Just WEN Baby

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Jeld-Wen TraditionThe JELD-WEN Tradition is officially the seasons final major championship. Its the 13th of 13 majors among the men, women and seniors, and the fifth of five on the Champions Tour.
Unlike a big boxing match, the Tradition is without a catchy headline. But if there was one, it would be: Unfinished Business.
Peter Jacobsen
Peter Jacobsen has two Champions Tour wins, both major championships.
There are a number of players who have a lot to gain, prove and put behind them with a win this week in Aloha, Ore.
In the Gain department, there is Peter Jacobsen. Jacobsen is a Portland native and his event management company, Peter Jacobsen Productions, Inc., conducts this tournament. Hes already won one major this season, the Ford Senior Players Championship, so a victory this week would be the sweetest icing on the cake.
In the Prove department, there is Dana Quigley. Quigley is having his best-ever campaign. He has two wins, currently leads the money list and is a candidate for player of the year. But despite some close calls, he is still in search of his first major title.
In the Put-Behind-Him department, there is Craig Stadler. Stadler should enter this week with positive memories of his triumph at The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club a year ago. Instead, he may still be stinging from a bitter defeat in the U.S. Senior Open.
There are plenty of others in the 78-man field who could fall into anyone of these categories. But these three are the favorites.
Five for the Title:
Peter Jacobsen
Jacobsen is the reason this tournament moved from an April event in Arizona to an August event in Oregon. His production company took the reigns in 2003 and the tournament has gone from the first major of the season to the annual finale. The former Oregon Duck would dearly love to win so close to his hometown. He held a share of the 54-hole lead a year ago, but shot 1-over 73 in the final round to tie for fourth. Jacobsen is a major player, with both of his tour wins coming in one of the five elite events (2004 U.S. Senior Open; 2005 Ford Seniors).
Dana Quigley
Its been an eventful season thus far for Quigley. He began the year with a win at the MasterCard Championship, and added another at the Bayer Advantage Classic. He had a chance to capture his first major championship at the Senior PGA, but lost to Mike Reid in a three-man playoff. He also ended his consecutive-events-played streak at 264 by skipping the Senior British Open. Consistency is Quigleys middle name, as he has won at least one tournament and has finished inside the top 10 in earnings in five of the last seven seasons. But this year he has a chance to be the tours best. A major victory would likely solidify that.
Craig Stadler
Craig Stadler is trying to become the first player since Gil Morgan in 1998 to successfully defend his title.
Craig Stadler
A year ago, Stadler was the tours best. Now he just wants a win. Stadler earned five victories in 2004, including his first major at this event. He was also voted player of the year. This year, he is winless and is still trying to rebound from a difficult defeat at the U.S. Senior Open, where he played his final 10 holes in 7 over to fall from leader to also-ran. He won this tournament by shooting 5-under 67 on Sunday to erase a four-stroke deficit.
Loren Roberts
Like Stadler, Roberts is trying to put behind him a poor finish at the Senior Open. Roberts held the lead through 10 holes of the final round, but then double bogeyed 11 and bogeyed 13 to ultimately fall one stroke short. This will be Roberts third Champions Tour start. He finished fifth at the Senior British Open.
Tom Watson
Watson won the Senior British in a playoff over Des Smyth. It marked his seventh tour victory and his fourth Champions major. He won this event in 2003, when it first moved to the Pacific Northwest. He was also a runner-up in 2000 at Desert Mountain, losing in a three-way playoff to Tom Kite.
Finishing the Front Nine
Four more players to keep an eye on
*Allen Doyle, who won the U.S. Senior Open. Doyle shot 8-under 63 in the final round at NCR Country Club to overcome a nine-shot deficit. Doyle tied for second last year at the Tradition.
*Des Smyth, who has two wins on the season. Smyth has played as well as anyone in the majors this year without a win. He has three top-10s in the first four big events, including the afforementioned playoff loss to Watson.
*Tom Kite, who won this event in 2000. Kites win came at the previous tournament site, but he finished runner-up at The Reserve Vineyards in 2003. He is in search of his first win of the season.
*Hale Irwin, who has won nearly every senior event except this one. The 60-year-old got off to a hot start this season with a pair of early wins, but he hasnt added to his collection (which now stands at 42) since February. Irwin has five top-10s in nine career Tradition appearances.
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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.