Harrington, Daly headline Reno-Tahoe Open

By Associated PressAugust 1, 2012, 10:08 pm

RENO, Nev. – Add the score to the list of complicated numbers Padraig Harrington, Justin Leonard, Stewart Cink and others will be calculating at the Reno-Tahoe Open.

For the first time since the 2006 International in Castle Rock, Colo., the modified Stableford will be used in a PGA Tour event. The system designed to reward aggressive play awards 8 points for double eagle, 5 points for eagle, 2 for birdie, zero for par, and minus 1 for bogey and minus 3 for double bogey or worse.

And there's the usual math for the elevation changes and gusty mountain wind on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.

''A lot of calculations have to be done this week,'' said Harrington, who is making his first appearance at the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf & Country Club in a field that also includes John Daly, Mike Weir, David Duval, Rickey Barnes, Lee Janzen, Rocco Mediate, Stuart Appleby and Chris DiMarco.

''It's a little bit like changing from stroke play to match play. You've got to be a bit more aggressive,'' said Harrington, who has finished in the top 10 three times this year and is ranked 67th in FedEx Cup points.

''The difference between going from say a par to a birdie is two points. The difference from par to bogey is effectively one point. It's like a shot and a half. Missing birdie putts is a lot worse than missing par putts this week.''

It all should make for an exciting finish Sunday on the par 5-18th that stretches to 616 yards but runs downhill, often down wind, and usually is reachable in two.

''You can come down to the last and play the hole OK, make a 5 and some guy four points behind you can pass you,'' Harrington said. ''You never lose a four-shot lead coming down to the last but you could easily lose a four-point lead.''

Jana Smoley, director of the 14-year-old tournament, said the course sets up nicely for the different scoring format especially with high risk-reward shots on the final three holes that include the 220-yard, par-3 16th and 464-yard, par-4 17th.

''We like to say black is the new red in Reno,'' she said. ''The highest score wins.''

The field includes four players who won the International using the modified Stableford – Lee Janzen(1995), Tom Pernice (2001), Rich Beem (2002) and Rod Pampling (2004).

Like in Colorado, the ball travels anywhere 8 percent to 12 percent farther at the course halfway between Reno and Lake Tahoe than it does at sea level.

Pampling said he ''had no clue'' the first time he played at the International because he'd never played in the mountains before.

''It was like 'what in the world is going on here?' I was very confused ... The next year, for whatever reason something just clicked,'' said the Aussie who thinks the trajectory of his shots may have something to do with it.

''My ball flight is not as high as a lot of guys,'' he said. ''Once it's up there, it's anybody's guess how far it's going to go.''

Pampling said all the par 5s are reachable in two and a few par 4s can be driven.

''It's going to make it pretty exciting,'' he said. ''I think sometimes guys try to get too aggressive trying to make eagle and instead of making your birdie you might get a par or bogey.''

The Reno field includes more than a dozen golfers in the Top 100 of the FedEx Cup rankings - Seung-Yul Noh (38), Spencer Levin (42), John Rollins (44), Troy Matteson (63), Kevin Stadler (68), Pat Perez (70), Dicky Pride (72), J.B. Holmes (74), Chris Kirk (81), Bryce Molder (84), John Merrick (90), John Mallinger (91) and JJ Henry (97).

Scott Piercy, the winner last year, won the Canadian Open in Ontario last week to qualify for the WGC's Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. But several other past champs are back in Reno: Notay Begay III, Chris Riley, Will MacKenzie, Parker McLachlin, Matt Bettencourt and Vaughn Taylor, the only two-time winner (2004-05).

The cross-country trip didn't appeal to some who will have to be back in South Carolina next week for the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. But Harrington said he never considered taking the week off.

''I always play the week before a major,'' he said. ''If I practiced at home I'd get all mixed up. I wouldn't be game competitive. ... The only way I can do that is with a card in my hand worrying about the score.''

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.