Memories of Payne Stewart Tigers favorite domain

By Doug FergusonAugust 10, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Robert Allenby checked in Monday at the PGA Championship, opened his blue locker at Hazeltine National and was surprised to see that someone had written on the inside panel with a felt pen.
It wasnt the words that jarred him, it was who wrote it.
Jim, thanks for the locker use, the note said. It was signed by Payne Stewart.
This must have been his locker when he won here in 91, Allenby said. It was pretty cool.
So cool, in fact, that Allenby took a picture of it with his cell phone.
Stewart won his first U.S. Open in 1991, taking advantage of two late bogeys by Scott Simpson to get into an 18-hole playoff. Stewart made only one birdie in the playoff, again rallying behind Simpsons mistakes.
The next time a major returned to Hazeltine, in 2002 for the PGA Championship, Stewart already was gone.
He won another U.S. Open in 1999 at Pinehurst No. 2, then died that October when his private plane from Florida to Dallas few uncontrolled across the country until it ran out of fuel and crashed in South Dakota.

NO LUMPY: The only PGA Tour player who lives in Minnesota will not be at the PGA Championship.
Tim Herron, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour in the midst of one of his worst seasons, did not qualify for what amounts to his only hometown event. This is only the fourth major Hazeltine has hosted, the first one played when Lil Lumpy was 4 months old in 1970.
Herron has only three finishes in the top 20 this year, the last two in his previous starts. He did not qualify through the money-based PGA points list, although he was the sixth alternate on Monday.
The PGA of America offered 35 special invitations to the 156-man field, mainly from the world ranking. It promotes this major as having the strongest field and tries to get everyone from the top 100. Herron is at No. 222.
The PGA did give spots to Darren Clarke, who was the highest-ranked player outside the top 100 and still a popular figure; former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, who grew up in Minnesota; Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin; and European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.
Why no Lumpy?
Performance, said Joe Steranka, the chief executive of the PGA.
He declined to say if the PGA had considered a spot for Herron, saying only that the association decided a decade ago to concentrate on picking quality courses and having the strongest field possible. He said the majority of its field comes from the PGA points list, which is money earned on the PGA Tour over the last year.

TIGERS DOMAIN: Tiger Woods won for a record seventh time at Firestone, although the debate rages on which course feels like home. Firestone or Torrey Pines?
Woods became the first player to win a PGA Tour event seven times on the same course. Sam Snead won the Greensboro Open eight times, although that alternated between different courses.
Someone asked Woods if he had ever won more on a single course, even as a kid. He couldnt think of one until another reporter pointed out that he won the Buick Invitational six times, plus the U.S. Open last summer at Torrey Pines.
That would be seven victories at PGA Tour-sanctioned events, one being a major. Woods didnt stop there, though.
Junior World, he said. Ha! Eight.
He won the Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines in 1991 at age 15.

PRESIDENTIAL FEELING: Robert Allenby has renewed optimism since changing his putting style, and the results paid off in more than a runner-up finish at the Bridgestone Invitational.
He moved up to No. 8 in the Presidents Cup standings for the International team, which is based on the world ranking. Behind him is Tim Clark and Rory Sabbatini at No. 10, and another decent week at the PGA Championship should sew up his first Presidents Cup appearance since the tie in South Africa in 2003.
That was one of my goals, to play well these two weeks to guarantee myself a spot in the top 10, Allenby said. I didnt want to have to rely on being a pick.
Missing from the International team is Adam Scott, who is having a difficult season and has fallen to No. 13.
I need a good week, Scott said. A really good week.
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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.