School Time for the Big Wiesy

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
In Backspin, GolfChannel.com takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
 

WHO KILLED THE LIGHTS?: For the first time in nearly 20 years, the PGA TOUR took a week off in the middle of the season. They pick up this week is Mississippi for the Viking Classic, opposite of the 37th Ryder Cup Matches.
 
Backspin Commissioner Tim Finchem built this break into the schedule last November so certain players would not have to compete four straight weeks in the FedExCup and then head straight to Valhalla for the Ryder Cup (really it was just to try and get Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to play in all the Playoffs events). But true to form, the TOUR will still have a tournament during a major event, when even some of the players would rather watch the Matches.
 

BACK TO SCHOOL: Michelle Wie, who was not able to earn her LPGA card by playing on sponsors exemptions, has entered the LPGA Qualifying School and will play the first stage this week in California on the course where she first rose to fame. Wie, who turns 19 in October, has not won an event since the U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links in 2003 at age 13.
 
Backspin The story of Wie's career has been well documented, but still it is hard to believe that only two years ago she had at least a share of the lead on the back nine of three majors. For the first time in a long time, though, she is finally making the right decision by going to Q-School.
 

WELCOME BACK: Meanwhile, in real LPGA action, Angel Stanford won the inaugural Bell Mirco Classic, despite shooting 1-over 73 in the final round. The victory was Stanfords second on tour and first since 2003.
 
Backspin Stanford also became the fourth different American to win on the LPGA this year and the second in a row. And she gave her victory speech in perfect English.
 

MODEL GAME: Fahion model/professional golfer Anna Rawson held a share of the first-round lead in Alabama after opening in 5-under-par 67. She followed that, however, with rounds of 73-75-69 to tie for 10th.
 
Backspin The result was Rawson's best career finish on the LPGA. The high-fashion blonde is trying to prove to people that she's more than just a pretty face. The tour, of course, would welcome her pretty face near the top of the leaderboard any time.
 

WARMING UP IN STYLE: Robert Karlsson grabbed the lead after the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship and never relinquished the top spot, winning by two shots for his first victory of the season.
 
Backspin Already having a solid year ' a remarkable five consecutive top-4 finishes in one stretch ' the tall Swede made good on his decision to play the week before the Ryder Cup. Captain Nick Faldo must certainly be pleased to see one of his players coming into Valhalla beaming with the kind of confidence that comes only from a win.
 

CHAMPION'S TOUR:R.W. Eaks successfully defended his Greater Hickory Classic title, carding a final round 1-under 71 on a windy Sunday en route to a four-stroke victory over Tom Jenkins and Tom Kite.
 
Backspin Eaks sure does like Rock Barn Golf and Spa. The 56-year old has not finished worse than second there in the past three years, fired a 61 in Round 2, which is the lowest round all season on the Champions Tour, and had only one bogey all week on his way to victory. Maybe it's time that Eaks looks into buying some real estate in the area.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Englands Laura Davies successfully defended her Austrian title, shooting a 4-under-par 68 on Sunday for her second straight win ... Chris Tidland fired a 7-under 64 in the final round to cruise to his first Nationwide Tour victory at the Boise Open ... Remnants of Hurricane Ike damaged parts of Valhalla, knocking over a camera tower on the 12th hole.
 
Backspin After the win, Davies 'pulled a Kenny Perry' saying, 'I want to get my confidence back; I want to be ready to go again next year and be in the Solheim Cup. That is a big thing for me next year.' ... With the win, Tidland moved into the top 25 players on the money list, who at the end of the season will earn 2009 PGA TOUR cards ... Repairs have already been made in preparation for this weeks Ryder Cup as the long-range forecast is promising for the rest of the week with mostly sunny weather expected.

 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Bell Micro LPGA Classic
  • Full Coverage ' Mercedes-Benz Championship
  • Full Coverage ' Albertsons Boise Open Presented by Kraft
  • Full Coverage ' Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn
  • More Headlines
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    Like father like son: Bring Your Child to Work Day

    By Jay CoffinApril 26, 2018, 7:51 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Today is Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day at Golf Channel, where everything is fun and games until your child promptly says something that embarrasses you beyond belief. It’s only happened six times today. So far.

    My daughter, 12, is in middle school and feels like she’s too big for this sort of shindig. But my son Brady, 11, was all in. The deal was that he could spend the day with me, I’d take him to McDonald’s for lunch, but he had to write a golf story of some sort for GolfChannel.com.

    Here is his unedited work, in all its glory:

    By BRADY COFFIN

    My name is Brady Coffin and I play golf. I started at the age of 4 years old. My two favorite golfers are Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods. They are really good golfers and every time I watch them they always give me tips.

    My dad Jay Coffin is the best editor of Golf Channel and always gave me tips when I first put the golf club in my hand. I had my very first par in Hilton Head when I was 7 years old. I am on the Drive, Chip and Putt commercial and I was in a movie where I played a young Ben Hogan. My favorite golf course is Royal Blue in the Bahamas.

    I have won many golf tournaments and I am going to play in another tournament next month. I have made a couple of birdies. I am going to play in the PGA Junior League this summer.

    At the Golf Channel I get to meet new people and play many games. One of the amazing people I met was Mr. Damon Hack. He is on the Morning Drive show and was very nice to me. Damon has been playing golf for 25 years and his favorite golfer growing up was Tiger Woods.

    He loves working at Golf Channel.

    “It gives me the opportunity to talk and write about the sport that I love. It’s a sport that I can play with my boys. It’s a sport that I can watch on television. It’s a sport that teaches great life lessons. I couldn’t ask for a better job,” Damon said to me.

    (P.S. I will be better than Jordan Spieth.)

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    Not the 'prettiest' 65, but Duval, Furyk will take it

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 7:44 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Wearing a polo instead of a dress shirt, working with a caddie and not a producer, David Duval exited the scoring tent, walked toward the group of reporters waiting for him after their 65 and grumbled to teammate Jim Furyk, “The damn media.”

    Duval was joking – we think – since he now is one of us on the dark side, a successful and respected TV analyst, after an injury-shortened career in which he battled Tiger Woods, rose to world No. 1, won a major and then experienced such a miserable slump that it drove him into an entirely new line of work.

    Now 46, Duval doesn’t play much anymore, only 11 events in the past four years. His last made cut was in July 2015. Earlier this year, he teed it up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but only because he and his wife, Susie, enjoy the vibe there. Competitively, he knew he didn’t stand a chance. He had moved back to Colorado, worked two out of the three weeks, and then couldn’t practice the other week because the weather didn’t cooperate. Not surprisingly, he shot three consecutive rounds of 76 or worse.

    And that could have been the extent of his season (save for his annual appearance at The Open), but he was drawn to the idea of the team format at the Zurich, to the idea of playing with Jim Furyk, with whom he’s been friends for the past 32 years, dating to their days in junior golf. So Duval reached out, asking the U.S. Ryder Cup captain if he wanted to team up, for old times’ sake.

    “This was about being with a friend, reuniting, having our wives together for a few days,” said Duval, who estimated that he’s played more than 100 practice rounds with Furyk over the years. “Expectation-wise, I don’t know what they are for me. I don’t get to participate out here and compete.”


    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    But Duval took this start seriously. He almost never travels with his clubs, but he brought them to the Masters, working with his old coach, Puggy Blackmon, between TV appearances and bouncing between Augusta Country Club and Augusta University’s practice facility.

    Without any on-camera work since then, he’s spent the past two weeks grinding, even bringing Blackmon to New Orleans for a range session, just like most of the other pros in the field.

    “It’s like a normal preparation,” he said. “Maybe not as much as it would be for a typical player, but a lot more than I’ve been able to do in the past.”

    Duval has no intentions of diving back into competitive golf full-time, but working as an analyst has given him a new perspective on the game he loves.

    “When you don’t play a lot and you don’t have that opportunity, you feel like you have to play perfectly,” he said. “Being on the other side of the desk, you see how many crappy golf shots really, truly get hit, and it’s like, look, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to hit more good ones than bad ones and go from there.”

    That also sums up his and Furyk’s opening round here at the Zurich.

    Furyk joked before the event that they’re the rustiest team in the field, but playing best ball, they remained steady in a driving rainstorm, then ran off seven birdies to shoot 65 and sit in the top 10 when they finished their round.

    “It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest,” Duval said, “but it was solid. It wasn’t like we had 36 looks at birdie.”

    “We ham-and-egged it really good today,” Furyk added. “We got pretty much one of the best scores we could have out of the round.”

    The second round could be a different story, of course, with alternate shot. It’s a more nerve-wracking format – especially for two aging warriors without many competitive reps this year – and they figure to find some unusual parts of TPC Louisiana.

    But that’s a worry for Friday, because Duval was in the mood to savor his four birdies, his team score of 65 and his ideal start to a work week with his longtime friend.

    “I think it was good,” he said, breaking into a wry smile, “especially for me.”

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    Finau lifts team to opening 62 on improving ankle

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 6:24 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Tony Finau continues to thrive on his injured ankle.

    Playing for the first time since the Masters, where he tied for 10th despite a high-ankle sprain, Finau matched partner Daniel Summerhays with six birdies to shoot a combined 10-under 62 in fourballs Thursday at the Zurich Classic.

    Finau still isn’t 100 percent – he said he's closer to 70 percent – even after two weeks of rest and physical therapy. During that time he worked with doctors at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center and also the training staff with the Utah Jazz. Before the Zurich, he had played only nine holes.


    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    “Sometimes simplicity is huge in this game,” he said. “There is not a lot of thoughts in my swing in the first place, so there can’t be that many thoughts when you don’t practice. It served me well today.”

    Partnering with Summerhays, his fellow Utah resident and a friend for more than a decade, they combined to make 12 birdies during an opening round that left them only two shots back of the early lead.

    Asked afterward how his ankle felt, Finau said: “Feeling a lot better after that 62. A great remedy for something hurting is some good golf.”  

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    Woods commits to Wells Fargo and The Players

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 6:07 pm

    Tiger Woods will tee it up each of the next two weeks, having officially committed to both the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

    Woods' commitment to next week's event in Charlotte was confirmed by multiple Golf Channel sources and first reported during Thursday's "Golf Central."

    The 42-year-old later took to Twitter to formally announce that he is ready for another back-to-back stretch:

    Woods has not played since a T-32 finish earlier this month at the Masters. A winner at Quail Hollow in 2007, Woods has not made the cut there since a fourth-place showing in 2009 and has not played Wells Fargo since 2012. He missed last year's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow because of injury.

    Woods' return to The Players will mark his first trip to TPC Sawgrass since 2015. He won on the Stadium Course in both 2001 and 2013. This will be Woods' second back-to-back of the season, having missed the cut at the Genesis Open before finishing 12th the following week at the Honda Classic.

    After starting the year ranked No. 656 in the world, Woods is up to No. 91 in the latest world rankings. He recorded three straight top-12 finishes during the Florida swing, including a runner-up finish alongside Patrick Reed at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.