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by Jeff Skinner
Many traditionalists have issues with a golf course that ends on a par three. The Greenbrier is one of two courses on the PGA Tour that finish with a par three. East Lake Country Club is the other. But if you’re looking for excitement, sometimes a par three is just what you need.
Ask Scott Stallings if he thinks finishing on a short par three is acceptable. You won’t get any argument. Stallings, a rookie on Tour this year used the par three eighteenth to his advantage today.
Needing to make birdie to get into a three man playoff, Stallings was up to the task as he rolled it in during regulation and joined Bill Haas and Bob Estes back on the eighteenth tee for the playoff.
Once again he stuck it close and rolled his rock for a tournament clinching birdie. Stallings is the sixth rookie to win on The PGA Tour this year and if you want to see one excited golfer check out Stallings as his putt drops in. It can’t get much better than this.
The best golfer in the world right now doesn’t play on the PGA Tour, does not have membership on The European Tour and certainly isn’t that dude in the red shirt that the world likes to focus on.
The best golfer in the world right now is a Yani Tseng of the LPGA Tour. If you want to call Luke Donald or Lee Westwood or Rory McILroy or Tiger the best you’d be wrong, very wrong. They may be the best male golfer but no golfer is dominating their competition like Yani Tseng.
Yani Tseng won her second consecutive Women’s British Open Championshiptoday to bring her career major total to five. She is the youngest golfer, man or woman, to reach five majors so soon. She is 22 years old and really at the start of her long career.
This is her second major of this season (Wegman’s LPGA Championship) and her fourth win in the last eight majors played. It’s her fourth win on the LPGA this year and still leaves her with only the U.S. Women’s Open left to complete the Career Grand Slam.
After an opening bogey Tseng played solid golf to finish three under for the day while playing partner Caroline Masson showed the nerves of playing in only her second major. Masson struggled from the start and only managed to finish with a 78 after she closed with two birdies.
Carnoustie didn’t live up to its”Carnasty” reputation as fair weather let the women shoot some low scores. Tseng carded twenty birdies, two eagles to go with only eight bogeys on what normally is the toughest course in the world.
Tseng continues to be the superstar that no one knows. Get used to seeing her face. It usually has a smile on it and she’s usually holding a trophy.
To steal a line from Forrest Gump’s mom, “The PGA Tour is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get.” That’s the case at The Greenbrier Classic as the unpredictable Anthony Kim shot to the top of the leaderboard with a bogey free, eight birdie round of 62. Kim has been erratic the past two seasons as he battled back from thumb surgery and some questionable practice habits.
We’ve seen what Kim can do on the course, three tour wins and over twelve million in the bank. But there are times when Kim has been known to enjoy other things in life. That has changed recently when he realized he wasn’t having fun. A sit down with his mom may have set him on the right path again. “I haven’t had this much fun playing golf in a long time,” Kim said. “Even when I wasn’t hitting the ball particularly well yesterday I had a lot of fun. The last couple weeks have really turned my golf game around, especially starting at the British. So I’m looking forward to pretty good things.”
“My parents have meant everything to my golf game,” Kim said. “I wouldn’t have gotten started in golf without my dad, and I’m lucky to have a full set of clubs because of my mom. I would probably be snapping clubs right and left if she didn’t tell me that that wasn’t okay when I was when I was little.”
“(The conversation) was just about having fun and relaxing and enjoying the position I’m in,” Kim said. “Because I’m very fortunate to be playing golf for a living, and sometimes you forget about that. I was pretty upset about my 81, and she noticed somebody in the gallery who was less fortunate and we talked about that.”
“I came out here ready to play some golf a good time, and 62 shots later I’m sitting here.”
He looks like a new golfer too, longer hair and a thinner waist. A motivated Anthony Kim is a dangerous thing and today that little chat with mom just might pay off big time.
Michael Whan has been very busy trying to build his LPGA into the tour it used to be before a terrible economy and an even more terrible commissioner had devastated it. He has built many relationships and made plenty of decisions to help the tour regain its standing. One of those positive decisions that could bolster the LPGA for decades to come was the Lexi Thompson Decision.
Whan granted Thompson permission to try and join the tour long before she old was enough. Eighteen is the age where players can apply to join the tour but Thompson petitioned the tour and Whan realized that this sixteen year old would be able to play with the big girls and could certainly survive the rigors of professional golf. After all her dad is with her all the time and it was the same training that got Lexi’s brother, Nicholas Thompson on the PGA Tour.
So this week when Lexi smoked the field by ten strokes at the first stage of the LPGA Qualifying School Whan’s decision proved to be justified. By the way she shot 66-66-66-67. Thompson will now play a few tournaments around the world before the second stage of qualifying at the end of September.
She said afterward that “I have a lot of people believing in me.” That’s the truth for sure and one of them is Michael Whan.
This age of instant communication is a double edged sword. The cell phone has now become an appendage that many people can’t live without. This generation is one that has grown up with the need for instant information and communication. I understand it, begrudgingly. I don’t really like the fact that when you go out to dinner there are as many smart phones on the table as forks but that’s the way it is.
I use Twitter a little but I’m just a nondescript blogger. No one really cares what comes out of my Twitter feed but when you are a professional golf writer or a professional golfer, people care, many people.
Golf writer Jay Townsend and Rory McIlroy got into it on Twitter with Townsend attacking Rory’s course management and his caddy. Rory, like all good mates should do, defended his caddy but went too far. They both went too far.
Townsend says a 10 year old has better course management and Rory called him a failed golfer and told him to shut up. Come on guys, you’re both professionals, supposedly.
This is what we get when there are no filters on our thoughts. Townsend was doing live commentating on The Irish Open and continued his Rory bashing on his Twitter account. McIlroy attacked Townsend like they were in a street fight.
There is plenty of commentary on who crossed the line and who should apologize. In my book they both are guilty: guilty of Aggressive Twittering in the First Degree. Maybe they should try to keep their comments a bit more positive and stay away from the negative. Take away their Twitter feed for a week. Or here’s an idea: you can think those thoughts, but keep them to yourself and off the web.
My mom always said, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
While the folks at Firestone Country Club, The PGA Tour and CBS must be ecstatic, they have to be shocked as well. Tiger had stated that he would not be coming back until he was 100% healthy as not to risk further injury this time. But from all reports he hasn’t been able to spend much time on the range. From Tiger’s website,” Following the advice of his doctors, Woods has rested and rehabbed his left leg, and just recently began hitting practice balls.” All right, “just recently began hitting practice balls” sure doesn’t sound like he’s 100%.
Also, Sean Foley said earlier this week that he has seen woods but they haven’t done any swing work. They spent their time working on a “game plan for his future.” So it would appear that Woods has made his own plan and if it’s to continue to surprise everyone he has succeeded.
Woods must have had a hard time passing up Firestone, a course that he practically owns. He has won on this course seven times and loves the layout.
So last week he shocks us with the dismissal of Steve Williams. This week he surprises us with the Tweet,” Feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week. Excited to get back out there!” What could it be next week? I bet Tiger is planning on taking home win number eight at Firestone. Nothing from Woods surprises me anymore.
Take a look and listen to Sam Snead on this vintage Golf Channel clip. He spent years at The Greenbrier Resort where this week the PGA Tour is teeing it up. He still had it then: the swing and the wit.
Mark Steinberg’s calendar just opened up a bit. When Steinberg left IMG, for whatever reason, Tiger Woods announced that he would follow him wherever he went. On the other hand, Steinberg’s other high profile client, Annika Sorenstam, said she would evaluate her options. Well consider the options evaluated and Mark Steinberg isn’t her choice.
IMG has released a statement saying Annika will be staying put. “After much consideration and in light of my ambitions for the next phase of my career, I have determined that IMG remains the company best positioned to support me and the ANNIKA portfolio of businesses. IMG’s experience and global resources are unmatched and I look forward to continuing to work with them across all aspects of my business and charitable initiatives.” Sorenstam is ending a relationship of over sixteen years with Steinberg.
Steinberg was once the most powerful agent in golf. Until Tiger emerges from this professional and personal slump, Steinberg is just treading water. Reports are that his college roommate, Steve Stricker will be staying with IMG also. That’s got to hurt.
It seems that Steinberg may have lost a golden goose of sorts with Annika’s departure. She is juggling more business interests than you can count.
Annika retired from competitive golf in 2008 after 72 career wins and 10 major championships. She walked away from her hall of fame career to start a family and pursue other interest. She has succeeded in both areas. She just recently gave birth to her second child and has her hand in everything from golf to perfume to children’s health issues to financial services. Take a minute and visit her website, annikasorenstam.com.
She is busier now than she ever was while she was a touring pro. She has a regular stint on The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. Of course there is the Golf Academy and schools but then she has her own clothing line, perfume, wine label, course design, and financial services business. In addition to all those revenue generators she also has the philanthropic arm of the Annika brand, The Annika Foundation. The foundation has interests in junior golf and children’s health, which Annika has taken to heart.
Annika is a one person conglomerate and Mark Steinberg won’t be getting a piece of it any longer.