Price Was Tiger Before Tiger was Tiger

By George WhiteOctober 2, 2001, 4:00 pm
So there was Nick Price, in a place where he really wasnt expected. He was in the press room a couple of weeks ago in the Marconi Pennsylvania Open after shooting a first-round 66. Where has a comfy old pal like Nicholas been, anyway?
Price was the name on everyones lips for four years or so, beginning in 1991. The headline was used so much that it became a bothersome clich ' Price Is Right. Nick had seen it, too ' I saw it so much that I felt like Bob Barker, he said.
It was sometime in 1995, however, when Price sort of faded from constant memory. For one thing, he won only twice more, and not once since 1998. For another, this kid named Tiger Woods came along. Need I say more?
Price was the last Tiger Woods before the real Tiger Woods came around. He and Woods won the same amount of tournaments in the 90s ' 15. Its just that Price did his at the front of the decade and Tiger the last. Tiger, of course, will probably continue his run for a couple of more decades, while Nick has probably won the majority of his by now.
So Nick Price wasnt the flavor of the month anymore when he took the first-round lead in Pennsylvania. And he still wasnt when he followed his 66 with a 71, a 68 and a 69 to finish fifth. He was a veteran whose best days were probably behind him, instead of a youngster whose prime is still the years ahead.
When you get older, you see, things like lack of wins is very irritating. You can get by on high finishes when you are younger. When you are older, its a win or its nothing.
I think what happens when you get a little bit older, your tolerance level of substandard play diminishes, he explained.
When youre younger and you get out here, youll chop it around for nine, ten holes and try your tail off; in fact, for four rounds. But when you get a little older, its so much harder to do that. When youve been doing that for 25 years, it gets a little old.
Price is still a money machine ' last year he won $1.8 million, his most ever, more even than 1994 when he won six times. He had two seconds and three thirds, but no victories. And when the first round rolled around recently in Pennsylvania, he talked about the improvement in ' his putting?

Price would appear to be a very steady putter. He stands 58th on the list this year, which is not a great position, but when you consider the PGA Tour ranks more than 200 players, he is well up in the better half.
Anyway, he wasnt happy with the putting. So, he got out a few tapes of tournaments he had won during the streaking years ' the British Open in 94, Hartford in 93, the Players Championship in 93 ' and made a couple of notes.
What I noticed more than anything else was that my right knee was so still when I putted well, he said. Theres always that thing ' youre peeking, you have to have a look.
But you can have a look and still keep your lower half still. I watched a lot of good putters on the putting green the last couple of weeks, and thats one thing that I didnt do consistently enough that they do.
Price has always been one of the outstanding iron players, but his putting trips him up just often enough that he no longer is a consistent big winner. And he doesnt hit it far enough to allow him to consistently chew up the par-5s. But he will always be around the big money because those irons are so consistently accurate.
Nick got married rather late, at age 30, and consequently his children are still young (ages 10, eight and five.) Price himself didnt blossom until he was 35, when won four times on the Tour. But theres a light that is beckoning out there, and its steadily coming closer.
When you get to be 44, theres not much to look forward to in golf, except the Senior Tour, he said. And unless his skills drop off dramatically, he is going to have his own way with the Seniors for a few years.
His putting is plenty good enough to win amongst the elders, regardless of what he says about going back and looking at the old Nick Price. Just dont mention the broomstick.
Anyone thats been through the putting wars, its me, he laughed. And I refuse to go to long putter. Im keeping that in reserve for the Senior Tour.
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.