by Aaron "1-iron" Garry - 07/18/2005
Another column - Another win. Let it sink in, and then tell me you aren't a believer in the magic of the "1-iron." As "1-iron" correctly predicted, Tiger Woods ran off and hid with the 2005 British Open Championship at St. Andrews, quieting (at least temporarily) the critics of his recent swing changes. The five shot victory over Colin Montgomerie vaulted Woods and his ten major championships past Ben Hogan and Gary Player into second place in the "Lifetime Major Championship Victories" standings, and left him just eight behind Jack Nicklaus. The win also completed the second go-round of the career grand slam for Woods.
What can you say? Woods won this one wire-to-wire, and even with some Saturday nerves, was in complete control of the tournament the entire time. Monty made his charge and failed. Retief was up to his Sunday tricks again and faltered. Olazabal never charged. Couples was in the clubhouse after his charge came up short by three hours. Garcia never threatened. Michael Campbell went out like a lamb. When the dust cleared by St. Andrews Bay, the only one who remained standing was Woods. Time and time again, he just takes care of business - and this was no different.
On this side of the pond, Jason Bohn held off a host of challengers at En-Joie Country Club, as he posted a huge score of 23-under-par to win the B.C. Open.
A couple things of note from Scotland:
The tribute to Jack Nicklaus was moving, but it certainly got a little dusty on the 18th green when "1-iron" favorite Tom Watson appeared visibly moved by the clarity of the situation. After Watson got the better of Nicklaus at the 1977 "Battle in the Sun" at Turnberry, it was fitting that Watson was with Nicklaus every step of the way this year, as Jack called it a career. I'm sure Jack never dreamed that Ernie Johnson would be the one at the mic to describe his last competitive moments, but the call of "What a way to call it a career" was suitable in such a rousing situation.
A note to ABC - get Azinger out of the booth. How many times did we have to hear him mention the false statistic about "Montgomerie never beating Woods in 64 tournaments" and the awful anecdote about "Calcavecchia getting booed for chipping off the 18th green, instead of putting?" He was pro-Woods the entire time, and was roundly carried by Faldo, Tirico, Alliss and even Rankin the entire time. I loved Zinger as a player, but this experiment isn't working. He looks dazed in the booth, and he's adding less insight then just about every other commentator out there today. "1-iron" recommends Peter Jacobsen and his syrupy-sounding voice for the booth, cutting ties with Zinger, and letting Faldo and Tirico was poetic far more often. Faldo is tremendous, and a huge asset to the telecast. He's got great insight, both as an announcer and as a top-flight player. Note to Rudy Martzke - feel free to use this in your column.
Applause from the "1-iron" to Brad Faxon for heading over to Scotland to locally qualify for the Open against 384 other competitors for 12 spots. Faxon, who generally isn't a favorite of "1-iron's" column, really made a push at redemption this week by showing his deep respect for the game of golf and the Open Championship. All paid off for Faxon, as he finished T23.
>From the Lager capital of the world, to the Beer capital of the world. The PGA Tour keeps on chug-chug-chuggin' along as we find ourselves at Brown Deer Park Golf Course for the Greater Milwaukee Open. Sadly, this event won't have half the field of the John Deere Classic due to the masochistic date on the schedule. We won't see any of the world's top 5 players at this tournament, and we'll get just a fleeting glimpse of star-power in the form of Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Fred Funk, Sean O'Hair, Brad Faxon and Justin Bolli....kidding, sort of.
Last year Carlos Franco won his second Greater Milwaukee Open title by two over Fred Funk and Brett Quigley. All three are back to tee it up this year, and all three should be extremely competitive. This course is one of the shortest on tour at 6,759 yards, however the scores won't look nearly as low as the ones at En-Joie Country Club this week due to the premium on accuracy. The course will certainly be decided at the risk/reward Par 5 18th, which can be reached in two with a good tee shot and precise second shot to a heavily bunkered green.
One thing to mention here - "1-iron" is a huge fan of the state of Wisconsin and its many residents. While the state produces such goodies as Cheese, Bratwurst, Beer and Brett Favre, the Greater Milwaukee Open is a fantastic golf tournament. It's simply unfortunate that it gets lost in the PGA Tour schedule, due to its proximity to the British Open. "1-iron" appeals to Tiger Woods to return to the Greater Milwaukee Open in the next two years, as re-payment for the tournament giving him his first sponsor's exemption into a PGA Tour event in 1996. We all know what happened after that for Tiger, and it would be great form for him to thank the Greater Milwaukee Open with a return appearance sometime soon.
18 Shots for the Greater Milwaukee Open:
6 Who Will:1. Stewart Cink (16/1) : Missed cut at the British Open should not be a sign of good things to come. However, Cink's 2004 was too much to forget with two wins and 20-Top 25's. He had a stellar second half last year, and this should be about the time he turns it on. Still has eight-Top 25's this year, and three-Top 10's.
2. Kenny Perry (8/1) : The 2003 Greater Milwaukee Open Champion returns for a taste of the title this year. Finished T7 last year and already has two wins (Bay Hill / Colonial) this year. T11 at the British and he's comin' in Hot from across the pond.
3. Sean O'Hair (31/1) : What a whirlwind two weeks for this young lion. Two weeks ago he won the John Deere Classic for his first PGA Tour win. He then scrambled to get a passport, flew to Scotland, and finished T15 at the British Open, with a second round 67 to boot at the Old Course. He may be a bit tired, which is why he doesn't claim the No.1 spot this week.
4. Carlos Franco (41/1): The Flyin' Paraguayan makes his living off the Zurich Classic and Greater Milwaukee Open, which is why this year should be no different. The 1999 and 2004 Champ at the Greater Milwaukee Open is back to defend his title from last year. He's having a rough year with only one Top 10 finish, but again - this is where he prints his currency.
5. Fred Funk (37/1): T2 here last year and won the Players Championship in March. He missed the cut at St. Andrews, so he was home by Saturday morning alleviating any jetlag. The course is short, he's played well this year in the U.S. - this spells high finish.
6. Jerry Kelly (39/1): Another one who missed the cut at the British Open and was probably home by Saturday morning. Jumpin' Jerry is playing on his home turf as a Wisconsin native. T13 last year at the Greater Milwaukee Open and finished second in 1996. Struggled a bit this year with only one Top 10, but the comforts of home will be calling.
6 Who Can:7. Tim Herron (25/1): Four Top 10's this year, and a T41 at St. Andrews should vault Tim Herron into the "Best Player Available" choice in this slot. Lumpy missed the cut at the 2003 Greater Milwaukee Open, but finished T2 in the 2002 edition. Jetlag is always a factor, but a week should be enough recovery time.
8. Heath Slocum (40/1): Coming off two great finishes in his last two events. T13 at the John Deere, and T7 at the Western Open. Heath "Huxtable" Slocum didn't play the British or the B.C., so he'll be fresh in Milwaukee. Five Top 25's this year and an abundance of talent will be the difference here.
9. Ben Crane (40/1): If he'd speed up his play, I could write about his results at the B.C. Open. Possibly the slowest player on earth, soil erosion happens faster then Crane's next shot. However, he's got undeniable talent and his T6 at the BC Open this week and T2 at the Booz Allen are signs of things to come.
10. Arjun Atwal (50/1): Quick Trivia Question - Who's the only player on Tour who plays out of Calcutta Country Club in India? Yep, our buddy Arjun. Two Top 10's this year, T9 at the B.C. Open, and zero missed cuts point to a high finish in Milwaukee. My guess is that Atwal plays every tournament on tour so he doesn't have to go home to practice in Calcutta, where the current temperature is topping 111 on the mercury.
11. Brett Quigley (50/1): Struggled down the stretch at the B.C. Open for a T26. However, Quigs has nine Top 25's this year, which has been good for almost $1 million in earnings. Quigs had a T2 last year at this event, and a solo 4th at the 2003 edition. He's a solid choice.
12. Chad Campbell (33/1): Another castoff from the cut at the British Open, Chad really needs his game to come around. Three Top 10's and six Top 25's are great...but not for the hottest young prospect since Tiger to hit the scene. Consider one of the top 10's was at the Nissan Open where it was rain-shortened to 36 holes. Last Greater Milwaukee Open garnered a T12, so here's hoping.
6 Who Won't:13. Ryan Moore (100/1): Wow. This PGA Tour thing has been a lot harder then he thought it would be. The highly touted UNLV prospect was a threat to win this week at the B.C. Open, but instead missed the cut. He's running out of sponsor's exemptions in his bid to gain a full time pass to the tour for 2006. His 71-74 was good for 111th at the B.C., and that's against the worst field of the year. He's only made $13,532 this year, and that's not even gonna get him on the Nationwide Tour next year.
14. Scott Hend (150/1): I've touted him for a while, but no longer. Missed Cut at the British Open and hasn't shown a pulse in several weeks. Has missed four cuts in a row and driving distance won't be a factor this week in Milwaukee. Has never played at Brown Deer, so he's gonna have to avoid the members bounces for the rest of the field.
15. Kevin Stadler (100/1): Looked like he was going to threaten to win the B.C. Open, but then imploded on the second half of the back nine to fall way down the leaderboard to T52. This is not the kind of play we see from PGA Tour winners. Has two Top 10's this year to go along with 12 missed cuts. Ouch. Too much Smith and Wollensky?
16. Daniel Chopra (100/1): "Lamb" Chopra will be looking for Kingfisher when Miller Lite is the elixir of choice this week. Played well at the Greater Milwaukee Open last year, but finished with a fat 74 to finish T36. Missed Cut at British Open this week. He's a friend of the column, but he's missed five of his last six cuts, and we tell it like it is.
17. Richard S. Johnson (50/1): Doesn't it seem like there is about 33 Richard S. Johnson's on the PGA Tour? In reality, there are three, so you probably don't even know which one I'm talking about right now. Let's go with the Swede who goes 5'7" and 150 pounds. Actually, has three Top 10's in limited starts, and finished T27 last year at the Greater Milwaukee Open. Struggled mightily this week at the B.C. (T59), which isn't a good sign.
18. Brendan Jones (80/1): The third round leader of the B.C. Open, who tried to muster a late charge on Sunday. Two Top 25's this year and no Greater Milwaukee Open experience. Should be reeling after the sting of the lost lead at the B.C. Open sets in. He finished T2 at the B.C.
Fantasy Salary Cap Value Pick: Jeff Sluman
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