Every Days a Sunny Day With Jesper
Jesper will play in the Skins Game over Thanksgiving with Colin Montgomerie, Tiger Woods and Greg Norman ' whew, now theres a foursome! Jesper met the press recently via the telephone, and you could tell this was going to be a straight news conference. Of course, its hard to be anything but straight when the questions are all straight.
Yes, he said, he will be aggressive when the Skins is played. You will challenge most holes, and if you are out of the hole, it does not matter that much, he said. That is what makes it so unique, that you can go 110 percent on every shot and every hole.
Jesper, though, is the original free spirit on the tour. He lives life, well, unconventionally. He tries a number of antidotes and fixes that would be considered most unorthodox. He insists that he merely has an open mind and will try anything once. I tend to be just a little bit skeptical, but, hey ' he makes a million every year while I make a buck-29. So I am certainly not going to say hes grandstanding.
You know what Im talking about. The volcanic sand thing ' he spent a summer or two swallowing the granules that he bought specially-prepared. It was supposed to cleanse the system. There is so much stuff we would consider unnatural, but if someone of dubious authority recommends it, hes going to try it. Replacing the fillings in his teeth to alleviate the allergies; trying the new diet because someone peered deep into his eyes and told him he should; the unconventional advisors, including the Russian who claimed to have powers of ESP; the man who collected samples of Parneviks blood, then claimed to send healing frequencies over radio waves to reach Jesper; the eyeglasses equipped with flashing lights to help synchronize neural firings between the two hemispheres of the brain; and on and on, you get the picture.
What is not widely known among American audiences is that this man can really play. Arriving in the United States from his native Sweden in 1994, he has adapted remarkably well and just kept improving. He finished 120th on the money list that first year, then he got the hang of American-style golf and finished 84th, then 58th, then in 1997 he broke through all the way to 12th. This year, still recuperating from last years arthroscopic hip surgery, he finished 31st but still won a million and a half dollars.
Maybe its his fatherhood that has made him seem rather normal. He has three daughters now, each born roughly two years apart. They dont give out names right away in Sweden, so it took awhile for the girls to have proper monikers. But Peg came along first in 1995. Penny followed in 1997, followed by little Phillipa in 1999. The mom is named Mia, so forget her having a fondness for Ps in the name. Neither, for that fact, is Jesper.
Jesper is six feet tall and weighs just 175 pounds, so hes a rather angular fellow. And hes been wearing the clothes of a Swedish pal of his named J. Lindeberg. The fact that he looks like a pipe cleaner is beside the point. He has said goodbye to traditional colors and said hello to pinks, greens, different shades of red and all manner of blacks.
Expect to see something very Lindeberg-iun at the Skins. He has some great new outfits coming out next year, says Jesper. I am sure he will have something sorted out for me.
Hopefully, it will be pants and a shirt. Incidentally, he has Charles Howell wearing Lindeberg clothes, too. Howell is built along the same lines as Parnevik, except he is even skinnier ' 5-10 and just 158 pounds.
The Skins will be held in the Palm Springs area and Parnevik has won there already, at last year's Bob Hope. He also won under similar conditions at Phoenix. Theres something about golf in the desert that is a little linksy, says Parnevik, especially golf in the desert in late winter.
I am a links-type of player and it seems like those courses play like that, he said. You know, you can run the ball a lot and roll it up to the green. You have a lot of options. Some courses leave you one shot and that is pretty much it.
Jesper did his 25 minutes on the phone and left. When it was over, I thought of a hundred things I should have asked him. There isnt a better interview on the PGA Tour ' Parnevik is going to give you a forthright, honest answer, and theres always a little surprise somewhere in there.
Someday, of course, Jesper will be gone. Not this year or next year, but before you know it, golf fans will look around and notice hes missing. And when hes gone, Jesper says, you can just remember him this way ' I came, I saw, I yipped.
Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.
It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.
Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.
Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.
“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”
The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.
“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”
Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.
Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.
Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.
''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''
It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.
''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''
Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.
''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''
After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.
''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''
He's making his first start in the event.
''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.
Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.
''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''
Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.
''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.
The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.
''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''
Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.
''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.
Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.
Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.
John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.
Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years
Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.
He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.
How rare is his missing the cut there?
The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.
The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.
The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.
Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.
Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.