Scott Masingill Goes Nuts
Not many casual observers know who Scott Masingill is.
My plan tomorrow will be to just go to the first tee and take it one shot at a time and not look ahead too much, Masingill said late Sunday.
I know Masingill for what he really is.
Masingill is a golf nut. Certified. Card-carrying.
I know this because I wrote the book. Actually I co-wrote the book'titled Golf Nuts, Youve Got To Be Committed.--back in 2002, with Ron Garland.
Garland is the head of The Golf Nuts Society. Masingills member number is #0047. And, Garland concedes, hes probably the best player in the asylum.er.society.
On page 33 of the book, Masingill is quoted as saying: I knew I had the right society the minute I read the entrance exam. All of the things that I was thinking that bordered on insanity were down in black and white. I felt like someone had gotten into the recesses of my brain and picked out the information. I was hooked on the society at that moment.
And now Masingill is about to be turned loose on the Champions Tour. Look out Dana Quigley. Golf Nuts make your passion for the game look like a mild interest.
Masingill is something of an ex-urban legend in his home state of Idaho and he respects Garland, the self-anointed Head Nut, almost as much as Garland respects him. Garland changes equipment more than I change underwear, Masingill said in the book. In Idaho that is once a week. He also changes his swing every day and looks the same as it did in 1980. Perfect.
According to Garland, years ago when Masingill was informed he needed corrective surgery on his wrists, he flew to Los Angeles and directed famed orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Robert Kerlan, to design and rebuild his wrists specifically for golf.
This was Masingills fifth trip to Champions Tour Q School. His previous best finish was a tie for 30th two years ago.
Now the hopes and dreams of an entire society are resting on his shoulders.
My guess is that anybody who has gotten this far into this column has a little golf nut in them.
In the preface to the book I wrote, Caddyshack (the movie) captured something all of us in golf knew existed but hadnt figured out how to express, This book about the Golf Nuts Society is a similar attempt. It is an attempt to be good at what it is trying to do. And it is an attempt to show the people who love golf to a fault that they really arent so strange after all. The golf nuts you will read about in this book exist in the sports twilight zone. But are they so very different in their passions for the game than you and me?
Part of the idea of the society and the book was to show the world that being a golf nut didnt have to mean you stood around in bad pants telling worse jokes.
Scott Masingill can flat play. Garland was a former state amateur champion in Oregon. Michael Jordan is a member of the Golf Nuts Society. Yes, THAT Michael Jordan.
Now that the heavy lifting appears to be over for Masingill, my only advice is this: Change your underwear more than once a week. There might even be a Fruit of the Loom endorsement deal in this for you.
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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.
Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta
Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.
The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.
It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.
"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."
Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.
Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.
"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."