Weiskopf - An Enigma

By George WhiteMay 27, 2002, 4:00 pm
Tom Weiskopf always was an enigma. At times brilliant with a golf club, at times so angry he was pitiful with it. At the Kemper, though, he was simply brilliant.
In the 1970s when the tournament was held at Charlotte, N.C., he virtually owned first place. He won for the first time in 1971, prevailing in a star-studded playoff with Gary Player, Lee Trevino and Dale Douglass. He had an easier time in 1973, winning a three-stroke victory over Lanny Wadkins. In 1976, he finished second, one stroke behind Joe Inman. And in 1977, he once again was the winner, this time by two over Bill Rogers and George Burns.
Weiskopf was the hottest golfer on the planet save Jack Nicklaus in the 15-year stretch between 1968 and 1982. He won 15 times, and during a three-month stretch in 1973 he won five times in eight starts, including the British Open. He finished second in the Masters four times, and at the U.S. Open between 1976 and 79, he finished second, third, fourth and fourth.
It was in 1984, after the Kemper had moved to Congressional Country Club near Washington, D.C., that Weiskopf realized he had had enough.
I remember it very well, Weiskopf said. I walked off the golf course. That was the last year I competed on the regular tour. I was extremely frustrated when I played in that Kemper. And I later, about two months later, quit playing just because I was so frustrated with myself.
It had all started with a boy who was the son of a mother and father who were both outstanding golfers, with plus-2 handicaps. Despite the golfing prowess of mom and pop, Weiskopf didnt begin playing until he was 15 years old and a caddie in Massilon, Ohio. But when he finally played, he shot a 92 the first time out and he was hooked. He shot in the 70s within three months and accepted a golf scholarship to Ohio State in 1960.
At Ohio State, they had another pretty good golfer ' a fellow named Jack Nicklaus. He was an upperclassman, almost three years older than Weiskopf, but he was an invaluable friend to the young freshman.
He was very nice to me, Weiskopf said in a Golf World magazine interview. He showed me a few things, but mostly I just watched this guy. I had never seen anybody play like that.
Weiskopf, unfortunately, would be compared to Nicklaus throughout his career. Both were from Ohio, both went to Ohio State, both had awesome physical abilities. But whereas Nicklaus had a mental game second to none, Weiskopf was more or less an angry young man in his years on the tour. Weiskopf appreciated a challenge, but once he had met the challenge, he wasnt interested in doing it again. It eventually drove him away from being an active player.
It was a British Open victory over Johnny Miller in his banner year of 73 that first planted the seeds of retirement. I think it kind of ended my career, to tell you the truth, said Weiskopf. It was like, Finally I won a major. Its all over and I won the best.
He carried on, though, and in 1983 won the Western Open playing the best Ive ever played from tee to green for four straight days. After that, he knew he couldnt do any better. I knew I was through, he admitted.
When it finally ended in 84, Weiskopf hung em up and set his mind to designing golf courses. He and partner Jay Morrish have been hugely successful, culminating in the creation of Loch Lomond golf course near Glasgow, Scotland. A big European Tour event has been held annually at Loch Lomand leading up to the British Open.
Once again, though, he is eyeing his golf clubs and starting to think about playing some Senior Tour events. Who is this Tom Weiskopf, anyway?
My wife said it best about 20 years ago, said Weiskopf in 1995 at the U.S. Senior Open at Congressional. She said, Who is this guy that I am reading about in the paper, because that is not my Tom.
I think I was always a little bit of a misunderstood person I would hope that I am a different player than I was when I played here in 1984.
I never was one to blame the course or blame the situation or whatever. I always blamed myself, and sure, we do things that we are not very ' no, I wont say that. But yeah, I am a different person today. I would hope that I am. But I wasnt quite the individual that I think people portrayed me as.
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.