Golf tournaments are almost always won and lost on the greens, and that was again the case on Sunday at the American Express Championship. Retief Goosen shot a 10-under 62 but missed an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole. He lost by a stroke to Tiger Woods, who iced the victory with a 15-footer for birdie on 17 (above). Putting also was the reason that the U.S. beat Europe to regain the Solheim Cup. "Both teams were very equal this week," Annika Sorenstam said, "and it came down to whoever made the most putts."
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Because of our obsession with hitting the ball farther and straighten equipment manufacturers have largely ignored the lowly putter. Luckily, improved technology is finally coming to the aid of those who need help with the flat stick. New space-age putters (inset, right) are being developed with the aid of the same computers and high-speed cameras that have been crucial in advancing club and ball design.
GIVE 'EM HAL
Know this about Hal Sutton: He'll be ready for the Ryder Cup. I've been working with Hal for two months, and though he has struggled this season because of a series of ailments (torn rib-cage muscle, sleep apnea and tendinitis), he shouldn't be counted out. He was a driving force in the U.S. victory at Brookline and thrives on the atmosphere of this event. I wouldn't be surprised if he's the biggest point-winner for the U.S.
I hope the U.S. Ryder Cup team was paying attention to the Solheim Cup. Just because your squad has the best player in the world, you're not guaranteed victory. With 10 worldwide wins this year, Sorenstam has been more dominant than Woods, but one player cannot carry a team.
I applaud Connecticut teaching pro Suzy Whaley for her victory at the PGA of America's Connecticut Section Championship, which gives her an automatic exemption into next year's Greater Hartford Open, where she can become the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event. My question is, Will it advance women's golf if she decides to play and struggles from the men's tees? I'm not so sure. If Whaley decides to tee it up, I hope it's not because of outside pressure but because she really wants to compete.