Big-Ticket Irons Hot US Opens and More

By Adam BarrMay 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
Spring cleaning in my brain:
 
  • Whats a set of premium irons cost nowadays? About $800 for 3-iron through pitching wedge, right? Well, how does this industry expect people to replace, even every third year, something that costs as much as a good television or refrigerator? Even in this Disposable Age, those things last longer than three or four years.
     
  • In the non-premium segment, golf can be a real bargain. While visiting a range in California, I asked a player where she had bought her handsome clubs and bag. On the Internet, she said, for about $250 ' and that included seven irons, two fairway woods, a driver, and a putter, and of course the bag, which had plenty of pockets. She said she was a beginner, and enjoyed her new clubs very much. She looked forward to adding a sand wedge down the line. But for now, she liked the feel of good contact with her starter set.
     
  • Oh, and she also said she had seen the same set in a retail store for 400-some dollars, and thats what drove her online. Smart sellers of golf equipment long ago realized that this is a multi-channel retail world ' and that the channels had better match up pretty closely, price-wise.
     
  • How do you wind down after work? Who among us hasnt thought how nice it would be to do it with three holes of golf? The person who finds a way to make three-hole quick courses profitable could reap a lot of profit him- or herself. (Clue: A lot of municipalities have three 3-holers available already. Cmon; how many bowling alleys have just one lane?)
     
  • Why do so few golfers have USGA Handicaps? Is there perhaps a way to create special handicaps for those who want to compete, for instance, only on par-3 courses? Doing so might make the golfer graduate to a regular handicap one day, and that ties in well with making golf a multi-tiered set of aspirations, instead of the intimidating Everest it can seem like now.
     
  • OK, the color choices are radbut who would you rather have your daughter go out with, Aaron Baddeley or Allen Iverson?
     
  • Hey, dont laughdid you see how fast Charles Howell III got snapped up? Mrs. Hs momma didnt raise no fool.
     
  • Matchmaking aside, we still have some of the best-behaved, most accessible athletes in sport. And all in all, Id say the game is doing a good job of capitalizing on that asset.
     
  • The Masters ended a month ago. But before you say, Martha who?, think about it: She didnt get where she is in the activism biz by giving up. Burk haters beware; shell be back.
     
  • People who chastised TaylorMade-adidas Golf for signing Fred Couples are now cutting their own hats into bite-size pieces.
     
  • It will be marvelous to see the U.S. Open return to Chicago next month, at Olympia Fields in west-suburban Flossmoor. But it seems a shame ' and Im not blaming the U.S. Golf Association for this, by the bye ' that the seasons conspire to keep the Open away from some of the best courses in the country. By that, I mean tracks in the steamy South, such as Champions, near Houston; The Honors Course, near Chattanooga, Tenn.; and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C., to name just a few. Yes, the heat can be withering. But geography is no guarantee. Remember Oakmont in 1994? It was so hot, Colin Montgomerie and others not used to the climate probably felt like pouring themselves into Ziploc bags at the end of the day.
     
  • Coming to Chicago for the Open? Dont bother with an umbrella; itll get blown inside-out in a second. Just start moseying toward the clubhouse about 4 p.m.
     
  • A priest who plays golf told me theres an express lane into Heaven for those who rake bunkers.
     
  • Done anything nice for a junior golfer lately? It can be as complicated as a swing tip (as long as they ask for it and you dont steer them in the wrong direction) or as simple as a sleeve of new balls shoved into the pocket of her bag when shes not looking ' whether youre related to her or not.
     
  • But the best thing you can do for a junior at your club or course is to say Join us when he catches up to your group ' and then treat him as a golfing equal. That brand of kindness lasts a long time ' and we probably all remember when someone in our youth missed the chance.
     
  • Your honor.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.