UBS Warburg Cup
The inaugural UBS Warburg Cup was like Spam. We were a bit leery
of its ingredients, but in the end it left a surprisingly
Basically a pickup game with a Ryder Cup format, the Warburg
worked because its curious mix of six over-50 seniors and six
fortysomethings on each team produced a cliffhanger finish--won
12 1/2-11 1/2 by the U.S. over the ROW (Rest of the World)--and
because match play is golf's most dramatic and telegenic format.
This cup also enjoyed the reflected glory of the Ocean course at
Kiawah Island, S.C., the site of the War by the Shore, the most
intense Ryder Cup ever, 10 years ago.
Nonetheless, if the Warburg is going to prosper in the crowded
Silly Season, it will have to make changes for next year. Here
are my suggestions.
November 26, 2001
Spice up the team names: Why not drop the ROW and go with The
Other Guys (TOG), Those Foreign Bastards (TFB) or, simply, Them?
At least pick a name that sounds like a rivalry: Good versus
Evil, Yankees versus Red Sox...something.
Attract better players: Who knew Isao Aoki was still alive? For
that matter, who knew Denis Durnian or Ian Stanley had ever been
born? The ROWs desperately needed star power, which Greg Norman,
Nick Price or even Seve Ballesteros could have provided. Also,
what happened to Senior tour stars like Bruce Fleisher and Allen
Keep the captains on the sidelines: Arnold Palmer chopped
broccoli for the first two days. ROW captain Gary Player fared
even worse in the singles match between the two. Palmer had nine
bogeys but still beat Player like a drum, finishing him off at
17. Their match was as mesmerizing as a car wreck.
Find some fans: The Warburg limited ticket sales and drew only
about 4,000 people a day, giving the matches the festive
atmosphere of, say, a bad Senior tour stop. Maybe last Saturday's
Clemson-South Carolina game had something to do with the sparse
attendance, or perhaps it was the $185 price of a ticket for the
week. Or maybe it was the name. "Who's Warburg?" was a common
refrain on Kiawah Island. Warburg is actually a
financial-services company, but don't tell that to the fans. Just
tell them that this Warburg guy will bend the age rule and bring
Tiger Woods next year.
Q School Second Stage
The Hero and the Zero
High school junior Ty Tryon won't be going to college, but he is
headed where four-time Georgia Tech All-America Bryce Molder
isn't: the final stage of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.
That was the good news and the bad news from the PGA Tour Q
school's second stage, which has become professional golf's most
feared event because a player's score for four days determines
whether he will have a place to play the following year. "If you
don't get your card at the next stage, at least you've got an
automatic spot on the Buy.com tour," says 20-year tour veteran
Tommy Armour III, who was the medalist last week at Hombre Golf
Club in Panama City Beach, Fla. "If you don't make it here,
you've got nothing."
The Hombre was one of six second-stage sites that over the last
two weeks produced 132 players who will be among those competing
at the Q School final, Nov. 28-Dec. 3 at Bear Lakes Country Club
in West Palm Beach, Fla. Tryon, 17, rode a first-round 63 at
Orange Valley National, in his hometown of Orlando, to a
12th-place finish and a ticket to Bear Lakes. He survived a shaky
last round that featured an approach shot bouncing out-of-bounds
off a cart path, a shot into a water hazard and a missed one-foot
putt for bogey on the 7th hole. It wasn't until he birdied 16
that Tryon secured his spot in the final stage. "I was wondering
what was going on for a while," Tryon said following Friday's
closing round. "Even though I had a good chance of making it
after the first three rounds, I still got nervous. Whenever I had
a long putt, I felt like I had dynamite in my hands."
Molder is considered a can't-miss future star, but he missed
badly at Oak Valley in Beaumont, Calif. After three straight 72s
he was two under in his final round and making a run when he hit
into a water hazard on the 11th hole and made double bogey. A
closing 74 left Molder four strokes from moving on. "If I were 40
years old and on my last dime, I'd be worried," Molder said. "I'd
love to be out there next year, but I've got plenty of time."
Stumbling in the second stage means Molder is a man without a
tour in 2002. He'll try to max out his limit of seven sponsor's
exemptions on the PGA Tour and may play a few events in Europe.
Having turned pro after the Walker Cup, in August, Molder skipped
a chance to play in one last U.S. Amateur. The move seemed shrewd
when he came in third in his first event as a pro, the Reno-Tahoe
Open, but he missed the cut in four of his last five Tour starts.
"It's been a grind since August," says Molder. "In a way I'm glad
it's over. I wish it could be over two weeks from now, but I'm
exhausted. I need some time off."
His plan is to go home to Little Rock, put away the clubs, enjoy
Christmas and then head to Florida to work on his game and set
his schedule. "This time last year Charles Howell had no status,"
says Molder. "Matt Kuchar had no status. A year later they have
Tour cards. The third-best player in the world right now took a
few years to get out there." Molder was talking about another
Georgia Tech grad who flunked his first Q school--David Duval.
Golf Plus will next appear in the Dec. 10 issue of SPORTS
When the Hall of Fame lowered the bar to induct Payne Stewart,
who had only 11 victories, it greatly improved the chances of
induction for many of his contemporaries whose win totals aren't
worthy of the Hall. Thanks to Stewart, Lanny Wadkins, Ben
Crenshaw, Hubert Green, Curtis Strange and Mark O'Meara will all
get swept into the Hall in coming years.
What do these players have in common?
They are U.S. Amateur champions who played in the second stage
of this year's PGA Tour Q school but failed to advance to the
Nov. 28-Dec. 3 final.
Does Tiger Woods look better with or without his newly grown
--Based on 2,813 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Who is golf's player of the year: Annika
Sorenstam (eight victories, one major championship, 69.42
scoring average) or Woods (five victories, one major
championship, 68.81 scoring average)? Vote at golfplus.cnnsi.com.
In April, when John Daly wasn't invited to the Masters for the
first time since 1997, he said his goal this season was to crack
the top 50 in the World Ranking by the end of the year and
therefore qualify for a return trip to Augusta in 2002--a tall
order since he ranked 302nd at the time. Seven months later it
looks as if Daly is going to make it. Here are the players in
the top 50 who have made the biggest jumps in '01.
2000 Current Gain
John Daly 507th 47th 460
Charles Howell 324th 45th 279
Scott McCarron 206th 46th 160
Joe Durant 185th 39th 146
Niclas Fasth 148th 40th 108
To Hall and Back
To make the LPGA Hall of Fame, players must have been on tour for
10 years and amassed 27 points: One point is awarded for a
victory or for earning the Vare Trophy (low scoring average) or
the player of the year award, two points for winning a major. PGA
Tour players are voted into the Hall by a panel of fellow pros,
Tour officials and reporters. If the PGA Tour used the LPGA's
criteria, here's how a select group of men would stack up.
These Hall of Famers would be out
Greg Norman (24 points) Just as in real life, the Shark comes
Hale Irwin (23) His sleeve of U.S. Opens is impressive, but
sorry, those 32 Senior victories don't count.
Julius Boros (22) Won two U.S. Opens and a PGA but had only 18
Payne Stewart (14) A trio of majors yet only eight other
Chi Chi Rodriguez (8) Eight wins and nary a major. Who let the
These nonmembers would be in
Tiger Woods (42 points) At age 25 he has 29 wins (including six
majors) plus three Vardons (low scoring average) and four POYs.
Leo Diegel (32) With 30 victories including a couple of PGAs,
it's a mystery why he's not in.
Henry Picard (28) His 26 wins include the '38 Masters and the '39
These sure things would need help from the veterans committee
Tom Kite (23) No-go even counting his Players Championship as a
Lanny Wadkins (23) A 21-time winner with, surprisingly, only one
major ('77 PGA).
Nick Price (22) During his short but sweet prime--a four-year span
starting in 1991--he racked up 13 of his 16 wins.
Ben Crenshaw (21) He'd make the Hall if he had been 6-2 in
playoffs instead of 0-8.
Curtis Strange (21) Only 17 wins, despite three money titles and
two U.S. Opens.
These guys would have no shot
Mark O'Meara (19) He has had a nice career, but 16 wins aren't
going to cut it.
Fred Couples (18) There are no couches in the Hall for a 14-win
Davis Love III (15) Has had one win in the last three years. At
37 the clock is ticking.
Paul Azinger (14) Too bad cancer interrupted his career in his