Whats Up Holmes

By Brian HewittFebruary 8, 2006, 5:00 pm
Or should that headline, as one E-mailer suggested, be Sweet Holmes Arizona?
Anyway, the people who manage the exploding career of J.B. Holmes gave him three numbers to savor moments after he woke up Monday morning, just hours after winning the FBR Open in Arizona.
They were: Four, Nine and 77.
Four, Holmes was told, was where he now stood on the current 2006 PGA Tour money list. Nine was where he now stood on the current American Ryder Cup points list. Seventy-seven was where he now was listed on the World Golf Rankings'down from 464.
Really? Holmes blinked.
To be sure it was heady stuff for the 23-year-old prodigy from Kentucky.
On the other hand, the 23-year-old prodigy from Kentucky does not lack for a certain confidence. When he tied for 28th at the Buick Invitational recently he told his agent, Terry Reilly, he had played terrible. When he tied for 10th at the Sony Open Holmes said he played O.K.
So far, though, it appears to be a confidence that stops well short of arrogance. Holmes was tired Monday morning after beating a field that included Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh by seven shots. And he was glad that he was on a private jet bound for Alabama.
Thats where he planned to hang out this week with his sister who is in veterinary school at Auburn. His parents would be joining him. And a few of his best buddies.
Then J. B. Holmes, the newest next big thing in golf (can it be that Bubba Watson is yesterdays news already?) will double back to the west and tee it up in the Nissan Open at storied Riviera.
Holmes vs. Woods in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play championship the week after Riviera would have been a delicious thought. But it wont happen.
The cut-off for eligibility for the match play is this weeks tournament at Pebble Beach. Even if Holmes were to win his second straight event at Riviera, it would be too late to qualify for La Costa.
A duel between Woods and Holmes will have to wait for another stage. Holmes, for his part, will be ready.
Deep down, says Reilly of Holmes, hes a ham.
But hes a pretty serious young ham. On the eve of the final round of last years Q-School Holmes and his parents discovered that Reilly, a Roman Catholic, would be attending an evening mass because he hadnt been able to get away from the tournament in the A.M. Holmes and his parents, non-Catholics, asked Reilly if he minded if they went along with him to church. He didnt. So they did.
Holmes management company also represents John Daly. The similarities and the dissimilarities between the two are so obvious as to be not worth noting. Whats more interesting is that Daly and Holmes have never met.
Dont be surprised to see a clamor at Riviera if Daly and Holmes play a practice round together. Dont be surprised also to see a lot of cameras on the golf course the first time Holmes and Bubba Watson play a round of golf together either. That hasnt happened yet either.
But J.B. Holmes has happened. In a big way.
My favorite headline remains: Holmes Sweet Holmes.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.