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This is the archive for September 2006

John Byron Nelson, Jr. (February 4, 1912 - September 26, 2006)

Winners are different. They're a different breed of cat. - Byron Nelson

Byron Nelson passed away today at age 94. Not only was Mr. Nelson one of the all-time great golfers, he was also one of the sports greatest ambassadors, giving his name to the Byron Nelson Classic (the only former golfer to be the namesake of an event) and serving as a mentor and an inspiration to thousands of young golfers.

Born on a ranch in Texas, Nelson grew up with fellow golf legend Ben Hogan, caddying with him at the same country club as a youth. Nelson turned pro in 1932, willing his first major tournament in 1937. However, it is season in 1945 that put him head and shoulders above peers like Hogan and Sam Snead.

Unable to serve in the military due to a blood condition, Nelson turned his attention to the game of golf, winning 18 tournaments in 1945, including the never-to-be-repeated 11 in a row. In the years between 1942 and 1945, he made 65 top 10 finishes in a row. He won 52 tournaments for his career, including 5 Majors in a period when the Majors were mostly postponed.

Something even more amazing about Nelson, per Wikipedia: Nelson's record of 113 consecutive cuts made is second only to Tiger Woods' 142. It should be noted that the PGA Tour defines a "cut" as receiving a paycheck, even if an event has no cut per se. In Nelson's era, only the top 20 in a tournament received a check. In reality, Nelson's "113 consecutive cuts made" are representative of his unequalled 113 consecutive top 20 tournament finishes. Woods has only managed 21 consecutive top 20 finishes in his career.

He retired young, at age 34, to follow his lifelong dream of running his own ranch. "When I was playing regularly, I had a goal," Nelson recalled in a BBC article. "I could see the prize money going into the ranch, buying a tractor, or a cow. It gave me an incentive."

I am... not Tiger Woods.

So in the upset of the century, Tiger Woods lost to someone at the World Match Play Championship. I know he’s lost before, to guys like Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els… you know, guys with names.

But do you know who beat Tiger at the Match Play Championships? Shaun Micheel. No, not the professional wrestler Shawn Michaels. While Tiger might be able to out-drive him, the Heartbreak Kid could totally drop El Tigre with a superkick and show him who’s boss. Not Sean Michaels, the porn star. Tiger may be half-black, but he’s also half-Asian, which means while Tiger might be longer off the tee, Sean Michaels is longer where it counts.

Just check this out, gang.

This guy beat Tiger Woods.

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Tiger and the Trophy

You know, Tiger Woods has won so many tournaments that I think that maybe people are getting a little tired of him hogging all the glory. To make matters worse, who do you think pays for all those silver and gold trophies? That's right, the sponsors. That's why I was not a bit surprised to see the Deutsche Bank Championship implement a few cost cutting measures. However, I was surprised at what they did to save a little money.

Click the link for more details.
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And five for Tiger

Vijay Singh's course record-setting day on Sunday still wasn't enough to stop Tiger Woods from taking his fifth straight win.

While its a bit surprising Tiger has been playing so many tournaments lately, what is not surprising is every time he comes from behind for the win. And Tiger doesn't just win because he's really good, but instead he gains win from being one of the most intimidating players on the course.

Can you imagine playing head-to-head with Tiger for the win on the final day? First, Tiger won't be talking to you at all -- he's too focused. You know this guy is probably someday going to break even the great one's records and might very well be the greatest golfer the sport has ever seen. And you know that almost nothing seems to break Tiger's concentration, the sad exception being his father's death. I'd be intimidated too.

While this does not always guarantee Tiger's victory, it certainly helps him in a pinch. And clearly Vijay Singh felt that pressure on Labor Day too. Tiger crushed Vijay's spirit as he shot and putted his way from a three-shot deficit to a spectacular two-stroke victory.

If only Vijay had saved some of his good shots and putts on Sunday for the final day of the Deutsche Bank Championship he would have ended Tiger's longest winning streak in a single season. But Tiger is still seven victories away from breaking any PGA records for longest winning streak. But, only two away from breaking his all-time longest winning streak, six victories.