Clinton pokes fun at Vice President Biden

By July 3, 2011, 10:13 pm

While Rory McIlroy was destroying the field at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago, four American politicians were having their own little golf tournament. The executive battery of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden joined House Speaker and Ohio Republican John Boehner, and guest Ohio Governor John Kasich.

In a bit of reaching across the aisle, Obama and Boehner competed together in a $2 match against Biden and Kasich. The latter duo lost despite Biden being the best of the bunch.

President Bill Clinton took note of Biden’s reported score of 89 from that Saturday round at Andrews Air Force Base and phoned the second-in-line to see if he threw the match for political progress.

From Politico’s Mike Allen:

“I called Joe Biden, who’s the best golfer in the foursome, and carded an 89,” Clinton told the Aspen Ideas Festival on Saturday evening.

“I said, ‘Joe, I don’t mind if you go to funerals. I don’t mind if have to do go to budget [talks]. But, you know, no vice president should have to throw a golf game to make America a better place [laughter].’  And he proceeded to swear to me he didn’t throw it.”

Perhaps Biden did throw the match to earn a few preemptive brownie points for the next time the group plays and the Vice President decides to pay homage to the Commander-in-Chief’s drive by using his health care bill-signing line, “That’s [expletive]-ing huge!”

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U.S. team celebrates wins by Woods, Stricker

By Rex HoggardSeptember 24, 2018, 3:50 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The U.S. Ryder Cup team was waiting to catch a charter flight to Paris late Sunday in Atlanta when the man everyone was waiting for arrived.

“We had a major victory for the team and we had a whole group of guys waiting in the team room, and then a giant roar when Steve Stricker walked in the room after his victory last night,” U.S. captain Jim Furyk laughed.

Stricker, one of Furyk’s vice captains, did win on Sunday, but it was on the PGA Champions Tour at the Sanford International. The bigger roar, of course, was reserved for Tiger Woods, who won for the first time in five years at the Tour Championship.


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“Obviously Tiger played so well at the Tour Championship and to grab ahold of the golf tournament early and fend everyone off, I think was a good buzz in the team room,” Furyk said. “It’s nice to have those two guys play so well, and you know, start us off pretty well this week.”

Woods’ victory at East Lake included a final-round pairing with Rory McIlroy, who the American beat by three strokes, and set an early tone for the Ryder Cup. In fact, European captain Thomas Bjorn was even asked if Woods should be “feared” this week.

“We don't fear anyone because we've played against them so many times before individually but we respect our opponents and know what we are up against,” Bjorn said.

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U.S. Ryder Cup team arrives in Paris

By Rex HoggardSeptember 24, 2018, 3:27 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The U.S. Ryder Cup team landed in Paris just before 1 p.m. (local time) on Monday and most players headed to the hotel to rest following a long week at the Tour Championship.

“I’m not going to be at the golf course tomorrow,” Justin Thomas said on Sunday following his final round at East Lake.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk said he encouraged his players to take a day to rest and recover with a busy week looming. Half of Furyk’s team have never played Le Golf National, site of this week’s matches, and the next three days promise to be a crash course in learning the nuances of the layout.


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“These next three days are very key for us and very important in practice to get to know this golf course, to understand as best we can the ins and outs,” Furyk said.

Thomas played the French Open on the Ryder Cup course in July and Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau made a scouting trip to Le Golf National prior to The Open.

“I was always a guy who broke down golf courses in a major trying to learn, like at a major championship, trying to learn a golf course in 36 holes and be very prepared for that round on Thursday,” Furyk said. “That's what we're going to have to do, and the European side is going to know the golf course a lot better.”

Tiger Woods' First Win in Five Years Leads to Highest-Rated FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 24, 2018, 3:05 pm

5.21 Overnight Rating Becomes Highest-Rated PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

18.4 Million Minutes Streamed on Sunday (+561% YoY); Most-Streamed NBC Sports Sunday Golf Round Ever (Excluding Majors)

 NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:15 p.m. ET) earned a 5.21 Overnight rating, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast is up 206% vs. 2017 (1.70).  It also becomes the highest-rated telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-’18) and the highest-rated PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excluding majors). Coverage peaked from 5:30-6p (7.19) as Woods finished his round and as Justin Rose was being crowned the FedExCup champion, only trailing the peaks for The Masters (11.03) and PGA Championship (8.28) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:15 p.m. ET) posted at 4.35 Overnight rating, which is the highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (2000-’18).

“Tiger Woods’ win at the TOUR Championship was an unforgettable event in golf,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “The massive gallery following Tiger up the 18th fairway was matched by record viewership across NBC Sports’ platforms. Golf is experiencing a surge in momentum with Tiger and the young stars of the Tiger-inspired generation atop leaderboards. We look forward to this momentum continuing this week at the Ryder Cup.”

Sunday’s Final Round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes the most-streamed NBC Sports’ Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (Noon-1:30p) also earned a .74 Overnight rating to become the highest Sunday lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-’18).

This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris, beginning with the premiere of its latest Golf Films’ project, Famous 5, tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. The network’s Ryder Cup week programming will be led by nearly 30 hours of its Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.

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As Woods marched toward victory, the masses followed

By Rex HoggardSeptember 24, 2018, 2:26 pm

ATLANTA – As Tiger Woods made his way to East Lake’s 18th green and a victory that was five years and four back surgeries in the making the masses that had tracked his every move crested the gallery ropes and began rushing down the fairway behind the day’s final group.

The decorum of golf was temporarily whisked away by the urgency of the moment and a career that had come full circle under a blinding public spotlight.

Just as Woods was making his way to his 80th PGA Tour title Paul Casey was stepping to a stage behind the 18th green to speak with the media and glanced at a television that was showing the pandemonium in all of its raucous glory.

“It’s mental,” Paul Casey smiled. "He’s the only person who does that. It’s cool.”

For two days fans flocked to East Lake to get a glimpse at history, Woods’ long-awaited return to the winner’s circle after five seasons of setbacks and substandard play. The knock on the Tour Championship has always been its utter lack of atmosphere. That changed last week.

Despite sporting the season’s 30 best players and the lingering $10 million drama of the FedExCup champion since 2007, the finale has always felt more like a cozy member-guest.

Even the 2009 edition - which was headlined by an epic duel between Woods and Phil Mickelson that finished with the former winning the season-long race and the latter hoisting the Tour Championship trophy - didn’t deliver anything even approaching buzz.

It’s this general lack of excitement that, at least in part, prompted the Tour to dramatically overhaul both its schedule and the format for the finale. Beginning next year the Tour Championship will be played the week before Labor Day weekend, avoiding the stifling shadow of football.


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But not even football’s draw could rob last week’s event of its celebrity thanks entirely to Woods’ weekend at East Lake, an inspiring performance that featured six birdies through his first seven holes on Saturday and a commanding if not technical performance on Sunday.

With fans lined five and six people deep down the first fairway, Woods wasted no time giving the public what they wanted with a birdie at the first that echoed to every corner of the property, and when he scrambled for par at the 17th hole the stage was set for one of the season’s most rowdy finishes.

The bedlam that broke out on the 18th hole as Woods completed his round was like a scene from an old Open Championship, when fans were allowed to walk down fairways behind players.

“That was awesome,” said Woods’ caddie Joey LaCava. “I kept telling the cops, as long as they don’t trample us let them keep coming, why not? That was fun. This is what golf needs, right? They don’t do it for anyone else.”

The quiet game with its gentile rules had gone mainstream. Officials often talk of attracting a more general sports fan to the game and this is what it looks like – loud and unapologetic.

Woods has always transcended golf and his appeal has drawn many to the game, but this comeback from injury has reached even further to an element of the public that appreciates how far he’s come this season if not the nuanced brilliance of his game.

“I was talking to Rory about it. I think Tiger played here in 2013, but in 2014 when Rory and I were in the final pairing, we didn't have this many people, and he was the No. 1 ranked player in the world at the time,” said Billy Horschel, who played three groups ahead of Woods on Sunday. “It shows you what he does for an event, and it's exciting. We miss it because there's always that extra buzz, that extra energy around the course, and for someone like me, a player that feeds off that, I love it. I actually absolutely love having more fans, more energy. It just makes me play that much better, and especially when I get in contention, I thrive off it.”

Record and raucous galleries are nothing new for Woods, but this season has been particularly intense.

When he began the final round of the Valspar Championship in March a stroke off the lead record crowds flocked to Innisbrook Resort, a normally subdued stop on the circuit, and roared for his every shot.

The intensity grew with each missed opportunity. A tie for fifth place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a fourth-place finish at the National followed by a tie for sixth at The Open all set the stage for the season’s most frenzied moment, Woods’ runner-up showing at the PGA Championship.

The prospect of a breakthrough combined with a St. Louis fanbase starved for major championship golf reached a crescendo on Sunday when even Woods had to stop on his way to the scoring area to marvel at the masses.

The crowds at East Lake weren’t to the level to those that made Bellerive the year’s largest party on grass, but it’s the most recent example of how Woods, a heathy and hungry Woods, continues to reach well beyond golf.