Tuesday, January 31
The 41-year-old Woods missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Then, due to protests at Los Angeles International Airport, he couldn't reach a private plane across a terminal so he hopped on a commercial flight instead.
Golf can be such a humbling game. I wonder how many autographs Tiger signed on that flight.
I've flown out of LAX many times, but never during protests (that I can recall). I usually arrive two hours before my flight and visit the Starbucks. It's a big, noisy airport. No one bothers me. And then I get on a plane and fly to Charlotte or wherever.
Yes, every silly little thing about Tiger is news. Yes, I'm having a little fun with that sad truth.
Monday, January 30
A putt he will remember forever.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 30, 2017
Jon Rahm is a PGA TOUR winner. pic.twitter.com/2pLja4FRcB
IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, YOU MIGHT not know much about Jon Rahm, the young Spaniard who won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. But judging from Sunday's performance and comments from fellow tour pros like Phil Mickelson, we can expect to see more of this talented 22-year-old.
Rahm broke free of a packed leaderboard to claim his first PGA Tour victory on a sunny afternoon. He shot a 30 on the closing 9 for a final-round 65. It included the above eagle at the 18th. No one makes that putt. Well, no one except perhaps Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open. And now Rahm. Could there be a better exclamation point on your first win?
"[I'm] just so happy it finally happened," Rahm said.
Mickelson, who got smoked by Rahm in a practice round in Arizona (Rahm shot 62), gushed about the young player.
"I think he's one of the best players in the world," Lefty said.
"There's an intangible that some guys have where they want to have the pressure, they want to be in that tough position, they want to have everything fall on their shoulders. And he has that."
So now we have another "one of the best players" in the world. There are so many. (I'm not being facetious.) We'll know about Rahm (at least a little) for next time. And it sounds like there will be a next time.
Friday, January 27
THIS IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT. This is Adventures in Golf (Season 1) from Skratch TV.
Documentary filmmaker Erik Anders Lang takes viewers on a tour around the globe searching for the craziest, most intriguing stories in golf.
I hope you enjoy the next episode, "Golf Cart vs. GolfBoard."
Urban Golf Landia in Portland
St. Andrews and the Legend of Tom Morris
Golf Outta Compton
24 Hours in Dubai
Slum Golf in Mumbai
Thursday, January 26
From a Golf Channel press release.
Wednesday, January 25
THIS IS FUNNY STUFF. I PROMISE.
Golf Channel: "With the cheeky direction of Ryder Cup stars Nicolas Colsaerts and Chris Wood ringing in his ears from a secret location, "reporter" Thomas Gray took to the microphone with global golfing icons such as Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood and Rafa Cabrera Bello, delivering some of the most awkward interview moments of their careers."
Tuesday, January 24
Darren Clarke had excellent Ryder Cup credentials.
WHAT IS THE KEY TO A Ryder Cup victory? (Or the keys.) On the American side of the pond, many have noticed in one way or another the hand wringing after a loss, most recently in 2014 when Phil Mickelson not so subtly pointed an incriminating finger at Captain Tom Watson, after which a task force and new approach were born.
Certainly, all factors matter to some extent and help create the opportunity to win matches and, ultimately, the Cup. But once selections are made (captain, vice captains, players) and pairings are announced, it comes down to performance. That's on the players, no?
Losing European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke is still hurting from the 2016 defeat at Hazetline. According to a Global Golf Post story by John Hopkins, Clarke has been trying to come to terms with his side's loss.
"If we had won I'd be wondering what I could have done better," Clarke said. "The fact that we lost hurts a lot and I keep thinking, 'What could we have done better?'"
Eventually, Clarke states what some might consider to be obvious.
"Call it stupidity or arrogance," Clarke said, "I still can't come up with anything.
"The bottom line is that we simply got outplayed. When you have 24 of the best players in the world, whoever putts best that week is going to win. The Americans putted the way the Europeans usually putt, unfortunately. They played slightly better but they putted massively better.
"Each game on Friday morning and afternoon the Americans were plus two in strokes gained so that's two putts fewer per match. You can't complain because Europe have done that in the last three Ryder Cups."
Is Clarke making excuses? Did he fail to prepare and inspire his players and not send them out with the competitive edge and winning attitude they needed? Or did his players, as he said, simply get outplayed?
Monday, January 23
Enter Helen Storey. She is a personal trainer. She is also Westwood's girlfriend. Storey grabbed the bag and away they went for four rounds at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, which measures nearly 7,600 yards.
''I wouldn't want to carry the golf bag around six miles in this kind of heat. Every credit for doing it,'' Westwood said in an AP story.
"It was good fun," Storey said. She had been interested in trying the job for a while. She kept up. She made sure Lee stayed hydrated. And he benefited in other ways, too.
"It was good for me," Westwood said, "doing the yardage, reading the greens, and taking a bit more responsibility. You sometimes lose touch with your game when you haven't got that responsibility."
With rounds of 68, 68, 69 and 69 (13 under), Westwood finished in a tie for eighth in the European Tour event.
Tommy Fleetwood of England was the winner at 17 under. Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal finished in a tie for second.
First-Time Winner in La Quinta
On the PGA Tour, Hudson Swafford birdied three of his last four holes to grab his maiden tour victory at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Phil Mickelson is back after his surgeries. Mickelson went the distance and finished 11 under. It's a good start after his physical concerns.
Thursday, January 19
Wednesday, January 18
Hogan was not as talented as Byron Nelson and Sam Snead. "The Hawk" (Hogan's nickname) simply didn't give up. The game of golf was his obsession. It consumed him.
CONTRARY to anything you may read on the subject, there is no such individual as a born golfer. Some have more natural ability than others, but they've all been made.A page later, Hogan talks about golf scores:
In my opinion the greatest rounds of golf are not shot by the tournament professionals and hot-shot amateurs, but by the 85-90 shooters. That may seem like an exaggerated statement, but I honestly believe it to be true and I'll tell you why.
The lowest score ever made by a professional in competition is 62. Several of us are co-holders of that record. I have two rounds of 62, one at Oakland, California, and another at Chicago, Illinois. Walter Hagen, Lawson Little, Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret, Jim Ferrier and Herman Keiser are the other professionals who had 62's in competition.
Any time you can shoot a 62, no matter how easy the course may be, that's great golf. But to my mind any time an 85-90 shooter shoots a 75, that's even greater golf. That is the equivalent of a professional shooting 59.Ben Hogan won 64 tournaments, including nine majors. Six of his major victories came after an automobile accident that nearly killed him. Hogan made four appearances in the Ryder Cup, including twice as captain.
Tuesday, January 17
THE NEWS WAS ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK, so you've probably heard that Jim Furyk was named captain of the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team.
"It's been my favorite event of my entire career," Furyk said during the announcement at PGA of America headquarters. "The Ryder Cup embodies everything special about golf."
Furyk has played in nine Ryder Cups and has a losing record (10-20-4). He was an assistant to Captain Davis Love III in the 2016 U.S. romp at Hazeltine. In addition, he has won 17 times on the PGA Tour, including one major, the 2003 U.S. Open.
Apparently, judging from the above Golf Channel clip, not all are happy with this pick.
I'm OK with Furyk. I know he'll do a good job.
As for his playing record, no one of Furyk's generation (Tiger, Phil, etc.) has a good record because Europe has been dominating the Ryder Cup for three decades. I hope that's changed, but we'll see what happens in Paris.
Monday, January 16
JUSTIN THOMAS OWNED THE HAWAII SWING on the PGA Tour. (I guess they call it the Aloha Slam.) Granted, it's just two events, but Thomas's back-to-back victories at the SBS Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in Hawaii could not have been more impressive. He shot 49-under par in eight rounds.
Thomas's encore performance at the Sony Open included setting a new PGA Tour scoring record for 72 holes, a total of 253 (27-under par). The red-hot 23-year-old from Kentucky opened with a 59 and followed it up with 64, 65 and 65. He won by seven shots over runner-up Justin Rose. Jordan Spieth finished third.
The way Thomas was playing, the tournament appeared to be over before it was over, as he built a huge lead and set and tied 36- and 54-hole tour scoring records.
But you still have to finish it.
"I was more nervous teeing off today then I was in the other [wins]," Thomas admitted, "I had to turn off Twitter; I couldn't look anymore. It was just like, no one has ever lost a 7-shot lead, no one has ever lost a 7-shot lead. I'm like, I go out and play OK, a bad break here and there, if someone shoots 9 under, I lose."
Thomas now has four PGA Tour wins and jumped another four spots in the world rankings, from No. 12 to No. 8. As Spieth said about his pal last week, the floodgates are open.
Friday, January 13
Following (and above) is golf course news from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). The golf industry has often been criticized about environmental impact, and justifiably so. The Olympic Club is helping to set a new standard.
THE OLYMPIC CLUB IS SHARING its progress toward environmental, social and economic sustainability. The report, developed in collaboration with IMPACT360 Sports, a women-owned independent third party, marks the first comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report in North America within the golf industry, redefining what it means to be a top 100 course and athletic club.
Thursday, January 12
Wednesday, January 11
It's not about how you lose your hat.— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) January 9, 2017
It's about how you recover. pic.twitter.com/r7sqZolEO6
IS THERE ANYTHING HARDER to play in than wind? Not in my experience.
While many of us might like to be in the Bahamas right now, playing golf there this week on the Web.com Tour is pretty brutal. The wind is blowing about 40. The ocean looks angry, as if it might crash onto the golf course and Sandals Emerald Bay at any moment.
The players are braving the harsh conditions as best they can -- and shooting some ridiculously high scores. The cut was 11-over par. That's a Web.com Tour record.
Greg Eason shot 91 and 95. He lost a lot of golf balls. I mean a lot.
"I started with 36 golf balls," Eason said. "I ended with four."
Kyle Thompson currently leads the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. Hopefully, everyone will survive to play another day. A less windy one.
No. 12 was the hardest hole in Round 1.— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) January 9, 2017
Ted Potter Jr. makes it look easy in Round 2. pic.twitter.com/gnCkxaXZgk
Tuesday, January 10
Monday, January 9
GOLF SEEMED OTHER WORLDLY TO ME this past weekend, with a half foot of snow on the ground and wind chills at minus 10, such a contrast to the tropical images from Maui. I occasionally turned the channel to Golf Channel and NBC for the telecast of the SBS Tournament of Champions. I wished I was there.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua is familiar to me. I played it twice in one day in the 1990s. It's sort of odd to watch guys in shirt sleeves play in that setting when I'm shivering in the Mid-Atlantic, but good for them, right?
And especially good for Justin Thomas, who got his first PGA Tour victory on U.S. soil and his third overall. Thomas protected a lead down the stretch and finished 22 under, three shots ahead of runner-up Hideki Matsuyama.
"I stumbled more than I would have liked to do," Thomas said. "But it shows where my game is at right now. I had some woes there, but I stuck it out to still get it done."
Thomas is a man of great promise, according to his pal Jordan Spieth, who tied for third with Ryan Moore and Pat Perez. Thomas and Spieth have been friends since their teens.
Spieth said, "I think it's potentially floodgates opening. The guy hits it forever. He's got a really, really nifty short game. He manages the course well."
With the win Thomas rises to No. 12 in the world rankings. The PGA Tour heads to Oahu this week for the Sony Open.
Friday, January 6
SHE HAS A KEY TO THE GATE. She goes out and plays anytime she is in the mood. Her name is Ida Pieracci, born in San Jose, 102 years old.
"I practically own this course," Ida says, laughing. "I am enjoying life. I really am."
She does own the hole-in-one record at San Jose Country Club. She has 11.
Don't you love this game?
(Hat tip: John Coyne)
Thursday, January 5
Wednesday, January 4
IN MAUI FOR THE SBS TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, Jason Day answered questions about injuries.
Day talked about the severity of a thumb injury, and how it didn't allow him to grip the golf club. And the world No. 1 golfer also spoke about his back, which was interesting in light of Greg Norman's recent comments here.
Jason doesn't seem to be too concerned at the moment. In fact, according to his comments, his back is (or might be) better.
Put me down in the don't understand camp. How can it be better?
Tuesday, January 3
In a recent story at PGATour.com, Calfee recalled a funny episode from the 1978 Pensacola Open. He, McCord and Schroeder were killing time in their room, playing cards and drinking adult beverages.
After some time had passed, [Gary] McCord looked out the window, down the wharf, and saw a pelican land at the end of the dock....
"It was like 130, 140 yards away, so I decided that since we were bored playing gin, that I would attempt 10 shots from my bedroom," McCord remembers. "We moved a couple pieces of furniture, opened up the sliding glass doors, and I started whacking 4-irons from my back window....
"The bet was whether I could knock the pelican off its perch, and the first ball I hit was just perfect … it went right over the top of the pelican. It was probably the best shot I ever hit on the TOUR."On a final note, McCord's stunt inspired a similar scene in the movie "Tin Cup."
Monday, January 2
THE FIRST DATE I WENT ON with my wife was to see "Rain Man" starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman at the Guild 45th Theater in Seattle. Yep, it was a pretty long time ago.
After again seeing the above toothpicks scene, it made me realize that Raymond Babbitt (played by Hoffman) would be an extremely reliable score keeper on the golf course.
Can you imagine trying to fudge on your score with him around?