Press Pass All-Time Upsets in Golf History

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
Outside of his three major wins, was this Phil Mickelson's most important career victory?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
Yes, actually. And for the obvious reason that he did it on a final day while playing in the same twosome with Tiger Woods. He bearded the Tiger in his own den. Now Mickelson needs to do the same in a major and people will begin whispering that he has Tiger figured out.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
Good question. Time will tell, but I think it may very well be Mickelson' most important, non-major victory. It all depends on how he fares should the two do battle head-to-head in a major. A couple of years ago, Vijay Singh took down Tiger one-on-one in Boston, but Woods quickly re-established his dominance over Singh and the rest of the TOUR. Tiger only seems to get madder -- and better -- when you shoot him.
Ian Hutchinson Ian Hutchinson - Contrib. Writer,
It would definitely rank right up there for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was his ability to operate under the direct glare of Tiger. There are times when you think Mickelson is a character player and other times when you question that. This is one of the times that looks good on him, especially after the season he's had in 2007 with the wrist injury. The timing of his outstanding performance was excellent with it not only being The Playoffs, but also with the Presidents Cup on the horizon.
Hot Topic
The college football season got off to bang with arguably the biggest upset in the history of its sport. What's the biggest upset you've ever witnessed in golf?
Well, I wasn't there for Francis Ouimet or Jack Fleck. But Nathaniel Crosby winning the U.S. Amateur in 1981 was a shocker. And I'm having a hard time thinking of a bigger upset than Ben Curtis winning the Open Championship in 2003. But I'll go with Hilary Lunke winning the U.S. Women's Open in 2003. I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
Ben Curtis winning the 2003 Open Championship. Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III and even Thomas Bjorn all had great chances to win on Sunday. And instead it was the 396th player in the world who got it done. At the time, Curtis was as familiar to most golf fans as fashion sense. In fact, 2003 was an upset year in the majors with Hilary Lunke in the Women's Open and Shaun Micheel at the PGA Championship.
Any major not won by Tiger. You hear the word upset thrown around all the time, but the nature of golf is that the word doesn't work in this game. You expect the unexpected. That's how names like Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton get noticed. If it's a sheer exquisite unexpected moment you're looking for, was there anything sweeter than Nicklaus' win at the Masters in '86?
Hot Topic
Next year's BMW Championship will move from Chicago to St. Louis. Should the PGA TOUR rotate Playoff event sites or keep the current four?
I don't mind the venues rotating. But I do have a problem with Chicago not being on the TOUR schedule on a regular basis. Next year there will be no PGA TOUR event in Chicago. That's not right. It's a hot golf market. And the players love the city. There have been smoke signals coming out of Ponte Vedra Beach that at the earliest opportunity Chicago will return to the TOUR schedule on a yearly basis.
The first three Playoff events should definitely rotate. It's not likely to happen, but the TOUR should have three tournaments and their sites be designated for The Playoffs one year, and three different ones the next. Areas like N.Y., Boston and Chicago shouldn't lose events on an annual basis. They should still stage their events as regular tournaments, but other venues should be allowed to host Playoffs, too. Of course, it's much more complicated than that, but that is what I'd like to see. The TOUR Championship - the ultimate Playoff event - could stay in Atlanta each year.
Whether that's possible will depend on what agreements are in place, but I don't think it would hurt The Playoffs if that were to happen. This is one of the bugs to be worked out if we are to have playoffs in golf, which is like no other sport because nobody is fighting for home field advantage. Showcasing it in different markets would certainly help sell The Playoffs and, let's face it, there is still a lot of selling it to do. All of the other major sports move their playoffs and championships around, but usually, that depends on the teams that are competing. The Super Bowl moves every year. You may want to talk to the Royal Canadian Golf Association. They move the Canadian Open around every year and they wouldn't mind being slotted in as a playoff event on the schedule.
Hot Topic
What is the ONE thing you are most looking forward to this week?
To see if Tiger and Phil are the top two in the FedExCup points standings going into East Lake. I'd love to see them going head-to-head again Thursday and Friday. And Saturday and Sunday of the TOUR Championship, for that matter.
There is no home advantage in these playoffs, but Tiger playing at Cog Hill is about as close as it comes. Woods has won here three times and has been runner-up each of the last two years. I want to see if Tiger can win and take the lead into the final event in Atlanta.
I'm obviously biased on this one because of my Canadian heritage, but it will be interesting to see what Mike Weir does now that he's out of The Playoffs. How does he stay sharp with the Presidents Cup just a few weeks away? Canadian fans will be expecting a lot of him and he was a controversial captain's pick by Gary Player, so he'll want to be at his best in Montreal.
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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.