I think I’ve been a little too overly excited for the the upcoming US Open at Pebble Beach, mainly because it’s at my former workplace, which is why I started the stories from Pebble Beach series earlier this year. I’ve never seen the course set at an open level, but know that even back when I was working there from 2004-2006 they were continually adding in obstacles and changing tee boxes to make the course tougher for this very event. Hopefully this time around it won’t be a blowout like the 2000 US Open at Pebble where Tiger won by a ridiculous 15 strokes. It sounds like nearly every hole has been changed since Tiger’s dominating US Open, whether it’s an added bunker or trees, a little extra length off the tee, narrowed fairways (they moved many fairways closer to the cliffs), etc. We all know about the length of the rough in the Open, and that will surely cause the players the most grief over this weekend. It sounds like it’s going to be a chilly weekend in the Monterey Penninsula, so hopefully the wind kicks up too making it tougher to shoot low. I’d like to see some 4 or 5 irons being used on the famous 109 yard par 3 7th hole. Here’s a few players that I’ll be looking forward to watching how their weekend unfolds… Continue reading
Tag Archives: PGA tour
For a large percentage of the folks who enjoy the sport, smoking cigars and playing golf go hand-in-hand. You’ll see guys lighting up a stogie in good weather and in bad, during a good round and through the shanks. And it seems as though the wealthier the golfer, the more abundant the cigars.
Which brings me to our subject today, the Honorary Assistant Captain of the US President’s Cup Team, Michael Jeffrey Jordan, “His Airness”. This weekend the 8th President’s Cup will be hosted at Harding Park in San Francisco, pitting a talented US Team versus an International Team comprised of the top twelve players in the world outside of the US and continental Europe. Harding Park is a municipal course owned by the Parks and Recreations of San Francisco, and hosting a tournament of this magnitude is a tremendous and distinct honor. And for Jordan being selected an Honorary assistant to Captain Fred Couples is another great perk for the basketball legend and celebrity.
Along with being a course of the people comes the laws of the people, specifically health ordinances recently put into play. Little known fact: San Francisco banned the smoking of cigars (and cigarettes of course) as part of a city-wide ordinance to keep the city parks smoke-free. And Harding is certainly near the top of the list in terms of kept up Parks in the city. I’ll also vouch for beautifully kept Fleming, the nine-hole executive course located on the same property between Harding’s front and back nine.
So the debate rages on: Should Jordan obey the order from the city or should he ignore it for this special occasion? He was asked about the topic and responded by saying he knew it was wrong but thought he could slide by in this situation. Asked in an interview by PGATour.com how many cigars he would smoke during the week, “I would say (it’s) a three-cigar round. I would try to keep it at a minimum of three.” That’s right, a MINIMUM of three per day.
After further review, I think the city should uphold its ordinance in this situation, and follow Jordan around the course all week. If/when he smokes three per day, over the next 5 days, send him 15 tickets at $100 a pop. For a guy like Jordan this is tip money at most, and in a city like San Francisco his money is more than welcome. Whether or not I agree with the ordiannce is a different story, but the law is the law! Reflecting back on his recent Hall of Fame induction speech, Jordan’s not the only one who can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth…
With Steve Stricker’s victory last weekend at Deutsche Bank Classic, he has made the Player of the year award at least somewhat of a two man race. I had him at a very close 3rd on my original list, and while Yang’s PGA Championship win was impressive, Stricker’s win last weekend gave him a boost into second behind Tiger as he took the lead on the FedEx leaderboard, and pulled out a come from behind win against a top notch field. If he somehow pulls out of the playoffs holding the FedEx Cup, it may be tough to not give him the POY award.
I find the FedEx Cup has made a drastic improvement in the way I and fans pay attention to the golf after the last major is over. It’s made the POY award worth debating in the final weeks. It’s made the best in the world keep playing in tournaments that aren’t from their sponsors. In years past the top players would pack their bags, and head into the offseason not caring about the last couple months and playing in maybe one or two of the tournaments. The Playoffs have been great for the game and the fans!
Stricker’s bid in the BMW didn’t exactly start the way he hoped as he was one over through the first round Thursday, but there is no cut so he’s not out of it by any means at six back with three to go. Stricker has won back to back comeback player of the year awards, and was probed about winning it for a third straight year after his win on Labor Day “I think I’m over that now.” He was also asked about winning the POY award and laughed, noting that he’d have to do something impressive to overtake the obvious leader (Tiger). To trump Tiger’s five wins, Stricker will have to pull out a FedEx Cup Championship, and possibly win one of the two remaining tournaments. I think either of the two scenarios would give the voters much to weigh on. Golf is one of the rare sports that lets the players have a say in the POY award, and I have a feeling they will weigh heavily what happens these last couple weeks!
With the PGA Season wrapping up, it’s time to evaluate whether anyone not named Tiger has a chance to win the Player of the Year honors pending the FedEx Cup results. It’s almost a given each year that Tiger will win the award, but sometimes there are a few players that give Tiger a run for his money. I have no idea how they figure out who had the best season or what the exact criteria is, but here are some of my picks for players that had a good enough season to be considered!
Tiger Woods (0 Majors, 5 PGA Wins, and 1st in the FedEx Cup Standings)
Coming off his knee surgery it took him a whole three tournaments to record his first win of the season. He went on to win three of the next four tournaments that he played in. The only real scuff on Tiger’s season resume was that he didn’t win a single major. Many believed (myself included) that he’d be able to win one and probably two of the majors this year. This was the first year failed to win a major since 2004, which would be the equivalent of blacking out, and having money still in your wallet the next morning. He didn’t even make the cut for this years British Open, which I personally enjoyed. You can’t say it was an off year for him as he leads the tour in average round scoring, money, and wins. Pretty easy choice for POTY, but he did show that he is vulnerable.
Y.E. Yang (PGA Championship, 2 wins, 7th in FedEx Cup Standings)
Y.E. won his first two PGA events of his career this season, and seems to be on the path to a great career. He is the only player to post a win in a major and a win in another PGA tournament. His year will undoubtedly be known for beating the best player in the world in the final pairing of the PGA Championship. He showed us something that nobody else has, he can fist pump as good as Tiger when making a charge in the final round. He is easily the runner up for player of the year in my mind. I hope we get to see him and Tiger can battle it out again in the FedEx Cup.
Steve Stricker (0 Majors, 2 wins, 2nd in the FedEx Cup Standings)
He earned the “Mr. Consistent” award from me for his performance this season. The 42 year old has had one of his best seasons winning twice, and had eight top ten finishes. The technically sound Stricker should be a threat to Tiger in the FedEx Cup.
Kenny Perry (0 Majors, 2 wins, 4th in the FedEx Cup Standings)
Perry won the FBR Open for his sick father. Perry will tell you his father held on just to watch his son play some good golf. He won the next weekend as well. Perry also had the lead in the Masters through 16 holes. He needed to finish with a par and a bogey to win. His chipping hurt him as he finished with two straight bogeys and handed the trophy over to Cink.
Zach Johnson (0 Majors, 2 Wins, 3rd in the FedEx Cup Standings)
ZJ, the guy I can never seem to like/root for, had a good season winning two events. He was consistently high on the leader boards finishing in the top 10 in 7 events. He is also the golfer who played the least PGA events (21) on my player of the year list. He either needs a new pair of shades or to grow a little taller before you’ll find me rooting for him.
Honorable mention, Tom Watson, he probably would have been just under Tiger had he won the British Open. He’s a 59 year old, and almost won a Major. It was by far the most interesting major of this season, and probably the best since Tiger’s hobbled effort at the US Open last summer. If only he could have made that 8 ft. putt to avoid going into a playoff.
So it looks like Tiger should be Player of the Year once again. It will be his tenth POTY award that he can add to his always expanding trophy room down in Florida.
There has been much press recently on the first time Tiger Woods has looked like a mortal. Many are stating that Tiger’s career may be over, but ESPN writer Gene Wojekowski thinks differently. We decided to discuss the “meltdown” Tiger suffered on the way to losing his first major.
Tony: I think implying that he choked is stretching a bit. He played GREAT golf, but the variables to putting can be complex and sometimes it just doesn’t click. A choke is Harrington carding a snowman on 12 (or whatever hole it was), or the week previously when he imploded late, or Watson sending an easy 8 iron 15 yrds long to win a major a choke. I believe tiger had one three putt all day…I don’t buy the idea he totally choked, did he have a crappy day on the greens? TOTALLY. His putts were close all day…how many edge burners did he have….he started with a nasty putt that set the tone for the rest of the day. It didn’t click for him and he lost…but I think “choke” is a strong word. Downside at 33? To even suggest that is totally ignorant IMHO. Haters!!
Brian: Yeah, it’s not like he had that terrible of a round. By his standards it may have been terrible, but overall he wasn’t that bad on Sunday. I think the idea of his career being on the downslide is ridiculous. Every golfer has bad putting days, we just aren’t used to seeing it from Tiger on a Sunday of a major. This is the main reasons he has been the best golfer in the world, because he doesn’t have many days like this! I think he comes back next year pissed off and wins a minimum of two majors.
Andre: Seriously, I almost vomited when I read that one line filler. Tiger played great all week tee to green, and until Sunday was making putts as well. It doesn’t matter if he only 3-putt once or twice, he had several birdie putts in the 8-12 ft range that he usually makes on his way to victory while leading by two, starting off with his miss on the first hole, and his timely three putt on the 17th hole. That’s not the way Tiger, the best putter under pressure in the game, does on a Major Sunday. He shot 75 for christ sake!! He made 5 bogeys, and we know he hates to make even 1!
Tony: I agree with everything…(I was waiting for you to mention the 75!)….but putting is complex…if it doesn’t click I don’t think it equates automatically to a “choke” situation. But really this is all semantics; he will silence everybody about this hiccup sooner rather then later…and have the real last laugh when he nips Snead and Jack respectively down the road.
Andre: I think we need to hold Tiger to a higher standard. Why would we stop now? That’s why I keep referencing he’s THE BEST PUTTER EVER, especially IN THE CLUTCH. He’s not you or me where putting comes an goes. After his re-hab from knee surgery, his short game was supposed to be so strong. And he had gotten it into really good shape the past three tourneys. Why let him off for the biggest round of all 12 previous rounds? Sunday at a Major!! Don’t let him off so easy I tell you!!
Brian: I have to say that I am a hater, but in the end golf wouldn’t be nearly as fun to watch without him at the top of his game. We might have more likable guys on tour to root for, but it’s much different than watching a player that is obviously the best. He’s far from done, and I don’t think you could convince any of his peers that he’s on the downside of his career either…
This is pretty funny…
Somehow, Y.E. Yang did all the fist pumping and dancing around the greens in front of a stunned Tiger on his huge Sunday charge that made him the winner of the PGA Championship. The ultimate fist pump came when he chipped in an eagle on the 14th hole to take the lead away from Tiger for the first time in this major championship. Yang took down the seemingly unbeatable Woods! It was Tiger’s first loss in a major when leading or having a share of the lead in the final round. This was Yang’s first major win, and it was only his second PGA Tour win of his career. It was the second time he beat Woods though, as he took him down in China a couple of years ago. This was far different and there was much more pressure. What made it more amazing was the fact he took down the worlds #1 golfer by playing in the final pairing with Woods, and shot an amazing 5 shots better than Tiger for the day!
During the whole telecast the CBS crew kept waiting and talking about when Tiger would do his usual thing, which is come back and win. This was the first time that it wasn’t his day as the announcers kept inquiring”Is this the putt that gets Tiger going? Was that the drive?” As they hoped they would see some historical shot by Tiger none of them conceded that Yang could really win this tournament, until Tiger missed the green badly on the 18th hole. Honestly, I didn’t really think he’d win either, but on the par 3 17th hole when Yang hit his tee shot it landed inches from a hillside that would have kicked his ball into the water it felt like it was his day. Instead of his ball going out of bounds, his ball landed about 10 feet from the hole giving him a birdie opportunity. He had luck on his side, as there were a few other bounces that went his way, but this one was the most pivotal!
Although Tiger was missing putts that he usually makes, Yang was the more aggressive player on the course as he went for all he could on every shot. Meanwhile Woods seemed to lay up on holes, and take the safe route. He looked like he was playing not to win, but just trying to not lose. I think Woods thought Yang would just fade away the same way Harrington did last week. That was not the case, as Yang didn’t care about the huge gallery following Tiger, and played his game aggressively from start to finish!
Yang marks the first time a Major Championship has been won by an Asian, well, I guess the first full Asian winner, because Tiger is a halfer. I along with many felt that KJ Choi would be the first Asian to win a major, but Yang took those honors! The win can only help golf as they are always trying to expand their horizons across the globe. Go asian people!