Press Pass Hijinks and Hilarity on the Course

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 3, 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
What was the highlight of the week at the Presidents Cup?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
Woody Austins splashdown. Followed by his winning reaction. You can only be embarrassed if you allow yourself to feel embarrassed. A close second was Mike Weirs inspired singles victory over Tiger Woods with all of Canada watching.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
The highlight of the Presidents Cup was seeing Mike Weir play well Sunday against Tiger Woods with the entire nation of Canada watching every move that country's golfing hero made -- but also seeing Tiger react and interact with his fellow Masters champion coming down the stretch. You don't see Tiger speak much with a competitor in a major championship, but the Presidents Cup is supposed to be a friendly competition between the two sides and it is a gentleman's game. Tiger and Mike exuded all the qualities that make golf the great game that it is.
Ian Hutchinson Ian Hutchinson - Contrib. Writer,
Being a Canadian, Ive got to say Woods vs. Weir. Tiger said the atmosphere was electric and he was right. All of the International wives dressed in Team Canada hockey jerseys. It showed that golf fans dont have to sit on their hands, but can still be supportive and well-behaved. While they were definitely cheering for Weir, they were constantly applauding Tiger, as well. The most exciting part for Canadians is that Weirs performance in the Presidents Cup may signal an end to his struggles since 2004.
Hot Topic
Did the American performance in Montreal make you think they can win next years Ryder Cup?
Yes, if Paul Azinger takes away a few lessons from Montreal. The biggest one would be figuring out how to keep your guys smiling all week. The problem is its a lot easier to smile when youre making putts. So putting is more important than smiles. Ive said this before: The success of Azingers captaincy will hinge on the performance of his four captains picks.
I've always thought the Americans should win the Ryder Cup. If our top players perform at the level they're capable of, the Unites States should win the great majority of all International team competitions.
They sure were dominant. You hear so much about the Americans not being able to come together as a team, but I sensed a real camaraderie in Montreal.
Even Mickelson was complimentary to Tiger. Maybe they need Woody Austin to get out his snorkel and fins to loosen up his teammates. Theres no reason why they cant carry this between events. The International team at the Presidents Cup was powerful on paper.
Hot Topic
After watching Woody Austin take a face-first plunge into the lake Friday, what is the funny moment youve ever witnessed on a golf course?
Peter Jacobsen imitating Mark Lye missing a putt. You had to be there.
Either Woody's fall into the water at the Presidents Cup or Cliff Kresge's dip into the drink a few years ago at Q-school. Anyone who's played the game, amateur or professional, has been close or in the water. The fear is always that you're going down. To see it actually happen is about as good as it gets for television. To borrow the line from Seinfeld, 'It's TV gold.'
I was playing outside of Amsterdam and we had teed off on one of the holes.
As we walked down the fairway, my buddy said to look at some people standing on the other side of a canal that ran alongside. He noticed that all four were wearing all-brown. As we got closer, we realized it wasnt brown shirts and brown shorts. They were well-tanned nudists'two men and two women! They waved to us as we walked by and watched us putt out. As we went to the next tee, we noticed hundreds of naked people in a field next to the golf course. We found out later that it wasnt even an organized nudist club. People just went there to lay out in the sun. Talk about breaking golfs dress code!
Hot Topic
This weeks PGA TOUR event is in Texas. What state boasts the best players of all-time?
Tough to argue with Texas: Nelson, Hogan, Crenshaw, Kite, just to name a few. California not too bad either: Woods, Mickelson, Johnny Miller, Juli Inkster, just to name a few. Its definitely not Alaska.
Pretty tough the beat Texas as a whole for pure volume. But Ohio produced the greatest of them all so I'll say the Buckeye State.
Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Ben Crenshaw, Babe Zaharias and moreI think you made a good choice with Texas, but there will be plenty of argument on this one.
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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.