Not So Fast

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 10, 2010, 10:46 pm

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods

 
NOT OUT OF THE WOODS: Jack Nicklaus said Friday that if Tiger Woods is to ever break his record of 18 professional major championship victories [he's currently four back], 2010 would be a very important year for him. Three of the four majors this season are played on courses on which Woods has previously won at least one championship: Augusta National, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.
 
BackspinThe odds of Woods winning at least a pair of majors this year were better than Charlie Sheen donning a pair of handcuffs. Were being the operative word. After Woods' world came unravelled Thanksgiving weekend, who knows if he'll even play in two majors. Here's guessing he'll compete in all four and still win at least two. It's hard to imagine even personal turmoil can impede Woods' drive to surpass Nickalus for golf's greatest record.

Geoff Ogilvy

DEFENSE! DEFENSE!: Geoff Ogilvy defended his title at the PGA Tour's season-opening SBS Championship. Ogilvy finished one shot in front of Rory Sabbatini, shooting rounds of 69-66-68-67 to finish at 22 under par. It's the Aussie's seventh career Tour title.
 
BackspinOf those seven wins, six have come in the first three months of the season. His lone victory past March was the 2006 U.S. Open [not a bad one to have]. Can Ogilvy end the trend with a mid- or late-season win? I'm saying yes, perhaps at another limited-field event in April. And I know a little something.
SBS Championship

 
WHAT'S IN A NAME?: Twenty-eight of the 31 winners from last year competed in the PGA Tour's 2010 season-opener. That number, however, included only one player who had previously won at Kapalua [Ogilvy] and did not include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson.
 
Backspin If you thought this year's lid-lifter had a weak field, don't blame the players – at least not those who won last year. Considering Woods and Mickelson were never going to tee it up in Maui, regardless of home life, SBS got nearly 100 percent participation. It's just that Martin Laird, Nathan Green and Pat Perez filled spots normally reserved for the likes of Vijay Singh, Jim Fuyrk and Sergio Garcia. Expect more of the same in 2010. Liking parity is OK. It doesn't make you a commie.

Lucas Glover

 
GLOVE-R DOESN'T FIT: Lucas Glover held the outright lead through each of the first three rounds of the SBS Championship, including a three-stroke advantage at the midway point. The reigning U.S. Open champion, however, closed in 3-over 76 to finish in a tie for 14th.
 
BackspinJust goes to show that regardless of your resume it's never easy to close out a win in professional golf.  Glover's not a fluke major champion, but he's got a ways to go before he will be considered an imposing force on the PGA Tour.

Vanity Fair

 
YOU'RE SO VAIN: Tiger Woods was featured shirtless on the cover of the February edition of Vanity Fair, which went on sale Wednesday. The photos were from a 2006 shoot with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz and accompanied an article by Pulitzer Prize winning author Buzz Bissinger. The story was not an interview with Woods, but an essay by Bissinger. Meanwhile, alleged Woods mistress Jamie Grubbs posed for the February issue of Maxim magazine.
 
BackspinGrubbs – who released the Tiger voicemail, if you forget which one she was – also talked about their relationship on the magazine's Web site, saying that if she could tell Woods just one thing it would be 'that he hurt me.' Remember that scene in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life where the impossibly fat man eats an entire menu's worth of food, but doesn't explode until taking a bite of a 'wafer-thin mint?'  After feeding on this scandal to nauseating proportions, that quote was the mint.

Tim Finchem

 
A LITTLE CHILLY IN HERE: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met with the media for the first time in 2010 Tuesday in Maui. Normally a laid-back session, Finchem faced questions about a perceived weak field at the winners-only event, the future of sponsors on the PGA Tour, whether he had talked to Tiger Woods, the effectiveness of Tour drug testing, and whether he was concerned about Woods' relationship with a doctor linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
 
BackspinFinchem normally faces Lilliputian opposition during press conferences, but he was pushed a little in this one. Exchanges even became a bit testy at times. Note to self: If I ever need to borrow money from Finchem, don't bring up Tiger Woods or doping.

Greg Rita

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Caddie and cancer survivor Greg Rita [shown above at last year's Players Championship] was robbed at gunpoint in his Jacksonville, Fla., home on New Year's Eve. ... PGA Tour players officially switched from 'U' grooves to 'V' grooves in their irons at the SBS Open. ... Michelle Wie is considering playing in the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand event in six weeks.
 
Backspin Fortunately, no one was seriously injured – though Rita's wife was hit in the head by a gun, according to reports – and three suspects were captured. ... If we're going to limit technological advancements in golf, we might as well go back to wooden woods. ... The more she plays, the better it is for the tour.
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.  

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.