Woods has memories of Peete, but never a meeting

Published May. 5, 2015 7:50 p.m. EDT

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Calvin Peete competed in The Players Championship for the last time a year before Tiger Woods turned pro.

Woods said he never had a chance to meet him, though he was well aware of how Peete went from the vegetable fields to being a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour.

And how straight Peete hit the ball.

''There is a stat that not too many people know about,'' Woods said Tuesday. ''And that is, at Muirfield Village he didn't miss a fairway for 2 1/2 years. I mean, over 10 rounds without missing a fairway. OK, you're going to hit one bad shot somewhere in 2 1/2 years, but he never missed a fairway.''


Peete died last week. He was the most successful black golfer in PGA Tour history before Woods arrived in 1996. Among his victories was The Players Championship.

''I remember watching when he won here and what he did,'' said Woods, who would have been 9 when Peete won at the TPC Sawgrass.

''And certainly he's one of the guys I looked up to as a person of color, being able to do it, especially at the time when there weren't that many out here. ... For me as a person of color, it meant something to me to watch him do well.''

Woods was close to the late Charlie Sifford, who broke the color barrier on the PGA. He also has met Lee Elder, the first black to play in the Masters who was at Augusta National when Woods won his first green jacket. He never crossed paths with Peete.

''For some reason, a couple guys throughout history - Teddy Rhodes, Bill Spiller - all those guys that I wish I would have gotten a chance to meet and a chance to talk to, I never really got that opportunity,'' Woods said.


ISLAND TRIVIA: Justin Thomas was competing in the Junior Players Championship when he took a 10 on the island green 17th hole. His first two shots did not go in the water. He was never in a bunker.

How did that happen?


RORY'S SCHEDULE: Tiger Woods announced his upcoming plans and referred to a busy summer schedule. That's nothing compared with what 26-year-old Rory McIlroy has on his plate leading up to the U.S. Open.

McIlroy disclosed last week that he plans to add the Wells Fargo Championship to his schedule, which will make for five straight weeks in three countries.

He won the Match Play Championship. He is at The Players Championship this week, followed by the trip to Quail Hollow. After that, he heads to the Irish Open at Royal County Down and then he defends his title in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

There was speculation he would drop Quail Hollow if he won the Match Play, in which he played 121 holes in seven matches over five days.

''I'm sticking to what I'm going to do,'' he said.


FURYK'S CAREER: The new standard for the World Golf Hall of Fame would seem to be lower as golf becomes more flush with talent. Jim Furyk went from being on the cusp of the conversation to being closer to a certainty when he won at Hilton Head. That gave him 17 career wins, plus a U.S. Open, and nine consecutive Ryder Cup teams.

He thinks about it, though not by choice.

''I'm kind of forced to because you all asked me about it,'' Furyk said. ''I don't lay awake in bed thinking about what needs to happen or anything like that. Just go play.''

In the past few years, one target for this generation has been 20 wins, which comes with lifetime membership on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh reached 20 and more. Davis Love III got there with his last win at Disney.

Furyk had gone four years until his 17th victory, a playoff win over Kevin Kisner.

''I always thought a cool number was 20 because it was kind of like a life-member type deal,'' he said. ''A couple guys, I want to say like (Ben) Crenshaw, got caught on 19. ... Davis struggled to get that 20th for a long time when he won. And so I just always thought it was a cool number. But I wasn't going to judge it by that. I never really looked at it. I didn't think 17 was going to be so damn hard to get, I know that.''


OLYMPIC QUEST: Tiger Woods was No. 1 in the world when golf was added to the Olympics for the 2016 games in Rio. He liked the idea of competing for a gold medal. He wanted to play. There was no reason to think he wouldn't.

That was then, this is now.

Woods, who has gone through a personal crisis and injuries, is No. 125 in the world. The United States can send no more than four players, provided they are among the top 15 in the world ranking. Woods is at No. 54 among Americans, right behind Kevin Kisner.

The cutoff is about 14 months away, so there's plenty of time, and Woods said he is healthy and progressing.

''Making my way up from where I'm at is just going to take consistency,'' Woods said. ''And I need wins in there, which I want to have, but being consistent every time I tee it up. It's something that I've done when I've made my comebacks before. The last one I made was a few years ago when I was I think in the 50s and got back up to No. 1. It was just by winning golf tournaments and being consistent, and I was able to do that.''


ISLAND ANSWER: Justin Thomas hit his first shot over the green and onto the walkway. He stubbed his chip and it came back to where he was. His chipped again through the green and into the water. He took a penalty shot and dropped it in the previous spot and chipped that one through the green and into the water. This time, he went to the drop area, hit the green and, for good measure, three-putted.

''I went from a tie for sixth ... to not a tie for sixth,'' Thomas said.


DIVOTS: Danny Willett had plenty at stake in the consolation match of the Match Play Championship. By finishing third, the Englishman earned the equivalent of enough FedEx Cup points to take special temporary membership on the PGA Tour. He now is eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the year. ... The father of Web.com Tour winner Smylie Kaufman was the golf coach for Graeme McDowell at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. ... Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has listed Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth as co-favorites at 7-1 at The Players Championship.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Keegan Bradley has lost nine straight singles matches, a drought that began when Miguel Angel Jimenez beat him in the second round of the 2012 Match Play Championship. Of those nine losses, only one opponent was an American (Bubba Watson).


FINAL WORD: ''You could be tied standing on the 16th tee and lose by three or win by three.'' - Graeme McDowell on the TPC Sawgrass.