fredrik Jacobson to win the pro-am portion of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, was cleared by officials concerning the authenticity of his stated handicap of 11.
BackspinA story nobody wants to hear, but Duval has played in five events in 2008 and has missed the cut in four and withdrew from the other. In 11 rounds has yet to break 70, this from the former No. 1 player in the world; As reported by GOLF CHANNEL's Brian Hewitt, the well-know Vegas golf hustler actually didn't even break 80 in any of his rounds and attributed their record win as a classic ham and egg effort. Must have been one tasty omelet.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Honda Classic
  • Full Coverage - HSBC Women's Champions
  • Full Coverage - Johnnie Walker Classic
  • More Headlines
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.