Aug
29
2012
Notah and Tiger put the smackdown on the Asian Invasion
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Notah and his little bro

Well, no ones cares about the atmosphere on Wednesday at the Deutsche Bank Championship and other interesting tidbits, aka gossip on the range. like the handful of Americans who have one last week to make a case and impress Team USA captain Davis Love III before he announces his four wildcard picks on Tuesday morning… right?

Okay, that’s what I thought, but in case you do, the short version: pretty chill and most relaxed and friendly I’ve seen it in months, with the exception of the half-dozen guys who are freaking out about making the Ryder Cup.

We’ll return to those minor details later. First, the important news that may impact your Fantasy Golf lineup or betting margin — Notah Begay III and Tiger Woods won Notah’s charity event, the NB3 Foundation Challenge at Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club. The 12-player field was split in half, pitting the West squad vs. the East (the Asians) team. Notah and Tiger represented the West, along with PGA Tour players Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler and LPGA pros Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson.

Tiger and Notah pummeled Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi 9-7 in one of three stroke-play matches that were “billed as an ‘East Meets West’ challenge.” The other pairings had Woodland and Kerr against Danny Lee and Se Ri Pak, and Fowler and Thompson playing against Charlie Wi and Yani Tseng.

Woodland and Kerr beat Lee and Pak 8-7, and Tseng and Wi tied Fowler and Thompson 7-7, giving the Americans a 2.5 to 0.5 team victory.

Takeaway: White people are still better than Asians at golf. At least when you involve the men.

The game story on Tiger and Notah’s major triumph, via the AP:

Before they teed off, Begay turned to Woods and said: ‘‘We want to win, right?’’ Woods shrugged, then went out and birdied the opening hole, his short putt catching the lip of the cup and dropping softly to match Yang’s birdie.

Yang sank a 4-foot birdie putt at No. 4 and his tip-in birdie at the par-5 fifth hole, a dogleg left, brought his team to 3 under, one shot ahead after Begay rolled in a 6-foot birdie putt seconds later.

Woods made a 33-foot putt for birdie at No. 7 to even the score between the two groups and Begay followed with a short birdie putt at No. 8 as he and Woods reached 4 under.

When Choi rolled in a downhill 12-foot putt that broke slightly right to left at No. 9, he and Yang were at 4 under and tied with Woods and Begay, Fowler and Thompson, Woodland and Kerr, and Danny Lee and Pak. Tseng and Wi birdied the 10th hole to reach 4 under and knot the competition all around.

Moments later, the match turned. Woods birdied No. 10 and Begay followed with birdie at 11 while their foes made bogey, giving the American duo a two-stroke lead they protected over the remaining holes.

‘‘Everybody out there was playing hard,’’ Begay said. ‘‘We’ve got a bunch of competitors here, and we certainly knew Y.E. and K.J. weren’t going to give up.

‘‘Tiger’s solution to that? I walked over to him after we both kind of made a mess of No. 12 — and I said, ‘These guys aren’t going to give up.’ He said, ‘That’s OK, we’ll just keep making birdies.’ He has a calmness about him, which is good to see.’’

The fun exhibition was a light warm-up for an “upbeat” Tiger, who is playing in the second playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship, this week in the Boston area. The 14-time major champion reminded us to keep our expectations reasonable these days. After all, Tiger didn’t even make the FedExCup playoffs last year. (Gasp!)

‘‘Considering that this time of year I wasn’t playing last year, it’s been nice to play a full season,’’ Woods said. ‘‘I’ve been very consistent this year considering I hadn’t won in a while. All of a sudden I’ve got three wins this year. I think that’s a positive sign. I’ve been in contention in a few majors. I’ve been close. Just got to keep pecking away at it.

‘‘People don’t realize that because I sat out for so long last year, I didn’t really do any of the work that I needed to do just to improve my game. ‘‘I was just trying to get healthy. The swing changes that I’ve been trying to implement are finally to start to take shape. I think that’s why this season has been so much more productive and why I haven’t had the lows I had last year.’’

Blah, blah, yeah, OK, but Tiger, if you’re Davis, who would you pick? Hunter, Stricks, Furyk and Sneds? Hunter, Stricks, Furyk and DJ? Stricks, Sneds, DJ and then ask Ollie if he wants to drop Kaymer and play 11 vs. 11? Give us a peek at your hand! Tiger kept his cards close to his chest, (shock!) when asked for his opinion during his appearance on the Morning Drive. Don’t blame him — not his place to say at this point, but we have to at least ask.

 (AP Photo/ KevinRivoli)