The Billion Dollar Man

By Mercer BaggsOctober 5, 2009, 1:01 pm

Tiger Woods

 
DO THEY MAKE MILLION-DOLLAR BILLS?: Forbes reported this past week that, by their estimate, Tiger Woods has surpassed the $1 billion earnings mark. Forbes took into account prize money, appearance fees, endorsements, bonuses and his golf course design business. Woods, if the numbers are correct, would be the first athlete to cross this barrier.
 
Backspin I should be jealous, but I find myself feeling like Ron Burgundy when he discovered his dog ate an entire wheel of cheese. It is amazing that one man can accumulate so much. And don't go thinking this is just a byproduct of his success. This is an achievement for Woods, one he's long wanted to accomplish. Woods loves money more than Burgundy loves scotch.

Greg Norman and Chris Evert

 
SEPARATE LIVES: Just days before the start of the Presidents Cup, Greg Norman and Chris Evert announced their separation. The star couple was married for only 15 months and did not say whether they planned to divorce. Norman is the captain of the International Presidents Cup team.
 
Backspin This will make Norman's Tuesday press conference at Harding Park more interesting. Of course, he'll ask the media to respect his privacy ... but when has that ever worked. Divorce, however, is a serious matter and we'll respect it as such in Backspin. It's one of those things where someone should be allowed to say what they want on the subject and nothing more  – without bother.

Ken Green

 GREEN NOT FEELING BLUE: Ken Green, who had his lower right leg amputated after a vehicle accident in June, said he plans to return to the Champions Tour by April. A tournament was held this past week in Green's hometown of Danbury, Conn., to help raise money for Green's increasing medical and personal expenses.
 
Backspin Fred Funk, Andy Bean, Scott Simpson, Chip Beck, Bob Tway, Phil Blackmar and Brad Bryant were among the pros who took part in last Monday's event. Green has been playing recently, doing so with a special prosthesis that includes an ankle that will pivot. Green not only lost his lower right leg in the recreational vehicle accident; he also lost his brother, girlfriend and dog, who all died in the crash. That he's persevering in life and not wilting away in a dark corner is far more impressive than Tiger Woods' billion-dollar earnings.

Manuel de los Santos

 
SIMPLY AMAZING: For all the stars at the European Tour's Dunhill Links Championship, it was Manuel De Los Santos who was the main attraction. De Los Santos, who lost his left leg in an automobile accident, played the tournament without the use of a prosthesis.
 
Backspin The 25-year-old from the Dominican Republic teamed with professional Richard Bland and missed the 54-hole cut by one shot, finishing at 20 under. 'I didn't make the cut but I am not disappointed, because I have had the most fantastic week,' De Los Santos said. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we'll just let the above image speak for itself.
Matt Kuchar


 
WELCOME, MATT: Matt Kuchar won his first PGA Tour event since March 2002, defeating Vaughn Taylor on the sixth playoff hole at the Turning Stone Resort Championship. The duo completed two playoff holes Sunday before darkness suspended play and then needed four more holes on a cold and windy Monday morning in New York to determine the winner.
 
Backspin The way most people treat Fall Series events, you'd think everyone was playing for pride and little more. Kuchar, however, nearly doubled his yearly earnings, collecting $1.08 million for the victory. He's now inside the top 30 on the money list, which, if he finishes there, will be good enough for a ticket to the 2010 Masters – something a Fall Series victory doesn't provide.

Lorena Ochoa


 
SUPER STAR: Lorena Ochoa sucessfully defended her title at the Navistar LPGA Classic, defeating Michelle Wie by four shots in Prattville, Ala. The victory was Ochoa's third of the season and first since April. She moved to fifth on the 2009 money list and second in the Rolex Player of the Year standings.
 
Backspin This win was just a natural progression for Ochoa, who had finished, in order, T-10, T-4 and second in her previous three starts. Wie, meanwhile, collected her fifth top-5 of the season, thanks to bookend 66s. On another note, 14-year-old Alexis Thompson, who opened the tournament in 64-69 for a share of the 36-hole lead, closed in 74-74 to tie for 27th, 12 back of Ochoa.

Jay Haas

 
IT'S OVER, IT'S FINALLY OVER: Jay Haas, fresh off his first win of the season a week prior, captured the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship. Haas shot 6-under 64 in the final round to rally past Tom Watson, who was trying to become the oldest winner of a major championship on the Champions Tour. The 60-year-old led by four entering the final round, but shot even-par 70 to finish one back of Haas.
 
Backspin This officially puts an end to the 2009 major season. Surprisingly, it was Watson who provided the most memorable performance of the year across all tours. That it happened on the PGA Tour – and not the Champions – and came in a losing effort makes it all the more amazing.  Watson played in seven combined majors this season and had five top-10 finishes, including that unforgettable playoff loss at Turnberry in the Open Championship.

Rio de Janeiro


 
GAMES, SET, MATCH: Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics Games. Chicago, considered one the favorites to host the Games in seven years, was the first city voted out Friday in Copehagen, Denmark.
 
Backspin The selection of Rio over Chicago shouldn't affect golf's chances of being included in 2016. That decision will come down this Friday. Chicago, with its multitude of championship courses, certainly would have been a great host site for golf, but if you're fortunate enough to cover the Olympics in seven years' time where would you rather be? I've seen 'Blame it on Rio.' I want to go there.

Arnold Palmer


 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Arnold Palmer said he plans to return Bay Hill to a par 72 for next year's Arnold Palmer Invitational. ... Kenny Perry's mother died after a long battle with blood cancer. ... GolfChannel.com senior writer Randall Mell reported that Navistar agreed to a one-year extension as sponsor of their Alabama event, with a two-year option. ... Jerod Turner won the Nationwide Tour's Soboba Classic.
 
Backspin The course was a par 70 the last three years, but two of the current par 4s will be changed back to par 5s, including the 16th hole. Fans want to see birdies and Palmer wants to please the fans. ... Perry still plans to play in the Presidents Cup, with his family's wishes. ... More tournaments are agreeing to stick around for one more year to see if they like what they see. We hope they do. ...Even Golf Channel's Jerry Foltz, who knows the most obscure golfers in the world, had never heard of this guy before last week.

Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”