McGwire At Home Playing Golf for Kicks

By George WhiteDecember 24, 2004, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: Defending champion Mark McGwire competed in the ADT Skill Challenge in early December against Tour players including Annika Sorenstam, Nick Price and Nick Faldo. NBC will air the competition on Dec. 25 and 26.
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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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, 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.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

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 PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

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 Course 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. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

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.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

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.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.