Its the Legs Sutton Now Believes

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 1, 2003, 4:00 pm
Hal Sutton has been one of golfs bigger mysteries the last couple of years. After winning six tournaments in a four-year period between 1998 and 2001, he finished 153rd on the tours money list in 2002. Last year, he only made 11 cuts in 29 tournaments played. Not even the honor of being named Ryder Cup captain could mask the hurt that he felt while wondering what was wrong with his game.
Lately, though, things have been looking up for Sutton. He tied for third two weeks ago at Hilton Head, and he finally sees his way out of this morass. Nick Price saw him struggling on the driving range before the MCI Heritage and gave him a tip. Sutton responded by finishing a tie for third, his best finish in two years.
Sutton was appreciative of Prices help. But he thinks the real problem might have been something else.
He wanted me to keep my arms a little closer to my body, Sutton said of the Price tip. But I think it's more in my legs than my arms ' Ive kept working on trying to slow my legs down a little bit.
Sutton admits was trying something to increase the yardage from his tee shots. It probably all stems from trying to hit the ball harder the last two or three years, he said. I was looking for more distance.
He admits he spent a lot of nights the past year wondering if the effective golf swing would come to him. Sutton was an instant success when he started, winning the PGA Championship in 1983, his second year on tour. But after winning seven times his first four years, Sutton wandered around in futility for eight years with nary a victory. His renaissance came in 1995 when he won again, left him in 96 when he finished 109th, but returned in 98 with a couple of wins.
Then, just as suddenly, it disappeared again the second half of 2001.
I think we all, when you go through a period of time where you cant play the way you know youre capable of, wonder if it's ever going to come back, he said.
Ive worked really hard on it and its been a mystery to me. It seems like all the time Im working on path, path, path with the club. This past week I got home and got to looking at it and I just said, You know what, this is in the legs, it has to be in the legs. Ive worked too hard on the path.
So, Ive just been working on slowing my legs down, and I think were gonna get some results here soon.
The captaincy of the American Ryder Cup team came as a great honor to Sutton last year. He has played on four of the teams and his inspirational leadership was crucial to the squads victory in 1999. He concedes, as many think, that it will be a difficult job, trying to captain the team at the same time hes trying to snap out of the slump.
Im going to focus a lot of my time on playing, he said. But, certainly, being captain of the Ryder Cup is going to take up a lot of time, too. Im just trying to open up enough space to do both.
Im passionate about what I believe. I work hard at what Im trying to do. I spent a lot of time thinking about being on the policy board, what I needed to do or say I didnt have the time to do that.
Sutton, incidentally, has already head-huddled with several past Ryder Cup captains to try to get a win for the 2004 edition.
We had a past captains dinner in Dallas at the beginning of the year in January, and we spent the evening talking about their times as captains and what they thought, he said. They all shared with me what they felt. Ive spent a lot of time talking with Curtis (Strange) and Ben (Crenshaw), some to Lanny (Wadkins).
One thing, though, is totally refreshing ' he is a listener. Im always open to ideas, he said.
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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.

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“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”

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On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.

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Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”