What Weve Learned

By Randall MellDecember 10, 2009, 4:43 am

My top 10 stories from 2009 and what we learned from them:

1) The Tiger Woods’ crash and the scandal that followed

Wow, where do you begin? Maybe it’s the message in Romans 3:10: “There is none righteous, not even one.” Let’s see. There’s a lesson about worshipping idols. There’s also the realization that we’ve become a nation of Peeping Toms. Really, though, the big lesson’s probably still in the works. Redemption is life’s great storyline. The Tiger Woods’ story will now be about so much more than whether he reaches the goals he had tacked on a wall in his home when he was growing up. It will be about more than his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus. It will be about character and what Woods makes most important in his life after the crash.


2) Tom Watson nearly wins the British Open

This isn’t so much about what we learned as what we were reminded. As celebrated as Watson’s career has been, it is underrated. When talking about the greatest players who ever lived, his name deserves more prominent mention. He may be the greatest on links courses, right there with Harry Vardon and Peter Thomson. We also learned that Stewart Cink is as gracious and classy as he is a worthy champion.


3) Y.E. Yang knocks off Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship

Tiger Woods is beatable with the lead in the final round of a major. That’s what we learned at Hazeltine. We weren’t really sure if that were true until Yang overcame a two-shot deficit and beat Woods by three shots. Woods didn’t have the same aura of invincibility leaving that major, but who knew Yang wouldn’t engineer the most painful takedown of Woods this year? Who knew it would be Us Weekly?


4) Tiger Woods returns from knee surgery and wins seven times

The curious waited to see if Woods would be vulnerable on a rebuilt left knee in his return after eight months away. There were doubts, but he answered them with six PGA Tour victories and a seventh title in Australia in November. We learned that Woods’ knee won’t prevent him from being a force again. We’ll have to wait and see if injuries to his heart and soul will be more damaging.


5) Lucas Glover defeats Phil Mickelson and David Duval to win the U.S. Open

Duval’s bid to find his best form doesn’t feel like a hopeless task despite the fact that he wasn’t able to build on the momentum of his runner-up finish in June. Duval didn’t win fully exempt status at Q-School last week, but the memory of Bethpage Black offers hope he will become a factor in golf again. We learned in close calls at Shinnecock, Winged Foot and Bethpage Black that New Yorkers can only will Mickelson so far. We also learned that as much as Glover likes to read, he doesn’t care for storybook endings. He squashed the sentimental favorites in his real-life ending.


6) Phil Mickelson’s wife (Amy) and mother (Mary) are diagnosed with breast cancer

Breast cancer’s practically an epidemic, and it doesn’t discriminate. Rich, famous and beautiful aren’t exempt. We learned in the Mickelsons’ ordeal that maybe golf isn’t the solitary game it seems to be. It’s a team sport.


7) Michelle Wie wins her first LPGA event

Wie-mania was only dormant. With her victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last month, Wie resurrected all the hope she brought to women’s golf as the young Hawaiian phenom whose mighty swings made even PGA Tour pros marvel. Wie is still capable of leading a new wave of popularity for the LPGA.


8) Carolyn Bivens ousted as LPGA commissioner, Michael Whan hired

The LPGA was built on a mom-and-pop corner-store foundation, where long-term relationships were about more than business. Bivens was a board-room warrior who couldn’t change the dynamic. We learned in the player revolt that, ultimately, the commissioner doesn’t run the tour. The players do.


9) Economy’s effect on golf

We learned golf isn’t recession proof. The PGA Tour is facing its challenges, especially with uncertainty over how the game will be affected by Woods’ “transgressions,” but it was the LPGA that was hit hardest. The tour will feature 24 events next year, down from 34 last year.


10) Golf named as an Olympic sport beginning in 2016

We learned the timing of these things is crucial. Who knows how the process would have gone if Woods had become embroiled in controversy in the months leading up to the Olympic vote?


Apologies to Angel Cabrera, who knocked off Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell to win The Masters. He's No. 11 in my top stories of the year.

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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

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.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“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.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

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.