Pine Needles Returns to Ross Glory - COPIED

By Brian HewittJune 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenWhile the realization that Angel Cabrera has won Americas national championship takes time to sink in, the USGAs focus shifts to Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club where the U.S. Womens Open will be played next week.
 
USGA agronomist Tim Moraghan, course set-up guy Mike Davis and designer Rees Jones are on site at Torrey Pines South this week conducting a site inspection in advance of next years U.S. Open. After that, Davis and Moraghan will head to Pine Needles.
 
Annika Sorenstam is the defending champion of the event and she won the Womens Open in 1996 when it was first played at Pine Needles. Karrie Webb won the Womens Open at Pine Needles in 2001 and will also be among the favorites.
 
Davis said one of the big stories there next week will be the re-design at Pine Needles engineered by former U.S. Amateur champion John Fought.
 
Fought lengthened the course and attempted to restore many of the features built in by original designer Donald Ross. This year the women will play Pine Needles at 6,600 yards to a par of 71. When Webb won, it played at 6,200 to a par of 70.
 
The biggest change is the return of the 15th hole to a par-5. The golf course will more closely resemble Pinehurst No. 2 with the closely mown areas surrounding the greens, Davis said.
 
The grasses will also be different. Both previous Womens Opens there were played on overseeded ryegrass in May. This year the late June dates dictate a return to Bermudagrass. Even though it might not look as pretty on TV, Davis said. It will play much better.
 
HOW FAST?
PGA TOUR rookie Anthony Kim, whose 67 was the low round Sunday at Oakmont, has played at Torrey Pines South enough to know the green speeds there wont be anything close to what they were at Oakmont last week.
 
If Oakmonts green speeds were a 10 on a one to 10 scale, Kim was asked, how fast can they get them, on that same scale, at Torrey Pines South? No more than six or seven, he said.
 
Kim grew up in Southern California and has played Torrey Pines South on numerous occasions.
 
UNDERSTAND WHY:
Northern Irelands Darren Clarke, returns to the PGA TOUR this week in Hartford after not having played in the States since THE PLAYERS.
 
He has been struggling mightily on and off the golf course. Hes sad, is the way his agent, Chubby Chandler, put it.
 
Clarkes wife, Heather, passed away last August at the age of 39 after a long battle with cancer. Clarke returned to play a key role in Europes September Ryder Cup victory over the U.S. in Ireland. But, said a source close to Clarke, the loss of his wife and being part of the fight has finally caught up to him.
 
Clarke has missed the cut in his last five starts on the European Tour. In the U.S. he has two missed cuts and two WDs in his last four starts.
 
ANGEL WINGS IT:
While many of the players in the field at last weeks U.S. Open tinkered with their equipment in an attempt to adjust to Oakmonts trying conditions, Cabrera, the eventual winner, l stayed put.
 
Sources at PING say he experimented with a 5-wood early in the week but stayed with his normal compliment of 14 clubs that includes a PING driver and 3-wood, PING irons, a Nickent hybrid and Titleist Vokey wedges.
 
The only work the guys in the PING truck did for Cabrera was to re-grip his clubs before the championship began.
 
FAB FIVE:
Five players'Tiger Woods, Jerry Kelly, Justin Rose, David Toms and Paul Casey'have top-10s in both majors so far in 2007. Interesting to note that none of those five have won a major this year.
 
In 2006 nobody top-tenned in all four majors. Woods was the only one with three.
 
Players with two top-10s in majors last year were Woods, Cabrera, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker and Mike Weir.
 
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Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
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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.