It was more than a dominating performance by Tiger Woods. The 2013 Bridgestone Steamroll might be remembered as a circle-of-life thing. Whereas we used to watch Woods celebrate victories with father Earl, after finishing off a seven-stroke triumph for his 79th career victory we watched him share it with son Charlie, 4.
Woods genuinely seemed touched by it all. He explained that daughter Sam, 6, had been there when he won the 2008 U.S. Open, “but Charlie had never had that.” Until the father and son reunion at Firestone CC that is.
Confirming that Charlie likes “anything with contact with a ball,” the young man has watched dad at the range.
“I look over my shoulder and he’s watching. He mimics what I do,” said Tiger, who insists he will follow Earl’s blueprint and not push. “My dad kept it so light and fun, I just fell in love with it. If he wants another sport, so be it. I played baseball, ran track, ran cross-country, but always came back to golf.”
The swing aside, what about the patented Tiger fist pump?
Woods smiled. Charlie has indeed shown his to his father. “It was kind of cute,” said the proud father.
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TIGER’S TRAIL: He was 12 under on the first, second third, and 10th holes alone last week at the Bridgestone Invitational, a score that would have been in second place by four strokes.
At 265, he was also 18 strokes better than his effort at the Bridgestone three years ago when he looked like a 16-handicapper.
Woods has now recorded at least five victories in a season 10 times. Jack Nicklaus only did it seven times.
He has won at Torrey Pines, Bay Hill and Firestone in the same season twice – 2008 and 2013.
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HERE’S THE SITUATION: With pressure from the PGA Tour, which didn’t like the insinuation that the golf season was over (hey, what about the FedEx Cup playoffs?), the PGA of America ditched its PGA Championship slogan, “Glory’s Last Shot.” Instead, we have . . . drum roll, please . . . “The Season’s Final Major.”
Here’s the question: What happens when the folks at Evian see that?
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DINNER FOR . . . EVERYONE: Bubba Watson certainly won over even more fans in the Akron, Ohio, area when he chose to set up the taco stand for customers at a local Chipotle.
Having stopped into the restaurant with Webb Simpson pre-Bridgestone Invitational, Watson was greeted warmly by the staff and when he returned two nights later, the lefthander turned the tables. He left a friendly parting gift – $500, telling them to use it on customers’ food until it ran out.
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BUSY MAN: It was a year ago when the PGA Championship produced a surprise. No, not Rory McIlroy’s victory. He was a known commodity. But David Lynn finishing second? Head-shaking stuff, especially since the European PGA Tour journeyman earned enough money to secure his PGA Tour card for the 2013 season.
Fast forward a year and guess what? Lynn has acquitted himself nicely, piling up enough good tournaments and FedEx Cup points to assure himself a spot in the playoffs.
“All the new experiences out on the Tour have been good,” said Lynn, 39. “And now I get to do it all again next year, as well.”
Indeed, at 55th in the FEC standings and with $1,381,453 earned in 17 tournaments, Lynn is assured his card for 2013.
But before he considers that, there’s still much to do in 2013. Lynn finished T-53 in the Bridgestone Invitational and was then headed to the PGA Championship. He’s got Barclays and Deutsche Bank on his schedule, for sure, then will see where he stands with the BMW and Tour Championship. In the meantime, though, he has to add three tournaments to meet his European Tour membership criteria of 13, so there’s more work to be done.
“And I’ve got a baby due the sixth of December, so there’s even more work to do,” he said.
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WHAT GIVES, LEFTY? In 1996, Phil Mickelson won the NEC World Series of Golf at Firestone CC and from 1999-2002 he had four consecutive top-10 finishes at that course in the WGC-NEC Invitational.
But in his last 11 visits to that layout? Just one top 10 and a lot of pedestrian finishes.
Just don’t expect an explanation. He’s perplexed, too.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing here,” Mickelson said. “Early in my career I had a lot of success, late in my career I haven’t. But it has not changed the way I feel about the course and the tournament.”
Shooting 72-71-67-71 to finish T-21, Lefty has broken par 70 just six times in his last 20 rounds at Firestone CC.
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HONEST AUSSIE: You have to give Brett Rumford an “A” for honesty. The Aussie made his third appearance at the Bridgestone and struggled mightily – trips of 76-74-72-70 leaving him in a share of 63rd.
No mystery to him, though.
“Obviously I just don’t drive it well enough. If I drove it straight then definitely I would have been right there,” Rumford said. “But my whole career has been plagued by poor driving and unfortunately, with as good a short game as I’ve got, week in and week out, I just cannot find fairways.”
There was a time, way back in the 1999-2001, when Australia had a trio of young stars, and many felt that Rumford would develop into a brighter storyline than either Aaron Baddeley or Adam Scott. It hasn’t developed that way, but at 36, Rumford makes no apologies; he’s a regular on the European PGA Tour, won in back-to-back weeks earlier this year, and covets the spot he has earned into this week’s PGA Championship.
Were things different, however, he figures he could have been in the U.S. all these years.
“It’s just a shame, because I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried many things with my long game, but I just haven’t found a consistency in it,” Rumford said. “Hard as I’ve tried, I just can’t find the repetition of hitting fairways. When I do, I’m competitive.”
He remains friendly with his mates from Australia and praises the heights to which Scott has elevated his game.
“He just drove it so good as a junior, he swung it great. Still does,” Rumford said. “When he’s driving it well, he’s Normanesque.”