Typhoon Haiyan Impact on Jason Day, World Cup of Golf

The Masters - Preview Day 3It’s been over a week since Typhoon Haiyan, widely recognized as the most powerful tropical storm to make landfall ever recorded, ripped through the Philippines.  The projected death toll continues to grow, now surpassing 4,200 people, while the human and economic impact can barely begin to be fully quantified.

Media outlets around the world have dedicated significant time and resources to news coverage and to raise awareness of the destruction and devastation.  Through this unfortunate chain of events, the world of golf will be thrust into a leadership position as PGA member Jason Day announced Sunday evening the loss of eight (8) family members resulting from Typhoon Haiyan.

Day, whose mother is of Pilipino descent, released the following statement over the weekend:

“I am deeply saddened to confirm that multiple members of my family lost their lives as the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.  My family and I are thankful for all who have reached out with their prayers and concern.  We feel devastated for all who have been affected by this horrific tragedy . . . Please pray for all who have suffered loss. Thank you.”

Day indicated that this will be his only statement on this topic and requested respect for he and his families privacy in their time of mourning.  However, the spotlight will certainly be on Day later this week as he plans to participate in the World Cup of Golf (http://worldcup.pgatour.com/) beginning Thursday in Melbourne, Australia.

Adam Scott at the Australian Masters (Getty Images)

 

Day is partnered with fellow Aussie, Adam Scott, who is currently ranked the #2 golfer in the world and is fresh off his 2nd consecutive Talisker (Australian) Masters title.

The World Cup sets expectations for a great weekend of golf, but certainly the game will take a back seat to the recent events in the Philippines, especially with Jason Day, by default, being placed at center stage during this weekends event.  I will be viewing intently to see how the broadcast, PGA Tour and other organizations serve to raise awareness to the region and countless amount of people affected by Typhoon Haiyan and look forward to cheering on the Aussie’s as they pursue an emotional victory.

 

If you would like to learn more about Typhoon Haiyan or donate to the Red Cross, please click here — http://ifrc.org/en/get-involved/donate/.

 

Where did summer go? Get those last golf swings in ASAP!

Man, where did summer go?  It seems like just the other day we were gearing up for Amen Corner and a wonderful April weekend at Augusta.  Crazy to think that it’s already been half-a-year since Bubba Watson’s triumphant weekend at The Masters and four months since Webb Simpson lead the US Open field at Olympic Club.  And what about Ernie Els’ magical final round at The Open Championship . . . nearly three months ago already!

It has truly been a phenomenal golf season, which could not have received a better encore than this years’ Ryder Cup.  The incredible European Team’s comeback, the drama of the US Team’s collapse, the pure energy of the game — honestly, I cannot remember the last time I sat glued to my television for the entire weekend, my emotions rising and falling with every swing of the players’ golf clubs.  The Ryder Cup is such a unique and exciting event, and it really made me think about how much fun the 2016 Olympics will be with Golf part of the games.

And now that brings us to autumn and the conclusion of the 2012 Golf Season.  The weather is changing and the leaves are falling . . . and at least here on the East Coast, the fairways are getting ready for hibernation and the greens are getting thicker.  While many sports fans are transitioning from weekend rounds to tailgating, football and playoff baseball, there is still plenty of time to sneak in 9 to 18 holes.  These late-year swings make for unexpected and enjoyable times with friends, and while they do not necessarily breed lasting results for the start of the 2013 season, it will be worth battling the elements to sneak in those final cuts.  After all, a bad day on the course is better than a good day, well, anywhere else . . .

Fireworks at Firestone: Furyk collapses, Bradley triumphs

Entering the final round of the 2012 Bridgestone Invitational, Jim Furyk held a strong lead over the rest of the field.  After opening the round with three consecutive birdies, Furyk seemed poised for his first PGA Tour victory since the Tour Championship in 2010.  Of course, the rest of the pros were not going to simply crown Furyk the champion without putting up a fight.

To that end, Furyk battled throughout the afternoon with both his own game as well as with Keegan Bradley and Steve Stricker, who rose to occasion to turn in final rounds of 64, 6-under for the day.  The problem for Furyk, who opened the day with a 4-stroke advantage over Bradley and held a 1-stroke lead on the tee of the 18th hole — a dismal double-bogey on the final hole of the tournament added up to a 69.

We’ve all experience the agony of a birdie-to-bogey scenario — on the green in regulation with a great opportunity to gain a circle on the scorecard.  Three putts later, the circle gets a square, and you stand in disbelief and disgust.  This is not the exact scenario that played-out for Furyk on the 72nd hole of the Bridgestone Invitational, but the feelings of frustration and misery remain the same.

On the 18th green, Furyk’s putter fell from his hands just after striking the ball in his attempt to push the tournament to extra holes later stating, “I hit my worst putt of the week.”  After leading at Firestone for 71 holes and playing a solid 17 holes on Sunday, he simply collapsed on the final hole.

While the story highlights the 18th hole double bogey, nothing should be taken away from Keegan Bradley, who played an excellent 72-holes himself, including a 25-foot birdie on the 7th hole and a miraculous Sandie on the 18th to put all the pressure on Furyk.  Bradley, who took home his first win since the 2011 PGA Championship, also secured the final spot on the Ryder Cup team.  He rides the momentum of this victory, providing much more confidence as he looks to defend the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

Tiger Woods: critics never yield, but neither does his game . . .

For the past three weekends, Tiger Woods has been at the top of the leaderboard in each of the PGA events.  Sure, he struggled over the weekend at The Olympic Club during the US Open and couldn’t maintain the lead in the same manner we have come to expect over his past years dominating the field.  Critics immediately jump to conclusions — he’s not the Tiger of old; he may never win another Major; etc.

Debby Wong, US Presswire

Fast forward to the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD.  Tiger opens the tournament with an underwhelming round.  After Day One he’s only 4 strokes off the lead, but the media focuses on every shot, good or bad, and begins to make predictions about the challenges and the long road Tiger has in front of him if he is to put himself in position to win the event.

54 holes later, here comes Tiger walking down the 18th fairway towards the green after striking a 9-iron from 188 yards — yes, a 9-iron!  Despite making bogey on 16, which was only his 5th bogey of the entire tournament and snapped a 41-hole bogey-free streak for the tournament, Woods rose to occasion and secured his victory while his closest competition fell apart during the final three holes.  It’s also important to note that Tiger did not miss a putt from within 10-feet throughout the entire tournament!

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

The win at Congressional marked Tiger’s 3rd PGA victory of 2012; his 74th career win on the PGA TOUR placing him in sole possession of 2nd place in all-time victories only behind Sam Snead with 82 titles.  He is currently ranked #1 in the FedEx Cup Standings and, to date for the 2012 season, has secured over $4.27M in Official Money of which $3.366M has come via his 3 championships.

Circling-back to the opening notes in this write-up, the media frenzy that is Tiger Woods will never go away.  It is what it is.  The fact is, we’re probably never going to see the Tiger Woods of old — he has changed, his game has changed, and even more importantly, the game and competition has changed.  That said, we’re fortunate enough to see Tiger’s name at the top of the leaderboard in just about every event he plays in.  He’s arguably playing the best golf in the world right now, and although he may never return to prime form, it’s going to be an incredible run to see him continue to evolve his game and redefine his “true” form.

Now we turn our focus to this weekend’s Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, WV to see who will rise to the occasion.  Happy Independence Day!