You would think that the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro would be an easy mark for Davis Love III, since he was born and raised in North Carolina, went to college at Chapel Hill and redesigned Forest Oaks Country Club, where the tournament is played, in 2003. And while Love won there in 1992, since completing the redesign he has missed the cut twice and withdrawn once. In fact, Love hadn’t won at all since the ’03 International, a span of 76 starts. But after he failed to qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team — which he blames on trying too hard and spending too much time scoreboard-watching — Love took a five-week break, during which he worked on a stance adjustment with instructors Jack Lumpkin and Todd Anderson. At Greensboro the change kicked in, and Love avoided looking at the leader board until he had a two-shot lead on the 72nd hole. From there he parred out to finish at 16-under 272 and claim the $900,000 first-place check, which moved him from 39th to 15th on the money list and secured a spot in the Tour Championship.
Lorena Ochoa is a native of Mexico and an outspoken defender of immigration rights, so her win at the Corona Morelia Championship (20-under 272) in her home country was sweet, but even sweeter may be what the title means to her already amazing 2006 season. With her fourth triumph in 22 starts, Ochoa is now tied for first in wins, first in top 10s (17), first in Player of the Year points (253), first on the money list ($2,124,122), first in scoring average (69.36) and second to Annika Sorenstam in the World Ranking. Still, with three events left, POY is far from locked up, as the reemergent Karrie Webb (214 points) and Sorenstam (206) are close behind.
Three in a Row?
Will Tiger Woods follow the leads of Love and Ochoa and try to win at home? Woods is leading the race for the Vardon Trophy (lowest scoring average) by almost a stroke (68.11) but needs to play 60 rounds to qualify for the award. If he plays only the Tour Championship, as scheduled, he’ll finish with 59 rounds. The obvious fill-in would be the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World, about 15 minutes from his house. When asked recently if winning the Vardon meant anything to him, he replied, “Not much…. If you don’t play enough rounds, you don’t play enough rounds.” That’s a change from 2003, when Vijay Singh won the money title and Woods swore the Vardon was more important.