Who is under the most pressure at the PGA?

By Jay CoffinAugust 8, 2012, 7:38 pm

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Much is at stake this week at the 94th PGA Championship. It’s called “Glory’s Last Shot” for a reason. It’s Tiger Woods’ last chance this year to end his major drought. Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Steve Stricker are still looking for their first major victories. Can Adam Scott rebound from his British Open disaster? It’s the last week to automatically qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup and Stricker, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson are all on the outside looking in. Which player is under the most pressure this week at the Ocean Course? Our team in Kiawah Island debates.


All of the aforementioned names are faced with a degree of pressure. Jim Furyk faces the most.

He’s 11th in Ryder Cup points and only the top eight Sunday at the PGA Championship automatically qualify for the U.S. team. If Furyk doesn’t play well many still believe he’s a lock to make the team via a Davis Love III captain’s pick. I just don’t buy it.

Sure, Furyk would be a safe pick and would not be controversial, but his inability to close the deal last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – which was compounded by the fact he played poorly down the stretch of the U.S. Open while in contention – has to be cause for concern for Love.

It's not like Love has a lack of options. Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson are all on the outside of the top eight and all would be worthy of a pick. Furyk has been on every U.S. Ryder Cup team since 1997. If he wants that streak to continue he needs to shake off last week’s disappointment and find a way to play well at the PGA Championship.


Sure, most eyeballs will be fixated on Tiger Woods this week, but should he be feeling the most heat? No. That’d be Dustin Johnson. Twice in position to win a major – including this championship in 2010 at another Pete Dye gem (Whistling Straits) – the titanium-denting South Carolinian still is without one of golf’s most important titles.

More pressing this week, though: He ranks 14th in Ryder Cup points, and only 12 guys can make the team. Let’s assume there is no fluctuation in the standings this week (an unlikely proposition). So, would you pick DJ ahead of Jim Furyk, a Ryder Cup veteran? Or Steve Stricker, an ideal partner for Woods? Or Hunter Mahan, who is ninth in points and has won twice this season? Or Rickie Fowler, who authored one of the signature moments of the 2010 Cup?

Let’s not forget, for all of his immense talent, Johnson has struggled in these match-play competitions. After going 1-3 in his first Ryder Cup, in 2010, he stumbled to a 1-3-1 mark last year in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Yes, 2-6-1 the past two years. He’s no lock for a captain’s pick, so DJ better play well at Kiawah.


As chips go, Brandt Snedeker is of the 360cc variety, but in the affable Tennessean’s defense he has come by it honestly.

Few, if any, have endured the cold capriciousness of golf’s team selection process as harshly as Snedeker and this week’s looming Ryder Cup deadline will only serve to make the Ocean Course’s 7,700 odd yards that much more grueling and pressure packed.

In 2003 Snedeker won the U.S. Amateur Public Links, earned All-America honors and was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and yet was snubbed for that season’s Walker Cup team.

Last year, he was passed over again for a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team by captain Fred Couples and he enters this week’s PGA Championship13th on the Ryder Cup points list. He is, officially, on the outside looking in.

His plight is compounded by a stark reality for captain Davis Love III, who will make his four picks Sept. 4. It seems certain Love would pick No. 9 Hunter Mahan, No. 10 Steve Stricker and No. 11 Jim Furyk; which would leave one pick for either Snedeker, Rickie Fowler (No. 12) or Dustin Johnson (No. 14).

If Snedeker is going to make the U.S. team he will likely need to do it this week at Kiawah.


I’ll answer this question the same way I’d answer it prior to any major championship.

The player with the most pressure on him this week is Tiger Woods.

The other 155 players in the PGA Championship field are chasing a victory. Most want to win a major for the first time; others want to add a second or third (or even fourth or fifth) in order to validate their previous success. And yes, many have other goals in mind, such as qualifying for a Ryder Cup team or even keeping their PGA Tour card.

But nobody else is chasing history.

The only one for whom each passing major either means one more step toward breaking Jack Nicklaus’ all-time victory record or watching the window continue to close ever so slightly is Woods, whose odometer has been stuck on 14 ever since the 2008 U.S. Open.

When Roger Maris chased Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record, his hair started falling out. When Hank Aaron chased the Babe’s all-time home run record, he received death threats.

The moral of the story? There are both internal and external pressures athletes endure when it comes to chasing history. Woods is no doubt feeling each of those once again this week.


Luke Donald is under the most pressure this week in his bid to win the PGA Championship.

As the world No. 1, a victory will prove he belongs at the top.

Whether Donald likes it or not, a segment of golf fans dismiss his ranking because he hasn’t won golf’s great prize, a major. He’s 0 for 37 in them. It has to be irritating to be dismissed, in some quarters, as a caretaker of the top spot until Tiger Woods returns to No. 1 or some player wins multiple majors to leave no doubt who deserves to be called No. 1.

Donald has been reminded constantly that of the 16 players who have reigned as No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, he and Lee Westwood are the only ones who haven’t won a major championship. Donald has held the top spot for 56 weeks. Only Woods, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros have held the No. 1 ranking longer.

All of these questions of worthiness have to be annoying, but, also, motivating. Donald handles it all impressively, but he holds the power to make his greatest impression, competitively, by hoisting a major championship trophy.

At first glance, Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course wouldn’t seem a good fit for Donald to win his first major. It will play long, especially with the rain that has softened the course this week. Sometimes, though, a big course just makes the short game more important, with missed greens more common. Given Donald’s wonderful short game, his terrific bunker play and fluid putting stroke, the Ocean Course just might bring out the best in the Englishman. It might bring him the prize he covets.

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With Woods living up to his legend, Tiger-mania is back

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 4:13 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Just two weeks ago at the PGA Championship, fans pushed in along every corner of Bellerive’s 18th hole chanting, “Let’s go Tiger,” undeterred by the oppressive heat or the hopelessness of Tiger Woods’ title chances.

It was a fitting send-off for a player who would come up two strokes short in his quest to win his 80th PGA Tour title and his 15th major championship, not to mention an apropos snapshot of the massive St. Louis galleries who cheered Tiger’s every step.

It was also a sign of the times for the game’s most recognizable athlete.

Since Woods embarked on this most recent comeback from injury, the sense of excitement has steadily built. What began as a curiosity now looks like certainty.

Woods has repeatedly explained the 2018 season was always going to be filled with more questions than answers. He didn’t know how his repaired back would hold up under the pressure of competition or what swing he would have.

Fan didn’t know which Tiger would arrive on the first tee each week – Vintage Woods or the often-injured guy who managed to play just 19 events the last four years.

As Woods progressed, the answer seemed to be the former, with Tiger electrifying fans at the Valspar Championship on his way to a tie for second place.

“This entire year has been so different,” Woods said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust, his first playoff start since 2013. “I've had excitement. I've had people into it over the years, but this has been so different. We go back to how everyone received me at Tampa, that was very special and I had not received ovations and warmth like that.”

Woods tied for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and fourth at the Quicken Loans National. Despite Tiger's regular calls for patience and perspective, a fan base that was reluctant to dive back in with a self-described medical miracle is now wading into the deep end.

This zeal has built to a crescendo, with the PGA Championship emerging as the new raucous standard.

“I’ve played with him a lot during that time [in his prime],” Stewart Cink said late Sunday at Bellerive. “After the round yesterday, I commented it sounded like the old times, but the truth is it was more intense yesterday then I remember it being at any time.”

The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos

A portion of that Bellerive buzz was the byproduct of a community starved for major championship golf. And, to be fair, eventual champion Brooks Koepka earned his share of cheers for his third major triumph in his last six major starts. But the majority of that fervor was attibutable to Woods’ play.

Woods is not playing the role of ceremonial golfer and this is not a farewell tour. For the first time in a long time, his play has lived up to his legend.

There’s nothing better in sports then a comeback, and Woods may end up being the most compelling reclamation project golf has seen in decades.

“I think that everyone can relate to that because they have all gone through it. Everyone has got aches and pains, and whether you've had kids or not, you get to your 40s, you're feeling it, and I'm not the only one,” Woods explained. “The only difference is I'm an athlete and I'm playing at a high level and one of the best players in the world as what I do for a living. That's hard. People understand that. They understand, trying to compete against the younger generation, and it gets a little more difficult.”

Although Woods has given fans plenty to cheer along the way, this is about more than numbers on a scorecard. Approaching his 43rd birthday in December, Tiger has embraced his newfound health as much more than simply another competitive chapter. Woods’ comeback has been defined by a perspective that only comes when one faces their own competitive mortality.

He’s openly appreciative of this opportunity, and the crowds seem to realize that.

“I think that people are more, I guess appreciative. I don't want to make that sound wrong or anything but they know that I'm at the tail end of my career, and I don't know how many more years I have left,” he said. “I'm certainly not like I was when I was 22. Forty-two, it's a different ballgame.”

There’s still plenty of competitive compartmentalization, as evidenced by the all-too-familiar scowl he wore on Sunday at Bellerive. The difference, however, is that he’s more willing to offer the world a glimpse of a softer side where the sharp edges have been dulled by age and injury. On Tuesday, he was asked about his relationship with the crowds that line every fairway.

“Unfortunately, I've gotten to know a lot of them because I've hit a lot of wayward balls. I've signed a lot more gloves this year than I have in the past,” he laughed.

He’s also introduced an entirely new generation of fans to a concept only those of a certain age could previously understand: Tiger-mania.

Vandalized green at Sunshine Tour event (Micheal Hollick/Twitter) Getty Images

Vandals damage greens at site of Sunshine Tour event

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 21, 2018, 3:20 pm

This week's Sunshine Tour event will continue as scheduled despite at least six greens being vandalized.

Sunshine Tour player Michael Hollick posted to his Facebook page photos of greens at Wild Coast Sun Country Club in Port Edward, South Africa, showing severe damage.

He stated that disgruntled former employees were to blame.

"So the local community near the Wild Coast Sun weren’t happy about something so what do they do.... they go onto the golf course and dig up the last 6 greens!! Boggles my mind what goes through the heads of some people..... apparently there were some staff fired for illegal striking this past week and this was their retaliation."

Here's a look at the photos posted by Hollick:

Vandals also left a message on a flag that stated: "This Is The Start."

The Sunshine Tour stated that the event, the Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge, will still start on Wednesday, and that the tour has increased security measures. Here's a look at how the diligent grounds crew has repaired the putting surfaces:

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NBC Sports Group to Air More Than 70 Live Tournament Hours of FedExCup Playoffs

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 21, 2018, 2:35 pm

Coverage Begins with First Round of The Northern Trust on Golf Channel; Final Three Playoff Events Airing Across Both Golf Channel & NBC

Following last week’s Wyndham Championship – the 44th and final event of the 2017-18 campaign – the PGA TOUR this week kicks off its season-culminating FedExCup Playoffs, with a $10 million first-place prize on the line at the conclusion of next month’s TOUR Championship. Beginning with the opening round of The Northern Trust on Thursday, NBC Sports Group in total will showcase more than 70 hours of live tournament coverage spanning across the four playoff events, including the final three stops airing exclusively across Golf Channel and NBC.

Being staged at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., The Northern Trust will feature the top-125 players in the FedExCup standings having earned their PGA TOUR card for the 2018-19 season. Golf Channel will air live early round coverage on Thursday-Friday, Aug. 23-24, along with lead-in coverage on Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 25-26.

The following week, the top-100 players will be eligible to take part in the Dell Technologies Championship (Aug. 31-Sept. 3) at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., the first of the final three events that will air exclusively on Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, weekend lead-in coverage) and NBC (Saturday-Sunday). The top-70 players then will advance to the BMW Championship (Sept. 6-9) at Aronimink Golf Club outside of Philadelphia, and ultimately, the top-30 will go on to the TOUR Championship (Sept. 20-23) at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.



Play-by-Play Host

Lead Analyst




The Northern Trust

Rich Lerner

Nick Faldo

Matt Gogel

Billy Ray Brown

Todd Lewis

Dell Technologies Championship

Dan Hicks

Steve Sands

Johnny Miller

Frank Nobilo

Gary Koch

Peter Jacobsen

Roger Maltbie, David Feherty, Notah Begay, Jim “Bones” Mackay

Steve Sands

George Savaricas

BMW Championship

Dan Hicks

Steve Sands

Johnny Miller

Gary Koch

Peter Jacobsen

David Feherty

Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing, Notah Begay, Jim “Bones” Mackay

Steve Sands, Todd Lewis

Jimmy Roberts (Essays)

TOUR Championship

Dan Hicks


Johnny Miller

Frank Nobilo

Gary Koch Peter Jacobsen David Feherty

Roger Maltbie, Notah Begay, Jim “Bones” Mackay

Steve Sands, Todd Lewis

Jimmy Roberts (Essays)


NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel’s news programs, Golf Central and Morning Drive, will provide comprehensive wraparound news coverage throughout the FedExCup Playoffs with interviews, highlights, on-site reports and features. Golf Channel analysts, including Notah Begay, Brandel Chamblee, David Duval, Trevor Immelman and Mark Rolfing, all will contribute to pre-and-post round coverage on Golf Central during the course of the playoff events. Chantel McCabe and Brian Bateman also will contribute to Morning Drive on-site from TPC Boston at the Dell Technologies Championship, Friday-Monday.


In addition to NBC Sports Group’s more than 70 dedicated live hours of tournament coverage surrounding the FedExCup Playoffs, fans also will have an opportunity to follow the action via PGA TOUR LIVE. Coverage of “Featured Groups” will be available during first and second round play at each of the four events leading up to linear broadcast coverage, along with “Featured Holes” during all rounds throughout the Playoffs airing concurrently during live broadcast coverage.


Golf Channel Digital will have comprehensive editorial coverage of the FedExCup Playoffs with columns and daily blogs. Coverage across the four playoff events will be led by Jay Coffin and Rex Hoggard (The Northern Trust); Hoggard and Will Gray (Dell Technologies Championship); Ryan Lavner and Nick Menta (BMW Championship); Hoggard and Mercer Baggs (TOUR Championship).

Golf Channel’s social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – will provide expanded social coverage surrounding the final stretch of the season. Golf Channel and NBC also will integrate social media content throughout its live tournament telecasts, incorporating social media posts from players and fans. News and tournament action surrounding the FedExCup Playoffs can be accessed at any time on any mobile device and online via Golf Channel Digital. Fans also can stream NBC Sports’ coverage of live golf via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.



The Northern Trust (Aug. 23-26)

Thursday, Aug. 23                  7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)  PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Friday, Aug. 24                       7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Features Groups)   PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Saturday, Aug. 25                   1-2:45 p.m. (Live)                              Golf Channel

Sunday, Aug. 26                     Noon-1:45 p.m. (Live)                        Golf Channel

Dell Technologies Championship (Aug. 31-Sept. 3)

Friday, Aug. 31                       8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)  PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              2:30-6:30 p.m. (Live)                         Golf Channel

Saturday, Sept. 1                    8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)  PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              3-6:30 p.m. (Live)                              Golf Channel

Sunday, Sept. 2                      1-3 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

                                              3-6 p.m. (Live)                                   NBC

Monday, Sept. 3                     11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)               Golf Channel

                                              1:30-6 p.m. (Live)                              NBC

BMW Championship (Sept. 6-9)

Thursday, Sept. 6                    11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)      PGA TOUR LIVE

                                               2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Friday, Sept. 7                        11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)      PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Saturday, Sept. 8                    Noon-3:30 p.m. (Live)                       NBC

                                              3:30-6 p.m. (Live)                              Golf Channel

Sunday, Sept. 9                       Noon-2 p.m. (Live)                            Golf Channel

                                              2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   NBC

TOUR Championship (Sept. 20-23)

Thursday, Sept. 20                  10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Featured Groups)      PGA TOUR LIVE

                                               1-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Friday, Sept. 21                      10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Featured Groups)      PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              1-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Saturday, Sept. 22                  12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live)                       Golf Channel

                                              2:30-6:30 p.m. (Live)                         NBC

Sunday, Sept. 23                     Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live)                       Golf Channel

                                              1:30-6 p.m. (Live)                              NBC

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Woods talks about Ryder Cup prospects in third person

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 1:47 pm

Conversations between Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods have gotten a little awkward.

That’s what happens when Woods, the U.S. Ryder Cup vice captain, needs to assess the prospects of Woods, the player.

“We’re talking about myself in the third person a lot,” he said with a chuckle Tuesday at the Northern Trust Open. “That’s one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

“I’m one of the guys on the short list, and sometimes I have to pull myself out of there and talk about myself in the third person, which is a little odd.”

The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos

After placing second at the PGA Championship, Woods finished 11th on the U.S. points list with just eight months of tournament results. Three of Furyk’s four captain’s picks will be announced after the BMW Championship in three weeks, and barring a late injury, it’s almost a certainty that Woods will be one of those selected.

Still, Woods was named in February as an assistant for his third consecutive team competition, even though he told Furyk at the beginning of the year that he envisioned himself as a player on the 2018 squad.

“I’m very close to making that happen,” he said. “It’s been a long year, and that’s been one of my goals, to make the team. To be a part of that team you have to be one of the 12 best players, and I’m trending toward that.”