2000: No Supreme Court intervention with Rudies vote
All the votes are in at Florida headquarters. We have counted and recounted ballots, butterfly and otherwise. Then we counted again by hand and, finally, did whatever we wanted. We considered hanging chads, dimpled chads, pregnant chads, swinging-door chads, open-window chads, broken-nose chads and, in a few cases, imaginary chads. After all that, finally, here they are, the annual Rude Awards, a.k.a. the Rudies, 2000 version:
Chad of the Year: No need for a Palm Beach voting machine to determine the winner here. Chad Campbell won a Tiger-like eight times on the NGA/Hooters Tour, almost half the tournaments he entered. Silver medal to Chad Wright, who qualified for the PGA Tour Q-School finals despite a final-round 81 at second stage.
New Rule of the Year: When a player hits an errant shot toward other players, he shall be allowed to yell “Gore!” and then replay the shot from the same spot until he is satisfied. This is a bit different from the existing “Clinton” Mulligan Rule. To accommodate the “Gore!” rule, the maximum time limit for one round has been established at five weeks, or until the Supreme Court has its say.
Prophet of the Year: At a news conference the week before the year’s top non-Tiger controversy at the Solheim Cup, U.S. captain Pat Bradley said: “We are women, and we will conduct ourselves in that manner. . . . There are rules to the game of match play. These players are very well versed in match play and they will keep within those rules.”
Even Prophets Have Blind Spots Award: At that same pre-Solheim press briefing, Bradley also said: “There is a . . . much deeper friendship that the Americans and the Europeans feel toward one another. We are going over there keeping the integrity of the game at its highest.” Annika Sorenstam, told to replay a shot that she had chipped in, probably thinks Bradley didn’t get her own memo on that warm-fuzzy stuff. The LPGA made it a point to not pair U.S. and Euro “friends” the next week.
Profit of the Year: Tiger Woods won $9.19 million official and signed that little Nike document worth an estimated $100 million over five years. His overall take surpassed $50 million for the second year in a row.
Tour Candor Award: To Dennis Paulson for saying this about his frat brothers: “(Touring pros) like to act like they’re important, like they’re curing cancer.”
Bagger Vance Award: The Golf Channel smoothie Peter Kessler recites his hero Bobby Jones’ stats in his sleep and looks something like Jones. So why didn’t Robert Redford cast him?
Deutsch Math Must be Different Award: To German captain Wolfgang Wiegand, for saying this about effort needed to beat the Americans at the World Amateur Team Championship: “It would have been necessary for the other teams to play at 120 percent, which is rarely possible.”
Do Fans Boo Weekly? Award: To Florida mini-tour player Boo Weekley.
Admission of the Year: “I think he’s a better player than I was.” That would be Jack Nicklaus, winner of 18 professional majors, on this Woods kid.
Say What? Award: At the inaugural Seve Ballesteros Trophy, Colin Montgomerie lost the decisive match to the long-slumping tournament namesake and actually said, “Seve seems impossible to beat.”
Inflation Award: Glen Hnatiuk edged past No. 315 Sam Snead ($620,126) in career earnings.
The Sign Boy Award: While in the buffet line at the PGA Seniors’ Championship, Jack Nicklaus heard a fan knock on a window and ask him, “Is Arnie in there?” A flabbergasted Nicklaus turned to fellow pro Bob Murphy and said, “Did you hear that?” Murphy laughed so hard at the sight of Nicklaus’ disbelief that he held his sides. The Golden Bear wasn’t amused, but Palmer was when he heard the story.
Stat of the Year: Woods went 53 under par in the majors. The previous best was 28 under by Nick Faldo in 1990.
Ladbrokes Odds of the Year: 16-1 against Woods winning all four majors in 2001.
The Dreaded Hosel Award: Hubert Green, one shot off the Nationwide Championship lead with two holes to play, shanked his second shot into water at 17 and bogeyed. At 18, Green splashed his second shot again, double bogeyed and tied for ninth. Green, though, did win twice in 2000.
Lazarus Award: In 1999, Grant Waite finished 148th in PGA Tour earnings and lost his card. Then he missed by two strokes at the Q-School finals. His drive home from Miami to Orlando was nothing if not depressing. His woes on the greens got so bad that he tried putting left-handed at this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. But Waite rediscovered his stroke, played his way back as a partially exempt player and won $1.14 million, ranking 38th.
Underrated Award: He led the Tour in birdies with 493. He finished second to Woods in top-10 finishes with 13. He finished fourth in the all-around statistical category. He earned $2.03 million despite not winning a tournament. Still, the average municipal player probably wouldn’t recognize Steve Flesch if he joined his group as a fourth.
Shot of the Year: We’ll defer to Woods. He says his best shot “hands down” was the 3-wood he hit on the par-5 14th hole at St. Andrews in the British Open’s second round. Facing 267 yards to the green’s front and into a slight wind, he aimed at a crane in the distance and drilled a slight draw that ended up 40 feet from the back-left pin. “To feel everything come together like that was so cool,” he said.
The Ham It Up, Do Somersaults or Blackflips, Fall to the Ground, Tuck in Your Shirt, Zip Up, Slap Your Forehead and Stroll to the Hole from Now on Award: When Brian Gay’s ball hung on the lip a moment longer than the allotted 10 seconds before dropping for a would-be lead tie on the 71st hole of the Honda Classic, he received a par instead of birdie, a one-stroke penalty and finished with a bogey at 18. The penalty cost him nearly $89,000.
Heavyweight Bout of the Year: In his two-hour meeting with commissioner Tim Finchem, Woods said “pretty much” all his issues with Tour policy were resolved. If only it were that easy for Danny Edwards.
The Un-Plimpton Award: From Sept. 8 to Oct. 29, Woods played 110 holes without a bogey. That’s the Tour’s longest nonbogey streak since Lee Trevino made none in 1973 at New Orleans.
Happiest ending to a drought: Cancer survivor Paul Azinger’s Sony Open success was his first victory in 121 starts since the 1993 PGA.
Clint Longley Mad Bomber Award: John Daly’s Tour-leading driving distance average of 301.4 yards would’ve ranked third on the Buy.com Tour. Mike Heinen led there at 304.8 – or 53.5 yards more than Corey Pavin’s PGA Tour low. The Buy.com average was 279.2, or six yards longer than the big tour mean.
Reality Check Award: To any dreamer who thinks he could play on the PGA Tour. Last place (195th) was 2.63 in birdies per round and 73.36 in scoring average. Nineteen times someone shot 29 for nine holes. And they don’t play from the pink tees.
Best golfers in a supporting role, Tiger drama: Bob May (PGA) and Ernie Els (Mercedes).
Most interesting parting shot, major: “Kiss my ass, everybody,” Vijay Singh saidas he left Augusta National after winning the Masters.
Tiger Woods Player of the Year Award: To Tiger Woods, like he really needs another juicy entry for the résumé. Besides winning three majors and six other Tour events, Woods set at least 23 Tour records. His adjusted scoring average was almost 1.5 strokes a round better than No. 2 Phil Mickelson. He became the first player on record to finish under par in every Tour start. His worst 72-hole score in relation to par was 4 under at the Masters.
These Kids Can Play Award: Georgia Tech’s Bryce Molder closed with a 60 after opening 69-67 but still didn’t win the Palmetto Dunes college event this fall. Anders Hultman of Oklahoma State beat him by one with a 21-under 66-66-63–195 that included birdies on the last three holes.
Can’t See the Webb for the Woods Award: Karrie Webb won seven times and, like every other golfer but one, got overshadowed.
Ominous Quote of the Year: After his son won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes and the British Open by eight, Earl Woods said: “I’m positive he’s going to get better and better and these major wins will become easier and easier. . . . I’m just waiting for him to mature physically, Maybe next year he’ll be full grown. Then look out.”
Now That Would Be Bad Hacking Award: Daniel Rocha testified he was offered 25 percent in a proposed $20 million golf resort if he would leave his potential partner’s ex-wife “crippled, in a wheelchair, with no tongue,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. That probably would result in loss of amateur status.