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Tiger Woods: A Masterful Decade

December 28, 2007

Tiger Woods, 1996
Tiger Woods, 1996
Minority Golf & Sports Magazine will begin a series of features detailing the historic accomplishments of golfers of color in the United States over the past one hundred years and beyond on the pages of minoritygolfmag.com.
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Make it a baker’s dozen….aka big number 13

December 24, 2007

-The 13th major for Tiger Woods looked like so many others until he finished-

AP

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
TULSA, Okla. - Woody Austin and Ernie Els give it their best shot, but Tiger Woods claims his fourth PGA Championship and 13th major title on Sunday afternoon by two strokes at Southern Hills.

His father is no longer alive for Woods to walk into his arms. His mother no longer travels to any major but the Masters. He now shares his triumphs with a wife and baby daughter, and the biggest surprise Sunday at the PGA Championship was seeing them when he walked into the scoring trailer to sign for a 69 and a two-shot victory.

Naturally, 2-month-old Sam Alexis was decked out in red.

“It’s a feeling I’ve never had before,” Woods said after turning back a brief scare to win the final major of the year. “Having Sam there and having Elin there, it feels a lot more special. And it used to be my mom and dad. And now Elin, and now we have our own daughter. So it’s evolved, and this one feels so much more special than the other majors.”

On the golf course, it was the same old story.

With his five-shot lead trimmed to a single stroke, Woods kept his cool in temperatures that reached 102 degrees. He hit 7-iron to 10 feet on the 15th hole for a birdie that gave him some breathing room, and the bold drive on the 16th - Woods twirled the club in his hand when he saw it split the middle - was the sure sign this major was over.

Woody Austin (67) and Ernie Els (66) made spirited runs, but that wasn’t nearly enough. Read more

Els beats Cabrera 6 and 4 for seventh title at World Match Play Championship

December 24, 2007

AP Sports
VIRGINIA WATER, England

Ernie Els - Copyright Golf Graphics
Ernie Els - Copyright Golf Graphics
Ernie Els won his seventh World Match Play Championship title Sunday by beating Angel Cabrera 6 and 4 in the final at Wentworth.

Els took the lead on the first hole, with Cabrera taking a bogey, and the South African stayed in front throughout the day to claim his first victory of the year.

“It is absolutely a dream come true. I would never in my wildest dreams have thought I could win this seven times,” said Els, who also won in 1994-96 and 2002-04. “It truly feels unbelievable. The course is obviously my home course. It has been a great week.”

Els, ranked No. 5 in the world, earned $2.03 million for the win.
He led by three holes after the first 18, then extended his lead to four at the 20th. Cabrera, this year’s U.S. Open champion, won two of the next six to cut his deficit to two with nine to play.

But Els won the short 28th with a 15-foot birdie putt and then won three in a row from the 30th, sealing the win with a 10-footer at the 32nd.

After his win, Els took a private plane to Paris, where South Africa was to play Argentina on Sunday night in a semifinal of the Rugby World Cup.

“I hope the Pumas have more luck that I had,” said Cabrera, an Argentine.

Els, who lives on the Wentworth Estate southwest of London, redesigned the West Course at Wentworth in 2005 when he did not play because of a knee injury. Read more

Woods closes out the year with a 7-shot win

December 24, 2007

THOUSAND OAKS, California

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
The final putt of the year safely in the hole for par and another victory, Tiger Woods was quickly reminded what kind of year 2007 turned out to be.

First, he walked over to his 6-month-old daughter, dressed in a red fleece top, for a kiss on the cheek and a pat on the head. Then came the presentation on the 18th green at Sherwood Country Club, where Woods collected his eighth trophy of the year.

He became a father for the first time in June. He won his 13th career major in August at the PGA Championship. He swept all the major awards to further separate himself from the rest of golf. The final piece came Sunday at the Target World Challenge, a seven-shot victory and a $1.35 million check that goes to his Tiger Woods Learning Center.

“This year on the golf course, it’s been a great year,” Woods said. “Off the golf course, it’s been the greatest year I’ve ever had.”

There was no such suspense at Sherwood, at least not for long.

Jim Furyk cut a six-shot lead down to two at the turn and was poised to get even closer on the 10th hole. Woods holed a 12-foot birdie putt up the slope, and Furyk three-putted for bogey from 4 feet above the hole. It was a stunning two-shot swing, and Woods soon restored his margin and coasted to victory.

He closed with a 4-under 68 to tie the tournament record at 22-under 266, making him the first player to win consecutive titles at this year-end tournament for an elite, 16-man field. Read more

Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

December 20, 2007

A time of poignant reflections and discovery.

by Herschel Caldwell

Gravel road leading to my birthplace. Photo by H. Caldwell
Gravel road leading to my birthplace. Photo by H. Caldwell
Growing up as a child on a farm in Northeast Alabama’s cotton and Corn Belt, life was relegated to playing in the nearest swimming hole, climbing the backyard walnut tree, swinging on a muscadine vine and being overtaken by the smell of my mama’s pork chops cooking on the wood-burning stove.

To many of our readers, this may be a strange opening to a golf travel story but its relevancy will become readily apparent. Read on.

I was born in the year of the attack on Pearl Harbor, just outside the small farming town of Piedmont, Alabama, now located a very short drive from three of the nation’s premier courses along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail: The Shoals, Hampton Grove, and Silver Lake.

Life in rural 40’s, wartime Alabama was very difficult, especially for African American families like mine. I need not go into the unique social and economic hardships minorities faced in the deep South at that time in our history, but I can tell you that golf was probably the furtherest thing from our minds. It was a rich (white) man’s sport and we were Black and poor. In all honesty, “poor” was a relative term back then. I never experienced hunger, child abuse or an overly dysfunctional home life. My childhood abundantly overflowed with joy, love and the richest of experiences one could imagine with playmates-both black and white–sharing countless hours of play and adventure. We were also “rich” in swimming ponds and countless trails used by hunters and loggers winding their way through dense foliage and heavily wooded hills of central and northern Alabama. Flat areas were filled with acre upon acre of beautifully nurtured cornfields, along with mile-after-mile of snowy-white, fine Alabama cotton. Read more

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