The Classic Club - Palm Springs Calif

By January 16, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicThis week the PGA TOUR returns to Palm Springs, Calif., for the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Some recent rain has helped the area recover from unusually cold temperatures in December that included 24 days of frost, and all four host golf courses report that their greens are in great shape.
GCSAA Class A member Geoff Sanders, director of agronomy at The Classic Club , has made several small changes to throughout the course to make it more playable. The eighth hole will be played as No. 1 for the event, the seventh will be No. 2, and the first through sixth will play 3-8. Sanders has made the following changes to The Classic Club (listed by tournament hole):
  • 1 - shifted the tees to the right, cleared out some trees and widened the fairway
  • 2 - reduced a fairway bunker, widened both the landing area and approach, re-contoured green
  • 5 - added a bunker in front of the left side of the green and widened the approach
  • 6 - removed a landing area bunker and widened the fairway
  • 10 - widened the left of the fairway
  • 11 - re-contoured the green and added a bunker on the left side of the green
  • 13 - widened fairway and re-contoured green
  • 16 - reduced fairway bunker, widened fairway, shifted greenside bunker, widened approach and re-contoured green
  • 18 - removed three fairway bunkers and widened fairway.
    GCSAA Class A member Dean Miller, director of agronomy at PGA West, which will host a share of the event on its Palmer Course, has renovated all the bunkers, putting in new drainage and new sand, which will be a little softer and looser, and therefore decrease the spin on sand shots. Miller explains that depending on the wind, the par 3, 215-yard over water No. 5 can be one of the toughest holes on course.
    Tim Putnam, GCSAA Class A golf course superintendent at LaQuinta Country Club, hasn't made any changes to the course this year, but emphasizes the need for accuracy as it is tight off tee, with small, slightly-elevated and well-bunkered greens. He says the back nine is usually a shot tougher than front side with a pair of stout par 4s and two par 3s with tough targets to hit. La Quinta has a benign appearance, but has always rated the toughest among the four host courses in scoring average (except last year when high winds at The Classic Club on the final day caused scores to skyrocket).
    Willie Lopez, GCSAA Class A superintendent at SilverRock Resort, explains that SilverRock is a long, desert-style course with severely undulating greens and many bunkers of various styles, including large, steep walls, and fingers. No. 17 is the signature hole, sitting right against the mountains. This is SilverRock's first year co-hosting the event and Lopez says that the only changes made to the course in preparation for it were the conversion of a few waste bunkers to normal sand bunkers and some added plant material to some of the native areas on the golf course.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.