Torrey Pines Paging Dr Wie

By Brian HewittJanuary 23, 2008, 5:00 pm
The USGA, which already has said the first cut of rough will probably be less penal at its Torrey Pines South U.S. Open this June than it was at its Oakmont U.S. Open last June, has more good news for the players.
And before you get the idea that the USGA has gone all soft on us, heres a reminder from course set-up guy Mike Davis: This years U.S. Open will be able to play close to 400 yards longer (7,600 plus) than any previous U.S. Open. And we think, Davis said, that weather conditions will allow us to dial in the firmness pretty close to the way we want.
Its just that Davis still remembers the 1998 U.S. Senior Open staged at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles In July. At that championship the kikuyu grass greenside roughs were allowed to grow virtually unchecked. Hale Irwins winning score of 285 was the only over par winning score in the Senior Open in the last 16 years.
Kikuyu grass is very grabby. And as a result, said Davis who was at Riviera in 1998, it made the players, at times, look almost stupid around the greens. That blade of grass at that time of year is just too strong.
The greenside roughs at Torrey Pines are also primarily kikuyu. But Davis says the plan is to overseed and create a friendlier blend of ryegrass and kikuyu to give the players a fighting chance around the greens.
Greenside kikuyu at the Buick Invitational, played at Torrey Pines this week and at the Northern Trust Open, played at Riviera next month, isnt healthy enough in winter to present the kinds of problems it does later in the year.
The LPGA season begins Feb. 14-16 with the SBS Open followed by the Fields Open, both of which will be played in Hawaii.
Heres the twist:
Former World No. 1 Annika Sorenstam will probably play in both events, for the first time in her career. Current World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa will play in neither, for the first time in her career.
Sources say Ochoa wants to pay more attention to gearing her schedule around the four womens majors in 2008. Her first event of 2008 will be the HSBC Womens Championship in Singapore Feb. 28-Mar. 2.
The first LPGA major is the Kraft Nabisco Championship April 3-6.
Sorenstam is engaged to be married to Mike McGee. The wedding date is scheduled for some time in 2009. Word out of her camp is that she is healthy again and champing at the bit for the 2008 LPGA season to begin.
The latest domino to fall in the scheduling game that faces the Wie family has to do with Michelles father, B.J. Wie.
Thats Dr. Wie to you.
It is not widely known that B.J. Wie holds a PhD and is a faculty member of the University of Hawaiis School of Travel Industry Management. It is even less widely known that B.J. Wie is currently on what a school official recently termed unpaid personal leave.
The elder Wie, reported the school official, is expected to return to his teaching assignments by the beginning of fall semester, 2008.
That means, among other things, if Michelle returns to Stanford for the fall quarter later this year, she will be free from the watchful eye of both parents. Michelle Wies parents drew criticism from at least one Stanford official late last year when it was learned that her parents were living in off-campus quarters during the first term of her freshman year. One school employee referred to B.J. and Bo (Michelles mother) as helicopter parents because they were perceived to be hovering over their daughter.
Meanwhile, officials of the SBS Open are expected to announce, within days, what players will get sponsors exemptions to that tournament. A Wie representative did not immediately respond to a request on whether Michelle had applied for one of those exemptions.
Its not too early to start examining the years first bubble. The WGC-Accenture Match Play is just a month away and the scramble for invitations at the moment is a wild one.
The top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking get bids. Ernie Els, currently No. 5, already has said he will skip the event. So, barring other dropouts, that leaves anybody near No. 65 on the list hustling for his spot.
At the moment Colin Montgomerie is languishing at No. 65. Jonathan Byrd, Carl Pettersson and Sean OHair'all prominent players--are Nos. 67-69, respectively. Anthony Kim ranks 64th, Camilo Villegas 63rd and Daniel Chopra, who won earlier this month at Kapalua, is No. 61.
Invitations become official after the release of the world rankings on Monday Feb. 11.
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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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."

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    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.