McGwire At Home Playing Golf for Kicks
Every time I hear of some middle-aged hot shot talk about maybe giving the Senior Tour a whirl, I think of Mark McGwire.
McGwire, I think, is just about the most accomplished amateur that Ive seen. But he will be the first to admit that he is far from adroit enough to try out for the Champions Tour.
McGwire competed in the ADT Skills Challenge which will be aired starting on Christmas Day. Last year, he got hot and won the whole flippin thing! Greg Norman, Peter Jacobsen they all praised McGwire long and loud. McGwire took their praise in stride, said, Thank you very much, and ducked back into his home in California. Mark McGwire has been around athletics long enough to know that every dog ' and every athlete ' has his day occasionally.
I had a really great time. These guys are great and they make me feel welcome, McGwire said. I had another great time with professional golfers.
These days, he is a father to two infant children, which has cut his playing time on the Irvine, Cal., course on which he lives to 18 holes a week. However, he confesses that he handles his clubs much more than once a week. Ill go down and hit balls, mess around, do something pretty much every day, he said.
Nick Faldo was sitting nearby and overheard the remark. Youre playing more than me! he said in mock disbelief.
He spent his pro career, of course, slugging home runs, not chasing errant drives. Throughout his young life, though, he played golf. I had a golf club in my hand at five years old, he said. I played baseball in high school and played on the golf team. Ended up winning a tournament, too.
But when my baseball career first started, I touched a club probably for five years, played a little bit on the road. But basically, the last seven years of my (baseball) career, I didnt touch a club because of my back.
Jacobsen is convinced McGwire could have become a tour player if he had decided to go into golf professionally instead of baseball.
Technically, hes got an excellent golf swing. Hes got a great short game, great touch. And I told him last year when he won this thing, if he put three or four years into it, played a lot of tournaments, he could play professional golf and do well, said Jake.
McGwire isnt so sure that he would have had the same success in golf. He always believed that hitting a baseball, and particularly hitting a home run, was most difficult single skill in sports. But now he wonders if golf isnt a tougher sport.
Being competitive in golf last summer, just playing the amateur stuff, I think the sport of golf is more difficult ' just because golf can expose you in a heartbeat, whereas baseball you can get away with something. If you hit a baseball right or left ' base hit. In golf, youre in trouble.
One thing about these guys ' they know how to keep their misses in front of them and they know how to get up and down. Baseball is hard itself, but I think golf is just a little bit tougher.
In other words, the gents who think they are tailor-made for the older tour had better think long and hard about their chance of success. If Mark McGwire doesnt think he could make it, nobody can. But its a sport he can enjoy the rest of his life. You think Hank Aaron sits around in retirement and hits baseballs for a few laughs?
Its just something you can play at any age, agreed McGwire, who now plays to scratch. Theres always something to work on, and the great thing about is, you dont have to have anybody else to work on your game. If you want to, you can go down to a park and hit balls.
McGwire hits a lot of them. But he keeps the pleasure of seeing them rocket out of sight to himself. The Champions Tour will have to be left to those who have already been champions in golf.
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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8
Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.
Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.
Walking in the par putt at No. 2. pic.twitter.com/zuSGZmVL3z— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 18, 2018
A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.
A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.
Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.
Tiger gets it to 9-under.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 18, 2018
He's 4 shots back. pic.twitter.com/cAZtM14SlJ
Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.
Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.
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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course
ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.
McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.
“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”
This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.
A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.
McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.
“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”
As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.
“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”
Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders
PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.
She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.
Her confidence is high.
“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”
Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.
Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.
“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”
Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.
“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”
Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.
“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”
That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.