Maybe Its Time
The official PGA Tour season, the one that counts on the money list, ended Sunday in Atlanta at East Lake Golf Club. And Vijay Singh, the No. 1 player in the world, finished ninth there at the Tour Championship.
That meant Singh would conclude the season with only $10,905,166 in official earnings. Yes, nobody made more money in 2004. Yes, it was an all-time single season record on anybodys Tour.
But maybe Singh should be ashamed of himself. He hit only a billion practice balls in 2004. If he had hit a trillion, he might have made 11 million dollars.
Maybe he will do better next year.
Maybe Tiger Woods, if he had looked a little harder, could have found a better looking wife.
Maybe Retief Goosen, if he hadnt gone jet skiing and hurt himself in the process, wouldnt have missed the PGA Championship. Maybe his current world ranking of No. 4 would be higher.
Maybe the so-called Silly Season has arrived just in time. Maybe its time we all take a few chill pills. Singh and Woods and Goosen have all done quite nicely on and off the golf course this year.
Singh got to be No. 1 in the world. Woods got married, happily so. Goosen got himself his second U.S. Open and a victory at East Lake when his Sunday 64 was eight shots better than Woods Sunday 72.
Maybe its time to savor a few things from 2004.
Fred Funk got himself a berth on the Ryder Cup team at the age of 48. Jay Haas did the same at the age of 50. Tom Lehman got himself appointed the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain at the age of 45.
Funk, by the way, won his seventh PGA Tour driving accuracy title Sunday when he hit 48 fairways last week to 47 for Scott Verplank. Funk arrived at East Lake with 76.9 percent accuracy percentage off the tee, Verplank showed up with a gaudy 76.8. Funk has finished in the top five in this category in 13 of his 16 years on Tour.
Maybe Tiger Woods, still struggling to find fairways, should be listening to Fred Funk.
Instead, the man who has Woods ear right now is Hank Haney, the longtime coach of Woods close friend Mark OMeara. Woods made it official on his own website recently that Haney had replaced Butch Harmon as his swing coach. This had been one of the worst-kept secrets in golf.
Tiger says Haney is helping. Ill take Tiger at his word on that. He would know.
A pair of teachers/advisors--Rick Smith and Dave Pelz--helped Phil Mickelson break through in 2004. Mickelson won his first major at the Masters in April and was a force in the other three, finishing no worse than sixth in the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
All of which brings us back to Singh. The 41-year-old Fijian is largely his own coach. When it comes to golf, Singh is mostly home-schooled. This makes him a rarity at golfs top level. As they say on the television, dont try this at home.
Singh, an inward person, has turned even farther in that direction to find the answers that have helped him play with more sustained brilliance than anybody else right now.
Maybe we should take a step back and gasp. Maybe we need to work a little harder to appreciate what he has achieved at age 41.
Maybe its time to realize that 2005 in golf already is promising so much.
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.
Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
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.