Getting It All Together

By Adam BarrMay 28, 2003, 4:00 pm
We were happy to step aside last week for a lady ' in this case, Annika Sorenstam ' but were also pleased to be back with this weeks Whats In The Bag, which is all about ' well, bags.
 
Theyre portable golf offices, theyre billboards, theyre sports most marvelous suitcases. Golf bags, utilitarian and prosaic as they are, have somehow worked their way into a special place in the games heart. Ask any golfer of a certain age, and he or she can probably recall the comforting look of a favorite set of clubs waiting in the corner of a room as winter gave way to spring ' waiting expectantly, encased in an old, worn, well-used and well-loved golf bag.
 
Since people got smart and stopped carrying clubs around like sticks of lumber (remember the paintings of old Scots followed by hapless caddies with an armful of hickory?), golf bags have come a long way. Plenty of choices are available to do more than just transport your clubs. Whether you decide to go big or small, theres a bag out there that can prepare you for any golf circumstance.
 
Lets start kicking the tires from the top down:
 
Big, bigger, etc. The huge tour bags we see following the pros really are traveling offices. In their pockets must go everything from rainsuits to refreshment, not to mention balls and clubs. These leather monstrosities may be lighter than they were, say, a decade ago, but they have to be extra durable. Thirty airports a year will take it out of you. Bags like this can cost half a grand, easy.
 
If you like that look and have the room, you can get a replica tour bag, which most manufacturers offer. Theyre almost always logoed, so you better embrace the particular brand youll be displaying. The bag will probably be made of strong vinyl, but it will lack some of the super-duty strength features found on the real deal. For instance, the top wont be double-ring reinforced. Real tour bags are, so the caddie or player can sit on them during waits on the tee. But a very good replica tour bag can be had for between $225 and $450.
 
Careful, though: Such bags are hard to travel with. And dont even try to get a caddie to tote one. At Pebble Beach, theyll just laugh at you and pack your bare essentials into a carry bag. But for some golfers, life isnt complete without a big tour bag to adorn, say, a home office or den. And thats completely understandable.
 
Cart before, of course. With so much of the nation using golf carts, its no surprise that cart bags are so popular. They bridge the territory between the substantial nature of a tour bag and the convenience of a lightweight carry model.
 
With cart bags, your accessibility options widen considerably. When shopping, notice how the clubs would be arrayed when the bag is in use. Some cart bag tops are tiered so your shorter clubs are closer and your woods are further back, enabling you to find the one you want without too much sifting. And generally, all good cart bags have the pockets arranged so theyll face you when the bag is on the cart. The strap is out of the way on the other side.
 
But the strap and handles are important if you want to have an easy time getting the bag back and forth to the trunk of your car. With any bag, check the fit in your trunk.
 
Carry on, my wayward golfer. Carry bags with stands are perhaps the most versatile vessels for our clubs. They can be strapped onto a cart if you like, but they also travel well, and of course you can hoof it with them easily.
 
Carry bags can hold a lot, as we found when taping this edition of WITB. But overpacking defeats the purpose. The best way to use one of these streamlined bags is to decide what you need ' and only what you need ' for a round, and then proceed to pack as lightly as possible. That could mean, in addition to clubs, balls and tees, just a jacket, or perhaps a two-piece rainsuit, but no extra sweater. Its up to you ' and thats the best part. But for comfort, remember:
 
Strap it on right. Whether you go dual strap or single, try the bag on in the store, and make sure its full of clubs, balls, and whatever else you need to get a feel for how it will perform on the course. Let the pro shop staff adjust the straps for you and get the bag into a position that will be comfortable for your back. Everyone has his or her comfort zone: For instance, I like a dual strap adjusted so the bag crosses diagonally just at the small of my back. I walked all over Scotland that way without a hint of back pain.
 
Whatta ya got in there? A little foresight can save your golf day. We in Florida wouldnt think of leaving the first tee without some sunscreen in our bags. But those of you in Vancouver wont need that extra weight in October. Plan ahead, think where and when youll be reaching, and be prepared. The bag is there to serve you.
 
Thanks for watching and reading. See you next week, when WITB steps into the worlds of golf shoes and apparel. Thats Wednesday, June 3 at 10 p.m. EDT.
 
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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.