DEAN’S DUFFERS – Champ, Bramlett Open In Hawaii

Arizona Informant
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The first full-field PGA Tour event kicks off the 2024 season Jan 11-14, at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where 141 golfers will be compet- ing. The list of golfers feature play- ers who are working to stay viable and competitive on tour including two of the three African-American members: Cameron Champ and Joseph Bramlett; (Tiger Woods is the third).

Champ, 28, is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour (Sanderson Farms 2018; Safeway 2019; and 3M Open 2021) but has struggled with injuries and poor play over the past two seasons. Last season, Champ participated in 29 events and only finished 12. He had three top 10 finishes (8-8-9) and five top 25 finishes. That means he missed the cut in 17 events, finished 143rd in FedEx Cup points with 219 and earned $1.1 million with a scoring average of 71.445.

In his only major appearance, The Masters, in April, he posted 76-74-150 and missed the cut of 147(+3), by three shots. A crippled Tiger played well enough to make the cut on the number before withdrawing because he physically couldn’t perform. Champ is mo- tivated and it is hoped he has no physical issues that will keep him from returning to the winner’s cir- cle once again.

Bramlett, 35, is a journeyman pro who has toiled on the Korn Ferry and PGA Tours since 2010. At one point he had what could have been a career ending back injury but he shied away from surgery and found help through physical therapy regimens and was out of the game for nearly five years. He finished 89th (489) in FedEx Cup points last season after participating in 26 events.

He was 16-10 in cuts made that included three top 10 (7-9-10) and earned approximately $1.6 million with a scoring average of 70.580 (68). Bramlett has no ca- reer PGA Tour wins but that won’t keep him from working hard and giving his best effort every time he tees it up. The Stanford grad patterned himself after Tiger and tried to follow in his footsteps by becoming the first African-American golfer to earn a PGA Tour card in 2011 after Woods joined in1996. At 14, Bramlett showed so much potential by becoming the youngest golfer to qualify and play in the 2002 U.S. Amateur Championship at Oakland Hills GC in Michigan. Maybe the seasoned vet will work his way into to winner’s circle for the first time on the PGA Tour. (He did win the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour Championship).

Other Teebits: Big news about Woods. He announced he is no longer affiliated with Nike.

“Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world. The days since have been filled with so many amazing moments and memories, if I started naming them, I could go on forever,” Woods wrote. “Phil Knight’s passion and vision brought this Nike and Nike Golf partnership together and I want to personally thank him, along with the Nike employees and incredible athletes I have had the pleasure of working with along the way. People will ask if there is another chapter. Yes, there will certainly be another chapter. See you in LA!” (tgr)

Woods has always been on the cutting edge of change in the game of golf and with this new venture he will continue to set standards that will probably go unmatched in the years to come. Lately he’s been seen wearing FootJoy shoes and hitting Taylor Made clubs and Bridge- stone golf balls.

Finally, anytime one of our own is confronted with a disturbing and difficult situation, we are saddened and concerned. Harold Varner III, formerly of the PGA Tour and now the rival LIV Golf Tour, was recently stopped and arrested for DWI in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C. Varner blew a .16 blood alcohol concentration on a breathalyzer which was well over the legal driving limit. He will appear in court Jan. 19. Why not have someone drive him home, or use Uber, Lyft or even the police? Varner is a popular individual and should know better.

Until Next Time… Keep On Strokin’


Arizona Informant azinformant.com Sports

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2024-01-16 21:08:43 , Arizona Informant

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