What Will 2007 Do Next

By Brian HewittJanuary 2, 2007, 5:00 pm
The New Year is just an infant. But already there is a tidal wave of buzz, expectation and anticipation.
(And speaking of infants..well.more on that in a few paragraphs)
Question, questions, questions. So many questions.
Like, Will the FedExCup gain traction?
Will The Golf Channel, (now, actually, named just Golf Channel) succeed wildly in its expanded role with the PGA TOUR? (My answer, by the way, is an enthusiastic, Yes. But journalistic ethics force me to recuse myself from the debate because I have a vested interest. So watch, wait, listen and decide for yourself.)
Will Annika and Lorena Ochoa (recently named APs Female Athlete of the Year) become our sports best rivalry at a time when Wie, Creamer and Pressel were supposed to become womens golfs big stories?
Will cocky-just-short-of-arrogant Anthony Kim turn out to be the Rookie of the Year on the PGA TOUR? Will Troy Matteson turn out to be as good as he looked at the end of 2006?
Will Tiger break Byron Nelsons streak of 11 straight PGA TOUR victories set more than 60 years ago? (Woods is currently at six and counting. His next expected start is the Buick Invitational).
What will Phil do next? (Amazing how often that question is relevant. HIS next expected start is Week Three.)
Will Stuart Appleby win his fourth straight Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua? (If he does, it will be a terrific story and take some of the sting out of Woods and Mickelson deciding to pass on one of the TOURs best events).
Will Michelle Wie win on the LPGA or make a cut on the PGA TOUR by the time she enrolls as a freshman at Stanford University next fall?
Will Wie eventually earn a degree at Stanford? (a goal, by the way, Woods never achieved'at least not yet).
Will a European man win a major championship? (The last do so was Paul Lawrie in 1999. Since then the Euros are a collective 0 for 29, or, if you prefer, 0 for the 21st century).
There is an interesting book, just out, entitled, Next Now: Trends for the Future. In it, authors Marian Salzman and Ira Matathia predict words that will soon become part of our pop culture.
USA Today columnist published a few recently. Adultescence occurs when young people are at a crossroads between autonomous living and relying on the parents.
Truth lite is the shoulder-shrugging way people shrink from accountability, cloud the truth and dance around the facts.
Brand sluts are defined as those who jump from brand to brand with no loyalty.
There are others.
What will the new pop culture words in golf become in 2007? Heres one:
Small Ball.'
A lot of TOUR players think Tiger plays better Small Ball than anybody else. They are referring to his short game.
There is nothing small about the rest of his game, his achievements or his influence in golf.
Which brings me to my prediction on what will be golfs biggest story in 2007:
Sorry to those of you who write all those E-mails protesting the alleged overexposure of Woods. But once again in 2007 Tiger Woods, on and off the course, will be the biggest story in golf.
And there is nothing truth lite about it.
Meanwhile, the big news of the moment is the announced pregnancy of Elin Nordegren, Woods wife. The Saturday announcement said Tigers wife is due with their first some time this summer. Congratulations are in order.
And so is an informal name-the-baby contest. For anybody whos interested, E-mail me what you think the babys name should be. Im looking for cute, smart and/or funny. But original counts, too. Include an explanation of no more than 10 words on why you picked the name you did. And I will re-print the best of the best in a column sometime in the near future.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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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 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.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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.