Calcavecchia looks for consistency at 3M

By Associated PressAugust 5, 2010, 6:17 pm

Champions TourBLAINE, Minn. – When Mark Calcavecchia pulled into the TPC Twin Cities course parking lot and saw his name on a sign with “Champions Tour” above it, he felt he was at the right place.

His time has come to play on the Champions Tour, and his challenge now is finding the confidence and consistency he needs to stay competitive in the new environment.

Calcavecchia won 13 tournaments in 30 years on the PGA Tour. Just last month, a strong second round at the British Open put him in second place entering the weekend.

But his last win came in March 2007 at the PODS Championship in Florida. In 23 events last year, he had just three top-10 finishes. This year, he made only eight of 15 cuts. His average finish when qualifying for weekend play is 55.6.

“After I won in 2007 and had a good year when I was 47 years old, I think I just kind of took the next two years off mentally and just kind of checked out and waited until I turned 50,” Calcavecchia said. “Even though I thought I was trying and that I could … play well out there, I just sort of didn’t and I lost interest.”

Calcavecchia is preparing this week for the 3M Championship, his fifth tournament on the 50-and-over tour.

“The first two were about as opposite as you can get from the last two I played,” he said Wednesday.

Calcavecchia, who turned 50 on June 12, finished sixth at 12-under par in his tour debut at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in late June. He was 16th with an 11-under at the Montreal Championship in early July.

After shooting his first sub-70 score in 20 rounds since March 14, Calcavecchia found himself in second place at the British Open. But he shot 77 and 80 on the weekend and finished 73rd.

Calcavecchia returned to the Champions Tour to finish 14th at the Senior British Open one week later and tied for 24th at last week’s U.S. Senior Open.

He was a combined 12-over par at the two major tournaments.

“Overall, after four tournaments I’d give myself a C-plus. I’m playing OK, probably slightly above-average, but certainly nothing great. I haven’t had a chance to win yet,” Calcavecchia said. “It’s tough. These guys are still great players out here.”

Players like Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Nick Price and Tom Watson are who Calcavecchia wants to play now, in part because the Champions Tour better fits his laid-back approach.

“I’ve said for three years that I’ve been looking forward to getting out here,” he said. “The golf is still super-duper competitive, yet it is a little more relaxed. It’s not like just because you turn 50 all of sudden you’re not any good anymore.”

The mental part of the game has made him a streakier player than most, if not all, of his competitors.

“When you’ve got a strong faith in your swing and what you’re doing, three or four bad shots won’t affect you that much,” he said. “In my case, if I play three or four bad holes in a row, hit a couple of bad iron shots, drive in the junk, then all of the sudden I’m like, ‘Jesus, I suck. What am I doing out here?”’

His phone lesson with Peter Kostis before last week’s U.S. Senior Open allowed Calcavecchia to hit the ball “better than I scored.” He also liked how he hit the ball during a “quick 18” on Tuesday.

So will it be enough to defeat Langer? The defending 3M champion is the hottest player on tour with wins the past two weeks.

“He’s the guy to beat for sure,” Calcavecchia said. “I played with him the first two days last week, and he didn’t do anything spectacular. … It’s not like he’s hitting every shot perfect or anything. He’s just playing really smart, solid golf, and he hit a lot of putts. He made three or four bombs, and every 6- or 7-footer he needed for par he made.”

Coming off a tough travel schedule for the players, including an eight-time-zone change between the Senior British Open in Scotland and last week’s U.S. Senior Open outside Seattle, a few of the top names are sitting out this week: Couples, Watson and Corey Pavin.

Tom Lehman, a native of Alexandria, Minn., was scheduled to make his first appearance in the tournament. However, he withdrew on Monday with a right knee injury.

Thanks to strong sponsorships, admission to the tournament is free for the second straight year.

“I want everybody in Minnesota to come out and be part of the event,” said tournament director Hollis Cavner. “We want people to come see what we have and enjoy some great golf.”

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?