Palmer Player Personify Golfs Ideals

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
Perhaps no international team competition has ever been guided by two more distinguished and popular captains than the 2001 UBS Warburg Cup team.

Arnold Palmer brought the game to the masses in the early years of sports television with a unique blend of talent and charisma. He holds a number of U.S. Ryder Cup records, including most singles matches played and most matches won, hes tied for most singles matches won and most foursome matches won.
Gary Player is no stranger to international golf. The South African is widely regarded as the most traveled athlete in the world, closing in on 13 million miles. He has won 163 tournaments in five continents and was the third golfer to win the career Grand Slam. A victim of timing and geography, Player was never eligible for the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup and had his first taste of large-scale international team competition at last years UBS Warburg Cup.
These two legends reprise their roles as captain of their respective teams in November at the second UBS Warburg Cup. Both men have overwhelmingly positive memories of the inaugural event and seem intent on carrying the success of 2001 in to this years edition.

Arnold, youre the most accomplished U.S. team player in history, what are your feelings as you look back over a career playing on and captaining Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and UBS Warburg Cup teams?
Well, my feelings of course are fantastic. Many years ago I had the idea that golf competition internationally or between nations was a way of creating good feelings and good clean competition between the various countries of the world and the people that we involved, and I havent changed that thought at all. So, Im very proud about the fact that Ive been able to participate in the Ryder Cup, The Presidents Cup and the UBS Warburg Cup and of course I think that the initial USB Warburg Cup was one of the friendliest competitions that we have had. It was a fun situation and I think all the players, even though theyre getting a little older, enjoyed themselves very much.
Can you describe the mood of last years UBS Warburg Cup matches?
Well, it was fantastic, David. The fact that the players really got caught up in the magic of the competition. They were very motivated and each and every one of them enjoyed it, and it looked for long time like the U.S. was not going to come out of this competition on the topside. But it worked out very well and I think that made it more exciting and I think more enjoyable even for both teams.
Your playing days were defined by sportsmanship, style and dignity. How did you pass those characteristics to your UBS Warburg Cup team last year?
I dont know that I had a great deal to do with how the players played coming down the line. I know how I felt, playing against Gary, an old friend and certainly one of the most competitive people that Ive ever played with. In that competition, I felt very fortunate. Neither of us was playing exceptionally well and maybe I was just lucky to come out on the topside of that. But whatever, it was fun and of course, it stimulated a lot of people to enjoy that competition.
What do you hope to accomplish at the 2002 UBS Warburg Cup?
I would be very happy if we could accomplish the same things that we accomplished in the first competition. The camaraderie between the teams, the enjoyment that the players held seeing each other and competing against each other, and of course, Id be remiss if I didnt say that the same result would satisfy me very much.

Spirit, civility and sportsmanship were prevalent at the 2001 UBS Warburg Cup, how did you, as captain, help foster that attitude?
I said to our guys before we played, Look, we want to win this match very badly but lets behave properly. I said I dont want to see any guys coming out with crazy statements anything about, I dont like this guy or this or that. I said keep your feelings to yourself and go out and play. I said we are a team now, this is not an individual match, this is a team. I said youre representing the Rest of The World, not just yourself, and lets go out and try and beat them with the golf clubs, not with our mouths.
Your team seemed to take your words to heart, and from a spectators perspective it certainly seemed very refreshing, their opinions and their attitudes and the way they treated each other. From a competitive standpoint, how do you like your team?
Well I think weve got a very good chance. Last year we lost by half a point and that made it such an exciting event. And I think the UBS Warburg Cup playing in Georgia this year it is going to have great crowds. And for Arnold to captain the United States, is a thrill for me to have my team play his team because Arnold and I, as you know, have grown up together and I certainly have a lot of respect for him.
As he does for you. Any special strategies to look for this year?
You know, I get together with my team because there will always be a different team from year to year and I say to them, who do you feel comfortable playing with? I think thats very important, I must say. So theres a lot of discussion that goes on when you have a team.
In the final, from a competitive standpoint and a sportsmanship standpoint, what do you hope to see at Sea Island this year?
Id like the galleries to come out and see that you can be competitive and yet still be a gentleman. The thing is, weve got to remember that there are hundreds of millions of young people that are looking and watching us, and weve got to set the example for the youth. Winston Churchill said the youth of our nation are the trustees of posterity. And so it is up to us to set the example for these young people so that they can follow suit. When they see people waving flags and screaming miss and war on the shore, and I hate this guy; and this and that, that breeds the wrong message to young people. As it is, television injects children with an attitude of crime. Weve got to try and balance that and get a good message across to young people and I think this is a wonderful example of doing it.

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.