Notes Sergio Garcia has a shot at No 1

By Associated PressMarch 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' For the first time in his career, Sergio Garcia has a mathematical chance to be No. 1 in the world.
 
Tiger Woods has been atop the world ranking for the past 144 weeks ' dating to June 12, 2005 ' and his 21.542 points were more than twice his nearest challenger after winning the U.S. Open in June.
 
But he missed the next eight months following knee surgery, and while Garcia has only won twice since then, the Spaniard has been runner-up four times, including two FedEx Cup playoff events and the PGA Championship.
 
Garcia, who was 16.278 points behind Woods after the U.S. Open, trails him by a mere 1.59 points. To become No. 1 in the world, Garcia would have to win the CA Championship and have Woods finish 27th or worse.
 
It would be nice to accomplish something like that, and more than anything, when is around, which is even tougher, Garcia said Tuesday. But you cant say more than that on it.
 
The odds of that happening are not in his favor.
 
Garcia is capable of winning anywhere, but Woods has never finished out of the top 10 in his six previous trips to Doral. Woods has only 22 tournaments on his two-year ledger for the world ranking, meaning his minimum divisor of 40 (number of tournaments played) will stay the same the rest of the year.
 
Phil Mickelson is No. 3 in the world, trailing Garcia by .44 points. Neither of them has ever been No. 1 in the world.
 
Garcia says the notion of becoming the first European in 15 years atop the world ranking has not been on his mind that much. He has played six times this year, but his progress was slowed by a first-round loss in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Obviously, it is a little bit because you have a chance, Garcia said. If you dont have a chance, then theres no way of thinking about it. But you do have a chance.
 
The last European at No. 1 was Nick Faldo in January 1994.
 

 
BETHPAGE TICKETS: More fans might have a chance to see the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black this year.
 
USGA executive director David Fay said officials are meeting this week to decide whether to sell daily tickets for the three practice rounds, which would be a break from recent tradition.
 
And with some corporate sponsors cutting back on hospitality because of the economy, that could mean more tickets are available.
 
Were adding to the number of our ticket flow, Fay said. Weve had some tent buyers scale down. Were feeling it a bit. But instead of gnashing our teeth, we realize the opportunities there. Were seriously considering selling daily tickets for the practice round. We recognize that a lot of people ' good times or not ' would like to go to the U.S. Open.
 
Bethpage Black is part of a massive state park that has ample room for viewing, and Fay said the allotment of tickets would go well past 40,000, but not quite 50,000. He said the operations crew has studied the configuration and do not believe additional fans will hurt the viewing experience.
 
A decision on practice round tickets could come this week.
 

 
TIGER AGAINST THE WORLD: Tiger Woods won the Accenture Match Play Championship last year to become the first player to hold all three World Golf Championships at the same time.
 
Unless he wins the CA Championship this week, it will be the first time he has gone four WGC events without winning.
 
Geoff Ogilvy won at Doral last year, Vijay Singh won the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone with Woods recovering from knee surgery, and Ogilvy won the Match Play two weeks ago in Woods return to competition.
 

 
KIMS NEW DEAL: Anthony Kim has a new logo on his golf bag and joined some exclusive company in the Nike stable.
 
Kim announced an endorsement contract Tuesday with the Royal Bank of Canada in which he will have the RBC logo on his golf bag. This comes about six weeks after Kim and Nike Golf agreed in principle on an equipment and apparel deal.
 
What makes this unique is that Nike typically prefers a clean look with its clients from head-to-toe ' the swoosh on the cap, shirt, shoes and the golf bag. The only exceptions are Tiger Woods (AT&T on the bag) and Michelle Wie (Sony on the bag).
 
Kim tied for eighth in the RBC Canadian Open last year, where the relationship took root.
 
Jim Little, the chief brand and communications officer for RBC, described Kim as a highly recognizable, world-class professional athlete who can help us grow our brand in the U.S.
 
Kim presented Little with a large belt buckle at a press conference at Doral.
 

 
GOLFWEEK FOUNDER: Charley Stine, who founded Golfweek magazine and produced the first issues from his garage, died March 3 after a brief illness. He was 81.
 
Stine started Florida Golfweek in 1975, spending his weekends traveling to tournaments. Surprised to see so little coverage of golf in daily newspapers in golf-mad Florida, he created a tabloid-sized weekly to cover the events and publish the scores. He later enlisted sports writers from across Florida to write for the magazine.
 
He dropped Florida from the name in 1983, and the magazine went national in 1986. Stine sold the publication to Rance Crain of Turnstile Publishing Co. in 1990.
 

 
DIVOTS: Honda Classic winner Y.E. Yang still struggles with English, but his wife, Young Ju Park, might be able to help him get around in Miami this week. Her parents emigrated to Paraguay when she was young, and she moved back to South Korea after high school. The USGA is giving its members a head start on buying tickets for the U.S. Open next year at Pebble Beach. They can enter a random drawing through April 15 for weekly tickets that range from $425 to $1,150. The volatile FedEx Cup points system last year enabled Bubba Watson and Ken Duke to reach the Tour Championship. That made both of them eligible for their first World Golf Championship this week.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Stuart Appleby is the only player to compete in all 30 of the World Golf Championships. He has finished in the top 10 only six times.
 

 
FINAL WORD: Its not an easy game to pick up quickly. Just look at Charles Barkley. ' USGA executive director David Fay on the difficulty of golf.
 

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    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?''

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    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.

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    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. 

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    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.