The questions came rapid fire. Two days after Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren announced they had divorced, Woods put on his best face for the media on the eve of The Barclays. The most hard-hitting of the bunch had nothing to do with his golf game and everything to do with an age-old question aimed at the heart.
“Do you still love her?” Woods was asked.
“I wish her the best with everything,” he answered. “You know, it’s a sad time in our lives.”
The reporter pressed on: “Do you still love her?”
We may never know.
It was a fitting end to the soap opera-like turn of events since Woods’ life turned on its axis after he crashed into a fire hydrant outside his home in November. The “Do you still love her” sequence is destined to play ad nauseam on Golf Channel – let alone the gossip news shows.
The PGA Tour’s newest winner Arjun Atwal cut his teeth playing professionally in India, winning four times. His next stop was the Asian Tour, where he tells tales of long bus rides, of tournaments where only 67 players entered the field and 63 made the cut, and the time he finished second at an event in Korea and tournament officials paid him in cash.
“They gave me $60,000 in a bag,” he said. “Trust me, I kept my eye on my carry-on the whole way home.”
Atwal finished as the Asian Tour’s rookie of the year in 1995. He won there several times and by 2003, he led its Order of Merit. He graduated to the European Tour and won there, too.
But the PGA Tour was his dream since at age 14, encouraged by his father, Bindi, at Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
“The PGA Tour was untouchable to us,” Atwal said.
Countryman Jeev Milkha Singh weighs in: “This is an important win for the country of India. All the children in India will be inspired by his victory, and it will help grow the sport.”
The draw for this week’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles isn’t down to luck.
European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has dictated that the remaining contenders in the race for the Ryder Cup play together. So Ross McGowan, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Edoardo Molinari play together, while Simon Dyson, Alvaro Quiros and Peter Hanson go out in the next match.
“I wanted to have the players under the same conditions,” Montgomerie said.
The captain will keep a close eye on them. He plays in the group in front of them.
Australians will make up more than 10 percent of the qualifiers in the U.S. PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup series, with 13 teeing it up this week in the $7.5 million Barclays, the first playoff event.
Robert Allenby (qualified in 17th place), Jason Day (28), Stuart Appleby (30), Adam Scott (32), Geoff Ogilvy (39), Marc Leishman (48), Matt Jones (56), Michael Sim (67), Steve Elkington (68), Greg Chalmers (69), Aaron Baddeley (93), John Senden (99) and Nathan Green (119).
Sim jumped 35 places after finishing third in the Wyndham Championship. Australia’s Aron Price blew his qualifying spot by making a bogey on the last hole to drop from 129 to 138.
The top-30 point earners of the next three events qualify for the Tour Championship on Sept. 23-26.
Barry Lane will play with the flatbellies as long as possible, even though he has a chance of making more money on the European Senior Tour.
Lane turned 50 on June 21 and won the Scottish Senior Open, his fourth start on the senior circuit. Lane is back on the regular tour this week in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
He has status on the regular tour as a top 40-career money earner.
“If I can, I’ll jump back and forth, but I’ll try and stay out here as long as possible,” Lane said.
The Englishman is within reach of Sam Torrance’s record for number of European tournaments played. Lane has 703 to Torrance’s 706.