Henry honors victims of Connecticut shooting

By Doug FergusonJanuary 4, 2013, 6:29 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii – J.J. Henry slipped on a white golf cap that prompted questions because of the four letters stretched across the front. That was the whole idea.

S.H.E.S.

Perhaps it was only fitting that Henry wore the cap during the pro-am round Thursday at the Tournament of Champions, for it was the same day some 400 students who survived the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School returned to classes at a different school building in a neighboring Connecticut town.

''A couple people have asked what the letters stand for, and a few others have figured it out,'' Henry said after stepping out of the rain at Kapalua. ''It's a way to help remember and think about the families.''

And what better PGA Tour winner to wear the cap than Henry.

He grew up in Fairfield, Conn., about 20 miles south of Newtown. His aunt lived for years around the corner from Sandy Hook Elementary. Henry remembers when his middle school basketball team played games at Chalk Hill, where the Sandy Hook students now go to school.

Henry doesn't know any of the families in Newtown, but he considers them neighbors. He carries the Connecticut flag on the PGA Tour, and the connection is strong.

''This is just a way to honor those families. And growing up there ... to have something happen like it did, you're almost at a loss for words,'' said Henry, a three-time Connecticut State Amateur champion. ''Being the first tournament of the year, in a beautiful place like Hawaii, a lot of those people are cooped up in their houses in freezing cold or snow. If they happen to be a golf fan and see it, maybe that could say that all PGA Tour players are thinking about them.''

It's a small gesture that Henry hopes can grow into something much bigger.

Henry is wearing ''S.H.E.S'' in bold, black letters across the front of his cap only for the PGA Tour season-opener, which began Friday and will be broadcast on Golf Channel. On Sunday, there's a three-hour broadcast window on NBC Sports.

He'd planning another recognition and remembrance, which he expects it will involve more people. Already this week, he received an email from Nathan Grube, the tournament director of the Travelers Championship in Hartford, Conn., about what they can do.

The PGA Tour also is waiting for plans to unfold, with Travelers taking the lead as the Tour's only stop in Connecticut. Henry, who went to school at TCU and lives in Fort Worth, Texas, already has the ''Henry House Foundation'' that targets children, and he has a special skybox at the Colonial. He is thinking about another skybox specifically for the families of Sandy Hook this summer at the Travelers Championship.

Perhaps they can raise enough money to one day rebuild Sandy Hook.

''It's a small state, but they love their golf,'' Henry said.

Henry's first PGA Tour win was in Hartford in 2006, and he qualified for the Tournament of Champions by winning the Reno-Tahoe Open last year. He is starting his 13th year on the PGA Tour, a career that includes one Ryder Cup appearance in 2006.

''People know who I am in Connecticut,'' Henry said. ''If I happen to get on TV and hit some good shots, and if Golf Channel talks about it ... it's not about me,'' he said. ''I just wanted to do something as someone who grew up there and went to those schools. If Golf Channel can talk about the whole PGA Tour family, we all feel the same way. I think that's what we're all after.''

Henry did not want the week to go by without raising awareness that 20 first-grade students, along with six educators, were slain Dec. 14 by a gunman on a day that shook the country.

Henry was home in Texas when he heard the news. The shootings happened so close to where he grew up and where his parents still live, it reached a point where he had a hard time turning on the news.

''It's almost hard to talk about,'' he said.

Henry has an endorsement deal with TaylorMade, though that doesn't include the front of his hat, one of the most visible billboards among golfers. He is completing a corporate deal for that space, but in the meantime, he thought it would be appropriate to do something - anything - so that Sandy Hook would not be forgotten.


SNEDEKER BONUS: Brandt Snedeker has earned just over $10 million in his last three years on the PGA Tour, and he collected a $10 million bonus last September when he captured the FedEx Cup. He lives modestly in Nashville, Tenn., and is not one who gets too wrapped up in money.

The FedEx Cup was an exception, but only for a second. He received $9 million up front, with $1 million deferred.

''Put it this way,'' Snedeker said. ''I never check my bank account statements, and that was the first time I've checked it.''

But whatever he spends isn't for him. Snedeker has created the Brandt and Mandy Snedeker Foundation geared toward helping children in the Nashville area. He already has made a couple of donations, and is looking for ways to use the foundation to channel more of his money.

As for himself?

still drives the same car and doesn't plan to get another one. He doesn't plan to do much of anything with his big windfall, except to donate to charities.

''The way I look at it is I play golf for a living,'' he said. ''I'm not smart enough to play golf and manage my own money. There's a bunch of people out there a lot smarter than I am, who can do a lot better than I can. So why not find them and make sure they know what they're doing.''


MUSINGS: Hyundai clients had the first two choices for the Thursday pro-am at the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. The first pick was Rickie Fowler, not surprising given his popularity. The second choice of a player was John Huh, the South Korean who was the only rookie last year to reach the Tour Championship. ... Steve Stricker would not lose much by playing no more than 10 tournaments this year. Even though the PGA Tour requires a minimum of 15 events for its members, if Stricker were to fall short of that he would only lose his voting rights for the 2014 season, meaning he would not be able to vote for Player of the Year, as an example. Stricker also said some of the deferred income from his FedEx Cup bonuses would kick in if he doesn't play the minimum 15 events. He didn't seem overly bothered. Asked if there were any negatives on his plan to go into semi-retirement, Stricker said, ''I can't think of any.''

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.