Caddies Giants jerseys in honor of San Francisco

By Doug FergusonOctober 8, 2009, 4:36 am
Presidents Cup

SAN FRANCISCO – The American caddies endeared themselves to the gallery at Harding Park on the final day of practice by wearing San Francisco Giants jerseys with their players’ name stitched on the back.

Fittingly, the caddie for Tiger Woods wore No. 24.

Not surprisingly, Steve Williams had never even heard of a guy named Willie Mays.

“I told you I don’t know him,” Williams said. “Your job is to tell me who he is.”

Williams made no apologies for not being aware of one of baseball’s greatest players.

“That’s probably the one sport I have never followed,” he said. “I don’t watch ESPN, and I don’t know anything about baseball.”

The idea came from John Wood, the caddie for Hunter Mahan who grew up in Sacramento and is a huge Giants fan. Since he couldn’t get them playoff tickets this week, he arranged for the jerseys.

The jerseys will be auctioned off for charity.

Steve Stricker’s caddie wore No. 25 – Barry Bonds – which was a peculiar choice since most didn’t see any similarities between baseball’s all-time home run leader and Stricker, whose game is built around the shortest club in the bag. And it most likely had nothing to do with their personalities.

Even more peculiar was Justin Leonard’s caddie wearing No. 44 – slugger Willie McCovey.

Phil Mickelson’s man went with No. 51 – Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Lest anyone forget, Mickelson tried out for a Triple A baseball team as a pitcher in 2003.

“Mickelson thinks he can pitch, but that’s not the case,” Mahan said with a laugh. “They’re both lefties (Mickelson actually throws right), but Phil thinks he can do everything. He can’t pitch for nothing.”

Wood, meanwhile, took No. 22. The caddie has always been a Will Clark fan, and one of the highlights as a caddie came in 2006, when Clark played in the pro-am at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans and Wood caddied for him.

Well, he was supposed to caddie for him. Just his luck, the pro-am was rained out.

O’HAIR’S SHRINKING WALLET: Sean O’Hair apparently didn’t learn his lesson.

He warmed up for the Tour Championship by playing six days with his buddies in Philadelphia, conceding that he lost a lot of money by giving too many strokes to one of the better players.

O’Hair played against Michael Jordan on Monday with a similar result.

“I’ve lost a lot of money to him,” O’Hair said. “I’m probably the only player in the history of golf that it has actually cost money to play in this event.”

O’Hair gave him 12 shots because Jordan claims an 8 handicap, “which was the biggest crock I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”

“He won the bets on the first hole, let’s just put it that way,” O’Hair said. “He’s a good player, though.”

O’Hair considers it money well-spent, considering it meant time spending time with Jordan. The basketball great talked to O’Hair about believing in himself, and carried that into Tuesday’s formal practice round when they bet on various putts O’Hair had to make.

He lost most of those bets, too.

“I would take him over any psychologist,” O’Hair said. “It’s been a lot of fun. To me, it’s worth the money. It’s a memory that I’ll have for the rest of my life, and I’ll be telling my grandkids about it. It’s been a lot of fun the last couple of days.”

BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY: Adam Scott might have been the biggest surprise among captain’s pick as the Australian endures the worst slump of his career, so bad that he didn’t make past the first round of the PGA Tour Playoffs.

If nothing else, he comes to the Presidents Cup prepared.

“I’ve been working my (tail) off for three weeks trying to get my game as good as I possibly can,” Scott said. “And it was solid last week. I wish it was 100 percent this week, but it was really something good to come into here with some solid stuff and not erratic golf like I have been playing.”

Scott played at Turning Stone last week and tied for 35th at 8-under 280. It was his best result on the PGA Tour since a tie for 33rd in the Accenture Match Play Championship – that’s a first-round exit – and the best in stroke play since he was a runner-up at the Sony Open in January. Scott also tied for fourth in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond this summer.

There was some thinking that Scott being picked would motivate him. He dismissed that quickly.

“I didn’t need a kick in the pants to work hard,” he said. “I’ve never worked harder in my life than this year. But certainly, it gave me a big confidence boost just to get on the team.”

NO AMY: The American wives sat together during the opening ceremony, minus a familiar face.

Amy Mickelson was not at Harding Park as she recovers from breast cancer. It will be the first Presidents Cup she has missed.

Asked if he would appear this week, Mickelson said, “It’s possible, but unlikely.”

LONG TRIP: Ernie Els wins the award for longest trip to Harding Park.

True, Ryo Ishikawa came over from Japan. Els took an even longer route by going from Atlanta (Tour Championship) to Scotland for the Dunhill Championship last week, a tournament that ended on Monday because it was delayed by high wind. Els left Scotland on Monday for Florida to pick up his wife, Liezl, and made it to San Francisco in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

Els abandoned his foursomes practice round with Adam Scott on the 14th hole.

“Yesterday I was fine,” he said. “Today … we played alternate shot, so it wasn’t too much work for me. I feel a bit down today, a little tired. But I slept a lot. I mean, it was about a 12 1/2 -hour flight. Slept most of the way.”

DIVOTS: Robert Allenby and Vijay Singh have combined to play in 43 team matches at the Presidents Cup. This will be the first time they have played together. … Among those following Tiger Woods’ group during the practice round were the parents of Michelle Wie, who now live in Los Altos as their daughter goes to Stanford. Wie is in Copenhagen until Saturday helping with golf’s bid to get in the Olympics. … Steve Stricker will be Woods’ eighth partner in the Presidents Cup. That list includes John Huston.

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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