A Game of Power and Precision

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 29, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Deutsche Bank ChampionshipSean OHair will be making his first trip to the TPC of Boston for this weeks Deutsche Bank Championship. It will be his debut in Tigers tournament.
 
Woods, whose Tiger Woods Foundation is the primary charitable benefactor of this event, wont be handing out any free advice to his adversary, but to find the key to winning, all OHair need do is check out some statistics.
 
Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh stayed a step ahead of Tiger Woods in last year's event.
The Deutsche Bank is only in its third year of existence, which means its difficult to associate a pattern to winning; however, there are a couple of things that really stand out.
 
Each of the two tournament champions led the field in greens hit in regulation. Adam Scott did so when he won in 2003, and Vijay Singh did the same en route to victory in 04.
 
But while iron accuracy is significant, so too is driving power on the par-71, 7,415-yard layout.
 
Last year, the top 6 players in the field in terms of driving distance all finished inside the top 12 in the tournament. That included winner Singh, runners-up Scott and Woods, and Daniel Chopra, who tied for fourth.
 
Currently, there are six players who rank inside the top 20 on the PGA Tour in both driving distance and greens hit in regulation.
 
And only one of them is in this weeks field: Woods.
 
Five for the Title:
 
Tiger Woods
Since missing the cut at the Byron Nelson, Woods has yet to finish outside the top 4 in an event. That includes victories in the Open Championship and in his most recent start, the WGC-NEC Invitational. This being Tigers tournament, since it benefits his foundation, Woods would love to add this trophy to his collection. He tied for seventh in the inaugural event in 2003 and tied for second a year ago. This is most likely one of just four remaining official, individual events for Tiger in 2005. He has five victories on the year, and has his sights set on running the table, which would tie his nine-win season of 2000.
 
Davis Love III
Despite some significant and positive changes to the TPC of Boston course for the 2004 tournament, many recognizable names are skipping the event. The first two editions featured players like 03 champ Scott, Darren Clarke, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Stewart Cink and Stuart Appleby. None of those players are in attendance this week, including Scott, who said he just needed a break.
 
Only three of the top 15 players in the world are in this years field. In addition to Woods and Singh, there is Love. It will be Loves first appearance in the tournament, and one of only a handful of opportunities to avoid his second straight winless season. He has plenty of length to compete on this venue; his confidence may be the key to his contending.
 
Sean OHair
Sean O
Sean O'Hair looks to lock up rookie-of-the-year honors this week.
Its been a wild ride for the tour rookie, and one that will continue this week in Norton, Mass. OHair took a break last week after having played eight of the previous nine tournaments. OHairs run included a win at the John Deere, a tie for 15th at the Open Championship, a tie for eighth at the Buick Open and a cut made at the PGA Championship. OHair has been one of the tours most consistent performers of the season, having missed only one cut since the beginning of March. After a week off, he should be recharged and ready to make a strong run down the stretch.
 
John Daly
Daly, who tied for second last week at the BMW International Open in Germany, obviously has the power to be a factor at the TPC of Boston. Daly also has an affinity for the sponsor, finishing T3 at the Deutsche Bank Players' Championship of Europe the week after the Open Championship. Daly tied for 37th in last years event in Boston.
 
Brad Faxon
Faxon, a native New Englander, lives about 30 minutes from the course in Barrington, R.I. Faxon represents the TPC of Boston and has served as a player-consultant. Even though he lacks raw power, Faxon has used his course knowledge and superb short game to tie for 24th in 2003 and tie for ninth in 2004. He won last week's Buick Championship with a final-round 61 for his first tour victory since 2001.
 
Playing Out the Front Nine
 
Four more to keep and eye on
 
*Brett Wetterich, who ranks third on tour in driving distance. Wetterich is also in the top 40 in greens hit in regulation, and as we know, thats the winning combination on this venue.
 
*Tim Petrovic, who has a pair of top-10s since his maiden victory in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He is a native of Northampton, Mass., and has finished inside the top 25 in each of his two Deutsche Bank starts.
 
*David Duval, who tied for 13th in this tournament a year ago. Duval hasnt made a cut in 15 starts this season. His showing here a year ago, however, was his best performance since the 2002 Invensys Classic at Las Vegas.
 
* Vijay Singh, who will not be able to defend the title he won last year by birdieing three of the last four holes. Singh withdrew on Tuesday citing back spasms caused by an injury that occurred while he was playing table tennis with his son at home.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Deutsche Bank Championship
  • 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.