Notes Taut Torrey Pines Inksters Streak

By Associated PressApril 29, 2008, 4:00 pm
Torrey Pines will be listed at 7,643 yards, making it the longest course in major championship history. But what gets Mike Davis excited is the potential for the shortest par 3 at a U.S. Open in eight years.
 
The third hole will measure 195 yards on the card, about the same distance used in the Buick Invitational. With the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, it typically requires a long or medium iron down the hill into a breeze to a green that is protected by a bunker in the front. Anything long or left falls off the cliffs into a hazard.
 
Davis, senior director of rules and competition for the USGA, stumbled across a tee from 142 yards that might be even tougher.
 
It not only sits at a different angle, it sits up in the air even higher, Davis said. It should be dead into the wind. That puts them up in the air with a wedge shot, dead into the wind.
 
Davis said it reminded him of No. 7 at Pebble Beach, which is 107 yards and among the most famous holes in golf. Even though its barely a sand wedge, it can be a brute for even the best players trying to get the right distance and trajectory.
 
We plan to use it a couple of days, Davis said of the forward tee at Torrey Pines. And when we go up, well be more aggressive with the hole location. Its not going to be a real easy hole with a wind into you.
 
The toughest hole locations will be front left (just over the bunker) and back left, where anything long will go into the hazard.
 
That might not be the only hole with a forward tee.
 
Even though the course will be the longest in history, Davis said it probably never will play its full 7,643 yards. The par-5 13th hole has three tees that make it play either 614, 599 or 539 yards.
 
One change to the 13th is a short cut of rough to the right.
 
The fear of playing that hole at 614 yards is an unexpected shift in wind, which could leave players with a 250-yard carry into the wind just to reach the fairway. Davis said there is a short cut of rough to the right for such situations, meaning players would only have to hit it 220 yards to at least have a chance at the second shot.
 
MAJOR STREAK
Juli Inkster has not missed an LPGA major since the 1994 Kraft Nabisco Championship, and she was absent for that one for good reason. She was pregnant with her second daughter, Cori, giving birth the same day as the first round.
 
That was 56 majors ago, a streak that is about to end.
 
Inkster, a Hall of Famer with seven major championships, said Tuesday she will skip the McDonalds LPGA Championship next month, again on account of her youngest daughter. Cori is graduating from the eighth grade, and Mom doesnt want to miss it.
 
You only graduate once, right? Inkster said.
 
Of lesser note is the Corning Classic, which Inkster will skip because her oldest daughter, Hayley, is graduating from high school.
 
BIG PAYDAY
The best part for Andy North at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf was spending the week with good friend Tom Watson, having dinner with families and hitting a few good golf shots. Getting into the hunt was fun. Winning made it even better.
 
And dont overlook the payoff.
 
The two-time U.S. Open champion earned $225,000, his largest check at an official tournament in four decades of golf.
 
I was fully exempt for 23 years, and that was more than I made in any one year, North said with a chuckle. His biggest financial year on the PGA Tour was in 1985, the year he captured his second U.S. Open, when he earned $212,267.
 
Norths career was interrupted by nearly a dozen surgeries, and his body wont allow him to play more than a few times a year on the Champions Tour, or even consider abandoning his work as a TV analyst to try.
 
But there was one perk that came with the team event last week: it made him eligible for the MasterCard Championship next year in Hawaii, which kicks off the Champions Tour event.
 
Thats the first thing (wife) Susan said to me when we finished, he said.
 
AMATEUR TO PRO
Ryan Moore came close to ending an obscure drought. It has been five years since a USGA champion has gone on to win on the PGA Tour, dating to Brandt Snedeker, who won the U.S. Amateur Public Links in 2003.
 
Moore had the most celebrated amateur career this side of Tiger Woods, sweeping the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links and NCAA title in 2004. Then he managed to earn his card without having to go through Q-school. But it has been a slow road since he turned pro, most of that brought on by a series of injuries.
 
Even so, there hasnt been much success from prominent amateurs who turn pro. Since Woods completed his amateur career with an NCAA title and his record third straight U.S. Amateur title in the summer of 1996, only six USGA champions and three NCAA champions have won on the PGA Tour.
 
The USGA champions were Snedeker, Matt Kuchar (97 U.S. Amateur), David Gossett (99 U.S. Amateur), Hunter Mahan (99 U.S. Junior Amateur), D.J. Trahan (01 Public Links) and Trevor Immelman (98 Public Links). The three NCAA winners were Troy Matteson (2002), Charles Howell III (2000) and Luke Donald (1999).
 
SPIN OF THE WEEK
Meg Mallon crossed the $9 million mark in career earnings on the LPGA Tour last week in Florida, while Wendy Ward went past $4 million. The LPGA Tour decided to combine the good news.
 
With a combined total of 22 LPGA Tour victories between them, the statement began.
 
Mallon has 18 victories, including four major championship. Ward has won four times.
 
Thats like saying Joe Montana and Steve Young combined to lead the San Francisco 49ers to five Super Bowl victories.
 
DIVOTS
Tiger Woods is not at the Wachovia Championship while he recovers from knee surgery, only the third time he has not defended a title on the PGA Tour. He missed the Buick Open last year after his daughter was born, and he did not return to the 1999 BellSouth Classic when it was moved to the week before the Masters. Adam Scott became the seventh player in his 20s to win on the PGA Tour this year, equaling the number that won in all of 2007. The others are D.J. Trahan, J.B. Holmes, Sean OHair, Andres Romero, Johnson Wagner, and Trevor Immelman.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Lorena Ochoa has won five times in 2008 by a combined 37 shots. A year ago on the LPGA Tour, she won eight times by a combined 23 shots.
 
FINAL WORD
Hes a good player. Obviously, when hes not playing football, he spends a little bit of time playing golf, which is probably good'better than doing some of the other things a lot of those guys do.'Scott Verplank after playing a pro-am round with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
 
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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.