The Comebacker Kelly Rory and Tiger

By Brian HewittJanuary 10, 2008, 5:00 pm
The ComebackerThis is the maiden voyage for The Comebacker which will be posted every Friday in this space. If you have been paying even a little bit of attention, you already know there is no shortage of issues this week.
 
Before we tackle them, just another reminder of what The Comebacker is. Each week I will re-print the most compelling e-mails I have received. I will then comment on them which makes me The Comebacker.
 
Without further ado:
 
David writes: Brian, Im writing you to express my support for Kelly Tilghmans recent comments regarding Tiger Woods. Anyone who knows her, or has heard her on the air, could easily realize that she is not the type of person to make malicious comments. I respect your judgment and objectivity on issues and felt it appropriate to convey my comments to you. I hope you will pass along my offer of support to her. Its unfortunate that she probably feels bad when she has no reason to.
 
THE COMEBACKER: Kelly has a reason to feel bad, mostly because words came out of her mouth that dont represent the person she is. I know this because I worked with her on a regular basis for a years worth of 'Sprint' shows at GOLF CHANNEL. Kelly has apologized to Tiger and he has accepted. The poet Alexander Pope said it best: To err is human. To forgive is divine. I respect Al Sharptons vigilance when it comes to taking racism to task. I just believe if he thinks making an example out of Kelly Tilghman is the right thing to do, he has picked the wrong target. The Kelly Tilghman I know doesnt have a racist bone in her body. Last point: GOLF CHANNEL is taking a lot of heat for suspending Kelly for two weeks. I think the action shows GOLF CHANNEL understands that hurtful comments, even when inadvertent, need to be accounted for at the end of the day. Meanwhile, the time has come to move on from this.
 
Hector writes: The media continues to overplay Rory against Tiger in order to stir the pot. The best response stems from Woody Austin. 'If Tiger hits his head with a club he is soooooooooooooooooo competitive while I am viewed as somewhat goofy.' Rory mentions he thinks Tiger is beatable and the media goes nuts. If Rory does not say anything, he becomes another doomed and afraid PGA TOUR player of Tiger. In short, Rory and Tiger is like discussing religion. Youre not going to win or lose!!!!!
 
THE COMEBACKER: If Tiger hits his head with a club, that club becomes a valuable commodity on E-Bay. And actually, it is golf that wins when discussing Rory and Tiger. Its called free publicity.
 
Roger writes: Brian, How are things? This is Roger Federer. While it hasnt started yet, Im sure that somewhere over the course of 2008, the debate between the careers of my good buddy Tiger and myself will begin. I just want to start off 2008 correctly by stating that once and for all, Tiger Woods is by far the superior athlete
 
THE COMEBACKER: Yeah, but can Tiger hit a high-kicking, American Twist, up the middle, to the backhand, second-serve winner at love-40 triple match point in the finals of the French Open at Roland Garros against Rafael Nadal?
 
Jim writes: 'Woods and Mickelson think they are larger than the game, and I, and most of my friends, are sick of hearing these wimps site exhaustion for not playing. At least be a man and give the real reason i.e. I dont care.'
 
THE COMEBACKER: Jim, youre going to have to trust me on this: Tiger cares. So does Phil.
 
Skip writes: 'At some point when the compulsive urge to be a moron overrides the present mindset of Im not talking, he (Sabbatini) will, in no particular order of importance:
 
Slam Tiger and his influence at Nike Golf.
Slam Nike Golf for their equipment, personnel, facilities, etc.
Blame Tiger for influencing decisions about the Ryder/Presidents Cup.
 
Hellhe is such an idiot.he may go after Arnie or Jack for some perceived slightwho knowsmaybe the clubhouse attendant at Bay Hill gave Tiger extra pickles with his cheeseburger last year. The guy (Sabbatini) needs to grow up, this whole..he stands up to Tiger thing .is a crock!!!! He is an immature, rude, self-serving jerk.'
 
THE COMEBACKER: Yikes, more Rory complaints. Theres a surprise. Skip, I like your bile, if not your style. Thats what The Comebacker column is all about. Meanwhile, my sources tell me only Palmer gets extra pickles with his cheeseburger at Bay Hill. And I beg to differ on at least one other of your points: For better or worse, Rory Sabbatini is unafraid to stand up to Tiger Woods.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    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."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    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.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    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."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    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.