Notes The Word of Week isKikuyu

By Associated PressJune 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Ben Curtis was still wearing a San Diego Chargers shirt and cap after his practice round on Wednesday when Nate Kaeding, the kicker for Southern Californias only NFL team, walked up and said, You look good in that Chargers gear.
 
Kaeding and punter Mike Scifres then presented Curtis with a powder-blue Chargers shirt to add to his wardrobe for the U.S. Open starting Thursday on Torrey Pines South Course.
 
Curtis, an avid football fan who won the British Open in 2003, wears the apparel of the local NFL team during PGA TOUR stops. Reebok, which outfits NFL teams, is one of Curtis sponsors.
 
Reebok is doing more this week than just providing shirts and hats. Curtis shirts will feature an embroidered blue ribbon on the left sleeve, signifying his support for prostate cancer research. Reebok will donate $5,000 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation for every birdie Curtis makes at the Open, or a minimum of $20,000, and will also give $1 million if he makes a hole-in-one on Sunday.
 
Its a great deal, a great cause, Curtis said. Reebok called last week and wanted to do something special for Fathers Day weekend. We thought this would be the best thing.
 
Kaeding likes what Curtis is doing, especially this week.
 
I cant imagine how many millions of people will be watching this tournament, and at a great venue like this, to have the Chargers colors represented, especially by a major championship winner like Ben, is great for the organization, Kaeding said. This whole event is so great for the city of San Diego in general, so to be part of it is great.
 
Kaeding thinks kicking a field goal is a little tougher than standing over a crucial putt, but what these guys do, thats pretty tough, too, because youre all by yourself there, no teammates to help you out, none of that.
 
There are also similarities in repeating a swing, Kaeding said.
 
Sometimes youve got to do it with an immense amount of pressure on you and that kind of changes the circumstances a little bit, he said.
 
LINEUP CHANGE:
Sean OHair withdrew Wednesday because of a pulled chest muscle and was replaced by Gary Wolstenholme, a 47-year-old career amateur from England.
 
The 25-year-old OHair won the PODS Championship in March, his second PGA TOUR victory.
 
AND THE WORD OF THE WEEK IS'KIKUYU:
Theres lots of kikuyu grass in the fairways and rough on the Torrey Pines South Course, and golfers and TV commentators will no doubt be talking about it a lot.
 
I think perhaps to put it in the shortest description, Pat Gross, our agronomist, has described kikuyu as Bermuda on steroids, USGA president Jim Vernon, who lives in Pasadena, said at a news conference Wednesday. It sends out very aggressive runners. Its a fairly broad leaf and a very tough leaf. It is a very thick, wiry grass. For those of us who play golf here in Southern California, we know all about it, and I certainly have a very good patch of it in my backyard, as a matter of fact.
 
The upshot, of course, is this: To get your club through that grass takes a very aggressive swing, Vernon said. And theres a certain technique to it. It takes a certain amount of practice, especially around the greens, to have a better idea of how that ball might come out of the kikuyu.
 
When the PGA TOURs Buick Invitational is played early in the year, its on overseeded rye.
 
For the Open, golfers will encounter kikuyu, poa annua and rye in the roughs.
 
And these three grasses really introduce a lot of inconsistency in the rough, the USGAs Jim Hyler said. And the players will be challenged quite a bit when they do hit it in the rough about how their ball will react when they try to play a shot out of it.
 
With a hot spell this spring, the kikuyu has really popped, Hyler said.
 
CHRONICLES OF CALC:
Few players speak as bluntly as Mark Calcavecchia, even when it comes to his chances of winning'or not'this week.
 
Calcavecchia said his body is not in the best shape.
 
Whats hurting?
 
My foot, knee, back, shoulder and brain, he said.
 
Otherwise, everything else is fine?
 
My confidence is at an all-time low, he added.
 
He has been at Torrey Pines all week but still has not played the full 18 holes. Part of that is finding a good time to stop his practice round. He has played the first six holes, then No. 10 and part of the 14th.
 
I hit a 4-iron into the 14th, then walked over to the right and went straight to the shuttle, he said.
 
But at least he had a chance to play the 13th, a par 5 with a new tee box that stretches the hole to 614 yards. Calcavecchia decided to walk to the back tee and hit a driver. And then what?
 
I was looking for a cart to get back to the fairway, he said.
 
He also practiced this way for the British Open at St. Andrews. Staying in the Old Course hotel, he rolled out of bed and over to the second tee, then quit on the 17th because the green was near his room. The only time he played the 18th during a practice round was when he had to register for the tournament.
 
GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM:
 
One of the charms of Torrey Pines will be missing during the Open. There will be no hang gliders floating silently overheard as they often do during the Buick Invitational.
 
The Torrey Pines Gliderport, just south of the golf course, is closed due to security and because officials needed the space for other uses during the Open.
 
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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.