Equal Opportunity Offender

By Brian HewittOctober 15, 2003, 4:00 pm
Jan Stephenson didnt attack just Asians in the now-infamous interview in Golf Magazine that hit the newsstands Monday. She went after everybody, it seems, except Don Zimmer.
 
She took more shots than Allen Iverson. She offended more people than raw sewage.
 
The gratuitous swipees included, (directly or indirectly), Tiger Woods, Butch Harmon, Tom Kite, Ben Wright, David Duval, Ty Votaw, Betsy King, John Laupheimer, Jim Rome, Hootie Johnson and Nancy Lopez.
 
But the most serious charges leveled by Stephenson in the interview were aimed at Tommy Roy, the executive producer of NBC Sports. Roy is one of the most powerful men in the golf industry and enjoys a solid reputation deep inside the game.
 
In the interview, Stephenson claimed Roy asked her to do a commentary at the Nabisco tournament years ago but changed his mind when Lopez missed the cut and insisted on taking Stephensons place. Stephenson also said that at a later meeting she called Roy gutless, for not using her on the air.
 
They fired me before I ever went on TV, Stephenson told Golf Magazine. I was pretty embarrassed.
 
Problem is, said Roy Tuesday, neither of the incidents ever took place. If somebody called me gutless, Roy said, I would remember. This is a case either of misidentification or fabrication.
 
NBC sources say Golf Magazine never called to fact-check Stephensons charges against Roy. Golf Magazine editor Kevin Cook said Tuesday that, on the contrary the whole story went through the fact-checking process.
 
One of the bottom lines of this whole messy business is we shouldnt expect too many of Stephensons new found enemies to be invited to the same holiday cocktail parties as Stephenson.
 
The interview itself was compelling whether you thought it bawdy and delightful or wholly in bad taste. And at the end, Stephenson told Golf Magazine interviewer Peter Kessler, Yes, I think weve caused enough trouble.
 
Was Jan telling us, I guess I never had the golden touch in bed, with my men or my putter, more than we needed to know?
 
Probably.
 
Was her observation that Ben Wright has got breasts as big as mine now a low blow?
 
Probably.
 
But the accusations directed at Roy, one of golfs most powerful and respected bosses, pretty much came out of nowhere.
 
I have had conversations with Jan over the years, Roy said. And I was open to the idea of her being on the air. At least until this interview came out, I was.
 
Meanwhile Stephenson continues to carry baggage. She should get high marks for quickly apologizing about her contention that Asian players are killing the LPGA because they arent fan or sponsor friendly enough.
 
But the enmity towards the popular Lopez clearly still simmers. Were good friends, Stephenson said. But it was always one against the other'the good American girl against the big calendar sex deal. It seemed like she always beat me coming down the stretch, so the TV thing was one more: God, Nancy beat me out again.
 
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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.'"


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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.