There’s only one thing better than going to Bermuda to play golf — and that’s spending time with a newborn daughter. That’s what Tiger Woods plans to do, saying he will be skipping the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. Woods, who will be replaced by Jim Furyk, said his reason was nothing more than needing a break. “I just want to take some time off,” he said.
GOLF STORY LINES
1 After weeks of complaining about too many tournaments in a short period of time, the FedEx Cup playoffs have left the PGA with two expected contenders and one Cinderella vying for the $10 million first-place check entering the final event — the Tour Championship. Tiger Woods, who took off Week 1 and won last week, and Phil Mickelson, who skipped last week after winning Week 2, were supposed to be in the hunt for the PGA’s attempt at creating playoff-type excitement. Steve Stricker, who won the opener of this four-week series, sits second and would give the PGA a wonderful story should he walk away this week as the winner. Rory Sabbatini and K.J. Choi are also still alive to win the big prize. Oh, yeah — the winner of the Tour Championship also pockets $7 million, so Sunday could be the most profitable day in golf history for someone.
2 Unfortunately, while there is a top-flight field with plenty at stake, East Lake Golf Club isn’t exactly in prime-time shape. Record heat battered the course, especially damaging the bent-grass greens. However, the course was closed the past two weeks to nuture it. The result? Players were pleasantly surprised to see the condition of the course, which the PGA had led them to believe was in dire condition.
3 Even in a week where the spotlight should shine on women’s golf, the prestigious Solheim Cup will be overshadowed by what happens at the Tour Championship. While the LPGA has many young and interesting stars — such as Paula Creamer, Natlie Gulbis and Morgan Pressel, to name a few — the tour still hasn’t figured out a good way to market its product. Meanwhile, the U.S. is 5-0 at home in the Solheim Cup, but the Americans are just 1-3 in Europe, including a 17½-10½ loss in 2003 in which Annika Sorenstam went 4-1.
THIS WEEK’S TEE TIMES
EVENT: Tour Champ-ionship
COURSE: East Lake Golf Club, par 70
DEFENDING CHAMP: Adam Scott
EVENT: Solheim Cup
WHERE: Halmstad, Sweden
COURSE: Halmstad Golf Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: </strong>United States
EVENT: Greater Hickory Classic
WHERE: Conover, N.C.
COURSE: Rock Barn Golf and Spa, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: Andy Bean
WHERE: Junction City, Ore.
COURSE: Shadow Hills Country Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: Cliff Kresge
EVENT: Mercedes-Benz Champ-ionship
WHERE: Pulheim, Germany
COURSE: Gut Larchenhof Golf Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: None