After Further Review: 96th PGA Championship

By Rex HoggardAugust 11, 2014, 3:38 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the greatness of Rory McIlroy and the 96th PGA Championship, decisions made by PGA of America officials, Rickie Fowler's continuing improvement and why golf can be better on TV than in person.

Rory McIlroy may, in fact, be the transcendent player many believed he was when he won the 2011 U.S. Open by eight strokes. All along, McIlroy has dismissed comparisons to Tiger Woods, figuring after that breakthrough victory at Congressional that the last 13 majors would be the hardest to win. But his gritty performance on Sunday at the PGA Championship was his fourth major victory in his last 14 Grand Slam starts and makes him the third-youngest, behind Woods and Jack Nicklaus, to reach that total. “It’s always hard to compare players,” said Henrik Stenson, who tied for third at Valhalla. “But if he’s not the same, he’s not far behind.”  Rex Hoggard

The laminated listing of TV channels in my room at the media hotel in downtown Louisville this week showed a curiously intriguing entry:


To my chagrin (and yes, I checked), there is no network which continuously plays classic golf tournaments on a loop, giving us unending entertainment to while away the hours. If there was, though, the 96th PGA Championship would be immediately added to the rotation.

After a year that included three majors of varying forms of lack of drama, the golf gods finally paid us back with a final round for the ages. Big names, juicy plot lines and spectacular shotmaking created a Sunday afternoon frenzy that transitioned into Sunday evening.

It will forever be remembered as a classic. – Jason Sobel

People who complain that poor decisions were made before seeing the final outcome drive me bonkers. After the 1-hour, 51-minute weather delay Sunday at the PGA Championship you couldn’t swing a dead cat without running into someone fussing at the PGA of America for not moving up tee times. A Monday finish looked likely. If a playoff was necessary we absolutely would’ve seen action on Monday. I get it. In the end it all worked out, we crowned a worthy champion and no travel plans were altered. Doesn’t necessarily mean the PGA did the correct thing but the point is things like this are not worth worrying over an ounce. Find something else to fuss about. – Jay Coffin

Back in January, Rickie Fowler made the innocent remark that he wanted to be known more for his big game than his garish clothes. He linked up with the best swing coach in the game. He lopped off his famous locks. He stopped wearing the Crayola costume every Sunday. And after yet another top-5 finish in a major, it’s clear that the transformation is complete. When Fowler wins a major next season, it’ll be because of what he experienced on the back nine Sunday at Valhalla. For the first time in his career he felt the sting of a major lost, and it will provide all the motivation he needs in the offseason to take the next (and final) step. – Ryan Lavner

Maybe this was common sense and I just had to experience it first hand to actually get it. But golf on TV is way better than attempting to watch it in person. Don’t get me wrong, the experience is pretty cool; no other major sport allows you to get so close to your favorite athletes. I could’ve reached out and given Rory a pat on the back today (and subsequently got arrested) on the third hole. But I didn't, nor did anyone in the crowd around me, have any idea of what was going on. I was lucky enough that I could go back to the media center and watch one of the best final rounds of a major that I can remember in some time. The spectators had to stick it out, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever they happened to be following and just guessing about everyone else. I’m not saying you shouldn’t experience live golf ever, I’m just saying golf, as with almost anything these days, is better with a remote in your left hand, a frosty refreshment in your right, your butt on a couch and your eyes on the 60-inch screen in front of you. – Jason Crook

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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.