Allen surges ahead at Champions event

By Associated PressApril 15, 2012, 12:06 am

LUTZ, Fla. – Michael Allen talked more about a pair of pars than an eagle as he took a commanding lead at the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am.Allen shot a 4-under 67 on Saturday to take a five-stroke lead after the second round of the Champions Tour event.

''The key to the thing was I made two good pars,'' Allen said. ''I hit a bad shot on 14. My second shot went into the water, and I was able to get up and down from about 100 yards and make par. Then 17, I had to make about a 15-footer there, and I was able to. So those two things were really nice.''

Allen played the front nine in even par, then birdied the par-3 11th and made a 40-foot eagle putt on the par-5 12th. He finished with a birdie on the par-4 18th to reach 9 under at TPC Tampa Bay.

''Made the longest putt I've made all year,'' Allen said. ''That was nice to make eagle there.''

Allen won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship for his lone victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Corey Pavin and Olin Browne were tied for second. Langer and Pavin both shot a 71, Lyle had a 69 and Brown a 66.

''We all know how solid a player Michael Allen is,'' Lyle said. ''He's pretty sound and if gets hot, there will be some good scoring.''

First-round leader Bruce Fleisher struggled, shooting a 78 to finish at 1 over. The 63-year-old Fleisher shot a 65 on Friday.

Fleisher had bogeys on Nos. 1 and 3 and a triple bogey on the par-4 fourth hole after hitting two balls into the water. He played even par on the back nine.

''When you make triples, it's hard (to recover),'' Fleisher said. ''Play good tomorrow, and move on.''

Tom Watson dropped out because of an injured right hand. He shot a 77 on Friday.

Watson has had an issue with the arm recently, which he said earlier in the week has translated into a weak hand.

Andy Bean and Wayne Levi also withdrew Saturday because of back injuries. Nick Price (elbow) and Tommy Armour III (shoulder) both departed Friday.

After Pavin got to 7 under with a birdie at 14, he bogeyed the next three holes.

Chien Soon Lu, one shot off the lead entering Saturday, dropped to 3 over after a 79.

Kenny Perry, coming back from a viral infection, had eight birdies en route to a 67. He was 6 under before double bogeys at 15 and 18 left him at 3 under.

''A lot of good things happened to me,'' Perry said. ''I had some strength. I actually felt like somebody today. I'm starting to feel better, so I'm excited about that. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and just the rest of the year.''

Allen was only player Saturday to post a bogey-free round.

''The front nine I got off to a pretty good start,'' Allen said. ''I thought I was playing pretty well, just the wind was blowing from different directions.''

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.