Walrus Gets Emotional Over Baby Walrus

By George WhiteDecember 8, 2003, 5:00 pm
Craig Stadler was being tender, as tender as a Walrus can be. At his side was the Baby Walrus ' 23-year-old Kevin, who is the spitting image of his dad. Both were at the Father/Son tournament in Orlando, and when the conversation turned to the dynamics between the two, Craig got a little ' well, sentimental.
Kevin, too, plays golf. Plays it pretty well, too. He played at the University of Southern California, the same place his dad spent his college days. The Walrus joked a little about junior, but obviously there was a lot of truth in between the punch lines. The question ' how much advice had dad given over the years ' advice about golf and Kevins possible attempt at golf as a career?
Theres been a lot probably given I dont know how much has been heard, said poppa with a belly laugh. Pretty much in one ear and out the other. Then I just kind of bagged it for three years. Everything I said kind of set him off a little bit ' which was fine.
Kevin, you see, was going through the stage that kids the world over go through - that stage where parents ' um, dont seem to know too much. In the Stadler household, this was business as usual, and mom and pop have waited patiently for Kevin to come out of this particular stage of maturation.
The last three years, Walrus said, I havent said a whole lot. If he asks me, then Ill chime in. But hes got his own people he works with. I dont know a damn thing about the golf swing and Ill be the first person to admit it.
Kevin is not an uppity kid, not a mouthy kid, not a cocky kid. Around the older set, he seems quite polite. All the while, as dad was talking, Kevin sat still. But Father Stadler wasnt yet finished.
Ive pretty much left both the kids alone their entire life, said Stadler. They pretty much can do what they want to do, go about their own pace about it - I never pushed them with anything.
I think the younger one, Chris, is still deciding what to do. I think my buddy here next to me is at a time in his life where he needs some pushing. Hes facing decisions on what hes going to do ' whether to improve his golf game and work at it. He plays great at times, and not very good at times.
The Walrus was sincere now. Gone was the joking demeanor. He addressed the questioner ' but the answer was directed at Kevin.
Ive told him over the years, I think its one of the toughest things to learn ' to convince yourself that you have the ability, you have the talent, and subconsciously, you know, you think about it
Stadler mixed his thoughts somewhat. He was talking now about what a good player does . When you go out and play good, you shoot 65, 66, 67. When you play poorly, you shoot 71 or 72. Thats the only way in pro golf youre going to make it. Theres a lot of guys who dont hit the ball very good, but they always score well.
Has Kevin learned that ' that some days you hit it well, some days you hit it lousy ' but you always find a way to score?
Kevin was a bit somber now. I thought Id done a pretty good job of it. but theres not as many low scores as there should be on days when I hit it well enough for it to be there. I dont know exactly where it is that that comes from, but Ive got to figure that out, he said.
The Old Man quickly realized he had been a bit tough. Kevin had been a good kid, Craig remembered. Even now, he is a good kid. Poppa quickly cut junior some slack.
I didnt mean you hadnt learned that ' youve gotten a lot better at it than five years ago, dad said hastily. Youve done a creditable job at it, but theres still berries there to fix. Theres a lot of areas in my golf game to fix, and there always will be. If you ever get perfect at it ' keep working!
Across the way, Bernhard Langer was talking about his son, 13-year-old Stefan, who was playing the 18th hole with his pro-am partners. Langer hasnt yet had to deal with the phenomena, of kids who know more than their parents. Stefan will eventually grow up and begin to question everything thats told him, as kids have done throughout history. For now, hes just a youngster who does as hes told and has a great father to teach him.
I would tell him that it is going to be very tough out here. You want to be really good. Its not a great job if youre just average or below-average - its a grind, said Langer.
So I want him to be aware of that. Hell see that as he matures ' hell see that in me, too.
Two different fathers, two different sons ' and the fathers love each with all the emotion that is within them. Its the intense struggle to get their offspring over that great hump that concerns both of them.
The Father/Son, you see, is so much more than just a golf game. Sometimes, its the game of life.
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

Getty Images

Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

Getty Images

DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

Getty Images

LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.