AFR: Following Bishop gaffe, let's all step back

By Al Tays, Randall Mell, Rex HoggardOctober 27, 2014, 1:00 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on further examination of the Ted Bishop "little girl" gaffe, a woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind after about growing the game and an overly robust PGA Tour schedule that constantly creates scheduling issues.

I think about Ted Bishop, but I keep hearing Rodney King. To paraphrase: "Can't we all just take a step back?" This country has been sharply divided for a long time now, and the two sides aren't likely to come together anytime soon. The Bishop case is a microcosm of those divisions - the "political correctness run amok" crowd vs. the "stop insulting entire groups of people" crowd.

So how about we all take a step back and take a good, objective look at ourselves as well as our opponents? To the PGA of America, dismissing Bishop was one thing, but was it really necessary to wipe his name off the roster of past presidents, pretending he never existed? Was his crime that heinous? To those who felt Bishop deserved whatever punishment he got (and much of the media is a big part of this group), do you really think his intent in that stupid tweet was to demean an entire gender? Shouldn't his history of inclusiveness count for something? Where should we draw the line on the things we say? Should I turn myself in for re-education because I have, on many, many occasions, uttered the phrase "Hit it, Alice"? Finally, to the people who repeatedly complain about what they see as an overly PC-conscious society, is the right to insult anyone you want, whenever you want, without fear of reprisal, really a noble cause? Is it more important than the right of people to have some dignity? Maybe these questions won't cause anyone to change their mind. But they're worth asking. And they're better than just going on the Internet and calling people idiots. - Al Tays

Suzy Whaley was the strong voice among women stepping up to lay out exactly why Ted Bishop had to go as president of the PGA of America, even if there was just a month remaining in his term. She, more than anyone else, laid out exactly how Bishop betrayed the association’s cause in growing the game, how the attitude even more than the words, threatened to undermine the programs she helps lead in taking the game to places where women and minorities haven’t felt welcome. You might not have liked what Whaley had to say, but she has more stake in Bishop’s leadership than most everyone attacking her opinion. She has more sensitivity to golf leadership’s long reach as a woman devoted to bringing women and minorities into the game. Her voice matters, and there’s something to admire in her stepping into the fray knowing the vitriol awaiting. Bishop's failure wasn't a slip of the tongue in an interview. It was clumsiness greater than that, clumsiness in going after a European Ryder Cupper in a calculated way that threatened other people's good work. - Randall Mell

While there are no easy answers for PGA Tour planners when piecing together a schedule that spans two calendars and four continents, it may be time to reevaluate the fall portion of the circuit’s line up. After four perfect days at Sea Island Resort for this week’s McGladrey Classic the conversation turned to next year’s dates for the coastal Georgia stop. The event will be played the week before Thanksgiving in November and it almost seems inevitable that the weather won’t be as accommodating. That date, however, was better than the alternative, the week after the WGC-HSBC Champions in China. Nearly every event has to deal with scheduling issues, but it seems time for the Tour to help alleviate some of those concerns. - Rex Hoggard

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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."

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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.'"

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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."

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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."

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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.