Playing the Name Game

By Brian HewittJuly 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
For reasons I'm not sure are entirely clear, I found myself watching the final round of The John Deere Classic and thinking it odd that one of the players in the hunt late in the day was named Short. Actually, Wes Short Jr. Odd name for a golfer. Short.

Odd, too, that the last name of the caddie for one the best short hitters of the last 30 years--Fred Funk--is Long. Mark Long.

Wes Short
Ironically, Wes Short is averaging 301.9 yards off the tee.
Does anybody else think it's strange that the last name of the next president of the USGA will be Driver? Walter Driver.

Or that arguably the most mystical figure in the literature of the game is a chap named Irons? Shivas Irons. Or that arguably the least mystical figure in the game today is named Woods? Tiger Woods. Or that the name of the icon that represents arguably the home of American golf is Putter? Putter Boy.

Oh, Boy. Here we go.

If Jason Allred lives up to his last name at this week's Open Championship, he will win going away.

If the guy who won the last PGA Championship staged in Minnesota plays well at The Old Course, we will most certainly see Rich Beem.

If Tom Byrum finishes in the top 10, I will happily buy a bottle of rum for his brother, Curt, who works for The Golf Channel.

The best putter in America last year, by the way, was Stewart Cink. Which only makes perfect sense. Same way if Steve Spray were still on Tour he would probably rank last in driving accuracy.

The 1995 Open Championship winner, we are told, is a recovering alcoholic. His last name, appropriately enough, is Daly.

Scott Gutschewski's last name sounds, when you say it out loud, like a sneeze. God bless you.

Wasn't Peter Lawrie in Casablanca? Or was that the Maltese Falcon?

Used to be a player on Tour named Porky Oliver. He hated hitting it fat. More recently the guy I would bet on skipping the ball across a water hazard would be Sonny Skinner. Most unfortunate name for a top teacher: Craig Shankland, who ought to be working with Jason Dufner if . . . .

If names meant anything at all in golf.

I wonder if Pete Oakley wears Maui Jim's. Or if Robert Rock knows how to roll his. Or if Graeme Storm packed his waterproofs for St. Andrews.

I wonder what Paula Creamer puts in her coffee. Or if Grace knows how to parallel Park. Or if Kim Saiki has a good shrink. Or if Aree Song has ever met Vijay Singh. Or if Annika has ever met Danica.

I wonder when the headline writers will stop already with puns that have to do with Davis Love or Dottie Pepper or Kris Tschetter.

The LPGA media guide says Karrie's hobbies include reading, basketball and fishing. Webb, apparently, does not surf.

And every time I see the name Russamee Gulyanamitta, in print, I think somebody's keyboard is sticking.

Anyway, I hear a loud ringing. It must be my alarm clock. I must have been dreaming.......

It's time to wake up and root for the story again. The biggest in our sport this week will be Nicklaus in Scotland.

And if you needed me to remind you of that fact, you don't know Jack.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

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.

Getty Images

Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

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

Getty Images

Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

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 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.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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."

Getty Images

Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

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.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

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.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.