FedEx Impact Wies Schedule
One early indicator arrived this week when Chad Campbell talked about how the FedExCup will affect his schedule. I might take three or four weeks off getting ready for the last few, Campbell said.
The last few are the three FedExCup Cup playoff events followed by the finale, the TOUR Championship, Sept 13-16.
One week prior to the playoffs is the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro. It also happens to be one week after the PGA Championship. Tournament director Mark Brazil will have his hands full getting commitments from all the players he wants ... unless ... there is a close race to see who gets into the playoffs. Stay tuned.
The week after the TOUR Championship, which also happens to be one week prior to the Presidents Cup, is the new Turning Stone Resort Championship. That event, too, faces a huge challenge getting a premier field. Although a $6 million purse will get peoples attention.
Now that Stanford has decided to accept Michelle Wie, Wie has to decide how long she will need to earn her undergraduate degree.
This is an excellent question, B.J. Wie, Michelles father, informed me this week.
This much we know for sure: Michelle will enter Stanford in the fall quarter of this year. Stanford students typically attend three of the four quarters per year to graduate in four years. The best guess is that Wie will attend two quarters per year and graduate in closer to six years.
Michelle and I plan to do more research, B.J. Wie said. There are so many issues to deal with, ranging from residence and class schedules to her tournament schedules. It will be more challenging from 2008 (on).
What will be surprising is if Wie cant tailor a schedule that will allow her to play in all four womens professional majors.
And finally, for those who keep asking how Wie can play on the Stanford golf team -- mens or womens -- as a professional: The answer is she cant.
But, B.J. Wie said, Michelle will love to have some practice rounds with Stanford golf team members.
A WIE BIT OF ADVICE
Stuart Appleby, looking to win for the fourth straight time at Kapalua this week, had this to say from Hawaii about Wies future in PGA TOUR events:
She came five years too early to try and play the mens tour. She needs to pull the plug and come back when shes 20 to 25.
THE FALL OF SERGIO
Quietly, Sergio Garcia has dropped to No. 11 and out of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
As Golf World recently pointed out, Garcias body language is different (and not good) on the 6-footers. Garcia may be the most consistent long driver and ball-striker in the game. But his problems highlight the notion that putting can never be overrated.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.
Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta
Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.
The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.
It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.
"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."
Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.
Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.
"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."
Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder
After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.
La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.
"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."
Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.
The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.
"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."