In Support of Compton

By Brian HewittNovember 21, 2008, 5:00 pm
The Comebacker begins this edition with a sampling of the heavy dose of Erik Compton e-mails. Compton, in case youve been ice-fishing outside of Reykjavik, last Saturday missed advancing to Q-Schools final stage by one agonizing shot.
He has had two heart transplants but, at the moment, has no status on the PGA or Nationwide Tours. He isnt even sure if he will be able to find health insurance for all of 2008. And the medical bills are mounting, not to mention that his wife is pregnant with their first child.
So, without further ado:
Ray writes: Our hearts are clenching for him. Is there nothing that we can do to help some kind of fund? He needs his medicine, and his health insurance, both for himself and his pregnant wife. We are praying. But is there anything else we can do?
The Comebacker
Keep praying. And maybe a benefactor will get word of Comptons plight. Its interesting to note that there is concern that Tour players might not get courtesy cars at every stop next year while Erik Compton might not get the anti-rejection heart meds he needs to keep himself alive.

Lynn writes: Someone needs to get out there and help him. Give him exemptions to play and somehow help pay his insurance. I would watch someone like him over all of the egos that are out there now. There are enough players out there making a lot of money and instead of spending it on big houses and cars they can help one of (their) fellow players.
The Comebacker
There is no shortage of worthwhile causes in the world, especially in this economy. But if the Tour players want to take care of one of their own kind, they could do worse than starting with Compton.

Terry writes: As we each go through our own life challenges, and Erik Compton's makes most of ours seem like small potatoes, there are two quotes on my office wall that help guide me. The first is a card with the following quote: A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn. Erik Compton has made the turn in a big way. I trust he will win at every stage of life; he has already qualified. The second quote is the classic from Sir Winston Churchill: Never, Never, Never give up. Erik Compton is a winner no matter what criteria you are using; he just happens to be one stoke short on this opportunity.
The Comebacker
Of all the stories The Comebacker rooted for this year, Compton was at the top of the list.

Dave writes: It should be no surprise to anyone about the withdrawal of the (courtesy) cars. This is the first of more to come. Nobody and I do mean nobody in the paying audience of the golf tournament wants to hear one peep of complaint from the players. I would hope that many of the Tour players are at times a bit embarrassed by the treatment they get. If they aren't, then shame on them. Many perks I'm sure are way over the top. The once revered Wachovia Championship appears to be headed for something closer to the John Deere Classic after 2010 when the contract is up. Snap back to reality boys ' it will not and should not be the same. It's time to start worrying about the health of the (T)our and WAY less about each player. If the prize money is there, then the players should play. If they don't play or complain about the perks, then as a player, be prepared to duck! And while they're at it, maybe they could take a few pointers from what the LPGA is doing to improve their (t)our. The objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.
The Comebacker
There will be a reckoning in 2009. The only question is how big it will be. But, meanwhile, the biggest adjustment will be made by the big stars under the age of 30. Those are the guys who have never known it any other way: Courtesy cars; on-site dry cleaning etc. etc. Dave is right. Nobody is going to want to hear a peep.

Roger writes: Phil, It was great to see you in Singapore last week at the Barclays Singapore Open. I suspect you were well treated, and didnt hear any idiots shouting in the hole. Im sure you will agree that the courses too are as good as others anywhere in the USA or Europe. So whats my point? Why was it only you here representing the USA? Ok, so I know you are sponsored by Barclays, but surely some of your friends on the PGA Tour must be at least a little bit intrigued by what its like over here? Why dont you ask a few of your fellow PGA Tour stars to join you next time you come, or even suggest they make their own way here? We watch the PGA Tour on the Golf Channel, and enjoy the golf, but we never get to see you live in action, and you never get to see the other side of the world, which in all probability is where the future of the game lies. Or is it all just about the money?
The Comebacker
Roger, I still dont get your point. How is it Phil Mickelsons fault that other golfers didnt play in Singapore? And, sorry pal, but the golf courses in Asia are not as good as others anywhere in the USA or Europe.

Gerry writes: The sweetest sound I remember, if regretfully gone forever, was the sound of a squarely struck persimmon driver on a wound balata ball. That was true feedback. The oversized, high MOI titanium tennis rackets we play with today make the same annoying metallic bplink (and produce consistent results) regardless of where on the face contact is made.
The Comebacker
How do I pronounce bplink?

Emmitt writes: In terms of Tiger not playing much in Texas, I was always of the opinion that the PGA Tour insists these guys play a 'regular' tour event at least once in five years (see LPGA). With the situation with the economy on a roller-coaster ride, which will not slow down for awhile and will reverberate throughout the world of sport, including golf, studs like Tiger, Phil, Sergio and Anthony Kim should be asked (forced) to support some of the lesser-known tournaments which may not survive this latest crash.
The Comebacker
This mandatory rotation rule is an idea whose time may come very soon on the PGA Tour.

Charles writes: My pet peeve is the guys who will grab the flagstick and stand next to the hole while you are trying to make a 2-3-foot putt. It invariably causes the player putting to hurry the putt. The guys I play with are now all well trained and I have quit being nice and told them to move. Along the same line some players will stand back but still within your vision circle and then will begin to move towards the hole when you begin your back swing. Thanks for letting me vent and I feel better already.
The Comebacker
Comebacker loves those pet peeves.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

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Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.


Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”

Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)

Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”