Day: No drinking from the Wanamaker Trophy

By Al TaysAugust 20, 2015, 12:00 pm

Drinking from trophies: Original Idea? Hardly. Just this year we’ve had reports of Zach Johnson and family quaffing Coke, wine, champagne, beer and water out of his newly won claret jug, not to mention sticking an ear of corn from his native Iowa in the thing (which he swears he did not actually eat). Jordan Spieth flew home from Scotland with Johnson and also drank out of the jug. Rory McIlroy opted for Jagermeister after he won the Open Championship in 2014. The year before, one of Phil Mickelson’s friends reportedly poured a $40,000 bottle of wine into the jug. 

“One of the things that I stressed is that we have to treat the claret jug with reverence and respect that it deserves and only put good stuff in it,” Mickelson said during the week of his title defense in 2014. 

Jason Day also believes in treating golf’s major trophies with respect. Which is why he says he won’t be treating his newly won Wanamaker Trophy as some sort of glorified Slurpee cup.

Last week, Day made the PGA Championship his first major victory, winning by three strokes at Whistling Straits. During a conference call on Wednesday, he said the trophy “is just going straight into the trophy cabinet. … [It] apparently has not had any sort of liquid in it and I don't plan to because I just respect the trophy too much to put anything in it.”

Some other highlights from Day’s interview:

Playing in the final PGA pairing with Jordan Spieth and hearing many fans openly rooting for Spieth motivated him.

“Jordan Spieth is a young 22‑year‑old American from Dallas, Texas, and he's the poster child for American golf right now. Like I said, if I was in the crowd, I'd be supporting him, as well, because he's just so easy to support. And I understand that. I understand that people wanted him to win. That was the hardest round of golf that I've ever had to play … having some negative comments out there, that's tough. But things like that you just grow from. You gain experience and you grow from and makes you mentally tougher in the long run. 

“I'm glad it happened that way. I'm not saying that these people that were saying negative stuff out there, that they really wanted it to happen. But it was just a good way to kind of fuel the fire for me at least to know that these people - I felt like these people were against me; I'm not going to have that. I'm going to keep pushing forward. I'm going to keep grinding it out and I'm not going to stop until I win this tournament.”

Tiger Woods is a valuable sounding board.

“He's the reason I started playing golf. He's the reason I got into the game of golf, because of the way he played, how dominating he was, and then reading that book about him when I was a 14‑, 15‑year‑old kid, and him changing the way I looked at the work ethic that I had, how hard I had to work to get to where I am; has been a big influence on me.

“To be able to call him a friend and really to be able to pick his brain about certain things and what keeps - how do you stay so motivated and how do you - what do you do in certain situations and stuff like that, has been a huge help.  We've talked a bunch of times on the telephone.  We've texted a bunch of times just back and forth each week.

“And really, to be able to get the help from arguably the best player ever to walk or ever to live in our sport, I mean, there's no other way, because he's lived it, he's walked it, he's done it; and to be able to have that as someone to bounce things off when you don't quite have the answers, but he has the experience and the knowledge of finishing and playing and winning a lot of tournaments, is the best sort of advice that you can get out there.”

He won’t be able to return to Australia and show off his trophy this year.

“Unfortunately, I'm not going to return home to Australia, which is very sad for me, because I want to be able to share this moment that I have, the trophy, the Wanamaker Trophy, and the moment that I had, the experience that I had with the Australian crowd, the Australian fans, the Australian media.

“It's kind of sad because I really want to be able to get home and share this with them. But with [baby] No. 2 on the way and Ellie due around mid‑November, it's just - I think I wouldn't be living in the house if I just got up and left Ellie with a brand new baby and Dash to look after by herself.”

Now that he has his first major, he isn’t thinking about how many more he’d like to win.

“I have not picked myself a number. The only number that I will pick is what I get at the end of my career. I'm going to try and win as many as I can, and you know, it would be fantastic to win all four at one point in my career.”

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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.