Booz Allen Classic Deals With Change

By Associated PressJune 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Booz Allen ClassicPOTOMAC, Md. -- The tents are going up instead of coming down at the TPC at Avenel course. It's early June, and the PGA Tour's yearly visit is usually done by now.
 
Instead, the tournament long known as the Kemper Open is still four weekends away. Tuesday's annual media day, which normally would have featured the defending champion, instead focused on the event's new place on the calendar and its new name: the Booz Allen Classic.
 
But habits are hard to break - even for those close to the new sponsor.
 
'My own co-workers and my family talk about, `Oh yeah, the Kemper,'' Booz Allen Hamilton Chairman Ralph Shrader said. 'If you're going to have a big ego out there, you're going to be smacked down pretty badly. I've already found that out.'
 
For years, the tournament prided itself on its longtime association with just one title sponsor - Kemper Insurance. That relationship ended a year ago, and a quick deal with an investment banking company yielded a new name, the FBR Capital Open, just for the 2003 edition.
 
Now, the tournament has a three-year deal with Booz Allen Hamilton.
 
However, all the name changes in the world can't help a golf tournament if it doesn't have a good field of players, and that's where this event has traditionally struggled. The tournament has a reputation for producing first-time tour winners, which make for good human interest stories but not banner headlines.

No one on the current top 10 money list has committed to play this year. The marquee names so far include Corey Pavin, Justin Leonard, Lee Janzen, Rich Beem and defending champion Rory Sabbatini.
 
The timing doesn't help. The tournament usually takes place a week or two before the U.S. Open, serving as a convenient tuneup for the second major of the year. This year, for the first time in its 25-year history in Washington, the event is being held after the Open. The dates are June 24-27, when heat and humidity are reaching full steam in the D.C. area.
 
Prospects are much more promising for next year, where there are tentative plans to hold the tournament at the nearby prestigious Congressional Country Club one week before the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C. One of the best fields in event history will no doubt be on hand, but it's expected to be a one-year blip.
 
Shrader said he has spoken to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem about the tournament's place on the calendar.
 
'We're going to leave no stone unturned to make this event a really strong event on the PGA Tour,' Shrader said. 'But there are some things we're going to need help on. One of those things is consideration of dates.'
 
The one-year move to Congressional will give tour officials a chance to consider substantial changes to the Avenel course, which is well-designed for spectators but has received mixed reviews from players.
 
Tournament official Steven Lesnik said the course could receive 'somewhere between a renovation and a substantial overhaul' that would include better player amenities, such as an improved driving range.
 
'We need a venue that allows us to compete with other venues this time of year,' Lesnik said.
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.