Scott Matures Fujikawa Plans

By Brian HewittJanuary 18, 2007, 5:00 pm
Butch Harmon liked what he saw last November at East Lake when his pupil, Adam Scott, handled the moment of dealing with Vijay Singh in the final round en route to winning The TOUR Championship.

Harmon and Scott hooked up again two weeks ago in Hawaii at the Mercedes-Benz Championship to work more on Scotts game. This time Singh emerged victorious, but not before Scott took a serious Sunday run at the Big Fijian.

Adam Scott
Adam Scott has risen to No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
All of which was enough for Harmon to predict Scott will have a breakout year in 2007. He feels that way, too, Harmon said.

The clues are everywhere. The 26-year-old Scott tied for eighth in last years Open Championship and followed that up with a tie for third at the PGA Championship. Were just looking for more consistency, Harmon said.

Meanwhile, Harmon has begun working with Jason Gore. Gore dropped to No. 118 on the money list in 2006 after a terrific 2005 season.

He was lost last year, Harmon said of Gore.

Justin Leonard, another member of the Harmon stable, went from No. 12 on the money list in 2005 to No. 109 last year.

Harmon said Leonard had legitimate reasons. Leonards three children are aged 3 years, 22 months and six months. Now that domestic adjustments have been made, Harmon said, he expects Leonard to be back strong this season.

Finally, Harmon is also high on new student Nick Watney who had six top-10s in 2006.

Tadd Fujikawa is already thinking ahead to this summer. And the 5-1, 16-year-old Hawaiian isnt thinking small.

Fujikawa rallied the entire golf world behind him last week at the Sony Open when he became the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut at a PGA TOUR event.

Now, Fujikawa says his goal for 2007 is to win the U.S. Amateur. This, of course, is easier said than done. But Fujikawa wants to play in the Masters Tournament one day. And the quickest way for him to get to Augusta would be to automatically qualify by winning the U.S. Amateur, which will be played in August at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, sources say Fujikawa has decided he needs a full-time swing coach but hasnt selected one. Sources also say he has reluctantly told his high school golf teammates that he wont be playing on the team this year because of all the opportunities now in front of him. Among those, Golf Channel has reported, will be special exemption offers to play on the PGA TOUR in 2007.

Fujikawa also wants to return to the U.S. Open where he surfaced as a 15-year-old phenom last year at Winged Foot. Fujikawa qualified for that tournament out of the Hawaii sectional where one spot was available.

The USGA subsequently pulled the plug on the Hawaii sectional. That means any Hawaiian residents, who advance through local qualifying, will have to travel to the mainland to compete in a sectional.

Reminded of this Tuesday, Fujikawa said he was very disappointed about the USGA decision to make the Hawaii sectional go away.

By winning the Sony Open last week, Paul Goydos rocketed to No. 39 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Heady stuff.

If he remains in the top 64 through the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, scheduled to conclude Feb. 11, he will gain a berth in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship later next month.

Here are the names of a just few players Goydos finds himself ahead of in the rankings: Darren Clarke, Lucas Glover, Mike Weir, Thomas Bjorn, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Bart Bryant, Scott Verplank, Charles Howell III, J.J. Henry, Tom Lehman, J.B. Holmes, Fred Couples, Tim Herron, Sean OHair and Kenny Perry.

If Goydos remains in the top 50 as of March 26, nine days in advance of the Masters, he will get an automatic invitation to Augusta.

Goydos, who has battled injuries in recent years, hasnt played in any major championship since 2002.

There are 27 rookies on TOUR in 2007. There are 24 Australians on TOUR this year. The tallest player is 6-5 Jay Delsing. The shortest is 5-4 Gavin Coles..While winning at Sony last week, Goydos made 59 of 63 putts inside of 10 feet. Better yet, he sank six of 13 between 15 and 20 feet.

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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x