Press Pass Masters Debate Next on the List

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 11, 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
Do you like watching the Masters Tournament under firm and fast conditions with even par being a great score? Or do you like it when the conditions allow for lower scores with more birdies and eagles?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
As much as I enjoyed this Masters playing more like an Open Championship this time around, I, like many others, pine for the roars from Amen Corner. If the Masters wants to set a target winning score, I'd prefer 10 to 15 under. The winner, Zach Johnson, didn't go for any of the par-5s all week long. Something doesn't seem right about that. The 'signature' golf shot in the history of the Masters is Gene Sarazen's '2' on a par-5.
 
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Anchor, GOLF CHANNEL:
I liked watching Sunday at the Masters under the scoring conditions. I didnt much enjoy the first two rounds. Saturday was just tough ' forget that day. The weather combined with the course set-up dictated everything. Dont forget ... Augusta can determine the score just like the USGA can and we saw a Sunday with the fun and drama were always used to.
 
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
I like it better when conditions lead to lower scores; its the way I always remember the Masters. Tradition is a great part of the Masters and the combination of having lengthened the course and the difficulty of the conditions this year took away many scoring opportunities. The players had to play defensively.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
I'd much rather watch the Masters when players are allowed to be a little more aggressive, as they were on Sunday. I don't see anything wrong with 8 under to 12 under being the winning score. Certainly, the weather played a factor this past week, but much more so, the competition committee determined Augusta National's difficulty. Any coincidence Fred Ridley, former USGA president, is the new chairman of that particular committee?
 
Hot Topic
With Zach Johnsons Masters victory, who will be the next first-time major winner?
 
Hewitt:
Interesting, by the way, that nobody that I saw came up with the headline: 'Masters And Johnson.' ... Anyway, I'm thinking the next first-time major winner will be Padraig Harrington and it may happen as early as Oakmont in June where, by the way, the conditions promise to be nasty. Sergio seems to be heading in the wrong direction. Monty is done when it comes to winning a major.
 
Kann:
Look out for Luke Donald or Paul Casey. Those guys are good enough that their time will come ' perhaps before Sergio's. Appleby learned a ton and I wouldnt count him out. My guess is the Europeans get the distinction of the next first-timer.
 
Rolfing:
I believe it will be one of three players: Henrik Stenson, now the sixth ranked player in the world; Paul Casey, who if not for a bad opening round at Augusta could have won the Masters; and Vaughn Taylor, who simply is one of the best putters in the game.
 
Baggs:
I hope it's Padraig Harrington, simply because I'm a fan. But I'm not putting my money on a European in a major. I can't see Adam Scott winning a major right now. I'm not going with a first-timer in the U.S. Open, but how about Trevor Immelman in the Open Championship at Carnoustie.
 
Hot Topic
Tiger Woods hasn't played the Verizon Heritage since 1999. Should players, like on the LPGA, be required to play in every PGA TOUR event at least once during a certain period of time?
 
Hewitt:
I don't like special treatment, but Woods has earned it. He should not be required to play anywhere he doesn't want to play. Period. I am, however, on another subject, getting a lot of e-mails from viewers who are growing increasingly weary of Tiger's profanity on the golf course.
 
Kann:
Yes. The Yankees have to play the Devil Rays, right? Id love to see Tiger at Hilton Head more often.
 
Rolfing:
I think that requirement would be ideal, but I dont see it happening. I dont think the PGA TOUR policy board would ever approve that system. As an alternative, if the PGA TOUR considered each PGA TOUR event and once every four years gave every tournament bonus FedExCup points that could be a step in the right direction. In any case, I dont think it would affect a player like Tiger Woods, whose schedule is pretty much set each year.
 
Baggs:
No. I think it would certainly be nice to see, and certainly would be beneficial to the TOUR, but players shouldn't be obligated to play anywhere. I don't think this is something that we will ever see happen. Tiger wants to play where Tiger wants to play. And the TOUR wants to keep Tiger happy.
 
Hot Topic
The LPGA returns to action this week at the Ginn Open. With her major victory, is Morgan Pressel now Americas best female player under the age of 25?
 
Hewitt:
Morgan Pressel may have vaulted past everybody and earned the right to be called the best female player, of any age, in the U.S. She was the first American to win the Kraft Nabisco since Dottie Pepper in 1999. On the other hand, the tournament kind of won her because she finished so much earlier than all the other contenders. I still believe that when all is said and done, Michelle Wie will have the best record of all the American women. But her ship is in dry dock right now and nobody seems to know when it's going to sail again.
 
Kann:
No. Not ready for that yet. I still give the nod to Creamer or Wie. But Pressel is for real.
 
Rolfing:
I dont think so. I believe it's Paula Creamer, but with her victory Morgan has definitely closed the gap.
 
Baggs:
I'm definitely giving the nod to Pressel over Wie right now. Wie may have the greater potential, but potential means bupkis right now. Creamer may still be atop this list on a weekly basis, but I see Pressel as being the kind of player who out-performs her American peers in the majors. She may not win that many regular tournaments, but I think she will claim up to five majors throughout her career, given her tenacity when even par is a great number.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Verizon Heritage
  • Full Coverage - Ginn Open
  • Full Coverage - Masters Tournament
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry