Press Pass Europeans vs Internationals

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 28, 2007, 5:00 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. You can also give your take on our questions. Just click on the link and e-mail your responses to all four questions to us. We'll publish select answers each Friday in our Press Pass: Readers' Forum.
 
Hot Topic
European and International players dominated at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Who would win between the European Ryder Cup and International Presidents Cup teams (taking the current top players) on neutral ground?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GolfChannel.com:
The Internationals would win just using the Aussies and South Africans. Throw into the mix Vijay, Weir, Cabrera and a few others and you've got enough for two strong squads. By the way, if you had a two-person alternate shot event with the top male and female from each country teaming up, would anybody beat the Swedish entry of Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson?
 
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Host, Golf Channel:
It would definitely be a better match right now than any match involving the United States. Id go with the International team featuring Els, Singh, Goosen, Immelman, Ogilvy, Scott, Allenby, Baddeley, Pampling and others who are pretty strong to say the least. But Europe is stacked, too; and given their two recent trouncings of the American team at the Ryder Cup, how can I pick against their chemistry.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GolfChannel.com:
The Europeans. Just like they have been for so long against the Americans, the Euros would enter this contest as the underdogs on paper. And just as they have done to the Americans for so long, they would beat the Internationals handily. As it is in the Ryder Cup, the Europeans would have the 'team' advantage over the Internationals. That unity would overcome any talent disadvantage they might have.
 
Hot Topic
Geoff Ogilvy could not defend his title at the Accenture. What is the toughest professional tournament in which to defend?
 
Hewitt:
I think the toughest one to defend is probably the Open Championship because of the changing venues and conditions every year. Plus, for Americans, it's a long trip. There are just more variable involved in the Open Championship than any big tournament in the world.
 
Kann:
I would definitely say its the Accenture Match Play Championship. Better yet how about the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in England, which brings in a heavy dose of 36-hole matches. It's so tough to be on for an entire week ' two years in a row! If the tournament was still around, I might argue The International with its modified stableford scoring system. Nobody ever successfully defended his title.
 
Baggs:
The Open Championship -- by a hair over the Match Play -- because of the change in venue each year, combined with the uncertainty of the elements. It's obivously difficult to win 12 straight match at the WGC-Accenture, but I think, given all of the variables, it's a little more difficult to win two straight at The Open.
 
Hot Topic
The PGA TOUR is headed to Florida. What was the highlight of the West Coast Swing?'
 
Hewitt:
The highlight of the West Coast Swing was the return of Phil Mickelson to the winner's circle at Pebble Beach, followed closely by the re-emergence of Charles Howell III. Also getting votes: Riviera. And, if I was allowed by the judges, I'd cast a ballot or three for the performance of GOLF CHANNEL on the PGA TOUR
 
Kann:
To me, its a toss up between Tigers win (at the Buick Invitational) and Charles Howells consistency. Howells win (at the Nissan) is really sweet. As I told him afterward, Nobody could have handled the recent five-year struggles to get back to winning, and nobody will move forward better because of it. Surprise of the West Coast Swing is Jeff Quinney. He can play.
 
Baggs:
The Streak. Even though Tiger played in only two events on the West Coast Swing, talk of his PGA TOUR winning streak dominated conversation the entire two months. It added an element of excitement and -- as he has done throughout his career -- Tiger once again attracted many non-golf fans to the game.
 
Hot Topic
The Johnnie Walker Classic is on tap this week on the European Tour. What is your post-round beverage of choice?
 
Hewitt:
My post round beverage of choice is an ice cold Corona Lite with two limes chased with a New Zealand sauvignon blanc (preferably Old Renwick) followed by dinner and complemented by a designated driver and the promise of more golf the next day.
 
Kann:
Beer ... simple. Light of any kind or a Guiness to change it up.
 
Baggs:
The last time I played, I hit six fairways -- four of them on adjacent holes. I also managed to lose a match to my younger brother something like 7 and 1, which I didn't think was even possible. Unfortunately, I had to drive home (that was another bad drive as a bird committed suicide on my windshield) after the round. Sure would have been nice to have a Jim Beam and coke instead -- double.
 
Click here to e-mail us your take on all of the above four questions. We'll publish select reader responses on Friday.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
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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.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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.