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, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
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, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
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?
 
Hewitt:
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.
 
Sands:
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.
 
Hutchinson:
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?
 
Hewitt:
Peter Jacobsen imitating Mark Lye missing a putt. You had to be there.
 
Sands:
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.'
 
Hutchinson:
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?
 
Hewitt:
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.
 
Sands:
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.
 
Hutchinson:
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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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

    Getty Images

    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.