Gary Woodland wins in sudden death at Waste Management

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – It had been five long years since he won, but that wasn’t what was on Gary Woodland’s mind when he made the final putt and pointed to the sky.

He was thinking of the family member who was gone but not forgotten.

“Yeah, that was just kind of a tribute to last year,” Woodland said after shooting a final-round 64 and beating Chez Reavie with a par on the first playoff hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. “Obviously, we lost a little girl, and being there, seeing my wife give birth to her, that’s real.”

Woodland’s eyes flooded with tears. “Just wanted her to know I still love her,” he said.

On March 29 of last year, Woodland released a statement that he and his wife, Gabby, had lost one of their unborn twins. He had just withdrawn from the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, and in the statement he added that “doctors will be monitoring the health of my wife and the other baby for the remainder of the pregnancy.”

Just over 10 months later, Gabby and their son, Jaxson, surprised him on the 18th green as the family celebrated Gary’s first victory since the 2013 Barracuda Championship. Woodland calls Jaxson his “miracle” son, and he and Gabby held him close and continue to do so after the trials of 2017.

“Really took off about four months,” said Woodland, who moves from 38th to fifth in the FedExCup standings. “But I found a way to get to the TOUR Championship, kind of battled through the end of the year, and I couldn’t wait for 2018 to start.”

Said Brennan Little, Woodland’s caddie: “His demeanor has been better. Last year was a bit of a mess. I mean, not really knowing his schedule, missing a few events, going home. Now the wife and the baby have been out; his attitude has been really good, which I think you can see in some of the rounds in Hawaii and San Diego, he got off to some bad starts and brought them back.”

Woodland was trending in the right direction after a T7 at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a T12 at the Farmers Insurance Open. Matt Kuchar, who hung around to congratulate Woodland after the victory, said he played nine holes with Woodland on Tuesday before the start of the WMPO and was wowed. “He was driving it just so well,” Kuchar said.

In addition to his wife and son, Woodland was cheered on by his parents, his sister and her husband, and others from back home in Topeka, Kansas. (He now lives in South Florida.) He got a text from his coach, Butch Harmon, on Thursday, urging him to put four good rounds together and not worry about the score. He did that, and recent putting lessons from friend Brad Faxon paid dividends, as well, as Woodland made 200 feet of putts on the weekend.

“I was in the zone,” he said. “I mean, I really had it going. My caddie asked me when I got done, did I know I made nine birdies. I didn’t even know I did that.”

Now it’s on to California for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and the resumption of a career that for five years was sidetracked by frustration, injuries and loss.

“It’s really hard to put in words right now,” Woodland said. “Last year we battled through it, couldn’t get to the off-season quick enough, couldn’t start 2018 soon enough. For [Jaxson] to be here, it’s obviously a miracle, but I’m just so excited to share this with him and my family, and hopefully it’s the start of something special.”

Source: PGATour.com 

February Newsletter

Fairgrounds February Newsletter

New Year, New Grip!

New Year, New Grip!

The month of February just got better. It’s time to let go of your worn grips. Don’t let having old grips ruin your swing. Fairgrounds Golf Course is offering 20% off regripping the whole month of February!

Prices are as low as $5 per grip!

To find out more information on why regripping is important, check out

“Get A Grip: The Value in Re-gripping your clubs”.

 

“The importance of a good grip, both your hold on the club and on the club itself, cannot be overstated.”

PGA.com

Tiger Woods’ ‘baby steps’: He neither dazzles nor disappoints in his return to the PGA Tour

LA JOLLA, Calif. — The massive throngs that mysteriously had a late January Thursday off from work suggest that the Tiger Woods comeback is now more than a tradition. It’s a holiday, too.

Presumably they were there to see him, anyway, but to see him do what? Other than the ubiquitous swoosh and the occasional epithet, Woods was giving them little that they might have recognized. There were no trademark fist pumps, no club twirls.

Yet for one shining moment late in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods gave them a glimpse of his old self, not at 42 his older self.

At the par-3 16th on the South Course at Torrey Pines, 190 yards across a chasm, Woods nearly made an ace. He hit it to eight inches of the hole, a tap-in birdie that was the highlight of an indifferent round of even-par 72.

“It’s just a full 6-iron, throw it up in the air,” he said. “The greens are really springy, so I was trying to land it soft. And we can’t see anything land from back there so we’re just listening for some noise and people started cheering.”

That’s why they were here.

Moral victories generally are vastly overrated, but concede him this one. He had played only 36 holes on the PGA Tour in the last 2½ years, yet he performed admirably. Admirably won’t be enough to get him to the weekend—he is tied for 84th—but he does have the more generous North Course on Friday.

“It was fun, it was fun to compete again,” he said. “It was fun to be out there. We had a great pairing today. Pat [Reed} played great, Charley [Hoffman] was solid all day, and I was probably a little bit rusty.”

He opened with a bogey, not an unusual start for Woods, who won the U.S. Open here without making a par at the first hole in the first four rounds in 2008. He hit only eight of 14 fairways and just 12 of 18 greens in regulation.

“On the back nine, he looked solid and steady,” Reed said. “When he wasn’t too happy with a shot it still was manageable. That’s the biggest thing, not playing awhile. I took off six weeks off from competitive golf and played last week and felt like I didn’t know what the heck I was doing out there. There’s a lot of mental errors that happen. For a guy who played one tournament in a year to come out and play the way he did today, I was impressed.

“He seemed excited. He was in the zone, focusing on being a competitor, but I can imagine inside he was probably jumping for joy being out here with the guys playing golf again, especially pain free. That’s huge. He looked good.”

Woods’ harshest critic, meanwhile, was himself, and he veered sharply from his go-to cliche, that “it’s a process.”

“I didn’t hit my irons very well today,” Woods said. “I didn’t give myself a lot of looks out there and consequently I didn’t make a lot of birdies. I didn’t play the par 5s as well, either. I need to clean up my iron game and give myself a lot more looks at it.”

“Baby steps,” Reed called them, fittingly, as it were, on behalf of a man attempting to turn back the clock.

 

Source: GolfDigest.com

April Newsletter

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Fairgrounds February Newsletter

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FAIRGROUNDS FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER

JOHN DALY ADMITS HE ‘WASTED HIS TALENT’ IN A CAREER OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

John Daly, as he prepares to embark on his second golf career, can’t help but wonder how much more successful his PGA Tour run could have been had he possessed a sounder body and mind in his glory days.

Daly, who turned 50 on April 28, reflected during a teleconference ahead of his Champions Tour debut this week at the Insperity Invitational on how he might have bettered his five-win, two-major PGA Tour career.

“I’m kind of satisfied with everything in the 2000s. My mind was right, and I did everything I could to try and win golf tournaments,” said Daly, whose last PGA Tour win came in 2004 at the Buick Invitational.

It was the decade before, though, when Daly made his mark, improbably capturing the PGA Championship in 1991, the 1995 Open Championship, and two more titles in between. Back then, he was the longest hitter on tour, slamming balls more than 300 yards when such distances were considered novelties, and a blue-collar hero to many fans who never stopped cheering him on despite his many missteps inside the ropes and out.

His personal life, which included four wives, allegations of domestic violence, gambling problems, and substance abuse, was so out of control that fellow golfer Fuzzy Zoeller bet him $150,000 he would not live to see 50. Daly joked that he would take his winnings in Fuzzy’s Vodka.

On the course, Daly accumulated huge numbers, like the 18 he carded on the sixth hole of the 1998 Bay Hill Invitational and the 11 citations for behavior “unbecoming a professional,” as ESPN.com’s Bob Harig noted.

Those incidents, plus the many injuries that have plagued him through the years, were likely what Daly had in mind when he lamented his lost opportunities.

“I wish I would have had the mental attitude back in the ’90s like I do now,” said Daly, who credited his fifth wife, Anna Cladakis, with stabilizing his life. “I think I wasted my talent in the ’90s, especially towards the later part of the ’90s. All the money was coming in, and I didn’t work hard enough at it. I didn’t do the right things to prepare myself to win golf tournaments. You know, that’s definitely on me, and I admit that … I think my mental attitude is 10 times better than it was in the ‘90s.”

Daly lost his PGA Tour card in 2007 and has gotten by on exemptions from sponsors who recognize that the man is still a powerful draw. As the Champions Tour awaits, Daly acknowledged that his game was not where he wanted it to be and that he was relying on a steady schedule to whip it into shape.

“It’s just going to be a confidence builder as the weeks go on because I’m pretty rusty right now not playing a lot of golf in the last nine months,” he said.

The Champions Tour’s 54-hole, no-cut events could be just what Daly needs to revitalize his once-promising career.

“Growing up, I didn’t have anybody coaching me on how to manage a golf course and definitely how to manage my life,” he said. “Right now I’m in a great place, and I just wish I had the physical ability now that I had in the ’90s. It would be probably a lot more fun.”

Source: sbnation.com