Tiger vs. Rory Will Make Golf Special In 2013


Tiger vs. Rory Will Make Golf Special In 2013

Rivalries---There is nothing better in sports than rivalries. So many great ones and so many that are hyped, that actually are not really good sports rivalries.

So will this be the year that we see a golf rivalry that matches Jack vs. Arnie, Trevino vs Watson, which have been the two greatest in the history of golf on a professional basis.

The combatants obviously are Rory vs. Tiger. Yes, they do not talk about it in terms of a rivalry, both downplaying anything even close. But reality in this case is greater than perception and it is a budding rivalry that could have a major impact on the game, or could fizzle in a hurry.

It is easy to forget that in 2012, no one was even close to Rory and Tiger on the money list. Rory number one at $8.1 million and Tiger second at 6.1 million. Coming in a distant third was Brandt Snedeker 4.9 million. It is safe to say, there are no players in the world that come close to the talent of Tiger and Rory. They simply are the best two players and no one is going to come close to them this year more than likely in money earnings and wins.

But back to the rivalry. It goes without saying that Tiger is itching to have a huge year and get back to winning a major or more than one. And Rory will not go down easy, he has that burning fire on the inside that makes him a champion. Tiger is still better overall, Rory has to many dry spells, such as last summer when he missed four of five cuts, that never has happened to Tiger in his career.

So I will not hold my breath, but I am looking for a great 2013 out of these two and hoping this rivalry becomes big time, it would be great for the game of golf. And my predictions are famous, so it is time for one. I say in 2013, these two will win three out of the four majors, with Tiger winning two and Rory winning one. Tiger will win the Masters and U.S. Open and Rory will win the PGA.

So what do you think? Do these two players have the will and determination to make 2013 a huge rivalry, or will we just see it fizzle out? Let me know what you think.

Golf Lesson---Multiple PGA winner David Ogrin and now top golf instructor, will once again deliver some powerful golf lessons in Crawford's Clubhouse during 2013.

"David, as a rule of thumb, what are the best clubs to use chipping around the green and what should you look at as to your lie, slope of green and other conditions" ? Thanks from another David----Topeka, Kansas

"David in Topeka, the art of chipping is one area of the game where you will begin to save shots. The short game is the transition from the full swings to the putter. I discovered in college that being a good chipper took pressure off my putting and my irons, so pursuing excellence here is a great idea. I learned by using one club which was a sand wedge and used it for all my shots.

From there as I grew up I added other clubs as I learned a chip and run with an 8-iron. In the mid 80's the high lofted wedges became popular so I became good with the 60 and 64 degree wedge. Lately the hybrid has come along and there are Heinz 57 uses for hybrid around the green.

Now to answer your question, I teach basic chipping with a sand wedge because it is the shortest club, has loft and usually has a big bottom on it to part the grass. I then teach using the hybrid and running the ball along the ground. Then I teach an 8-iron from the collar to minimize the flight time and maximum roll. Finally I teach the flop shot with a lofted wedge. You get good at what you practice. The more you chip the better you will get. Good luck and celebrate when you hole one". David Ogrin

Birdiebits---Lots of buzz and chatter going around that the PGA Tour might move up the anchoring ban that the USGA will impose in 2016. Word around is that the PGA Tour could start the ban as early as the 2013-14 season which starts this October. Interesting to follow this story.

Last year on the PGA Tour, there were 67 times that a player drove the ball 400 yards plus. 41 of those happened at the Kapalua Plantation course, site of this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Big drives this week are coming from Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson. Will we see 475, just might happen.

Winner---Each week, this year I will pick the winner of each tournament on all four Tours. So my pick this week is the long hitting Dustin Johnson, actually I think he will four times this year, he is due to have a break out season, why not 2013.

Must Plays---Each week I give you a must play in the state of Oregon, my home state, just in case you might be vacationing here this year or are a resident, looking for something new.

Elkhorn Valley Golf Course does not get much attention, cause it is caught somewhat between the golf rich Willamette Valley of Oregon and the equally golf rich of Central Oregon. But the Lyons, Oregon course is a wonderful layout, peaceful and the price is right. Great for a day trip or a stopover on your way to Central Oregon. You will love it, one of the best kept secrets in Oregon Golf.

GregCrawford@csnnw.com and twitter @wchoops #askGregCrawford

Tiger Woods withdraws from PGA Championship, won't play this season

Tiger Woods withdraws from PGA Championship, won't play this season

Tiger Woods ruled himself out of the PGA Championship on Tuesday, marking the first time in his career that he’s missed four consecutive majors.

Woods hasn’t played since a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship last August. After undergoing two back surgeries last fall, he said at multiple news conferences this year that he’s progressing, but apparently not to the point that he’s able to return to competition this season.

In an email to GolfChannel.com, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said: "Continuing to make progress, but simply not ready for PGA. Will not play in the '15/'16 season and will continue to rehab and work hard to then assess when he starts play for the '16/'17 season."


Woods has 2nd back surgery, faces another long road to recovery


Woods has 2nd back surgery, faces another long road to recovery

Tiger Woods appeared poised to make a fresh start, putting behind the struggles of last season and building upon his T-10 finish last month at the Wyndham Championship.

Instead, his body has again betrayed him, and we are all left to wonder what lies ahead.

Woods announced Friday that he underwent microdiscectomy surgery on Sept. 16. It is the same surgery he had in March 2014, one that kept him sidelined for nearly three months, and will keep him out of action for the forseeable future.

The news release was more like an explosion, setting fire to any and all expectations we had for Woods entering next season. Only the questions persist.


Dicky Pride cruises to three-shot win to earn PGA TOUR card


Dicky Pride cruises to three-shot win to earn PGA TOUR card

Veteran Dicky Pride, riding a late-season wave of momentum, carded a 4-under 67 Sunday to win the WinCo Foods Portland Open and earn his PGA TOUR card for the 2015-16 season. Pride, who led by four shots entering the final round at the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge, finished at 20-under 264, three strokes in front of Tim Herron (66) and four ahead of a late surging Tommy Gainey (65).

Floridian Ryan Blaum (65), first-round leader Curtis Thompson (68) and Colorado’s Shane Bertsch (69) tied for fourth but a distant seven shots back of the 46-year old winner in the Web.com Tour’s Regular Season finale.

“For a guy that talks a lot, I don’t have a lot to say,” said Pride, who earned his first Tour-sanctioned win in more than 20 years. “It’s hasn’t been a couple years, it’s been a couple decades since I hit the winner’s circle. It’s really nice to be back.”

Pride collected a check for $144,000 in the Tour’s final regular season event and vaulted from No. 40 to No. 5 in the Tour’s money list. The top-25 money winners earned PGA TOUR cards, though the final pecking order won’t be determined until the first week of October following the Web.com Tour Championship.

Pride, who finished T3 two weeks ago, collected a pair of early birdies in the final round and kept his challengers at arm’s length for most of the afternoon. A 60-foot eagle-putt on the 11th hole essentially slammed the door on any realistic hopes that Herron, his playing partner and biggest challenger, might have had.

“I’m pretty amazed,” said Pride, who never let anyone closer than three strokes during the final 18 holes. “It was so tough. I’ve played the last five weeks in a row. I’m 46 and I just am so thrilled to be able to get this done.”

Pride got it done by rolling in birdie putts and saving pars throughout the week. He finished No. 1 in putting for the week, a notable accomplishment for the Tuscaloosa-born player who was ranked No. 72 in the category this season.

Herron made a valiant effort to catch the leader with his own bogey-free, 5-under score but he couldn’t overcome the deficit.

Much of Sunday’s drama centered around the top-25 money winner and who might be in and who was out. In the end, there was only one change – and that was Pride moving in and pushing Rob Oppenheim, winner of the Air Capital Classic out after he failed to advance to the weekend.

FINAL Leaderboard




$ earned

Started the week

Current $ list


Dicky Pride

65-66-66-67—264 (-20)





Tim Herron

68-65-68-66—267 (-17)





Tommy Gainey

69-65-70-76—269 (-15)





Ryan Blaum

65-70-71-65—271 (-13)





Curtis Thompson

62-70-71-68—271 (-13)





Shane Bertsch

69-66-67-69—271 (-13)









Curtis Thompson grabs lead at Winco Foods Portland Open


Curtis Thompson grabs lead at Winco Foods Portland Open


North Plains, Ore. – Rookie Curtis Thompson fired a course-record, 9-under 62 Thursday and grabbed the firstround lead at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, the final event on the Web.com Tour’s regular season schedule. Thompson, older brother to LPGA star Lexi, chalked up nine birdies in a flawless trip around the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge in suburban Portland to take a two-shot lead over Canada’s Adam Svensson. Leading money winner Patton Kizzire heads a list of players tied at 6-under 65 and three behind.Joining Kizzire are Ryan Blaum, Michael Kim and Dicky Pride.

“It was a lot of fun today,” said Thompson, who has finished T10 and T13 in his last two starts. “I think I made more putts today than I have all year.”

The 22-year old former LSU star leads the Tour in driving distance and combined distance with accuracy to overpower the course but it was his work on the greens that set him apart. “I think I hit almost every green,” said Thompson, who hit 16 of 18. “It was unbelievable. I made everything I looked at. I’ve been hitting it good and just waiting for the putts to fall and today they went in.”

Thompson is starting to play at just the right time. His past two finishes have pushed him to No. 68 on the money list and given him confidence to remain inside the top-75, which would assure him exempt status next year.

The bigger goal is to finish in the top-25 on the list and earn a PGA TOUR card for the 2015-16 campaign. “I’ve told everybody I’m going to let the horses run this week,” said Thompson.

“I’m inside that top-75 number and well outside the top-25 number so a win this week is the only thing I can do to get a PGA TOUR card. I’m going to let them run this week. I’m going to let the real Curtis Thompson show this week.” Thompson will have his work cut out for him as he tries to keep his challengers at bay. Of those closest to him, only Kizzire, who earned his second win of the year at last week’s News Sentinel Open, is assured of moving on to the TOUR next season. “I don’t look at the list,” said the 46-year old Pride, who has been steady this year and entered the week No. 40 on the money list.

“I don’t see how it’s going to help me, like I’m going to try harder or hit it closer? If I’m not giving it my best effort then why am I here? It doesn’t take a number to inspire me to play better.” Pride joined the TOUR in 1994 and has made 433 career starts. His lone career win came in his rookie season at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. 


* This week’s event is the final event of 21 regular season events on the 2015 schedule. The top-25 money winners following this week’s finale will earn PGA TOUR cards for the 2015-16 wraparound season. A second set of 25 cards will be on the line during the four-event Web.com Tour Finals, which follow in September and early October.

* This week’s purse is $800,000 with $144,000 going to the champion.

* Of the top-25 money winners, only No. 23 Patrick Rodgers is not playing this week. Rodgers, winner of the Colombia Championship in Bogota in early March, was successful in earning his PGA TOUR card via the top-125 in FedExCup points. He will remain on the Web.com Tour money list and the number of cards will not be expanded beyond “The 25” from the Regular Season.

* Curtis Thompson set the course record Thursday with his 9-under 62. The previous mark of 63 was set in the opening round last year by Matt Fast and Kent Bulle and later matched by eventual winner Carlos Ortiz in the second round and Adam Hadwin and Colt Knost in the third round.

* Scott Harrington, who grew up in Portland and attended high school here, shot a 4-over 75 and is T136 heading into Friday’s second round.

* Adam Svensson, 21, is from Surrey, Vancouver, British Columbia. He was a two-time GCAA All-American at Barry University, a Division II school in Miami Shores, Fla. Svensoon was the 2013 Division II Phil Mickelson Freshman of the Year and the 2014 Division II Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year. He helped his team win the 2013 NCAA Division II Championship and set a single-season school scoring record (71.26). He also collected seven individual wins during his sophomore season.

* Svensson turned pro earlier this year and has made four cuts in six starts on the Web.com Tour. He received a sponsor exemption into the Rust-Oleum Championship in June and finished T11. He entered this week No. 131 on the Tour money list.

* Svensson has made three starts on Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and has two runner-up finishes and a tie for third in his other. He is currently No. 8 on the Tour’s Order of Merit.

* Scoring averages for the week:
            Front (36)        Back (35)         Total (71)
R1       36.032             34.635             70.667

Merritt wins first title at Quicken Loans National


Merritt wins first title at Quicken Loans National

Troy Merritt won his first PGA Tour title Sunday with a 4-under 67 at the Quicken Loans National. Here's the lowdown from the final round at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club:

Leaderboard: Troy Merritt (-18), Rickie Fowler(-15), David Lingmerth (-14), Justin Thomas (-12), Danny Lee (-12), Carl Pettersson (-12), Bill Haas (-12), Jason Bohn (-12), Justin Rose (-12)

What it means: Merritt started the weekend T-35 after opening with rounds of 70 and 68, but he grabbed a share of the lead with a third-round 61. He began Sunday with three birdies on the front nine, and then shut the door closed by nearly holing out at the par-3 16th. Merritt now enjoys all the fruits of winning his first title. He gets into next week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship. He's exempt through the 2016-17 season, and he's into next year's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the Masters and the Players. Merritt was also No. 123 in the FedEx Cup rankings coming into this week, and now he's ranked 38th and moves on easily into the upcoming playoffs.


Woods drops out of contention with 3-over 74


Woods drops out of contention with 3-over 74

After opening with two low rounds and putting himself into contention at his own tournament, Tiger Woods tumbled down the leaderboard Saturday at the Quicken Loans National with a 3-over 74.

On a day when just about everyone on the leaderboard was under par, Woods didn't make his first birdie until the par-4 15th, and he trails the leaders by nine shots going into the final round. He kept his fragile swing together for most of the first two rounds, but it came undone from the very first swing in the third round. When his long slog was over, Woods admitted the problems started even before his round began.

"I was hitting the ball left on the range warming up," Woods said. "Couldn't quite get comfortable. And flipped it on 1 with the left rough off the tee. Made sure I didn't flip it on 2. Hit a drive right. Basically, it was a fight all day. It felt like that hook was coming in and fought through it the best I could."


Woods back in contention at Quicken Loans


Woods back in contention at Quicken Loans

The tournament host put on quite a show Friday at the Quicken Loans National, and for now Tiger Woods is back to where he used to be – near the top of the leaderboard.

Woods took advantage of an early tee time, smooth greens and some momentum from an opening 68, and carded a 5-under 66 to sit at 8 under par. When Woods finished just after 1 p.m. ET he was only one off the lead.

"Overall, I hit the ball really well today," Woods said after making six birdies and one bogey. "I was very pleased with that and made a few putts, but also I missed a bunch, too. This could have been one of those really low rounds ... I'm in a good spot heading into the weekend."

Woods has been searching all year to regain his form, and after some flashes of good play at the Masters and The Greenbrier, he seems to have finally turned a corner at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.


McIlroy won't play Firestone; PGA status unknown


McIlroy won't play Firestone; PGA status unknown

Rory McIlroy won’t defend his title at next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Still unclear is whether his injured left ankle will be healthy enough for a run at back-to-back PGA titles.   

The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that McIlroy and Chris Kirk (broken right hand) have informed tournament officials that they will miss next week’s World Golf Championships event at Firestone.

The McIlroy news isn’t all that surprising, given the severity of his injury – a total rupture of the left ATFL and associated joint capsule damage – and the general timetable for a return, which medical experts estimated was anywhere from 10 days to six weeks. McIlroy said he was injured while running toward a soccer ball during a friendly game with friends on July 4. 


Woods' season nearing end (unless he wins)


Woods' season nearing end (unless he wins)

This week’s Quicken Loans National will be Tiger Woods’ second-to-last event of this season unless something dramatic happens at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club or in two weeks at the PGA Championship.

Woods is an eight-time winner of next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational but is currently not qualified for the event. The only way to earn a spot in the field at Firestone is to win this week.

“I won there a couple years ago. Unfortunately, I can’t get an invite there unless I win [Quicken Loans],” he said. “I might as well earn one this week and go out and get it done this week.”