Cold Canadian Mornings
Perhaps it is not truly a rite of spring, but to me our Canadian Tour coverage signifies our annual crusade of enjoyment. Let's face it, getting paid to cover professional golf tournaments isn't exactly tough duty; it's definitely not brain surgery. It is, as expected, very enjoyable. Anybody who tells you how there's so much more to it than meets the eye; that it's not as glamorous as it looks; that there's a lot of work involved behind the scenes that makes things demanding and trying; or that it's not as much fun as it appears, well, they may have a point, but not a very strong one.
In 2003, The Golf Channel is scheduled to cover six Canadian Tour events, and to our loyal viewers, it's a welcome chance to meet some of the new young talents, as well as catch up with some pretty interesting characters. One such character is Jason Bohn.
Here's a little background information on Jason to refresh our memories: Jason is known to his friends as the luckiest man in North America. While in college, he stumbled to the tee at a hole-in-one challenge after a particularly late night, and he promptly won a million dollars. And he just as promptly turned pro so he could collect on the prize. He's also the guy that proclaimed on national TV a year ago that he's firmly convinced that someday he'll win the lottery. To his friends, that wouldn't come as a surprise.
Jason Bohn is always good for a quote or two, and he's almost always got a one-liner at the tip of his tongue. So it was no surprise when he delivered a crowd-roar-inducing doosie at last week's players meeting.
Since last week was the first official Canadian Tour tournament of the year, a players meeting was scheduled to discuss any and every issue currently facing the tour. In short, it's a chance for players to give their input on any of a number of issues that are mostly out of their control. I've never been too sure what these meetings accomplish, but they're a necessity on every tour.
One subject that was certain to be a hot topic was that of Michelle Wie, the 13-year-old Hawaiian girl that has accepted a sponsors invitation to compete against the male professionals later this year on the Canadian Tour. Needless to say, there was no shortage of players with an opinion on this subject.
After listening to enough concerns and complaints, Hank Kuehne interjected his thoughts. Keep in mind that an undeniable Kuehne family trait is honesty. 'I'll never get caught in a trap if I'm always honest,' Hank told me last week. And I can vouch for the fact that both Hank and his sister Kelly share this trait.
What a nice problem to have--not knowing how to lie.
They both are saavy with the media and they both are aware of the need for political correctness, but at the same time, they never pull any punches.
So when Hank had heard enough, he's reported to have stood and said, 'If you guys are afraid of a 13-year-old girl beating you, then maybe you should consider looking for a different job.'
Oh, how I just love brutal honesty. But let's get back to Jason Bohn.
How does a player respond to Hank's in-your-face reality-inducing opinion? Here's how--with an assessment of these gender-bending uncertain times in professional golf.
The quick-witted Bohn didn't bat an eye before proclaiming his assessment as to perhaps why not everyone in the room agreed with the long-hitting Kuehne's point of view. 'That's easy for you to say Hank. You can out-drive her.'
Needless to say, the room roared.
The Canadian Tour won't see too much of its stars from last year. Kuehne, Jeff Quinney, and Steve Scott all have playing status on the Nationwide Tour and should concentrate the majority of their efforts out there. However, the Canadian Tour itself still has quite a story to tell.
Since becoming involved with The Golf Channel, the Canadian Tour has experienced new levels of legitimacy in terms of how it's viewed by the golf community both at home and abroad. Judging by the numbers of entries at the Winter Qualifying Tournament, the advent of which was necessitated by The Golf Channel exposure, and the level of player who now considers it as a viable option, the Canadian Tour is for real.
'The Golf Channel exposure has been a real boost for us - especially at home where The Golf Channel is huge, said Canadian Tour media relations director Marty 'The Avalanche' Henwood. There's no question about Marty's statement. I have noticed a huge increase in interest in the Canadian Tour by those professional golf insiders with whom I regularly correspond. Given the constantly elevating level of play coupled with The Golf Channel exposure, the Canadian Tour is definitely looking ahead to bigger and better things in the future. I truly think that more tournaments and bigger purses are in their future--their near future.
Just in case you're wondering, Marty Henwood's nickname comes from a little practical joke. In short, if you leave your rental car in the possession of a couple co-workers and a couple Canadian Tour administrators, and they're in the mood for payback after ditching them, then you may be likely to find your rental car 'avalanched' in the morning. Imagine looking into your car as you approach, only to find it full of ice. Yes, full of ice. No, not in bags. No, not just spread around the floor. Full of ice.
After shoveling out enough ice to reach the pedals, I put on my rain suit for driving and thoroughly enjoyed one of the better practical jokes I've been victim to in quite a while. They weren't entirely unthoughtful however; they left my favorite morning drink, a Dr. Pepper, right on top in the middle of the ice. How refreshing to have that nice ice-chilled morning caffeine.
Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.
Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.
Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.
“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.
“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”
Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.
Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger
Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.
His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.
We compiled some of their missives below:
Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.
Starting to wonder how many Tiggy is going to win by here........... #isheback— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 22, 2018
Tiger is leading the open pic.twitter.com/MbGnJIt1Jj— Tyrrell Hatton (@TyrrellHatton) July 22, 2018
That FW bunker shot by Tiger tho... pic.twitter.com/Fi3GY6AegO— Scott Langley (@Scott_Langley) July 22, 2018
Tiger back doing Tiger stuff.......— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 22, 2018
I love you https://t.co/JovVz2clm2— Braden Thornberry (@tberrygolf) July 22, 2018
Omg lesgo @TigerWoods— Willy Wilcox (@willwilcoxgolf) July 22, 2018
Right now, Tiger is like everyone’s ex who we’ve given way too many 2nd chances to, and he has the opportunity to rip your heart right out of your chest but we’re all ok with it because we tend to only remember the good times— max homa (@maxhoma23) July 22, 2018
Woods shares emotional embrace with his kids
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods missed a birdie putt on the last hole that would’ve vaulted him into a tie for second place at The Open. It was a difficult way to end an otherwise successful week for the 14-time major champion, who is just happy to playing majors again.
Then he walked off the 18th, saw his two children, daughter Sam and son Charlie, and they all took a moment for a long embrace. Turns out, that was the perfect way to end the week.
“I told them I tried and I said, 'Hopefully you’re proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did,'” Woods said Sunday after putting the finishing touches on an even-par 71 to end at 5 under for the week.
“It’s pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again.”
In 2008, when Woods won his last major, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Sam was a year old and Charlie was not yet born. They don’t know how much their father used to dominate this game, especially majors. The last time Woods won a PGA Tour event was five full years ago. Woods has joked in the past that they only know him as a YouTube sensation.
“So, for them to understand what I was doing early in my career,” he said. “The only thing they’ve seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me. Man, it’s just such a great feeling.”
TT postscript: Not a win, but an amazing week
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods had a chance to win his 15th major Sunday at The Open at Carnousite:
• Tiger shot 71-71-66-71 to finish at 5 under par and tie for sixth place.
• When Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele both bogeyed the fifth hole Tiger was in the solo lead. Amazing to think that only last September he said he never knew if he’d ever play golf again. Here he was, nine months later with a chance to win a fourth claret jug. Amazing.
• For 10 holes, Tiger was the calmest, coolest, most composed player on the golf course. Birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 looked easy, while most everyone else was struggling to make par.
• To me, the biggest mistake of the week, and certainly of the final round, was Tiger’s decision to get cute and hit a flop shot up and over a bunker into the 11th hole. It checked up and rolled back down and off the green. He failed to get up and down and made double bogey. If he’d have pitched the ball 12-15 past the hole he’d had have a chance to save par and would’ve made no worse than bogey.
• The double bogey felt worse when Tiger made bogey on the 12th hole. This two-hole stretch cost him three shots and he finished three shots off the lead.
• Tiger moved to 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking, which qualifies him for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won eight times.
• One of the best moments of the week came after Tiger’s round when he gave his kids, daughter Sam and son Charlie, long hugs. Tiger said it was especially emotional because both kids knew how much this week meant to their old man. They had only seen Tiger struggle; it was great for them to see his success.
• Tiger: “Today I did everything the way I thought I needed to do it to win the championship. This entire week, I felt like I needed to keep building my way into this championship. It's one of those where, as I said earlier in the week, it's going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win it on Sunday because we're all driving the same areas. Kind of turned out that way. There are a bunch of guys packed, a bunch of guys with a chance to win, and I was one of them.”
• Overall, an amazing week. Truly tremendous to watch.