Make Vijay Putt it Next Time - COPIED

By Brian HewittSeptember 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
Ive been itching--ever since I saw it and couldnt believe it--to weigh in on the conceded four-foot putt that concluded the Woody Austin-Phil Mickelson versus Vijay Singh-Mike Weir foursomes match Thursday afternoon in Montreal at the Presidents Cup.
 
So here goes:
 
I didnt like it.
 
Not one diplomatic bit of it.
 
Oh, Golf is a gentlemans game. And Im more than good with that. But the idea of this particular gentlemans game is to win.
 
Win fair and square. But win.
 
Players on the U.S. side are fond of saying they enjoy the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup because of the rare opportunity it affords them to play for their country.
 
Well, heres a news flash: Most of Austin and Mickelsons countrymen would have preferred that they didnt give Singh the four-footer on the 18th hole that created a halve and potentially snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It would have been a victory, by the way, that left the Americans with a statement-making 6-0 lead after six matches in the opening session of the four-day Cup.
 
Its difficult to imagine Singh, a hard case, conceding anything to Mickelson had the tables been turned. Mickelson and Singh dont particularly like each other to begin with and have recent bad history with each other dating back to a near dust-up in the locker room at Augusta National several years ago.
 
Singh thought Mickelsons spikes were too long and were tearing up the greens. Mickelson, who was playing one group ahead of Singh on the day in question, thought Singh should have come to him first with his complaint rather than airing it publicly.
 
Wayne Gretzky, the patron saint of all Canadian athletes, was on Golf Central early this week for a lively interview with the capable Megan West. Would have loved it if she had asked Gretzky this question:
 
If fighting were allowed in professional golf, which two players would get your attention the fastest if they dropped the gloves?
 
Im guessing Gretzkys answer would have been Mickelson and Singh.
 
No, Im not advocating free-for-alls in golf. Although Id pay money if Tiger Woods and Rory Sabbatini ever climbed into the squared circle at the same time.
 
What I am advocating is sportsmanship without sacrificing tough competitiveness.
 
By the way, a little more truth in advertising wouldnt hurt either. Interviewed right after the match Thursday, Mickelson said the decision to concede the putt came from Captain Nicklaus, who was standing greenside at the time.
 
Asked the same question, moments later, Jack Nicklaus said it was Phil and Woodys decision.
 
If this gesture--the giving of an eminently missable putt--was so noble and right, how come nobody wanted to take credit for it after it had been made?
 
Anyway, life and golf will go on. Maybe good karma will result from this for the Americans. Maybe the golf gods disagree with me on this one. Maybe they will pay the Americans back one day for their generosity.
 
If they do, I hope they wait for next years Ryder Cup matches in Louisville. Thats where the U.S. team is going to need the most help.
 
And one final thought: If anybody gives anybody else a four-footer at Louisville, it most definitely will not be at the suggestion of American captain Paul Azinger or European captain Nick Faldo.
 
To which I say: Bully for them.
 
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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

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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.

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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.