Match Play Weir Daly and More

By Brian HewittFebruary 25, 2004, 5:00 pm
If anybody had asked me, Id have told them that:
 
  • The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is the golf equivalent of Coastal Carolina having a great shot at knocking off Duke in the first round in the NCAA mens basketball tournament. There are no upsets. Almost anything can happen in the relatively short span of 18 holes. Let me put it another way: Peter OMalley, head-to-head, against Tiger Woods over 72 holes? Woods wins 100 out of 100 times.
     
  • Thanks for the E-mails on the informal poll question on whos the best lefty in the world right now. The results are still pouring in but theres a pattern. Approximately 85 percent of the respondents are from Canada. Approximately 85 percent of that 85 per cent voted for Mike Weir. Approximately 50 percent of that 85 percent identify themselves as lefthanders. Conclusion: Canadians love Mike Weir almost as much as they love their golf. The positive energy emanating from north of the U.S. border is always a delight.
     
  • John Daly finishing in the top five for the second week in a row is, to me, almost more surprising than Daly winning the Buick Invitational, his first Tour victory in 10 years. If Daly 'top 10s' in Arizona this week in the Tucson Chrysler Classic, it will mark the first time in his career he achieves that milestone.
     
  • If I had to choose one player to make a 10-foot putt with my life on the line right now, it would be Mike Weir of Canada.
     
  • In case you havent noticed, Stuart Appleby is having that breakout year we've all been waiting for from him.
     
  • Among the names of players behind Thailands Thongchai Jaidee on the current Official World Golf Rankings are: Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Luke Donald, Skip Kendall and Harrison Frazar. One week J.D. the next week Jaidee.
     
  • Chris Riley is not a surprise any more. He is going to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Speaking of which, I am constantly amused at the questions U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton gets about possible wild card selections every time somebody plays well. Sutton smartly refuses to rule anybody out. He would be foolish do anything else.
     
  • If they want it, it can be arranged. The Tavistock Cup, scheduled to be played between members of Lake Nona (Faldo, Els, Goosen et al.) and Isleworth (Appleby, Allenby, OMeara, Hoch et al.) Mar. 29 could spin itself off. How? The members at Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale include Phil Mickelson, Billy Mayfair, Aaron Baddeley and Tim Herron, just to name a few. We will beat the (bleep) out of them,' says Gary McCord, also a Whisper Rock member.
     
  • Part of the reason there are no first time winners yet on the PGA Tour is because this is a Ryder Cup year.
     
  • My two Captains picks if the Ryder Cup was next week: U.S.: Justin Leonard and Jerry Kelly. Europe: Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.
     
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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.