Say Hey, Mays Thinks Tiger Should Come Back Soon
Moving The Needle
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. | Some 15 miles from the
Tournament Players Club, Willie Mays sat in the
clubhouse of the San Francisco Giants’ spring
training facility, asking questions and giving opin-
ions about Tiger Woods.
“When’s he coming back?”
wondered Mays, the baseball
Hall of Famer, echoing every-
Then, Willie, who plays
cards while the ballplayers
are on the diamond, said, “He
ought to get back right now.
You have to put everything else out of your mind. I
had situations in my career where things were not
always perfect, but you get out and play.”
Mays, 78, said he had talked to Tiger’s late
father, Earl Woods, about the difficulties of living
in a figurative fishbowl and offered advice. “I want
Tiger to do well. I told his dad I would help him if
Meanwhile, Woods, according to the New York
Post, was trying to kick his addiction to painkillers
at The Meadows rehab facility in Wickenberg, Ariz.
Tiger’s private jet had been seen at Phoenix’s
Sky Harbor Airport at the start of the week. Wick-
enberg is roughly 50 miles northwest of Phoenix.
The night Woods crashed his car, Elin Norde-
gren told cops her husband had active prescrip-
tions for Ambien and Vicodin.
Braxton Marquez is a Scottsdale resident and
senior on the Arizona State golf team at nearby
Tempe. All year he had been struggling to stay in
the top five and missed out on the traveling squad.
But he was one of four qualifiers for the Waste
Management Phoenix Open and shot 74-65–139
to make the cut.
Marquez spent years at the tournament work-
ing for his family’s catering business in the sky-
boxes or on the driving range, shagging and clean-
ing balls. Several months ago his father, an avid
golfer, died of cancer.
“My dad was with me all the way,” said Mar-
quez after finishing the qualifier in a rainstorm.
Trevor Immelman’s first PGA Tour start since
August was less than the 2008 Masters champion
had hoped for but about what he expected. Immel-
man, bothered by tendinitis,
had surgery on his left wrist
in late October by Dr. Andrew
Weiland, who has performed
similar procedures on Jim
Furyk and Luke Donald. Im-
melman shot 73-73 –146,
4-over par for 36 holes at
Phoenix, missing the cut of
3-under 139 by seven strokes. But he said he was
not disappointed because a return to form would
take more than one tournament.
Michael Allen, 51, has been around. He has vic-
tories on the Champions Tour, European Tour and
Nationwide Tour and two seconds on the PGA Tour.
He also has ideas of how to promote golf.
“I think the Tour has gone the wrong way in
marketing itself,” Allen, a Scottsdale resident,
told Arizona Republic columnist Dan Bickley. “They
don’t show the rest of the players to tell their sto-
ries nearly enough.
Interstate 10 in Tucson, and
a quick photo shoot at Palm
Springs, Ian Poulter seriously
considered withdrawing from
the WM Phoenix Open. But it
would leave the Englishman
one tournament short of the
15 needed to retain his PGA
If Rickie Fowler had captured his first Tour victory
Sunday, he would have been the youngest ( 21 years,
2 months, 15 days) player to ever win the Waste Man-
agement Phoenix Open and the second rookie (J.B.
Holmes) to win in the 75 years of the event.
Fowler also would have been the youngest play-
er to win on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods won
his first tournament in 1996 at the age of 20 years,
9 months, 6 days. Sergio Garcia was 21 years, 4
months, 11 days when he won the 2001 Colonial.
Here are the youngest winners on Tour since
w; PHIL MICKELSON | 1991 Northern Telecom Open,
20 years, 6 months, 25 days;
w; WOODS | 1996 Las Vegas Invitational;
w; SEVE BALLESTEROS | 1978 Greater Greensboro
Open, 20 years, 11 moths, 24 days;
w; SCOTT VERPLANK | 1985 Western Open, 21 years,
Verplank and Mickelson were both amateurs
when they won their first Tour titles. First-place
money in Mickelson’s win as an amateur went to
Tom Purtzer. The top money in Verplank’s 1985
victory at the Western went to Jim Thorpe, who
Verplank beat in a playoff.
Oddly enough, Thorpe didn’t have to worry
about the money once that playoff began. Unfortu-
nately for him, almost 25 years later, he does have
to worry about the money. Thorpe is facing a jail
sentence for income tax evasion.
The week began with
former Florida Gators Camilo
Villegas and Matt Every in
first and second, respectively,
but ended with two former
Oklahoma State Cowboys on
top, Hunter Mahan in first
and Rickie Fowler in second.
Three rookies made the cut. They were Fowler
(second), Every (T8) and Brian Stuard (T70).
Art Spander and Wire Reports