Notes Marquee match up Celebrity sighting

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. ' It might not look like much on paper, much less television, but one of the most interesting matches in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship is Kevin Sutherland against Geoff Ogilvy.
 
Those are two of only four players in the 64-man field that have won at least 80 percent of their matches.
 
Ogilvy is No. 8 in the world, a former U.S. Open champion. Sutherland is No. 56 in the world and has only one PGA Tour victory. Sutherland, however, finds himself in elite company at Dove Mountain. The only other two players with an 80 percent rate of winning are Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods.
 
Sutherland is playing at Match Play for the first time since 2003, when he lost in the third round. He won the Match Play in 2002, and lost in the first round in 2001 in Australia, giving him an 8-2 record.
 
No wonder he remembers the last match he played ' a loss to Adam Scott.
 
I remember all my matches, he said. Ive only played 10 of them.
 
But he has rarely played any lightweights. His previous opening matches have come against the current Masters champion (Vijay Singh), the current British Open champion (David Duval) and Sergio Garcia. When he won in 2002, Sutherland beat five former Ryder Cup players until meeting Scott McCarron in the final.
 
Why such an affinity with match play?
 
I guess its the finality of it. Thats what makes it a lot of fun, Sutherland said. Its one of the few tournaments I watch on TV, besides the majors. Youve got to play good no matter who youre playing.
 

 
ROSE PEDALS: Justin Rose became a father on Saturday night when his wife, Kate, delivered a boy they named Leo Kenny.
 
That allowed Rose to fly to Arizona for the Match Play Championship, and that added one noteworthy development. This will be the first time since the tournament began in 1999 that all 64 players who were eligible showed up.
 
Jumbo Ozaki of Japan ' remember him? ' skipped the first two years. Hardly anyone went to Australia in 2001. Jose Coceres broke his arm in 2002, Vijay Singh hurt his ribs in 2003, and the list goes on.
 

 
CELEBRITY SIGHTING: Padraig Harrington might be the most accomplished athlete in Ireland, having won the British Open and PGA Championship to become the first European to win consecutive majors in the same year.
 
But he learned early not to get a big head.
 
After winning his first British Open in 2007, he pulled up at a local hotel around Christmas only to learn the parking lot was full, and the attendant was waving him away. But when the driver rolled down the window, the attendant looked at Harrington and made room.
 
He brought me in and parked me over in a nice spot, and it was great, Harrington said. He came on over to say hello and have a chat, and Im feeling quite up there ' chest out, Oh, this is great ' and after a couple of seconds of conversation, I realize he thinks Im off the X-Factor.
 
That would be the Irish version of American Idol.
 
I still got the car park space, though, Harrington said. You can always be brought down to earth.
 

 
PERSPECTIVE IN ORDER: U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee became the youngest winner of a European Tour event last week when he captured the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia against a field that included Anthony Kim and Lee Westwood.
 
Players gush over his ability, but this isnt the first time a teenager has won a big event.
 
Ten years ago, Aaron Baddeley was an 18-year-old amateur when he won the Australian Open. He was paired in the final round with Colin Montgomerie, who had just won his seventh Order of Merit in Europe. In the group ahead was Greg Norman, the year before the Shark nearly won the Masters.
 
Ten years later, Baddeley has two PGA Tour victories and has never been ranked higher than No. 16 in the world.
 
Lee may turn out to be among the best in the world, but it takes time to reach those conclusions.
 

 
DIVOTS: While the top 64 in the world ranking are in Arizona, the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico managed to pick off 16 of the next 125 for the opposite-field event. The USGA has selected Tom Morris of St. Andrews: The Colossus of Golf, 1821-1908 as the recipient of the Herbert Warren Book Award for 2008. Written by David Malcolm and Peter E. Crabtree, it studies the life of Old Tom Morris and his influence on St. Andrews. Tiger Woods is 6-3 against Australians in match play as a pro.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Stuart Appleby is the only player to have competed in every World Golf Championship.
 

 
FINAL WORD: This Wednesday is different. We only have one partner, not four. ' Stephen Ames at the Accenture Match Play Championship, which begins on the day usually set aside for pro-ams.
 

Note: Tiger Woods' return can be seen live on Golf Channel Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Tiger's Return
  • Match Play Bracket
  • Match Play Bracket Challenge
  • Full Coverage ' WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Woods' wife gives birth to son Charlie Axel
  • Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.