Funk Long Par-4 Downright Stupid

By Associated PressJuly 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- When a par 5 become a par 4, the result can be, in the words of Fred Funk, downright stupid.
 
No. 6 at Congressional Country Club is this weeks prime example. It is listed as 518 yards for the AT&T National'the third longest par 4 on the PGA TOUR so far this year'and the large water hazard around the right front of the green makes it even more daunting.
 
I dont like their mentality with that hole, said Funk, who double-bogeyed the hole to mar his even-par round of 70. I think its downright stupid, actually.
 
The hole produced one adventure after another during Thursdays first round. Defending champion K.J. Choi and Jim Furyk both landed in the front bunker yet saved par. Bo Van Pelts 40-foot putt provided one of only two birdies among the morning rounds. Corey Pavin, one of the shortest drivers on the tour, had no chance at all: He laid up despite hitting a tee shot that landed in the middle of the fairway.
 
That greens designed for a par 5, said Rich Beem, who parred the hole after missing a 15-foot putt for birdie. Thats the problem with par 5s turning into par 4s.
 
Its difficult, added Furyk. Youve got to get the ball in the fairway, or youre going to be struggling.
 
Choi said he was so concerned about the hole that on Wednesday he practiced the very bunker shot he ended up hitting on Thursday.
 
Its a one-dimensional hole, Funk said. If you hit the fairway and youre a long hitter, you can get your shot to fit in there. The shorter hitters are going to have a long, long, long shot in there with a green thats really designed for a wedge.
 
FUNK & THE DRAGONFLY:
Funks other difficult hole came at the 18th, which he bogeyed because of an intruding insect in the tee box.
 
I had a dragonfly hit my shaft on the way down, Funk said. And I just totally flinched and hit 150 yards off the tee dead right in the trees.
 
Funk, of course, is a local favorite at this event as the former golf coach at the University of Maryland. Hed love to be in the final pairing Sunday against first-round leader Steve Marino, who grew up in the nearly Virginia suburbs and attended the University of Virginia. I think well have a little border war, Funk said. Were be the North and the South.
 
TIGERS LONG DAY:
The days are long for tournament host Tiger Woods as watches the event from afar on television, unable to travel following reconstructive surgery on his left knee.
 
Im wearing a full leg brace and will be on crutches for a few weeks. To be honest, Im not sure when my rehabilitation will start. I cant put weight on my leg yet, Woods said on his Web site. These are the longest days'it feels like a 38-hour day.
 
Fred Couples subbed for Woods at Wednesdays opening ceremony, hitting the ceremonial first shot while accompanied by 25 children whose parents are actively serving in the military.
 
Collectors in the field have an extra motivation to make it to the weekend. Starting with Wednesdays pro-am, each golfer every day receives a special coin featuring one of the five branches of the U.S. military. Anyone making the cut will receive all five.
 
We think they are pretty cool keepsakes, Woods said.
 
NOTAHS TRAVELS:
The AT&T National is only the fourth PGA TOUR event Notah Begay III has played this year, which is not to say he hasnt kept busy.
 
Begay, a college teammate of Woods at Stanford who received a sponsor exemption this week, lost his full tour status three years ago and now is a member of the European Tour. But he hasnt played in Europe since the Portugal Open in part because his wife had a daughter in February'Antonella'and in part because of the falling dollar.
 
The exchange rate'I learned something from Stanford, Begay said.
 
Instead, Begay has found other tours to play. Just about all of them, in fact.
 
By the time the year is done, Ill have played seven tours, Begay said.
 
That would be the PGA TOUR, PGA European Tour, Adams Tight Lies Tour, Gateway Tour, Golden Gate Tour and a state open. He plans to play a Nationwide Tour event later this summer.
 
OY, OY, CHOI!:
Choi holed a shot from a steep greenside bunker for a birdie at No. 8, a pretty mean feat given that the pin was located on the far corner of the green.
 
Choi thought he had hit the shot well short of the flag.
 
And then I turn around and everybody clapped, Choi said. And I make it.
 
Choi exchange a high-five with his caddie and went on to shoot a 68 as he opened the defense of his title.
 
Its a good number, 2-under par, Choi said. Not nervous, but very enjoyable.
 
DREAM WEAVER:
Drew Weaver holed out for birdie from the bunker at his final hole, an accomplishment worth three fist pumps from the Virginia Tech amateur.
 
Weaver, who last year became the first American in 28 years to win British Amateur, steadied himself after a horrible bogey-triple bogey-par-double bogey start to finish with a 75 in his third appearance on the PGA TOUR this season.
 
It was a long day, but that was a good way to end it, Weaver said.
 
Weavers bag was Virginia Tech maroon and orange, but his shirt and hat were a bright green. Is he no longer true to his school?
 
I played in 11 or 12 college events and wore the same clothes in every event, Weaver said. My team clothing is a little worn down, so I figured I might wear some stuff that is pretty stylish. I figure carrying the team bag is a big enough statement.
 
AK IS OK:
The suspense is on, golf world. Anthony Kim is promising to unveil a new belt buckle.
 
Kim wasnt wearing one of his flashy trademark AK belt buckles on Thursday, when he shot a 67, but he promised to show off a new one before the AT&T National ends on Sunday.
 
I actually had to get insurance on this one; thats how nice it is, Kim said.
 
Kims fascination with the buckles began when he spotted some at a shopping mall kiosk, but the new one apparently comes from a more posh outlet.
 
I have graduated from those roots, he said.
 
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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.