After Further Review: PGA Tour parity

By Jason SobelMarch 23, 2014, 10:16 pm

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on changes in the voting process for the World Golf Hall of Fame, the sound of Karrie Webb's shots, parity on the PGA Tour and the state of Adam Scott's psyche.

 The World Golf Hall of Fame changed its voting process this week from something you didn't realize existed to something else you'll soon forget was implemented. In a nutshell, a 16-person committee will now vote, with individuals needing 75 percent for election. Fine. Nice idea. But it doesn't obscure a glaring weakness of the WGHOF eligibility requirement: The minimum age remains 40. In recent years, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els have won majors after being inducted; Tiger Woods will soon attempt to join them. Sound silly that an active player should be eligible? Of course it does. The age needs to be increased to 50 or - even better - five years after their last competitive event on a major (non-senior) tour. These players aren't going anywhere and neither are we. There shouldn't be any rush to elect them into the Hall. - Jason Sobel

Parity has arrived in golf. When Masters champion and would-be world No. 1 Adam Scott can’t close out a three-stroke 54-hole lead and No. 1 Tiger Woods has played exactly one full Sunday round in 2014 there is no other way to slice it. Slumps, be they injury-induced or otherwise, can be explained, but the eclectic mix of champions in the Florida swing alone go well beyond temporary swoons. In order, Russell Henley (Honda Classic), Chesson Hadley (Puerto Rico Open), Patrick Reed (WGC-Cadillac Championship), John Senden (Valspar Championship) and Matt Every (Arnold Palmer Invitational) all did what no top-10 player could – win. Parity indeed. - Rex Hoggard 

There’s an awful lot of scar tissue on Adam Scott’s chiseled frame. The official record shows that he is now 6-for-10 with at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, but this loss stings, no matter how you spin it. Seven shots ahead, he took 63 swipes with his putter over the weekend and hit poor shots when he most needed to steady himself. He squandered not only his best chance to win this season but also an opportunity to rise to No. 1 in the world for the first time. Even he would agree that he doesn’t yet deserve that lofty ranking, not after this weekend performance. – Ryan Lavner

Back when Karrie Webb was the dominant force in women’s golf, I asked Hall of Famer Beth Daniel what she liked about Webb’s game. This was back in ’99, after Daniel played a round with Webb at The Office Depot event in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Daniel talked for five minutes about the sound of Webb’s shots. It was like listening to one great pianist admire the way another consistently struck all the right chords. Daniel was one of the greatest ball strikers the women's game has ever seen.

“The sound of Karrie's shots, they’re so solid, it’s unbelievable,” Daniel told me.

At 39, Webb is still making sweet music. With a final-round 63 Sunday at the JTBC Founders Cup, she won her 41st LPGA title, moving into 10th place on the tour’s all-time winner’s list. She’s tied with Babe Zaharias. Informed of this Sunday, you could see Webb appreciated the sound of that. - Randall Mell

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.