Ogilvy Gets His Due

By Brian HewittMarch 5, 2009, 5:00 pm
The Comebacker this week is mostly about Geoff Ogilvy getting his props. Seems that his meteoric rise to No. 4 in the world and his stunning dominance of the WGC-Accenture World Match play have finally gotten the attention of the entire golf world.
There was also a post or two (or three or four or five), surprise, surprise, at The Comebacker about the return to golf of a guy named Tiger. Turns out people are waiting for him to walk on water.
Without further ado:
Jonathan writes: Why dont you look at Ogilvys entire body of work, rather than just the tournaments when he plays well? Tiger gets judged on everything he does, every shot, every round, every fairway hit or missed, whether hes in contention or not. What if you gave Ogilvys game a Tiger treatment? You would see how many times he has never been in contention over the past several years. Ogilvy missed six cuts last year. And his best finish in a major was T9 in the U.S. Open. Hes missed the cut in the last two British Opens
THE COMEBACKER: And blah-de-blah-de-blah. Sheesh. Give Ogilvy a break. Hes the hottest player in the world. Nobody said he was Tiger Woods.
Alookkin writes: Finally an article written by someone who knows golf and recognizes how good and accomplished a player Ogilvy is. He is by far the best Australian currently on the Tour. Maybe even surpassing Greg Norman, since Ogilvy has won a major on U.S. soil and I expect he'll win a few more before he's done.The American media has missed the boat on this guy since 2006Could it be because he has no interest in the publicity machines that drive the so called elite players who read their press clippings before even putting a ball on 1st tee?
THE COMEBACKER: Not quite ready to place Ogilvy above Norman yet. But youre right about Ogilvy not caring about press clippings. Hes good with reporters. But he doesnt need to be stroked by the media. Hes a very regular guy.
Philip writes: You could also mention that to warm up for the PGA Tour, he (Ogilvy) won his first major event on home soil in December by winning the Australian PGA Championship. The man is on fire.
THE COMERBACKER: In the immortal words of Golf Channel kolleague Kraig Kann: If hes on fire, put him out.
Larry writes: Hard to imagine how they could increase Tigers exposure. It's about 99 percent now. Thank goodness it went down to 75 percent after he was out. They even have to show him sitting drinking water. Well at least they didn't show him walking on water.
THE COMEBACKER: If he does, we will. And so will everybody else. The Comebacker is getting a little tired of criticism of too much Tiger coverage. We dont hear anybody criticizing CBS News for too much coverage of the President.
Fred writes: No Majors this year for Tiger....Please, everyone, give it a rest until he walks from the 17th tee box to the 17th green at the Players....then you have something to talk about.
THE COMEBACKER: And then Nike will have a heckuva commercial for its golf shoes.
Hoemans writes: Enough already....Glad he lost...Is it Tigervision or television?....Give me a break....
THE COMEBACKER: Glad he lost? If Tiger had beaten Tim Clark, he would have played Ogilvy in the round of 16. Who wouldnt have wanted to see that?
Bill writes: PLEASE shut the hell up about Tiger.
Bob and Fay write: Don't get me wrong, Tiger is the best, but don't be so critical of those of us who express our opinion of his coverage by the media.
THE COMEBACKER: Fair point. But is this Bobs opinion or Fays?
Ann writes: Everyone saw the crowds he drew. Maybe he should have practiced on that course a couple of more times like most of the other golfers did. However, first time out he may not have wanted to push it but he sure seemed to walk back to the tee after that out of bounds with no limp or grimacing. So that was great to see.
THE COMEBACKER: Hey, wasnt this supposed to be a Comebacker about Geoff Ogilvy?
David writes: So what is wrong with Phil? Maybe the Tour just does not rank alongside family anymore. Maybe he has realized he will never be No. 1 and is just playing for the cashWhatever the reason, treat him like the others. You did not analyse Jim Furyks fall from grace, or Vijays or Adam Scotts. Let him enjoy his life.
THE COMEBACKER: If Lefty is, indeed, just playing for the cash, he should thank his lucky stars theres plenty of it left to play for these days.
Earleene writes: Will everyone please quit bashing Phil? No one would think of doing that to Tiger. Personally, I would rather watch Phil play badly than watch Tiger and his big head and crass caddie any day of the week.
THE COMEBACKER: Not sure I get the big head reference. Did Tiger get a new driver or something?

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.