Flesch Looks to Match Hogans Defense

By Associated PressMay 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
FT. WORTH, Texas -- Steve Flesch is constantly tinkering with his game. He's always changing balls and trying different techniques. Rarely does the same putter make it through a tournament.
When Flesch is at home, he doesn't even hit balls on the range. That would be too mundane and boring for the left-handed swinger.
Steve Flesch
Steve Flesch plays around during Wednesday's pro-am at Colonial.
Yet, when Flesch returned to the Colonial this week as the defending champion, the most comforting thing he found was that it's still the same old course.
'Nothing has changed. It's just a good test of golf,' he said. 'It just suits my game. I feel really comfortable here, obviously.'
Hogan's Alley really hasn't changed much since its namesake was the only golfer to win consecutive Colonials - doing that twice more than a half-century ago (1946-47, 1952-53).
There are tree-lined fairways, plenty of doglegs and some difficult par 3s on the longest-serving host course for a PGA Tour event. The par-70, 7,054-yard course isn't like so many modern-day layouts where length is at a premium.
'The farther you hit it here, the more trouble there is,' Chris DiMarco said.
'There are not many courses like this left,' David Toms said. 'The ball runs in the fairways, and you have to control your shape off the tee, and into the green. And we have the wind to contend with.'
Tiger Woods, who missed the cut last weekend at the Byron Nelson Championship, doesn't play here because the course doesn't suit his game. His only appearance was 1997.
Vijay Singh also is skipping the second half of the Texas two-step for the third straight year.
Still, the Colonial tees off Thursday with four of the top six from the money list.
Phil Mickelson, the 2000 Colonial champion who is No. 2 in earnings, is the highest-ranked player in the field. Toms, DiMarco and Fred Funk are the others.
Only Flesch has the chance to join Ben Hogan by going back-to-back here.
Flesch has been reminded of that often. During a practice round, a playing partner pointed to a wall near the No. 1 tee where the names of the yearly winners are engraved, along with the expanded gap since Hogan's last repeat victory in 1953.
'I'm like, `Thanks, like I don't already know that,' ' Flesch said. 'But he said, `Well, you're the only guy that has a chance this week.' That's a good way to look at it. It's got to be done again by somebody, especially if you like the course as much as I do.'
Flesch has a streak of eight straight sub-par rounds at Colonial, a feat not even Hogan accomplished. Only former champions David Frost and Kenny Perry have matched that.
'It's the type of course I grew up on and enjoy playing,' Flesch said. 'Even if I was playing my worst golf coming in, I think I would be comfortable. It's kind of like coming home.'
His scoring average of 69 is the best for any golfer with at least six appearances at the Colonial, which is sponsored by Bank of America.
That success hasn't carried over to other courses.
A month after winning the Colonial on his 37th birthday for only his second PGA Tour victory, Flesch tied for seventh at the U.S. Open. He has played 28 official events since without a top-20 finish.
And he's changed a lot of putters. Even during last year's Colonial, he used two different ones.
'I'm just not loyal to a certain look or a certain type,' Flesch said. 'It all just depends on kind of how I'm feeling. I don't know anybody else that jumps around as much as I do. It's kind of a game to me.'
Flesch has about 150 putters in the basement of his home in Union, Ky., and usually brings four of them to each tournament. He also has about 100 drivers, though he has used the same set of irons for about two years.
Instead of the driving range, Flesch spends his practice time playing a six-hole loop on a course that surrounds his home. He carries two full bags of different clubs and balls on his cart, using countless combinations during two-hour sessions after dropping his children off at school.
When playing in the same events as Mike Weir, Flesch likes to check out the bag of the fellow left-hander and then show his latest clubs.
'It's funny. It's comical. It works for him,' Weir said. 'Vijay has switched putters a number of times and there are a lot of guys that switch around, and Steve is one of the best.'
Related Links:
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    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

    The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

    2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

    Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.