What a roller coaster. Being out on tour getting a call to be on the show, then two weeks later being in West Virginia and starting to stare at the reality of being part of well....reality television that is. Things just happened so fast.
I had many emotions running through my head of how I wanted to go about this 'game'. But really, I just wanted to play golf. I couldn't quite wrap my mind around the fact that this was a one and done deal. I mean you’re not playing 18 holes, or even 9. You are hitting one, maybe two shots for all we knew, and hoping it was good enough. So I just wanted to develop a solid swing right away and hopefully parlay that into good things.
I wasn't nervous about hitting the shots, or even having all the people and cameras around. As you can see I put great swings together. I think it was more the first show and just trying to get in the rhythm of how the day goes. On the glass break challenge I was last and had to wait for what felt like days, just thinking, and over-thinking, and doing it all over again. If you saw, the first four guys are the ones that had the best scores. That was an obvious advantage for them.
I'm aggressive by nature (I take aim at the pins) and looking back on the second challenge, I wanted to knock it stiff and be done with the competition, when really all I had to do was hit to the front yardage with the wind, and the slope of the green. That was a mental error. In a 'normal' round of golf, I more than likely would have thought it through! In the playoff here, I tried to outsmart them and I felt just as comfortable with the 190 yard-shot. So looking back, I should have taken that. But it was a strategy that backfired. Nothing I can do but tip my hat to Stu and Squatch!
That is how golf is. It sent me to elimination and being the 'nice guy' that I am, I wasn't expecting to have to pick another friend to join me. Talk about tough. When playing someone, I want to beat them in every aspect of the game, but calling them out in front of everyone else is an entirely new ball game.
I picked Isaac. Let me say I love this guy. He's a big teddy bear. It was nothing more than I had to pick someone, and Stu was “puring” it better than ever on the range. Brian, I hadn't seen play a whole lot so I didn't know what to expect from him. Isaac is the only one where I knew what I was getting into. Long, consistent, touch. I knew he had it all. But if you want to be the best, you got to beat the best!
I hit the drive a little bit thin but good enough to keep it straight and still in a good yardage to go for it in two. Hit a really solid approach right where I was aiming, and didn't get the wind I thought I had. I didn’t hit a good enough bunker shot to run out, just poorly judged on my part as I thought it would run out down the side hill more. And finally, I left the putt just a roll short of falling. That was the story.
Bottom line is I am 'that guy' to America. I hate losing, but I am OK with it this time, only because I had to be. I got a chance to meet great guys and Golf Channel selecting me was something I felt blessed by.
Just know that golf is not who I am, golf is what I do.
Have a great day!
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.