The Boss Hopes to Roll in Seniors

By George WhiteMay 24, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Senior PGA ChampionshipEDMOND, Okla. -- For a long time this winter, Loren Roberts had an entirely different reputation from the one which had followed him for years on the PGA TOUR.
He opened the 2006 season with a rush, winning his first three events on the Champions Tour. All but forgotten was the rep of Roberts the putting wizard. He was rapidly becoming known, simply, as the best player on the senior circuit.
Loren Roberts won his first three events on the Champions Tour this season.
Thursday, as the Champions Tour begins its first major ' the Senior PGA Championship ' Roberts the Master Putter will be in the lineup once again. He hasnt quite been as hot as he was at the beginning of the season. But he is still that guy known as The Boss of the Moss.
The nickname, he recalls, was one hung on him at the 1994 U.S. Open ' one which he got into a playoff before finally losing ' by one David Ogrin. Roberts came into the locker room after firing a 65. He was talking to a couple of reporters when Ogrin, who used to play the PGA Tour, sauntered past.
He (Ogrin) used that term, Boss of the Moss, to describe me, and the next day it was in the papers. And it stuck all those years, said Roberts.
I dont mind the nickname. If youve got to be known as something ' and out here you tend to get nicknames a lot ' its about as good a name as you can get. If Im going to be known for something, I guess that (the putting) is as good as anything.
Since that opening three-tournament rush this year, Roberts has cooled off somewhat. He has played eight events on the Champions Tour over-all, and while he hasnt won again, he hasnt finished out of the top 10 yet. In his last outing, the Boeing Championship two weeks ago, he finished tied for third.
And, as befits his talents, he is the top-ranked putter on the Champions Tour.
I just feel fortunate that I can do one part of the game pretty well (putting), said Roberts, who is still ranked No. 1 on the Champions money ranking. I think guys who do well ' on either of the tours ' are guys who do one thing pretty well. I feel fortunate that Ive had a pretty good putter for a lot of years.
You know, an old adage is that if youre going to play a match against another twosome, youre going to pick a partner every time who maybe isnt the best ball-striker, but is a good putter.
Roberts probably picked up his putting skills when he was in his 20s and an assistant pro in a small California town. After the morning rush, he had nothing to do except make sandwiches for golfers making the nine-hole turn ' and putt. After many long, long hours of rolling the ball, he became quite proficient at it.
The way I do it (putting) is simply the way I do it, and its the way Ive been doing it for 25 years, he said. Obviously, I think vision plays a part in it. And Ive been real lucky in that I have very good eyesight, as opposed to some of the guys who have struggled a little bit. I still have 20-20 eyesight. I think your visual capability plays a very big part in it.
My whole key has been speed control, and I just feel that if you just focus on that aspect, you are never going to really putt badly. If you get on a green - no matter where you are ' and you dont two-putt, youre going to save a couple of shots a round.
In fact, Roberts says that has been the secret to his successful career ' keep the ball in play, manage to hit most of the greens, and then sneak in a long putt or two during a typical round.
If you can just make one long one a round, and make a 10-footer once or twice, you can shoot 4-under-par, he said. If you have proper speed control, youre never very far off.
Roberts, in his second season on the Champions Tour after coming in at mid-season last year, has played three times on the regular tour this year and made the cut twice. And yet, he said, the Champions Tour has become his main focus. Unlike a few others, the regular tour is just a diversion. He is still quite excited about this experience which is still quite new to him.
Its exciting to be out here, he said, because everything is new, I dont know what to expect. Youre kind of excited about seeing the golf courses, seeing the challenges and the like.
And, Ive enjoyed seeing guys that I really havent seen the last 5, 6, 8, 10 years. The community out here, the players, seems to be much tighter out here than the other tour.
And besides, this thing about Champions Tour majors has become a really big challenge. Give him the senior majors, give him a win in the Senior PGA Championship this week, and he will gladly give up the moniker Boss of the Moss.
The next two or three years are my big focus out here, to try to win those major championships, he said. Im excited about the courses were playing this year. Im really excited.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Sr. PGA Championship
  • TV Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.