No. 1 Best Seller

By John FeinsteinJuly 26, 2011, 7:38 pm

Steve Williams wants to write a book. I have news for him: The line forms to the right.

If I had a dollar for every athlete, coach, father, mother, fan or media member who has called me in the last 25 years to either ask for advice on how to write a book or to offer me the chance to co-author their book, I wouldn’t be as wealthy as Tiger Woods but I’d probably be as wealthy as Williams.

Everyone who has ever spent 15 minutes in sports thinks his or her life is worthy of a book. One of my favorites was an email I received from someone with the subject line, “Opportunity For You.” The opportunity was to write his book on the building of a sprint football team (that’s 150 pounds and under) at a Division III school. It wasn’t that there was any particular story line to it he just thought the school having a team was worthy of a book.

That wasn’t even close to the worst idea I’ve ever heard. It was just the most arrogant approach I can remember.

Almost every college basketball coach who has ever won more than 10 games in a season is convinced his life is book. Years ago a coach who had been fired from a major school in the midst of a scandal called me. He’d had a decent career pre-scandal, nothing you’d write a book about, but a reasonably good career. There was reason to believe if he bided his time for a couple of years he might get another job. Most cheaters who have won in the past get another chance.

“I’m ready to do my book,” he said. “I want you to write it.”

I wasn’t going to write the book but there were enough big names involved in the scandal and he probably knew enough stories that if he wanted to turn whistleblower someone might publish the book.

“Hang on a second,” I said. “You might get someone to publish the book but you need to think before you leap here. If you write about what happened in detail and what you’ve seen other coaches do, chances are good you’ll never coach again.”

He was stunned that I had missed his point and said, “You don’t understand. I’m not going to write about any of THAT. I’m only going to write the positive things: my big wins and my relationships with the student-athletes.”

The guy had won two NCAA Tournament games in his life. I politely suggested he lay low for a while and try to find another coaching job.

Which brings me back to Steve Williams. He says his autobiography would contain, “an interesting chapter on Tiger Woods.”

Really? What will all the other chapters be about? Your racing career in New Zealand? Your days not winning major titles with Greg Norman? Tales of Life with Finchie? (Ian Baker-Finch, a nice guy who won his major without Williams on his bag).

There’s only one reason anyone knows Steve Williams: he spent almost 13 years of his life working closely with Woods. People aren’t going to be all that interested in what Stevie whispered to Tiger before he made the putt at Torrey Pines back in ’08. (“You can do it mate,” sounds about right).

No. The only reason any publisher is going to pay Williams more than the price of lunch for his book is if he dishes on Tiger’s private life. I know that sounds cynical and, honestly, I still wouldn’t read the book but a lot of people probably would.

A year ago, after his split with Woods, Hank Haney began talking to writers about doing a book. Everyone asked him what he'd be able to tell the reader about what was going on in Woods’ personal life prior to Nov. 27, 2009. Haney had nothing, but was willing to dish on a lot of stories about what a bad guy Tiger can be.

You mean stories about him cursing? Not signing autographs? Blowing off the media? Making mean cracks behind people’s backs?

Gee Hank, thanks.

Williams has already categorically denied knowing anything about Woods’ personal life. It may take a leap of faith to believe him but he’d already start out with Strike 1 against him if he started telling people he had details. As in, “Oh, when you were still working for the guy you didn’t know anything; he fires you and you’ve got names, dates, places and times.” People already aren’t terribly sympathetic about Williams’ firing because he was such a lout during his years working for Woods. Turning on a man who made him millions isn’t going to make him more popular in most places.

That doesn’t mean someone wouldn’t pay for the book. Someone would. And the same people who make TMZ successful and buy books on The Life and Times of Paris Hilton would probably turn it into a best seller of some kind. The more Williams can prove what was going on the more he will get paid.

My bet is Stevie will try to sell a book about his role in the 13 majors Tiger won with him on the bag. Look, no one respects caddies more than I do, a good one can make a big difference for a player. But the Woods who won those 13 majors was so good he probably would have won with Gary Williams the basketball coach, or Gary Williams the Golf Channel broadcaster, on the bag.

When I think of Stevie in those days I think back to Jack Nicklaus at the 1981 U.S. Open when his son Jack Jr. caddied for him for the first time in a major. After his first round, someone asked Nicklaus if having Jack Jr. caddie for him had helped him in any way.

“He was a huge help,” Nicklaus said.

“Really?” the excited questioner said. “How exactly did he help?”

Nicklaus smiled. “Well,” he said. “Someone had to carry the bag.”

Maybe that could be the title for Stevie’s book: “Someone Had To Carry The Bag.”

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Not DJ, not Poulter: Kisner most proud to take down Kuchar

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 9:34 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On his way to this week’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Kevin Kisner has beaten world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the European match play ninja Ian Poulter. But neither match could compare to his duel with Matt Kuchar early Saturday.

“I was more jacked to beat [Kuchar], really. Kuch is such a good player and our games are so similar,” said Kisner, who defeated Kuchar in the round of 16, 1 up. “We both made eight birdies this morning and I barely snuck out of there. I thought it was a lot of fun.”

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By comparison, his quarterfinal bout against Poulter wasn’t nearly as electric. Kisner won two of the first four holes when the Englishman made bogey (No. 3) and when he was conceded the fourth hole, hecruised to an 8-and-6 victory for the week’s most lopsided win.

“I don't know Ian that well, so I don't really have a history with him, other than watching him kill us in the Ryder Cup,” Kisner laughed.

Things won’t get any easier for Kisner on Sunday when he’ll play Alex Noren in the semifinals. The Swede has been dominant this week and is considered one of Europe’s top players heading into this year’s Ryder Cup.

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Hahn: 'My fault for not expecting the worst from fans'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 24, 2018, 8:35 pm

Fan behavior has made headlines all year long on the PGA Tour, and the topic of conversation doesn't look like it’s going away anytime soon.

The latest example came on Friday at the WGC-Dell Technologies March Play, when James Hahn took to Twitter to complain that a fan deliberately yelled in his backswing on the 15th hole during his match with Jason Dufner, which he lost 3 and 2.

“Whether we like it or not, this is where the game is going,” he tweeted. “My fault for not expecting the worst from fans. Just sucks to lose a match that way.”

The two-time PGA Tour winner followed up his original tweet, clarifying that he can expect bad behavior from all golf fans while still loving and respecting them.

He also pointed out a major difference in comparing golf to other sports, saying some PGA Tour players go to far greater lengths than the typical NFL star to engage with fans on a daily basis.

The incident comes on the heels of several recent player run-ins with fans, including Justin Thomas at the Honda Classic, Rory McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Sergio Garcia earlier this week at Austin Country Club.

On Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said that inappropriate fan behavior related to alcohol sales is something his staff is monitoring.

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Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Elite Eight

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 24, 2018, 8:25 pm

Here is how things played out in the Round of 16 on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The week began with 64 players taking on Austin Country Club,but the field is dwindling. Click here for Day 3 match results:

Match 97: Bubba Watson (35) def. Brian Harman (18), 2 and 1. Watson was 1 down going to the eighth hole, but he won four of the next five holes to turn around this battle of lefties. A 12-foot putt for eagle at the 12th dropped, giving him a 3 up lead coming home. It was Watson’s second eagle of the day. He looks as if he’s still riding the confidence from that Genesis Open victory last month. Watson will advance to play Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the quarterfinals.

Match 98: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Charles Howell III (59), 1 up. Aphibarnrat won in a late comeback, winning the final two holes. He holed a 9-foot putt for birdie at the 17th to square the match and won with an 8-foot birdie at the last. He had not led all day, not until that last birdie putt dropped. The 28-year-old Thai improved to 4-0 on this world stage after sweeping his group in the round-robin play. A four-time European Tour winner, Aphibarnrat is looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He will meet Bubba Watson in the quarterfinals.

Match 99: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Sergio Garcia (7), 3 and 1. Stanley birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes to go 3 up, and then he held off Garcia’s run at him, eliminating the world No. 10 with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes. With the victory, Stanley has a chance at a nice Texas two-step, a chance to eliminate the two highest ranked players left in the field, the only players left among the top 10 in the world ranking. But, there’s hard work to do in the quarterfinals, where Stanley will meet world No. 2 Justin Thomas.

Match 100: Justin Thomas (2) def. Si Woo Kim (50), 6 and 5. Thomas remains on fire in this format, steamrolling Kim a day after completing a round-robin sweep of his group by blowing away Francesco Molinari, 7 and 5. The Kim match felt like it was over shortly after it started, with Thomas making the turn 5 up. Thomas will advance to play Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals.

Match 101: Cameron Smith (46) def. Tyrell Hatton (12), 2 and 1. Smith found himself behind early, falling 2 down after Hatton opened with back-to-back birdies, but Smith quickly rallied to win one of the best matches of the day. He birdied four of the next five holes to go 1 up. Hatton lost despite making seven birdies on the round. He lost despite making birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to the red-hot Smith, who made eight birdies. Smith will meet Alex Noren in the quarterfinals.

Match 102: Alex Noren (13) def. Patrick Reed (19), 5 and 3. In this Fire vs. Ice match, Ice won, with Noren making easy work of Reed. Really, though, Reed never got a flame going, and Noren wasn’t going to help him the way Jordan Spieth did a day before. Reed was 2-over on his card before finally making his first and only birdie of the day at the 13th. Somewhere, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn must have been smiling, watching Noren easily take down the formidable American match-play dynamo. Noren will meet Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals.

Match 103: Ian Poulter (58) def. Louis Oosthuizen (25), 2 and 1. Poulter’s match-play mojo is going strong again, with the Englishman summoning the intensity that has made him so formidable in the Ryder Cup over the years. He was on fire Saturday, making eight birdies over the first 15 holes, if you count the concession he received hitting a wedge to 18 inches at the 13th hole. Poulter put a special putter in the bag this week, using the same flat stick that helped him lead the Euros to their historic comeback victory against the Americans at Medinah in 2012. Though Oosthuizen made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, he still couldn’t make it close. Poulter will meet Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals.

Match 104: Kevin Kisner (32) def. Matt Kuchar (16), 1 up. Kuchar applied all kinds of pressure on Kisner on the back nine, but he couldn’t get Kisner to fold in the best match of the day. Kuchar was 2 down with four to go but managed to pull all square going to the last. After missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th, Kuchar watched Kisner sink a 12-footer for his birdie to win. Kisner will meet Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals.

Match 105: Bubba Watson (35) def. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28), 5 and 3. This was a tight match until Aphibarnrat’s short game failed him on the back nine, with a chunked chip at the 10th, a clumsy pitch at the 12th and a heavy heavy pitch at the 13th helping Watson win four consecutive holes. Watson played his way into the semifinals of this event for the second time in his career. He ended up fourth in 2011. Watson will meet the Justin Thomas in the semifinals.

Match 106: Justin Thomas (2) def. Kyle Stanley (45), 2 and 1. Thomas moved into position to win more than the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. He moved into position to take the world No. 1 ranking from Dustin Johnson. All that stands between Thomas and the top ranking now is Bubba Watson. If Thomas beats Watson in the semifinals, he is assured of going to No. 1. Thomas started slowly against Stanley, missing a 3-footer for par to lose the second hole. It marked the first time Thomas trailed in a match all week. All square making the turn, Thomas won the 10th, 11th and 12th holes and then held off Stanley the rest of the way. Thomas will meet Bubba Watson in the semifinals.

Match 107: Alex Noren (13) def. Cameron Smith (46), 4 and 2. With birdies at three of the first six holes, Noren took an early 3-up lead. Noren, however, made it more interesting than he would have liked the rest of the way. Noren lost the seventh hole with a three-putt bogey and lost the eighth failing to get up and down for par. Smith, though, never pressed Noren after getting that opening. He failed to make a birdie the entire round. Noren, who has won six European Tour events since the summer of 2015, has been knocking on the door to his first PGA Tour title this year. He lost the Farmers Insurance Open in a playoff in January and finished third at the Honda Classic last month. Noren will meet Kisner in the semifinals.

Match 108: Kevin Kisner (32) def. Ian Poulter (58), 8 and 6. Poulter gift wrapped Kisner an early 2-up lead, and Kisner pounced after that. Poulter, who was on such a torrid run until meeting Kisner, three-putted to lose the third hole with a bogey and then pulled his tee shot deep in a hazard to lose the fourth hole. Kisner birdied the fifth and sixth holes to race to a 4-up lead. Poulter had no answers. After making eight birdies in the morning Round of 16 , Poulter didn’t make a birdie against Kisner, who will face Noren in the semifinals.

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Garcia bounced in Austin: 'On to Augusta'

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 6:55 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – For the 16th time in his career, Sergio Garcia’s week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play ended earlier then he would have hoped, but this time he has plenty of distractions to ease the sting.

Garcia lost his Saturday morning match to Kyle Stanley, 3 and 1, marking the 15th time in his Match Play career he’s failed to advance to Sunday, but at least he has plenty to keep him busy with a newborn at home and his return to the Masters looming in two weeks.

“On to Augusta,” said Garcia, who is not playing next week’s Houston Open. “It's exciting. Obviously when we get there, it's going to be interesting to see how we feel and everything. But it is definitely exciting.”

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Garcia defeated Justin Rose in a playoff to win last year’s Masters, his first major triumph, so his return to Augusta National will be unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

His duties as defending champion will include hosting Tuesday’s Champions Dinner. No word on Garcia’s menu for the event, but various sources have confirmed it will be something “Spanish.”