Punch Shot: Giving a gift on Tour this holiday season

By Jason Sobel, Randall Mell, Rex HoggardDecember 17, 2013, 10:05 pm

What do you get for the guys who have everything. You know, for the guys who play golf for a living. With the holiday season in full swing, we asked our GolfChannel.com writers what gifts they'd get for the pro golfer of their choice. Here is their list. No word on how many times they checked it.


For Tiger Woods, some weekend mojo for the 2014 majors, with a red ribbon around it.

This isn’t so much about rooting for Woods to win his 15th major as it is rooting for the greatest chase in sports to resume in earnest. It’s about rooting for the wonderful drama that ensues if Woods steps up his quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ record total of 18 major championship victories.

It's about re-engaging the great pursuit. It's about getting to see it come down to the wire. I’m not rooting for Woods or Nicklaus as much as I am for all of us to get to see what happens if Woods gets close. What happens if Woods gets to 17, that’s left to fate, destiny and the gifts of the humans involved in the struggle.

As a kid, I was riveted watching Hank Aaron chase Babe Ruth’s career home-run record. I was a Chicago Tribune paperboy in Southern Wisconsin who yanked out the sports page every morning to see if Aaron popped another homer in the great chase. I was about 2 feet from the TV screen in our home the night Aaron ripped an Al Downing pitch for his 715th homer, passing Ruth. I want to feel the wonder of a historical chase like that come down to the wire again.


My gift isn't one for a single person. It's multiple gifts for multiple people – but based on just one.

In today's era of flat-bellied golfers, with the fitness trailer overtaking the local watering hole as the cool gathering place each week, my gift is to help every pro find the Fountain of Youth.

I'm going to have them emulating Miguel Angel Jimenez.

That means Rioja (red wine) and fine cigars all around. If you question what kind of effect this can have, consider this: The man known as The Mechanic recently set the European Tour standard as the oldest winner in history. He bested the previous record, which was held by none other than ... himself.

Maybe those guys doing crunches every morning and suicide sprints every afternoon are barking up the wrong tree. My gift could have them playing better golf – and would certainly have them enjoying life a little bit more.

And of course, I'd send a card with each present, too. It would be inscribed with just four words.

"Stay thirsty, my friends."


There is no shortage of items on Santa Claus’ PGA Tour player wishlist: a better attitude for Sergio Garcia, more reasons for Rory McIlroy to smile in 2014, a U.S. Open title for Phil Mickelson to complete the career Grand Slam, a major for Tiger Woods (who knew No. 15 would be the hardest?).

But if Ebenezer Scrooge needed a feel-good story to set things right for the New Year, look no further than Briny Baird.

Winless in 366 starts on Tour, Baird needs a break. Not a gift per se, because that would suggest the 41-year-old is incapable of breaking through and that’s just not the case.

Baird came agonizingly close at the McGladrey Classic last month only to rinse his approach shot at the 72nd hole and finish a stroke behind champion Chris Kirk.

“You got to take away some silver linings,” the veteran said at the time. “To play as many tournaments . . . it's not all about winning. I've said that, but this hurts. This really does. This is very disappointing.”

Baird doesn’t need a mulligan under the tree on Dec. 25, just a putt here or a good bounce there. They say luck favors the prepared and if anyone has put in his due diligence, it’s Baird.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.