TOUR Processing and Distribution

By Kraig KannJanuary 26, 2007, 5:00 pm
Now into the fourth week of the PGA TOUR schedule, its time for a little assessment and a little forward thinking.
The following is nothing more and nothing less than my random observations after three weeks on the Sprint Pre/Post Game desk including a week on the range at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic talking to several players.
  • It's great to have Tiger Woods back this week. Thats pretty obvious, huh? Woods drives the PGA TOUR and the PGA TOUR will shift into overdrive now that hes back. Interest peaks, and I think he cares far more about the consecutive PGA TOUR win streak than you might think. A win this week would be seven and his toughest challenge on the way toward Nelsons 11 will come at the Nissan Open which he has yet to win.
    Kapalua wasnt a given for Woods who didnt spend much Holiday time with the driver and 5-iron. The Buick Invitational has been a safe haven for Tiger ' hes won four times. And dating back to 1997, hes never finished outside the top 10 in his first start of the year.
  • Phil Mickelsons opening week isnt much to worry about. Hes determined to have a great year and I think hell get it. His karma at the Bob Hope Chrylser Classic wasnt all that great ' receiving many behind-the-back comments about not playing in the celebrity rotation, and about his off-season fitness that he says has allowed him to lose about 20 pounds and put 15 back on in muscle. Arnold Palmer was among many who said they didnt notice much. Truth be told, however, a few said that up close Phil did look more fit. Regardless, I expect at least two wins before the U.S. Open. I just hope hes not wearing those brown shoes when he does it.
  • Charley Hoffmans win Sunday at the Bob Hope Chrylser Classic showed a lot about the surfer-kids character down the stretch. Birdie, eagle finish ' are you kidding me? That wind was off the charts. Perhaps most impressive is this stat. Hoffmans win makes the number of PGA TOUR victories by former Nationwide Tour members stand at 198. Keep that in mind while watching Nationwide Tour coverage on the GOLF CHANNEL this year.
  • Watch out for Hoffman - 82nd on the PGA TOUR money list last year and hes motivated enough to chase a bigger prize than just a PGA TOUR win. Hoffman and others like him come to the big tour believing they can win, and perhaps make a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team. Glover didnt play well on Sunday in Palm Springs but hes already won and has proven worthy of debate about qualified players. Jeff Quinneys contention says a lot about the great crop of Nationwide Tour graduates and perhaps more about Tiger Woods dominance.
  • And one more thing about the Nationwide Tour as a proving ground. The percentage of former Nationwide Tour players on the PGA TOUR has grown to an all-time high of 65%. And nine Nationwide Tour graduates, including captain Tom Lehman, were members of the 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup team. (Tiger Woods not included.) That says a lot about a developmental league/tour that really works.
  • George Lopez is terrific. His attitude is infectious and his recruiting efforts to make the celebrity rotation at the Bob Hope Chyrsler Classic even better will pay off in a big way. Some question why so many celebrity shots are shown during a telecast and truth be told, the tournament organizers want to see as many celebrities as possible until Sunday. Thats how the big names come and play. And the fans who show up to watch are far more interested than you might think in watching guys like Samuel L. Jackson and Taylor Hicks hit a golf ball.
  • Watch out for Hale Irwin. 61 years old and a 62 in the first event out. You can bet all the talk about Fred Funk, Nick Price, Mark OMeara, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and others has fueled the fire in Irwins belly to show these guys that age is no factor. Forty-five Champions Tour wins now. plus 20 PGA TOUR titles. Pretty impressive ' to say the least.
  • David Duval is far more ready to contend again than people think. Hes not doing a whole lot of talking about it (unless asked) which is smart. But a sampling of players at the Bob Hope suggests he wont unravel if he gets under the Sunday heat.
  • Annika Sorenstam has suddenly become the most intriguing player to watch this year. Rumors of her impending retirement because she wanted to start a family were quickly denied. Shes not claiming burnout. So when she tees it up well see. Twenty wins gets her past Kathy Whitworth on the all-time LPGA list. Thats four a year for five years. If she wants it, shell get it.
    Thats it for now.. well see who emerges this weekend at Torrey Pines. Enjoy the coverage and well see you on the Sprint Post Game.
    Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.

    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship

    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

    Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.

    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players

    The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

    McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.

    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.

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    Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

    By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

    SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

    The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

    Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

    In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

    Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

    Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.