This month I’m going to feature a topic that I’ve been looking for since the early print of this millennium.
Namely - the ‘Tiger-Effect.”
But first here are the results from the Men’s PGA Tour of early September - concluding with the tour
At the Dell Technologies Championship held in Norton Massachusetts Justin Thomas wins for the 5th time this season! The following week Australian stand out Mark Leishman went wire-to-wire to win the BMW Championship in nearby Lake Forest, Illinois, and closing out the year in Atlanta Georgia (24) year old rookie Xander Schauffele won the tour championship. An event that finished the yearlong Fed-Ex Cup Race- (a cumulative points battle where points from all (47) tour events were included) - (and) was won by another (24) year old - Mr. Justin Thomas. Oh yeah, by the way, that points victory earned him a cool 10 million dollar bonus! A side note: you know how we’re always talking about the short game, and putting having value? Xander won in Atlanta by - (in large part) - making (67) of his (69) attempted putts from 10 feet and in: (and) Justin Thomas led the tour for the (entire season) in proximity to the hole from (125) yards out (or) closer.
Now back to our topic… when Tiger Woods dominated - (there is only one way to describe it - he dominated the Men’s Tour) - from about 1997-2007, the world was truly taking notice, and back then a lot of us “kinda” knew there might be a crowd watching, captivated, who we were not quite aware of yet - kids!
As Tigers popularity piled up with his - wins, his red shirt on Sundays, and his first pumping attitude, a pot was boiling around the world in the embodiment of your aspiring “Tigers” who were mostly in middle school.
Well now they’re here! Winning, and winning with regularity, and not just the Jordan Speith’s and Justin Thomas’s, but names like young Mr. Schaffele, (and others who - if you don’t know them yet you will), like Hadwin & Rahm, and Grillo; and still very young veterans like: Fowler, and Reed; McIlroy and Jason Day who are still a part of that Tiger Effect- just ask them, they will tell you so.
The game has seen this before with - Francis Quimet’s victory in the 1918 US Open that shook the golfing world; and Bobby Jones transcended golf with his 1927 “Grand Slam.” Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, Walter Hagen - and then Hogan & Snead and others kept golf moving - until of course “The King” put golf front and center on and off the sports pages with his charisma and monumental winning ways. Jack Nicklaus kept that needle moving for those that followed like Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Sevé - (who kept the young players from outside the country inspired) - After Gary player proved/inspired that to succeed in golf you had to play and win in America.
So, that leaves me with a question. Who is out there watching these fine young men? Go to the range - they’re out there. Whether they are on their own, or a part of the marvelous PGA Junior league - or- probably the greatest junior sports program in the world - the First Tee Program.
(And) the date I am now watching - is (2028). That is the year that the Olympics will be held in Los Angeles. And although Olympics in Tokyo will/should be formidable; I’m wondering if today's young stars - (who will be in their mid-30s by L.A.) - will be a part of the (2028) squad, or will they be watching our new batch of juniors coming up who will be in their early 20s? Well, I hope we are all alive and well then to find out, and I hope that I can be here to write about it!
Around the rest of the tours in September...
I’m telling you its everywhere - young (23) year old Haydn Porteous of South African won the Czech Masters for his 2nd career European Tour Title; Matthew Fitzpatrick of England (also 23) won the Omega European Masters - that’s (4) career victories for this young former U.S. amateur champion! And (2) other youngsters of note: Romain Wattel - (who won the KLM championship) (and) Lucas Bjerregaard - (who captured the Portugal Masters), - are both capable of becoming stars at any moment.
This month the veterans dominated the LPGA Tour - with Stacy Lewis winning the Cambia Portland Classic for her 12th career title *and by the way site immediately turned over her entire! first place check to help the Texans’ who suffered thru hurricane Harvey, Lexi Thompson visited Indiana - (winning the “Indy Women in Tech Championship”) - at the wonderful brickyard crossing G.C. in Indianapolis; and the final LPGA Major Title of the year - the Evian Championship - played in Evian -UES- Baines, France, was won by Sweden’s Anna Nordquist.
A Champion’s Tour “youngster” Scott McCarron won for the fourth time this season at the Shaw Charity Classic - Jerry Kelly won the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Classic - and the ageless Bernhard Langer wins again! at the Pure Insurance Championship.
Ok - October’s here - and along with the beautiful colors of the trees come fall rates, twilight rates, discounted sales on merchandise in the golf shops, “early-bird” (2018) membership offers - (many with the balance of the (2017) golf season thrown in. What could be better?! Enjoy, take advantage, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to put away the sticks now - golf in the region in fall is the best golf of the year!
October also brings out some great celebrations: for some after golf fun - check out the Griffith Oktoberfest Oct. 6-8 at Central Park in Griffith -or- that same weekend Crown Point is holding their (also Oktoberfest) on Sat. Oct. 7th - and pretty much all day on the same Oct. 7th Saturday the famous “pumpkins, witches, & hayrides” event will be going on at Munster Indiana's’ beautiful Centennial Park. (And) I’m not forgetting the beer & festival folks out there - on October 14th - at the same great park in Munster, the “Munster Ale Fest” - should be right up your alley - for a little brew and a lot of fun.
Special Thanks this month: To Mike & Kathy Modrzejewski - With a special shout - out to the delightful Ashley Doreski! To my dear friend Barb; a special Happy Birthday wish to my wonderful daughter Stacy, as well as to Mark, and I think Mike Modrzejewski; to my friends at Savannah Quarters Golf Club; and to all who have continued to send in such wonderful stories to the paper - keep ‘em coming!
(And) if you have a suggestion for a feature article you would like to see covered -or- if you just want to chime in - please contact me at our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a voicemail at (219)947-4314, and to read past golf course reviews - or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online - visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
Lastly: Records are made to be broken - but - I have kept a copy of a story on my desk now for quite a few years, and I am beginning to believe I may not ever see this one taken over: At the Port Royal Golf Courses in Bermuda in 1975 a gentleman named Joe Flynn recorded his lowest (18) score ever, an (82). I know that doesn’t sound earth-shattering, and it doesn’t seem like a record score - but - Mr. Flynns’ score of (82) was for the lowest score ever achieved on a regulation (18) hole, 6,500+ yard golf course… throwing the ball! Any challengers out there?!
Have a great October - See you next month - Pete