Coming Back For More

By Brian HewittJune 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
San Diego--The Comebacker comes to you live this week from Torrey Pines South looking down from the seaside cliffs to the Pacific Ocean. By Sunday we should have a new national champion'Im not counting on Angel Cabrera to repeat. The E-mailers are also still focused on Lorena and Annika and clichs.
Lets start with a missive from a U.S. Open reader. Without further ado:
Terence writes: Entertaining insight into the USGA pairings .....however, looking a little deeper there may more messages in the pairings than the cute and obvious you John Feinstein has noted in his writings, personality and temperament types have also been paired in addition to inside knowledge issues known only those who are now chuckling to's an interesting topic of conversation and thanks for participating....
The Comebacker
Glad to further the dialogue. My favorite Thursday-Friday grouping here remains: Katayama-Weekley-Jimenez. The rules official might have been advised to take Berlitz tune-ups in Japanese, Spanish and Country.
Don writes: I just read your Inside the Ropes comments from last week. It struck me because I actually know two of the four subjects you wrote of personally. So I felt compelled to drop you a personal observation on the two people. Kenny Perry was a friend of mine from college days. His (future) wife was actually was of my close friends at Lipscomb, even though Kenny was in school at Western Kentucky. Since I was a golfer also ' and dating her roommate ' we shared common interests. What I really wanted to tell you, however, is that Kenny is truly the good person the media talks about. I am quite confident that besides playing in the Ryder Cup, the one great career goal he still has is to win a major. So for him to skip the Open qualifying means that in his heart of hearts he knows he realistically did not have a chance to win the Open...Ollie Schniederjans (the 14 year old from Powder Springs, GA) I know even better. Thank you for writing about Ollie. He and my son played baseball together for four years..Ollie is a tenacious competitor so I expect you will hear of him in the future. Some players at this age never get better and some just burn themselves out ' so you never know. My guess is Ollie is steady enough to keep rising through the ranks. Hes a good kid ' it would be impossible not to pull for him.
The Comebacker
Somebody, some day will unseat Tiger Woods as the No. 1 ranked player in the world. We might have to wait 10 years. And it could be Ollie Schniederjans or somebody his age right now. Schniederjans advanced to U.S. Open Sectional qualifying earlier this year.
Lauri writes:: I've been really good about not asking bothering questions but since this came up in passing and my husband asked me: How do they choose who plays at what time for the starting tee times? I keep reading and the only thing I saw was a article about some person talking about how they should put Mickelson & Woods in the same group.....but I think this was about Medinah not Torrey Pines.
The Comebacker
The PGA TOUR uses a computer to determine its pairings. The USGA does whatever it pleases. Phil and Tiger were grouped the first two rounds along with Geoff Ogilvy at the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah. Ogilvy had the low score those first two days. Woods won the tournament.
Art writes: Annika put on a ball striking clinic (at LPGA McDonalds), but her putting is simply not up to par. She is a good medium length and lag putter, but from the throw up zone she is below average. She did not even hit the hole on a couple of 5-footers. I have often wondered why the top PGA players have a far better short game than the LPGA players since strength is not a factor. If Annika was not retiring, I think she should consult Stan Utley, Dave Pelz or Dave Stockton on her putting. In spite of my criticism, I am a HUGE Annika fan. She should have won the tournament easily.
The Comebacker
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Lorena Ochoa is probably feeling the same way right now.
William writes: We were asked to email our thoughts about tough conditions on tour. Well, I like it TOUGH. The players whine that the fans want to see a lot of birdies, when it is really the players that want it. I like it when even par has a chance.
The Comebacker
Then youve come to the right place at the right time. This is U.S. Open week, boys and girls. Strap on your helmets.
David writes: In my opinion, far and away, my favorite announcer comment was (many different times) from Bob Rosburg when he would describe an upcoming shot and say that the player had no way he could execute the shot from this situation and then the player would hit a tremendous shot and make birdie or save par.
The Comebacker
Rossie was the exception that proved the rule. Dave: Rossie, whats he got? Rossie: Dave, he has no shot. Bob Rosburg is the patron saint of on course golf reporters. And he never sugar-coated.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.