Press Pass Give Him 5 A Major Sweep in 08

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 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
Next years major venues are Augusta, Torrey Pines, Royal Birkdale and Oakland Hills. Can Tiger Woods complete another Tiger Slam or possibly the seasonal Grand Slam?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
First of all I don't believe in the so-called 'Tiger Slam.' It was grand and it was a slam but it was not a Grand Slam. Having said that, I think the venues suit him with the possible exception of Oakland Hills. Tiger played wonderfully at Birkdale in '98. And he feasts regularly at both Augusta National and Torrey Pines South.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Can he, yes. The venues suit him well. Will he, no. I don't think anyone in our lifetime will ever again win four consecutive majors. Not even Tiger Woods.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
It would certainly seem possible, given that line-up, but I don't think he will do it. If he's off by just a little bit at any of those, someone else will steal away the title. I do, however, expect him to be in contention Sunday at both the '08 Masters and U.S. Open.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
First of all Tiger has one leg up on a new Tiger Slam having won the PGA Championship. He certainly will be the favorite at Augusta but as we saw this year he is not a lock. At Torrey Pines Tiger will be an overwhelming favorite because of his past record there. Royal Birkdale could be a stumbling block as that course is a little quirky. Any slam would be an incredible achievement.
Hot Topic
With how many major titles will Tiger end his career?
He will have 20 by the time he's 40. I don't see him getting past 30.
Tiger will end his career with 25 majors. He'll surpass Jack's 18 in 2014. He'll win No. 25 when he's 46 years old, the same age Jack won his last.
Seven green jackets, five U.S. Open trophies, six claret jugs and six Wanamaker trophies. That equals 24. I have no idea how many he will win, but this sounds like as good a number as any. I'm sure he wants to push that total as high as possible, but the only number that really matters is 19. And barring a career-ending injury, that should be a breeze to obtain.
I think 25 is a reachable number for Tiger. Keep in mind the fact that he is only half way through the prime of his career. I think only a career-ending injury could stop him.
Did you agree with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Players captains selections for the Presidents Cup?
I love the Weir pick. A Presidents Cup in Canada without Mike Weir would be like a hockey Hall of Fame without Gretzky. Plus, sometimes the guys that get in when they weren't playing well feel like they have the most to prove when they get there. There are now three Sunday singles match-ups I'd like to see: Woods vs. Weir (the crowd would be wired); Woods vs. Sabbatini (Woods would be wired) and Woods vs. O'Hern (O'Hern loves to play Tiger). So, yes, I like the O'Hern pick. He's a very underrated player. As for the American picks: Mahan earned his way on. Glover has a lot of game. Too bad Nicklaus couldn't find a way to get DiMarco on his squad.
I think both made the right choices. Nick O'Hern and Lucas Glover, both 11th in points, deserve to be on their teams. Hunter Mahan is hot and if he keeps up his stellar play the next few weeks he will help the U.S. team. Mike Weir, as Canada's biggest golfing draw, should definitely, no matter how he's currently playing, be on the International team. The atmosphere will be awesome when he's on the course.
I think so. There weren't any players on either side, based on their recent play, about whom you could have said, 'It would be criminal if they didn't make it.' Mahan has been playing well of late, but who knows what his form will be like in five weeks. The best thing was that Jack selected two rookies, which could prove beneficial for future U.S. Ryder Cup teams. And Player picked Weir, which will give his team a huge home advantage - something he might not have had without him.
Yes, I dont think Gary Player had any choice but to pick Mike Weir. The event and golf in Canada needed that. Both Lucas Glover and Hunter Mahan deserved to be on the American team.
Which is more difficult: playing in temperatures over 100 degrees or under 50?
It all depends on the wind. Fifty can be nasty if the wind's howling and the rain is spitting. One-hundred can be equally bad if there is no breeze. Humidity's a factor, too. Bottom line, I'll take the hundy.
Playing in temperatures under 50. Playing golf in the cold is extremely difficult. It's tough on the hands. And tough to get or stay loose.
I recently played in 95-degree heat with high humidity, and I'll take that over 45 degrees every day of the week -- even with the gnats.
Under 50 degrees, no doubt. When it is cold you need more clothing and the outside factors have a greater influence on the golf ball. When its hot a golfer may be more uncomfortable but the ball flies longer and straighter.
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    One & Done: 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 5:55 pm

    Beginning in 2018, Golf Channel is offering a "One & Done" fantasy game alternative. Choose a golfer and add the salary they earn at the event to your season-long total - but know that once chosen, a player cannot be used again for the rest of the year.

    Log on to to start your own league and make picks for this week's event.

    Here are some players to consider for One & Done picks this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where Hudson Swafford returns as the defending champion:

    Zach Johnson. The two-time major champ has missed the cut here three years in a row. So why include him in One & Done consideration? Because the three years before that (2012-14) included three top-25s highlighted by a third-place finish, and his T-14 at the Sony Open last week was his fifth straight top-25 dating back to September.

    Bud Cauley. Cauley has yet to win on Tour, but that could very well change this year - even this week. Cauley ended up only two shots behind Swafford last year and tied for 14th the year prior, as four of his five career appearances have netted at least a top-40 finish. He opened the new season with a T-7 in Napa and closed out the fall with a T-8 at Sea Island.

    Adam Hadwin. Swafford left last year with the trophy, but it looked for much of the weekend like it would be Hadwin's tournament as he finished second despite shooting a 59 in the third round. Hadwin was also T-6 at this event in 2016 and now with a win under his belt last March he returns with some unfinished business.

    Charles Howell III. If you didn't use him last week at the Sony Open, this could be another good spot for the veteran who has four top-15 finishes over the last seven years at this event, highlighted by a playoff loss in 2013. His T-32 finish last week in Honolulu, while not spectacular, did include four sub-70 scores.

    David Lingmerth. Lingmerth was in that 2013 playoff with Howell (eventually won by Brian Gay), and he also lost here in overtimei to Jason Dufner in 2016. The Swede also cracked the top 25 here in 2015 and is making his first start since his wife, Megan, gave birth to the couple's first child in December. Beware the sleep-deprived golfer.

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    DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

    By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

    The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

    ''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

    In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

    ''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

    The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

    ''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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    Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

    Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

    As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

    Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

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    Hot Seat: Rory jumps into the fire early

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 2:11 pm

    The world’s top tours head to desert regions this week, perfect locales for The Hot Seat, the gauge upon which we measure the level of heat the game’s top personalities are facing ...

    Sahara sizzle: Rory McIlroy

    McIlroy won’t have to look far to see how his form measures up to world No. 1 Dustin Johnson at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    McIlroy will make his 2018 debut with Johnson in his face, literally.

    McIlroy will be grouped with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood in the first two rounds.

    Players like to downplay pairings early in a tournament, but it’s hard to believe McIlroy and Johnson won’t be trying to send each other messages in this European Tour event in the United Arab Emirates. That’s the alpha-dog nature of world-class players looking to protect their turf, or in the case of McIlroy, take back his turf.

    “When you are at the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Trevor Immelman said about pairings during Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge last month.

    And that was an offseason event.

    “They want to show this guy, ‘This is what I got,’” Immelman said.

    As early season matchups go, Abu Dhabi is a heavyweight pairing that ought to be fun.

    So there will be no easing into the new year for McIlroy after taking off the last three months to regroup from the stubborn rib injury that plagued him last season. He is coming off a winless year, and he will be doing so alongside a guy who just won the first PGA Tour event of 2018 in an eight-shot rout. Johnson’s victory in Hawaii two weeks ago was his fifth since McIlroy last won.

    “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place, and that was because of where I was physically,” McIlroy said of 2017. “I feel prepared now. I feel ready, and I feel ready to challenge. I feel really good about where I’m at with my health. I’ve put all that behind me, which has been great.”

    Sonoran Smolder: Phil Mickelson

    Mickelson will turn 48 this summer.

    His world ranking is sliding, down to No. 43 now, which is the lowest he has ranked in 24 years.

    It’s been more than four years since he last won, making him 0 for his last 92 starts.

    There’s motivation in all of that for Mickelson. He makes his 2018 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge in the Palm Springs area this week talking like a man on a renewed mission.

    There’s a Ryder Cup team to make this season, which would be his 12th straight, and there’s a career Grand Slam to claim, with the U.S. Open returning to Shinnecock Hills, where Mickelson finished second in ’04.

    While Mickelson may not feel old, there are so many young stars standing in his way that it’s hard not to be constantly reminded that time isn’t on his side in these events anymore.

    There has only been one player in the history of the game to win a major championship who was older than Mickelson is right now. Julius Boros won the PGA Championship when he was 48 back in 1968.

    Campaign fever: Jordan Spieth

    Spieth’s respect in the game’s ranks extends outside the ropes.

    He was just selected to run for the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council’s chairman position. He is facing Billy Hurley III in an election to see who will succeed Davis Love III on the Tour’s Policy Board next year.

    Spieth, just 24, has already made Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.” He made that back in 2016, with the magazine writing that “he exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.” Sounds like a campaign slogan.