Notes Sutton Honored DiMarco Surgery

By Associated PressSeptember 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Hal Sutton was honored Wednesday with the Payne Stewart Award, and he encouraged every golfer to find the balance in life that Stewart demonstrated before he was killed in plane crash almost eight years ago.
 
Sutton became the 10th player to win the award since it began in 2000, when Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were the first recipients. It is given annually to a player who reflects Stewart's respect for golf traditions, his charitable work and presentation in dress.
 
His widow, Tracey, and daughter Chelsea, a senior at Clemson, were at the ceremony on the first tee at East Lake Golf Club.
 
Behind the grandstand was the 18th hole, where Sutton in 1998 saved par from a deep bunker to force a playoff with Vijay Singh, then beat him with a birdie on the par-3 closing hole.
 
Sutton, who choked up after talking about Stewart and his family, recalled searching for balance in his golf swing on the eve of the 1998 TOUR Championship, and only later realizing he didn't have balance in his life.
 
They had a young daughter and his wife was pregnant with twins, and Sutton said all he thought about was winning the tournament.
 
'I had to walk away from golf on my terms to figure it all out,' he said.
 
Sutton won 14 times in his career, including the 1983 PGA Championship in a duel against Jack Nicklaus and the 2001 PLAYERS Championship that came down to the wire against Tiger Woods. He was Ryder Cup captain in 2004, when the United States was soundly beaten by Europe and Sutton was criticized for pairing Woods and Phil Mickelson.
 
'To achieve at a high level, you have to lead a self-centered life,' Sutton said.
 
He last played a PGA TOUR event at Riviera in 2006, but has kept plenty busy opening a children's hospital in Shreveport, La., raising money for Hurricane Katrina victims and building a golf course. These last few years have taught Sutton that his identity does not have to come through golf.
 
His message to young players?
 
'Don't be so self-serving,' he said. 'Think of others as you walk through life, because sooner or later you're going to need them.'
 
DIMARCO SURGERY:
Chris DiMarco missed out on the TOUR Championship for the second straight year, but he's making good use of his time off. DiMarco had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday to clean up bone spurs in his left shoulder.
 
'I am glad I was able to take time off to have this surgery so that when I resume playing, I can do so pain-free,' DiMarco said. 'I can't wait to get back out and swing without pain.'
 
DiMarco had only one top-10 this year, at the Bridgestone Invitational, and missed the cut in his last three events.
 
FEDEX PAY:
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been the most vocal about the $35 million in FedExCup bonus money being paid in cash instead of going into a retirement fund.
 
Some players are still trying to figure out how to pay their caddies from money they might not see for 30 years.
 
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said a solution is simple, as long as that's what everyone wants.
 
'If we had that unanimity, it would be an easy solution,' he said Wednesday. 'I do think there is a preponderance of attitude that the balance is not quite right, and we're talking about pretty good numbers here.'
 
Over four weeks of the PGA TOUR Playoffs, $28 million in prize money is paid out immediately, while the $35 million is deposited into a retirement fund.
 
Finchem recalled the early days of the PGA TOUR when the winner was handed a large cardboard check on the 18th green to show how much he had just won. He compared that with players suggesting fans would be more excited to see players dive into a pile of cash after winning $10 million from the FedExCup.
 
'I don't know if we'll go that far,' he said. 'But we'll see what happens.'
 
LEFTY'S DESIGNS:
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson might be rivals in golf course design, too.
 
Mickelson announced Wednesday that the first project of his new design company will be River Rock Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C., about 90 minutes away from where Woods' company is building its first U.S. golf course.
 
Phil Mickelson Design was launched in January. Its first golf course, built along the Blue Ridge Mountains, is scheduled to open in 2010. Among its features are a 305-yard par 3 with a 65-foot drop to the green and a 180-degree view of the mountains; a par 4 at 343 yards that drops 100 feet to the green; and two fairways that cross one another.
 
'My commitment to golf is creating the highest quality golf courses that are challenging, engaging and always provide a truly enjoyable experience each time they are played,' Mickelson said. 'To do that, you need to find the most beautiful landscapes available. We've done that in the mountains of North Carolina.'
 
DALLAS CHARITY:
The Byron Nelson Championship usually leads all PGA TOUR events in charitable giving, but the $6.4 million it raised this year was substantial for other reasons.
 
It didn't finish No. 1 among tour events -- that went to the FBR Open, which raised $7.8 million.
 
But the Byron Nelson Championship went over $100 million in career charity, which was enough of a milestone for tournament officials to show up at East Lake to celebrate the news.
 
'Byron Nelson left a legacy of giving, and it it's wonderful to see this continue,' PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said.
 
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."