2013 Rexys: Excellence (not always) in golf

By Rex HoggardDecember 19, 2013, 7:20 pm

In recognition of one of the most contentious years in golf, we asked PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Vijay Singh to co-host this year’s Rexy award soiree, but the commish was concerned there was IGF-1 in the Moët and the Fijian’s lawyers didn’t have time to file a confidentiality agreement with the court. So you’re stuck with your scribe.

The envelopes, please. (Click here for a look at the 2012 Rexys)

Snowman Award (Non-scorecard division): This goes to the unknown attendant at Dove Mountain who dug through the storage room during the blizzard of 2013, also known as the WGC-Accenture Match Play, to find a pair of gloves and a stocking cap for your correspondent to weather the wintery storm.

As an aside, Charlie Beljan won the actual Snowman Award after carding 2013’s first 8 in Round 2 at the Humana Challenge. But Beljan’s miscue was not nearly as entertaining as the Blizzard of ’13.

Dufnering Crown: Give it to the man himself for sparking a viral sensation, but the list of honorable mention candidates for the first-year award is extensive. From Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter to a flight of Blue Angels aviators and Ted Bishop, the president of the PGA of America, Dufnering’s 15 minutes was fun for everyone.

Jim Cantore Award: The folks in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., took on Mother Nature in 2013 and lost. All total, 22 of 40 events were impacted by weather delays last season, from heavy fog at Torrey Pines and frost at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to the winter wonderland that became the WGC-Match Play.

Things were so bad in ’13, the word is the Tour plans to have Cantore double as next year’s first-tee announcer to hand out hole locations, scorecards and weather reports.

Caddie races at Phoenix Open

NFL (No Fun League) Cup. Only the Tour – only the Tour! – could turn something as harmlessly entertaining as the annual caddie races at TPC Scottsdale and Colonial into a good run spoiled.

The Tour nixed the races, in part, out of concerns for caddie safety and because the event had become a “carnival show.” Yes, we wouldn’t want a carnival atmosphere at TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole, would we?

The Sausage Silver. The inaugural award goes to the European Tour’s Ryder Cup captain selection process. The scene in the Abu Dhabi hotel, where Paul McGinley was named next year’s skipper, was surreal and the politicking that went on to land the Irishman the gig would make a Washington politico blush – but the system worked.

The players got the captain they wanted. It was like sausage – you don’t want to know how it’s made; you just want to enjoy the end product.

The Worst Timing Award. Because of Tour regulations, Si Woo Kim, who earned his card at last fall’s Q-School, wasn’t able to enjoy the benefits of membership until his 18th birthday on June 28. As a result, the South Korean played just eight times and didn’t cash a check.

Yeah, happy birthday. You’re headed back to Q-School.

Jim Mackay and Phil Mickelson

Top Outdoor Butler Bowl. We pinched this award from Kip Henley, Brian Gay’s longtime caddie, and the inaugural recipient is a runaway winner – Jim “Bones” Mackay.

Bones helped loop Phil Mickelson to the one title that few outside Camp Lefty thought he’d ever win, in July at Muirfield. It’s time to add another line to the caddie credo, show up, shut up, keep up and, now, step up.

Game of Thrones Chalice. Compromise was a rare commodity in 2013 and the list of potential candidates for this award reads like a who’s-who roll call of the game’s powerbrokers.

From Bishop and R&A chief executive Peter Dawson’s public dustup over the proposed – and eventually passed – ban on anchoring, to the reported coup attempt by outgoing president Glen Nager at the U.S. Golf Association, 2013 was characterized by not-so-quiet contempt.

On the bright side, however, we may have touched on a cure for slow play. Put that group in a threesome and watch how fast they blaze through 18 holes.

Velvet Underground Award. Vijay Singh admitted to using the Ultimate Spray, which is derived from deer-antler velvet and contained IGF-1, which is on the circuit’s list of banned substances; he was sanctioned by the Tour for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy; he was later cleared of any wrongdoing and subsequently sued the Tour for, among other things, public humiliation.

If it seems like nobody wins in this scenario it’s because nobody does.

Tiger Woods

Best Selfie Award: No, not the self-portrait that has become the social media norm. The “Best Selfie” goes to Tiger Woods for a performance that looked a lot like those historic campaigns in 2000 and 2006.

While it has become good sport to pick apart Woods’ play in the majors and his caustic relationship with the Rules of Golf in ’13, he won five times, claimed his 11th Player of the Year Award, secured the winning point for the U.S. side at the Presidents Cup and looked, well, a lot like the old guy.

King of Cool Cup. The Rexy committee voted to retire this award in honor of Fred Couples, who again proved to be the most interesting man in the room in ’13 after completing the Presidents Cup trifecta at Muirfield Village and joining the World Golf Hall of Fame.

“This is the coolest night of my life,” Couples said through tears in May at the induction ceremony.

Couples, once and for all, answered the question, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” Freddie.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.

Getty Images

Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

Getty Images

McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

Getty Images

Glover trails Straka at Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

With the top 25 earners in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Web.com Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''

Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship

Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.