By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Although he didn't specify whether it would be in Four-Balls or Foursomes -- or both -- Matt Kuchar hinted he would partner with Tiger Woods at this week's Presidents Cup.
"I get a feeling that Tiger and I will probably play together this week," Kuchar said Tuesday afternoon. "I look foward to it. I get along real well with Tiger. Certainly if you could pick a partner, the No. 1 player in the world is a good partner to have."
The pairing would put together two players who have had enormous success at Muirfield Village. Kuchar is the defending champion of the Memorial Tournament and hasn't finished lower than 10th in his last five appearances while Woods is a five-time champ of the tournament Jack Nicklaus hosts.
"I don't know that I'd pick his brain too much on how to play the course," Kuchar acknowledged. "I feel I know very well myself how to play it. But surely having him there to count on and rely on, you've got the best player in the world on your back to play with (and that) is a good partner to have."
Kuchar and Woods played with Jason Dufner and the ailing Zach Johnson's alter ego, assistant captain Davis Love III, during the bulk of Tuesday's practice session at Muirfield Village. Dufner and Johnson went 2-1 at the Ryder Cup so they are a logical pairing, too, but there is also talk that the reigning PGA champion is another potential partner for Woods.
"Everyone wants to play with Tiger," Couples said. "You can only get one partner. ... I pretty much have let the guys decide. If you go out and look at our pairings, you can probably figure out who is playing with who today. It's not going to be too difficult."
Couples indicated Steve Stricker, who has been Woods' partner in 11 matches and went 4-0 with him in 2009 at Harding Park, could be another possibility.
"With Tiger, it's two or three guys, the usual, Steve Stricker will probably play with him a little bit and Matt Kuchar is out playing with him and Dufner," Couples said. "So I let them tell me."
Dufner said he and Woods get along well and have "pretty casual" demeanors on the golf course.
"It's a little bit selfish on my part, if you ask me, who would I want to play with, I would want to play with Tiger," Dufner said. "How could you not? He's the best in the world right now, arguably the best in the history of the game.
"Just something for me to selfishly look back on my career and say I've partnered with him in The Ryder Cup, The Presidents Cup, whatever it might have been. You know, if it does roll that way and we get paired together, I'm going to have a lot of fun out there. It's going to be exciting."
Kuchar or Dufner would be Woods's 19th different partner in the 54 combined Foursomes and Four-Ball matches he's played in seven Presidents Cup and seven Ryder Cups.
The other 18 are Couples (3 matches), Charles Howell III (5), Chris Riley (1), David Duval (1), David Toms (1), Davis Love III (3), Dustin Johnson (3), Jerry Pate (1), Jim Furyk (9), John Huston (1), Justin Leonard (2), Mark Calcavecchia (1), Mark O'Meara (3), Notah Begay III (4), Paul Azinger (1), Phil Mickelson (2), Steve Stricker (11) and Tom Lehman (1).
"I've played on these teams for so long now, I've had all different types of partners; guys who hit the ball for miles, guys who are short, guys who are pretty mellow, guys who are pretty volatile," Woods said. "I've had it all.
"So I think it's just a matter of trying to gel that particular week, and, you know, sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. But the whole idea is to go out there and just play."
Woods joked that he didn't have a preference for a partner in terms of playing style or personal compatibility.
"Whoever is playing well, whoever can carry me is great," he said with a big smile.
Tournament host Tiger Woods, defending champion Graeme McDowell and PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner are among the field for the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, which will be played Dec. 2-8 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Sixteen members of the 18-man field were announced Monday. The announced participants include 10 of the top 20 players in the FedExCup. The Northwestern Mutual World Challenge is a four-round, 72-hole stoke play event with a $3.5 million purse.The tournament, which awards Official World Golf Ranking points, is being held at Sherwood Country Club for the 15th consecutive year. The event's two exemptions will be announced at a later date.
The field also includes Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker, Ernie Els, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Keegan Bradley and Jason Day
Tiger Woods has won the World Challenge five times throughout his career, his most recent win coming in 2011 with a dramatic six-foot birdie putt on the final hole. McDowell won both the 2010 and 2012 World Challenges.
"We are thrilled about the depth and talent of our field, and I'm looking forward to another exciting year of intense competition at Sherwood Country Club," Tiger Woods said. "It's so great to welcome Northwestern Mutual as the tournament's title sponsor. They have been an exceptional partner to the Foundation over the years."
By PGATOUR.COM Staff
Tiger Woods was named PGA TOUR Player of the Year on Friday after winning five times in 2013. It was Woods' 11th Player of the Year award and first since 2009. Woods led the money list with $8,553,439 after winning the Farmers Insurance Open, World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, THE PLAYERS Championship and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Congratulate Woods on his award in the comments section below.
Tiger Woods is one of five players nominated for this year's Jack Nicklaus Awrd, which is given to the PGA TOUR Player of the Year.
Voting among the entire TOUR membership ends on Thursday night, with the winner announced sometime on Friday morning.
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
The FedExCup wasn’t the only honor decided by the conclusion of the 2013 PGA TOUR season. The Byron Nelson Award and Arnold Palmer awards also were decided.
Steve Stricker won the Nelson Award, which is given to the player with the low adjusted scoring average. Stricker finished with a 68.945 scoring average, .04 strokes per round ahead of Tiger Woods (68.985). They were the only players to have an adjusted scoring average below 69. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose finished third in adjusted scoring average with a 69.266.
Woods won the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR’s leading money winner ($8,553,439). FedExCup champion Henrik Stenson finished second in earnings ($6,388,230). Woods' $8.5 million in earnings is the highest total to lead the TOUR since he won $10.5 million in 2009.
This is the 10th time Woods has won the Palmer Award (1997, ’99-’02, ’05-’07, ’09, ’13), and first time since 2009. Woods won five times this season and had eight top-10s in 16 starts this year.
Stricker played just 13 events this season, but made every cut and finished in the top 25 11 times. He had eight top-10s, including four runner-up finishes.
By PGATOUR.COM Staff
The PGA TOUR Player of the Year will be announced Friday. Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods are nominated for the award. Who do you think will win? Post your opinions in the comments section below.
-- Entered 23 events and won two times: World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
-- Finished sixth in the FedExCup.
-- Finished third on official money list ($5,616,808).
-- Recorded a total of eight top-10 finishes.
-- Entered 21 events and won two times: Waste Management Phoenix Open and The Open Championship.
-- Finished ninth in the FedExCup.
-- Recorded a total of seven top-10 finishes.
-- Finished fourth on official money list ($5,495,793).
-- Entered 16 events and won two times: Masters Tournament and The Barclays.
-- Finished fourth in the FedExCup.
-- Recorded a total of six top-10 finishes.
-- Finished sixth on official money list ($4,892,611).
-- Entered 18 events and won two FedExCup Playoffs events: Deutsche Bank Championship and the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
-- With his wire-to-wire victory at the TOUR Championship, won the FedExCup.
-- Recorded a total of eight top-10 finishes.
-- Finished second on official money list ($6,388,230).
-- Entered 16 events and won five times: Farmers Insurance Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, THE PLAYERS Championship and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
-- Finished second in the FedExCup.
-- Winner of the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR’s leading official money winner ($8,553,439).
-- Recorded a total of eight top-10 finishes.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- By his own measure, Tiger Woods was "very satisfied" with his season.
And why wouldn't he be?
Woods won five times and could be named Player of the Year later this week.
"I wish I would have been a little more consistent in some of the events, but overall, at the end of the day, you know, to add n some of the events, but overall, at the end of the day, you know, to add to the win total for the year, it's always a good thing," he said.
Woods wasn't able to add to it here, though. He shot a 3-under 67 Sunday to end his week at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola even par and well down the leaderboard.
He was never in contention at East Lake after failing to break par the first two rounds, citing exhaustion as he explained his late-round collapse Friday when he played his last five holes in 6 over after playing his first 13 in 5 under.
"There are days where I just don't have it," said Woods, who came into the week No. 1 in the FedExCup standings. "Game doesn't feel right. Body doesn't feel right. Things just don't work. But I still grind it out and post some numbers."
He did that over the weekend, including on Sunday when he made five birdies and two bogeys.
But for the week, he finished near last in fairways hit (25 of 56, including just seven on Sunday) and greens in regulation (47 of 72, including 12 on Sunday).
Woods also wasn't great with the putter, taking 118 putts in all, including 28 in the final round.
"That's something I'm very proud of is that there were days where I just didn't quite have it, but I grinded it out and pieced together a round which kept me in tournaments," Woods said. "Over the course of my career, I've won many a tournaments just because of that."
This just wasn't one of them.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
ATLANTA -- Saturday was about concentration, not just physical execution. It's so easy to lose focus during rainy weather, but Henrik Stenson wanted no part of any excuses.
His scorecard showed a trio of bogeys on the back nine, but it would be a mistake to consider those holes as serious flaws in Stenson’s game. In fact, those holes might have been his biggest accomplishments in the third round. They were at least as important as the five birdies he carded.
Each of those three bogeys could have been double or worse, but Stenson was able to minimize the damage. When grips get slick and fairways are soggy, bogeys are going to be made.
The beauty of Stenson’s round was his ability to maintain focus and mitigate disaster. He started the day with a four-shot lead, and left the course with the same four-shot advantage.
Caddies: Players lean so hard on their caddies in wet weather. It's their job to not just get yardage and map course strategy, and they have to keep the equipment dry. Watch as players exit the course on a rainy day -- they are dry. Now, look at the caddies as they leave the course. They are wet and mangy workers. Caddies sacrifice their own comfort to keep their players dry.
Splits: Stenson has been wonderful on the front nine and rather ordinary over the remainder of the course. He is 13 under on the front side, and 2 over on the back. Stenson's numbers on the second hole are easy to tally. He has birdied that par 3 in every round for a total of six strokes. (Watch him birdie the par-3 second on Saturday).
Fairways: Tiger Woods has hit 18 of 42 fairways this week, which ranks near last in the 30-man field. He had a right-hand miss working on the front nine in the third round, when he hit only a third of his fairways.
Players struggled out of the Bermuda rough. It only measures two inches long, but the grass gets between the ball and clubface, making it very difficult to control distance. Stenson missed half his fairways Saturday and struggled just to make bogeys on three of his final five holes.
Putting: Steve Stricker is resilient. He's had several chances to fold this week and yet remains in contention. He had a pair of three-putt bogeys early in the tournament, but he's rebounded. He started the back nine with a bogey and double-bogey on Friday and kept his concentration. Stricker was challenged again on Saturday with short missed putts on the 10th and 13th holes, and answered with birdies at both the 14th and 15th. He has made a birdie 33 percent of the time following bogey this week.
Lefty: Phil Mickelson gave fans an exciting moment at the second hole when his flop shot missed the green, but followed up the mistake with a chip-in par. That might have been the highlight of his day. Mickelson expected to charge on Saturday, but was stuck on neutral because of 30 putts. He said he was mad and wet leaving the scoring area. Only one thing would put him in a good mood: A victory by his alma mater Arizona State against Stanford on Saturday night.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.