Fantasy Island US Open

By Rex HoggardJune 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
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A Bethpage Open deserves a working class champion and while Tiger Woods may not exactly fit the salt-of-the-earth bill he grew up hustling games on Southern California munis and has paid his share of $10 green fees.
Besides, theres no way Rocco Mediate, as blue collar as they come, can hope for consecutive lightning strikes, and neither Paul Goydos nor Jason Gore qualified for this years championship.

2009 U.S. Open

Pick a Foursome: Tiger Woods may be the obvious choice. He may even be a bit of clich, but at this ballpark, with this trophy on the line, theres too much arithmetic to add up to anything but a Woods victory.
He won the 02 Open at Bethpage in clinical fashion, plays courses where par is important better than anyone and missed just seven fairways for the week in his Open tune up at Muirfield Village.
Picks: Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, Nick Watney
Note: One player from four categories based on the World Golf Ranking (1-10, A; 11-20, B; 21-30, C; 31-40, D). Points awarded on money earned ($1 = 1 point).
Salary Cap: Woods burns more than half your cap ($5.77 million) ' it is the way of a U.S. Open at Bethpage ' so the rest of your lineup has to be sleepers and long shots.
Mathew Goggin has been playing solid and has the same swing coach as Geoff Ogilvy, the Australian who won the last Open played in New York, while McIlroy, Tomasulo and Sim are young but full of major potential.
Picks: Tiger Woods, Mathew Goggin, Michael Sim, Peter Tomasulo, Rory McIlroy ($9.24 million)
Note: Five players with a $10 million cap based on 2008 earnings. Rookies without 2008 earnings will be priced at $250,000. Standings based on overall team earnings.
Pick One: Tiger Woods. Forget knee surgery, new swings, rehab or expectations run amok, the world No. 1 and the 109th U.S. Open were always going to be the closest thing to a lock in golf. Besides, with all due respect to Turnberry and Hazeltine National ' site of the seasons final two Grand Slam events ' they just dont move the needle like the Black Course.
Note: Players must be picked before the start of the season and used only once. Standings based on total earnings.
In addition to my picks, the staff will be offering up their picks. A player can be picked to win a maximum of five times. We will be keeping a running tally of the monies earned each week. The participants include: Jay Coffin, Editorial Director; Mercer Baggs, Editorial Manager; Brian Koressel, Senior Producer; Dena Davis, Assistant Editor; Erik Peterson, Travel Editor; Jerry Foltz, special contributor.

NamePlayer PickReasonMoney
Rex HoggardWinner:
Tiger Woods
If theres a better way to make a wheel, we havent heard about it. Bethpage may as well be Woods backyard and that Memorial tune up was too good to ignore. $2,475,252
Jim Furyk
Forget that two-year title drought, the man with the phone-booth swing has an Open game and an Open title to show for it. Hes also on form with top-10 finishes in his last three starts.
Dark Horse:
Michael Sim
The best player on the planet right now without a Tour card has been on a tear on the Nationwide Tour, finishing no worse than 30th in his last five starts that include two victories and a playoff loss.
Jay CoffinWinner:
Tiger Woods
Geez, werent we wondering what was wrong with this guy after The Players? Not anymore. Hes as overwhelming of a favorite here as hes ever been for a major.$4,350,748
Sean O'Hair
Hits it long enough to contend and has been fairly steady during the year. The falter at Bay Hill was disappointing but he backed it up with a solid victory at Quail Hollow.
Dark Horse:
Nick Watney
Another guy who hits it a mile, which will serve him well. His success this week will be contingent upon the flatstick.
Mercer BaggsWinner:
Tiger Woods
We get to pick him five times; this will be No. 3 for me. This is the safe pick ' and the proper one.$5,192,461
Angel Cabrera
He could take a mental break for the next couple of years after winning the Masters, but this course is right up his alley.

Dark Horse:
David Duval
He made his way in through qualifying and I could see him making some noise over the first couple of days.
Erik PetersonWinner:
Tiger Woods
How is it that at each major Tiger seems to be more heavily favored to win than he was before?$3,783,852
Angel Cabrera
Thrives under the No one wants me to win tag.

Dark Horse:
Rickie Fowler
This amateur is a tough competitor, which will serve him well at the ultimate Grinders tournament.
Brian KoresselWinner:
Geoff Ogilvy
Big, bad golf course versus one cool customer. I'm taking the Aussie.$4,792,225
Paul Casey
The only problem with this pick is that he could easily be the winner.
Dark Horse:
Alvaro Quiros
Long golf course versus long off the tee. But in the end, sideburns just too long.
Dena DavisWinner:
Tiger Woods
Seriously. Why are we even playing the tournament? We all know who'll win. Oh, because it's so much fun to watch him do it? Yep.$3,465,372
Henrik Stenson
This guy seems to rise to the occasion in big tournaments. He'll do it again this week.
Dark Horse:
David Toms
Coming off a T2 at the St. Jude, DT is having a super year with six top-10s, bouncing back from his injury-plagued 2008 season.
Jerry FoltzWinner:
Tiger Woods
No explanation necessary.$2,760,957
Steve Stricker
Don't think he'll win, but it certainly isn't a stretch thinking he'll be on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Dark Horse:
Dustin Johnson
He's ridiculously long and more accurate than most bombers, and won't be intimidated by the surroundings to which he's oblivious.


Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The 109th U.S. Open
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    McCarthy wins Tour Championship by 4

    By Associated PressSeptember 24, 2018, 2:14 am

    ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Denny McCarthy won the season-ending Tour Championship on Sunday to earn fully exempt PGA Tour status and a spot in the Players Championship.

    McCarthy closed with a 6-under 65 for a four-stroke victory over Lucas Glover at Atlantic Beach Country Club. The 25-year-old former Virginia player earned $180,000 to top the 25 PGA Tour card-earners with $255,793 in the four-event Tour Finals.

    ''It's been quite a journey this year,'' McCarthy said. ''The PGA Tour was tough to start out the year. I stuck through it and got my game. I raised my level and have been playing some really good golf. Just feels incredible to finish off these Finals. So much work behind the scenes that nobody really sees.''

    McCarthy finished at 23-under 261.

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, closed with a 69. He made $108,000 to finish seventh with $125,212 in the series for the top 75 players from the 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.

    Jim Knous earned the 25th and final card from the four-event money list with $41,931, edging Justin Lower by $500. Knous made a 5-foot par save on the final hole for a 71 that left him tied for 57th. Lower missed an 8-footer for birdie, settling for a 69 and a tie for 21st.

    ''It was a brutal day emotionally,'' Knous said. ''I wasn't quite sure how much my performance would affect the overall outcome. It kind of just depended on what everybody else did. That's pretty terrifying. So I really just kind of did my best to stay calm and inside I was really freaking out and just super psyched that at the end of the day finished right there on No. 25.''

    The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list competed against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. Sungjae Im topped the list to earn the No. 1 priority spot of the 50 total cards.

    Getty Images

    LaCava pushed Woods to work on bunker game

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 24, 2018, 1:52 am

    ATLANTA – Last week as Tiger Woods prepared to play the season finale at East Lake he sent a text message to his caddie Joey LaCava that simply asked, what do I need to do to get better?

    Although when it comes to Woods his proficiency is always relative, but LaCava didn’t pull any punches, and as the duo completed the final round on Sunday at the Tour Championship with a bunker shot to 7 feet at the last the two traded knowing smiles.

    “We had a talk last week about his bunker game and I said, ‘I’m glad you kept that bunker game stuff in mind,’” LaCava said. “I told him he was an average bunker player and he worked at it last week. There were only two bunker shots he didn’t get up-and-down, I don’t count the last one on 18. He recognized that after two days. He was like, ‘What do you know, I’m 100 percent from the bunkers and I’m in the lead after two days.”

    Final FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    For the week, Woods got up-and-down from East Lake’s bunkers seven out of nine times and cruised to a two-stroke victory for his first PGA Tour title since 2013. That’s a dramatic improvement over his season average of 49 percent (100th on Tour).

    “His bunker game was very average coming into this week,” LaCava said. “I said you’ve got to work on your bunker game. If you had a decent bunker game like the Tiger of old you would have won [the BMW Championship].”

    Getty Images

    For Woods, is this only the beginning?

    By Damon HackSeptember 24, 2018, 1:42 am

    If this is Tiger Woods nine months into a comeback, wait until he actually shakes the rust off.

    This was supposed to be the year he kicked the tires, to see how his body held up after all those knives digging into his back.

    To see if a short game could truly be rescued from chunks and skulls.

    To see if a 42-year-old living legend could outfox the kids.

    On the final breath of the PGA Tour season, it was Tiger Woods who took ours away.

    Playing alongside Rory McIlroy on Sunday at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club – and one group behind the current World No. 1 and eventual FedEx Cup champion Justin Rose – Woods bludgeoned the field and kneecapped Father Time. 

    It was Dean Smith and the Four Corners offense.  Emmitt Smith moving the chains. Nolan Ryan mowing them down.

    And all of a sudden you wonder if Phil Mickelson wishes he’d made alternate Thanksgiving plans.

    Even if everybody saw a win coming, it was something else to actually see it happen, to see the man in the red shirt reach another gear just one more time.

    Win No. 80 reminded us, as Roger Maltbie once said of Woods when he came back from knee surgery in 2009: “A lot of people can play the fiddle. Only one guy is Itzhak Perlman.”

    It wasn’t long ago that Tiger Woods seemed headed toward a disheartening final chapter as a broken man with a broken body.

    Final FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    He would host a couple of tournaments, do some great charity work, shout instructions into a walkie talkie at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, and call it a career.

    There would be no Nicklaus 1986 Masters moment, no Hogan Mystique at Merion.

    He would leave competitive golf as perhaps both the greatest to ever play the game and its greatest cautionary tale.

    Willie Mays with the New York Mets. Muhammad Ali taking punishment from Larry Holmes.

    But then Brad Faxon and Rickie Fowler started whispering at the end of 2017 that Tiger was healthy and hitting the ball hard. 

    There was that hold-your-breath opening tee shot at the Hero World Challenge, a bullet that flew the left bunker and bounded into the fairway.

    Rollercoaster rides at Tampa and Bay Hill, backward steps at Augusta and Shinnecock, forward leaps at The Open and the PGA.

    He switched putters and driver shafts (and shirts, oh my!) and seemed at times tantalizingly close and maddeningly far.

    That he even decided to try to put his body and game back together was one of the all-time Hail Marys in golf.

    Why go through all of that rehab again?

    Why go through the scrutiny of having your current game measured against your untouchable prime?

    Because you’re Tiger Woods, is why, because you’ve had way more wonderful days on the golf course than poor ones, despite five winless years on the PGA Tour.

    Suddenly, Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour wins is in jeopardy and Jack Nicklaus, holder of a record of 18 major championships, is at the very least paying attention.

    Woods has put the golf world on notice.

    It won’t be long until everyone starts thinking about the 2019 major schedule (and you’d better believe that Tiger already is).

    The Masters, where he has four green jackets and seven other Top 5 finishes. The PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, where he won in 2002 by 3. The United States Open at Pebble Beach, where he won in 2000 by 15.

    The Open at Royal Portrush, where his savvy and guile will be a strong 15th club.

    But that’s a talk for a later date.

    Tiger is clearly still getting his sea legs back.

    Getty Images

    Nonfactor McIlroy mum after lackluster 74

    By Mercer BaggsSeptember 24, 2018, 1:04 am

    ATLANTA – Rory McIlroy didn’t have anything to say to the media after the final round of the Tour Championship, and that’s understandable.

    McIlroy began the final round at East Lake three shots behind Tiger Woods. He finished six back.

    McIlroy closed in 4-over 74 to tie for seventh place.

    In their matchup, Woods birdied the first hole to go four in front, and when McIlroy bogeyed the par-4 fourth, he was five in arrears. McIlroy went on to make three more bogeys, one double bogey and just two birdies.

    Final FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    McIlroy was never a factor on Sunday and ultimately finished tied for 13th in the FedExCup standings.

    The two rivals, Woods and McIlroy, shared plenty of conversations while walking down the fairways. On the 18th hole, Woods said McIlroy told him the scene was like the 1980 U.S. Open when people were shouting, “Jack’s back!”

    “I said, ‘Yeah, I just don’t have the tight pants and the hair,’” Woods joked. “But it was all good.”

    It’s now off to Paris for the upcoming Ryder Cup, where Woods and McIlroy will again be foes. It will be McIlroy’s fifth consecutive appearance in the biennial matches, while Woods is making his first since 2012.