Top of the morning, ladies and gents. Hope you got out to enjoy some socially distant golf this weekend. If you were stuck doing yard work instead, remember: it builds character.
News and updates
- As it stands today, the first major championship of the year will be the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in early August. While this date remains questionable, the course is open for public play as of today. Whether or not Harding Park or its home city will be ready for a major three months from now is a different matter, but it’s good to see the facility take the first step.
- Golf Digest conducted a survey of PGA Tour pros to understand their mindsets heading into the planned restart in June. More than 50% of those surveyed said they would be willing to compete only if there were comprehensive testing at each event.
2003 All-PGA Tour Team
Known as a year of forgettable major winners, 2003 was big for several lesser-known names on the PGA Tour. Still, it’s the big guns who rose to the top by the end of the season.
Jim Furyk (two wins, one runner-up, 15 top 10s) – The lone major victory of Jim Furyk’s career came at the 2003 U.S. Open, but his win at the Buick Open was in some ways just as impressive. Played at Warwick Hills outside of Detroit, the Buick Open favored bombers like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, and Kenny Perry. On Saturday, Furyk was paired with defending champion Tiger Woods and promptly beat him by four shots to grab control of the tournament. Furyk hit 34 of 36 greens on the weekend, using skills other than length to win at the highest level. As Alan Shipnuck put it, “The lanky Furyk has in abundance the crucial body parts you can’t see: heart, guts, and brains.”
Davis Love III (four wins, one runner-up, 11 top 10s) – You could argue that this was DL3’s best season as a pro. He was so-so at the majors, but his four victories were the most he had in any single year as a pro. But Love’s 2003 may be remembered more for some distressing events off the course. His brother-in-law committed suicide in May after getting caught stealing money from him. In addition to that horrible situation, DL3’s marriage was tested by rumors in the tabloids. “I wanted to dedicate the win to her,” he said after his victory at the International, “because if I didn’t know everything was fine at home, I couldn’t come out and play this well”
Mike Weir (three wins, 10 top 10s) – In one of the lamest major championship finishes of all time, 32-year-old Mike Weir won the 2003 Masters with a bogey on the playoff hole. Still, a green jacket is a green jacket. It was Weir’s third win of the year, which doubled his career total and put him in the history books as Canada’s first major winner. “While everyone else was watching Woods,” wrote S.L. Price in 2003, “[Weir] quietly and oh-so-Canadianly won the Nissan Open and the Bob Hope, and by taking the year’s first major in hand, he politely announced himself as golf’s new man of the moment.” At 5’9” and 155 lbs., Mike Weir proved himself a giant that Sunday in Augusta.
Tiger Woods (five wins, 12 top 10s) – On June 23, 2003, Rick Reilly wrote an article for Sports Illustrated titled “The 10 Travails of Tiger,” which gave 10 reasons why it sucked to be Tiger Woods just then. While this was partly Reilly being Reilly, it had a grain of truth. In 2003, Tiger failed to record a top-three finish in a major for the first time since 1996. While he had plenty of other great results, including an 11-shot victory at Bay Hill, Tiger wasn’t quite himself in 2003.
Vijay Singh, MVP (four wins, five runner-ups, 18 top 10s) – Even after a down season, Woods won the PGA Tour and PGA of America Player of the Year ballots in 2003. But we’re here to argue that Vijay Singh deserved those awards. The big Fijian jump-started his season with a final-round 63 to win the Phoenix Open. “You expect great players to shoot great rounds on Sunday,” runner-up Tim Petrovic said. “That’s what they do.” A month later, Singh turned 40, but the best stretch of his career was ahead of him. He won four times in 2003, nine more in 2004, and in September 2004 overtook Tiger Woods at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Return of Ryo? – A decade ago, Ryo Ishikawa was golf’s next-big-thing. After several years of injuries and struggles, Ishikawa appears to be getting back to his prior self. In our latest entry in our Sunday Brunch series, contributor Michael Geiger details the past decade of highs and lows for the Japanese sensation.
Shotgun Start: Card security and jumbo points, Hadwin’s lament, and apologies to Dell
This Monday episode primarily takes on the status developments across the various Tours. But we first begin with an apology to Dell for our naivete from a few weeks ago. Our discussion on the PGA Tour’s card problem then begins with news that there will be no promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour this year, and no Q-School. Also, Major Medicals can reportedly be reset if you played poorly in those opportunities earlier this season. This leads to Andy just reading some player names, asking to guess their starts this season, and incredulity punctuating the exchange each time. We propose some changes to this plan where no current PGA Tour player will lose his card. And we also hit on the possibility that more top players may just stay home for a while. Then we get to Adam Hadwin’s apparent contempt for the potential of having to putt with a flagstick in the cup. We round things up with Monty’s comments on testing, ponder who the Admiral might be, and discuss the catnip of JT and Rickie playing with balatas and persimmon on Sunday. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
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