You could probably stump the best Trivial Pursuit players at your dinner party with this one: Who won this year's Players Championship?
Yeah, um, it was unforgettable. It was, uh...
Never mind. Tim Clark, the diminutive South African, won it, his first victory in nine years on the PGA Tour. Maybe you forgot about him because of all the Tiger Woods news. Or maybe because he hasn't been on many leaderboards since then. Yeah, that could definitely be it.
Craig DeVrieze in the Quad City Times addressed the question, what ever happened to little Timmy? He asked Clark how many days the party lasted after he finally won.
"How many weeks?" the 34-year-old South African corrected Wednesday at TPC Deere Run. "A few weeks."
"I took some time off after that and probably enjoyed myself too
much, but I'm getting back into now," he said. "Today my swing felt
good and my game feels like it's getting back. I got back to
working out and doing the things I needed to do play well. I guess after nine years without winning, I allowed myself to
Why not? Starting with a runner-up finish at the 2006 Masters,
Clark long had been considered a lock to land in the winner's
circle. He thought so, too. He said he never found himself
"This game is tough, tough, enough," he said. "And every week we
try hard, and it doesn't always happen. I had to believe that it
would happen at some stage. And the Players Championship is
probably the tournament you would least expect to win. I just sort
of let it happen, didn't get ahead of myself and was able to play
Clark would like to think he can play well at Deere Run this
week--if, that is, the golf clubs lost in transit arrive in time
for his 12:28 p.m. tee time.
If not, he'll scrounge up some replacement clubs and hope for the best.
One thing you can count on during the John Deere Classic is that native Iowan Zach Johnson is going to get wall-to-wall coverage. It just so happens that Zach Man had a pretty interesting Wednesday, which the Quad City Times was all over like corn feed on a pig's snout.
Zach Johnson stood on the TPC Deere Run practice green, neither relishing this anonymity nor being baffled by it. Then
again, you're not going to get many autograph seekers or ogles of
admiration when you are sporting a caddy's vest in the John Deere
This Zach Johnson, who works in fleet sales for
Lindquist Ford in Bettendorf, has had his share of misidentification
for the famed golfer by the same name -- the Zach Johnson who won The
Masters, the one who is on the John Deere Classic board of directors,
the one whose likeness graces the 400-square-foot piece of art at the
Deere Run first tee grandstands.
"There are a few instances
where I have had to call for golf course tee times under a different
name," said the Quad-Cities Zach. "There have been many times where
I've given my name and they've hung up on me because they thought it
was a prank call."
He also has had some unknowing souls seek his signature on a hat or golf ball. "The best one, though," said Zach, "was back in '05 when I was in my brother-in-law's wedding which was in Iowa City."
The pro golfer hails from Cedar Rapids, so you can see where this one's heading.
"We pulled up to the church for the gathering of the wedding party an hour
before the ceremony," Zach said. "A guy was standing there. Someone asked him what he was doing and
he said he was waiting for somebody. A couple of minutes went
by and the guy then offered, `The person I am waiting for is Zach
Johnson.' I thought, great, now what trouble am I in? When he
said he had been waiting for him all of this time because he was one of
his biggest fans, I realized he had been there to see the golfer. I had
to say, no, sadly, I was the `other' Zach Johnson."
Though the JDC's Zach Johnson is in his ninth year of
playing in this Quad-Cities pro golf tournament, the car salesman has
only met him on one occasion.
"It was a couple of years ago," he
said. The golfer's reaction? "He said, `No way, let me see your ID.'
Through all of these years, he is the only other Zach Johnson I have
The pseudo-Zach jumped at the chance to be the pro-am caddy for Steve
Lindquist, the dealership's owner. Guess who the pro was in their group. The real Zach Johnson? Nope. That would've been a cliche. It was Bob Estes.
The other Zach, by the way, says he carries a 20 handicap. And no, he does not own a green jacket.
Who's No. 1?
The Smartest Question of the Day Award goes to Ron Green Sr., the veteran apparently-not-completely-retired columnist for the Charlotte Observer who wonders, Who's the PGA Tour player of the year?
The correct answer, by the way, is nobody ... so far. Which is Mr. Green's point.
We're 28 tournaments into the PGA Tour
season. The cleated gypsies have roamed from Hawaii to Arizona to
Mexico to Florida to Georgia to the Carolinas to Ohio and various other
stops, 28 in all with another encampment this week in Illinois.
my arithmetic is correct, which is highly unlikely given my grades in
school, they've hit about half a million shots in competition so far
After all that, we should have a pretty good idea
who is going to be the player of the year. But we don't. They've played
28 tournaments and had 25 different winners. Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and
Justin Rose have two wins apiece. Jason Bohns and Derek Lamelys and
Graeme McDowells have won most of the rest, with an occasional
intrusion by more recognizable names.
Players we thought
might rush into the vacuum created when Tiger Woods took several months
off and came back without his game have not. The PGA Tour
Player of the Year award has been won by Tiger Woods in ten of the last
13 years. Along the way, he has generated unprecedented –- unimagined --
interest in the game. With his troubles, the way is open for others to
seize the banner but it isn't happening.
Green's choice for the leading contender for the award so far is Els. But with two major championships yet to play, that could obviously change. Yeah, are Bohn and Lamely playing in the British?
On Second Thought ...
In this day and age of media overkill in sports, it would've been interesting to see the reaction to what happened at the end of the last Women's U.S. Open at Oakmont in 1992. Patty Sheehan pushed her drive on the 72nd hole into the right rough. But due to casual water, she took a free drop in the fairway, hit 5-iron onto the green and made a birdie putt to force a playoff with Juli Inkster, which Sheehan won.
Wouldn't you love to hear the talking heads of ESPN and Golf Channel debate the fairness of that rule? The talk wouldn't be about the ruling--it's not like an umpire messing up a pitcher's perfect game with a bad call at first base. It would be about an awkward rule of golf that allows a player to move a ball out of the rough, where birdie wouldn't have been a likely option, into the fairway, where it became one. It would've been a hot topic in the digital age, that's for sure.
Eighteen years later, Inkster admitted she still had a sour feeling about it. Colin Dunlap recalled the odd ruling in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Inkster was asked Wednesday a simple question: Has she gotten over the ruling?
"Well, yeah," Inkster said. "Well, no.
"It's the worst ruling in the history of golf. But I've overcome it, yes. It is what it is. She made a great shot after that and made a great putt, so..."
OK, we get it. The answer is no, she's not over the ruling. We don't blame her.