Readers Speak Out on Tigers Caddie
This time tongues are wagging about the controversy still raging over the behavior of Tiger Woods caddie, Steve Williams at last weeks U.S. Open in New York.
Among other things, Williams unilaterally confiscated a camera during the final round. Since then, the E-mails have been pouring in at a remarkable rate. Most of them are critical of Williams. Some defend him. The ratio is approximately 9-1 against Williams.
Without further ado, here is a representative sampling with an attempt to reflect that ratio:
From Rick Peterson in Canada: ..Steve Williams, Tiger Woods caddie is out of control..Who does this guy think he is?..Sooner or later hes going to do that to a camera man and the camera man or someone else will react violently.
From Marjorie Taylor: I have written to Tiger to ask Stevie to cool down.
From Tony Kay: If security is unable to stop idiots from sneaking cameras and taking pictures, then bravo to Mr. Williams for coming to the aid of his player.
From Rob Marson: ..Steve is protecting his boss. And while he is not a body guard, preventing disruptive behavior is part of the job.
From Tony Donlin in Texas: I think what Williams did is way beyond ridiculous.
From James Higginbotham: ..He (Williams) has no right to confiscate that camera. If I were the owner, there would be hell to pay.
From Helen Austin in Massachusetts: ..I personally look forward to the day when he (Williams) has to pay for those transgressions.He has become every bit as arrogant as his boss.
From Steve Barnett: ..He (Williams) seems to be more churlish every day--do you think hes the one giving Tiger swing tips that are a bit off?
From Jeff Porter: ..He (Williams) will learn the day someone has his --- arrested for assault and battery and he is led away to jail in handcuffs in the middle of a round.
From Louis Morfe: ..Just send Steve back to New Zealand, but New Zealand might be too beautiful as a place for banishment.
From Paul Rudovsky: ..It seems very clear that the cameraman was absolutely wrong for taking a shot at close range while Tiger was at address or setting up for address.
From John Weimer in North Carolina: Ive heard from people who worked the Wachovia that he (Williams) was someone you just wanted to avoid.
From Jessey Lopez: ..This guy (Williams) is getting out of hand and it makes Tiger look bad..he could lose a lot of fans that otherwise pull for him every time hes on the course.
From Dave Bryden in Wyoming: ..Cut him (Williams) some slack. Taking responsibility for his bosss well-being may not be his sole responsibility but there is nothing wrong with showing a little strength or being forceful in the heat of the moment. What would you do if a FAN was a problem in your office?
From John J. Kane: ..His (Williams) behavior is childish and sullen.
I do not condone violence and certainly dont see any place for fisticuffs on the golf course. But this final selected E-mail, from Ken Alfrey, is my favorite because of the uncompromising way he looks at the issue from both sides.
From Ken Alfrey: I would hope that I was never thoughtless enough to click a camera during a players backswing, and Steve Williams is to be commended for protecting his meal ticket boss. However, if he were to demand the surrender of my camera on his say so, he would find himself wearing my fist on his nose.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
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."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
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.'"
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."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
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."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
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.