Mickelson Back in Action at Byron Nelson

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 EDS Byron Nelson ChampionshipIRVING, Texas - One thing Brett Wetterich treasured about his first PGA TOUR victory was the personal congratulation from tournament namesake Byron Nelson.
'Last year, sitting by him while I'm getting the trophy ... it's a special feeling,' Wetterich said. 'Just having him in your presence, it gives you the goose bumps.'
This year's winner won't get that privilege at the 18th green Sunday.
For the first time since Nelson's name became attached to the tournament in 1968, it will be played without him there.
'It just seems to be a slight somber feel about it,' Luke Donald said Wednesday. 'I walked past the 18th green and saw there was no position where he's going to sit, and it just seems a little bit different. ... I'm sure it will feel like it's missing something without Byron here.'
Nelson died of natural causes Sept. 26. He was 94.
The golfer known as 'Lord Byron' was the first to have a PGA TOUR event named after him. His presence helped make the tournament a popular stop for players, whom he greeted as they finished their rounds, and the biggest charity fundraiser on the PGA TOUR. The Nelson is expected this year to become the first to surpass $100 million in total donations to charities.
'He lived an amazingly full life,' Tom Lehman said. 'It was quite a life to celebrate. To see an empty chair will be sad, but it'll put a smile on your face thinking about Byron Nelson the man.'
The first Byron Nelson Championship without its namesake begins Thursday.
Only three of the top 13 players in the world ranking made it to Texas: Phil Mickelson (No. 4), Vijay Singh (No. 7) and Donald (No. 11). Mickelson and Singh are past Nelson champions and Donald has played 16 of his 18 rounds at the Nelson in the 60s.
'To be in this particular spot maybe isn't the best for the tournament,' Lehman said. 'I would not say it's an optimal week. But I feel pretty strongly that the legacy of his life and what they've started here will carry through.'
The Nelson is a month earlier on the schedule this year, now played before Wachovia and THE PLAYERS Championship. It also split the Texas two-step with the Colonial, which will be played in its traditional spot, May 24-27.
Top-ranked Tiger Woods, who made his Nelson debut as a high school kid in 1993 when Byron Nelson got a sponsor's invitation for him, skipped the tournament for the second year in a row. Woods won in 1997, his first time there as a pro, but hasn't played since 2005, when he missed the cut to end his record of 142 consecutive cuts.
Wetterich has two top-10 finishes this year, and is still looking for his second PGA TOUR victory. But he gets to find out what it's like to play as a defending champion.
'It feels weird because it's the first time that it's ever happened for me,' Wetterich said. 'I think you have to take it as a normal week and go out and do the same things you did last year and two weeks ago, three weeks ago, four weeks ago.'
Wetterich will open Thursday on the TPC Four Seasons Resort course, which starting next year will be the only course used for the Nelson. The tournament moved there in 1983, and since 1995, the Cottonwood Valley course across the street has been used with each golfer playing one of his first two rounds there.
After this year's tournament, there will be a multimillion dollar redesign on the TPC course that will affect every tee box, fairway, green and bunker on the course. Five holes will be lengthened and the green shared by holes Nos. 5 and 9 will be separated.
Cottonwood Valley is where Woods played his last Nelson round. That was also where Arron Oberholser shot a tournament-record 60 last year, missing a chance for 59 when his 15-foot birdie attempt on the 18th hole curled and settled about a foot from the cup.
Mickelson missed the 7 a.m. tee time for his pro-am round Wednesday because of a flight cancellation while returning Tuesday night from a charity event in Arkansas. He got to the course Wednesday for lunch with the group he was supposed to play with, but didn't have a practice round. ... Three identical motorcycles built by Orange County Choppers were unveiled Wednesday. The tournament winner and sponsor EDS both get one, and the other will be auctioned online to benefit charity. The design of the choppers included 11 chrome wheel spokes that commemorate each of Byron Nelson's consecutive tournament victories in 1945. The Teutuls, the father and sons from OCC, rode the choppers to a spot by the No. 1 tee.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.