Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Is anyone fed up with the convoluted Fed Ex playoffs? The PGA has been tweaking its so-called Fed Ex playoff system for years, and they never seem to get it right.
How about Vijay Singh taking home the big prize without hitting a shot in the final tournament? The excitement never ends. Also, in years gone by a player could win a tournament and then be bounced out of the running by the time the next tournament was completed.
At any rate, you would think that a format could be devised that would adequately depict a deserving player who would be worthy of the title PGA Tour Champion.
The Europeans simply identify the winner of the British Open as The Champion Golfer of that particular year.
The old tourney called The World Series of Golf played at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, appeared to do what it needed to do: Call attention to those players who had distinguished themselves by stellar play and were worthy of the designation of “Tour Champion.”
The Fed Ex now begins trimming their field each week until by the time it stretches to the last tourney, it has taken on the excitement usually reserved for a paint-drying contest.
All in all, the Fed Ex does serve a worthwhile purpose, it serves as a curtain raiser for a tournament that won’t pass out millions to an individual winner, but it will be contested for national pride, and that would be The Ryder Cup.
A few years back, Tiger Woods bellyached that he should be paid for participating in the battle for the cup since he was the dominant “draw” for the competition.
Eldrick, in a news conference last Tuesday, was asked about his feelings regarding being picked as a captain’s choice rather than earning his way for a spot on the team. Tiger indicated how important it was for him to be on the team.
If Woods plays as poorly as he has played recently, Team Captain, Corey Pavin, could end up with egg on his face. A couple of other reasons Tiger could have been a poor pick would be the fact that El Tigre has a rather dismal, losing record in Ryder Cup play.
Finally, Woods has never refuted the fact that he’s not a team player.
Add to this the possibility that his brain has not fully recovered from his well-publicized indiscretions brought on by his gal-pals who popped out of the woodwork like termites at an Orkin convention, not to mention his recent divorce proceedings.
So after the Fed Ex is relegated to the archives, Sam Ryder’s contribution to the world of professional golf will be “front and center.” It definitely will be a welcome improvement for those who are fed up with the Fed Ex.
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It is always gratifying to get a visit from one of my Terre Haute South golfers from years gone by, but not forgotten. Phil Jones and his wife Tama now make their home in Jacksonville (FL). Phil was an excellent player on South Varsity golf team from 1977 to 1980. He now has climbed the corporate ladder with Frito-Lay.
Phil was a superb ball striker who got better and better each year while helping his team to the IHSAA golf finals.
Phil’s dad passed away not too long ago. It was always a pleasure to talk with him and keep up with his son’s progress in golf and the corporate world. For many years the elder Jones drove a Frito truck and was known affectionately as “Frito Jones” in local golf circles.
These days Phil and his wife are volunteers in the First Tee program where they donate their time giving golf lessons to young and aspiring golfers.
Their zeal for their jobs is readily seen in the enthusiasm they exude in discussing their duties with First Tee.
After 30 years it is always great to renew memories with one of my players, especially one of my best.
Congratulations are in order for Terre Haute’s Club Champions. It is always gratifying to be the “big man” at your respective course or club.
Veteran Dave Brown took home the Rea Park title whereas Chris Cassell was the Hulman Links winner. Phillip Myers and Lloyd Driggers were club champions at Country Club of Terre Haute and Idle Creek respectively.
Nice work gentlemen. Much of the time club champions are awarded the number one position on their inter-club teams.
In days of yore club champions were often rewarded with a season ticket for the upcoming year a trophy and/or a merchandise certificate.
Another honor was an invitation to “The Roundup of Champions”, a tourney hosted by Country Club of Terre Haute where club champs from throughout the Wabash Valley were invited to lunch, dinner and a presentation to winners in the Club Champions Division as well as awards to other entries. Club champs were not required to pay an entry fee, as were the rank and file players. Pari-mutual betting was also a part of the day’s festivities.
John Tribble, Mark Rogers’ assistant at Forest Park, advises a couple of events are on the docket. A senior shamble is slated for 8 a.m. on Thursday September 16. Entry fee is $25 plus cart with lunch included.
Oct. 2-3 is the date for the popular two man better ball event, which will be flighted, for Sunday’s action. Entry is $50 plus cart with ham and beans available on Sunday.
• Tip of the week — Holding the putter up about a quarter of an inch above the surface of the green can improve a putting stroke that seems to be leaving putts short of the hole consistently. This will insure that the putter strikes the ball in its equator and will prevent the ball from “skipping” off the face of the putter.
• Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back.