Press Pass Meltdowns and You Choose the Menu

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 4, 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. 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
What is your favorite Masters moment?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
Has to be Nicklaus in 1986. Jackie Jr. on the bag. Lundquist's 'Yes, SIR!' on 17. Just watching Jack's face change on the back nine. On the 10th tee he looked liked a 46-year-old man. By the time he got to 16 his face was the visage of a 30-year-old.
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Anchor, GOLF CHANNEL:
Aside from the Saturday night posting of media members whove won the lottery to play Augusta National on Monday? OK, thats easy. Its actually not a moment ... it's the anticipation of Sundays final round that comes after Round 3 ends. Waiting for that 3:00 p.m. last tee time on Sunday is tough. And I always try to make my way to the tee to watch the leaders go off.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
Ben Crenshaw let all his emotions flow after holing the final putt to win the 1995 Masters. Bens long-time mentor, Harvey Penick, had passed away a week earlier. Ben later said that he knew Harvey was with him all the way. At the 1999 Ryder Cup, captain Crenshaw told the world he believed in fate. I think he said that because he had a big encounter with fate at the 1995 Masters.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
The one thing about working a major is that you don't get to enjoy it as a viewer. Instead of soaking in Tiger's '97 triumph, I was running highlights tapes back and forth between editing machines. One thing that sticks out is the 2002 Masters. A host of top-10 players were chasing Tiger in his repeat bid, and prior to the final round there was a huge buzz. Never more have I wanted to play sick and watch from home. Alas, it was best I didn't as Sunday was a total buzz kill.
Hot Topic
Aside from Greg Norman in 1996, what is your most memorable Masters meltdown/gaffe?
Scott Hoch's missed putt against Faldo in the '89 playoff. Faldo won three Maters to be sure, but a lot of people forget that he had a lot of help from the last man standing against him in each case. Floyd rinsed his second in the 1990 playoff on 11 and Norman flew too close to the sun in 1996.
Scott Hoch. And if you think about it, Nick Faldo has been given some help along the way to some green jackets. Norman sure comes to mind doesnt he?
At the 1985 Masters, Curtis Strange, after an opening round of 80, came all the way back to enjoy a three-stroke lead with six holes to play on Sunday. But the meltdown began when he hit it into the water on No. 13. He continued the bogey streak on No. 15 and No. 18 to finish tied for second with Seve Ballesteros and Raymond Floyd ' two strokes behind the winner, Bernhard Langer.
Roberto De Vicenzo signing for the wrong score in 1968. He should have been in a playoff with Bob Goalby, but instead he will forever be remembered for saying, 'What a stupid I am.' At least he already had a major under his belt (1967 British), though; players like Hoch and Ed Sneed weren't as fortunate.
Hot Topic
What is your favorite hole at Augusta National?
The third hole, a short par-4, is my favorite for several reasons: Nobody knows much about it; the green complex is so demanding that an approach from 85 yards is just as difficult as an approach from 185 yards, because of the precision necessary. The landing area, if you want to get the ball close, is tiny. And it really doesn't matter where you put the pin. In addition, you stand back right of the green and see all of No. 3, plus the tee shots and putts on the adjacent par-3 fourth.
This is tough. I love 13 because of the risk-reward and the beauty of the backdrop behind the hole itself. No. 16 is terrific because of the realization that a hole-in-one can be made if you put it in the right place and get the right roll. But my favorite is actually the hole I teed off on when I was lucky enough to play in 1995. I had to tee off on 10 (which made Amen Corner come up too quick), which is a fun tee shot to hit and watch carry down the hill. Tough, tough second shot which doesnt get talked about enough for its beauty. Im sure Mike Weir likes it, too.
My favorite hole at Augusta is the third and final hole of amen corner ... No. 13. To me it is not only the most aesthetically pleasing hole at Augusta National, but it is also one of the most exciting. A relatively short par-5, No. 13 requires a combination of strategy and shot making which always produces drama on Sunday afternoon at the Masters.
I love the par-3 16th. It reminds me of Woods' and Love's chip-ins; Duval blowing it over the green in '01; Jack's 40-foot birdie in '75; Norman sealing his fate in the water in 1996. The hole always seems to play a dramatic role in the final outcome. And there is always the potential for a Sunday hole-in-one.
Hot Topic
What would you serve for the Champions Dinner?
Baby Spinach greens salad with walnuts and light vinaigrette. Entree: Yankee pot roast, twice-baked potatoes au gratin and creamed spinach. Dessert: Fresh strawberries and Hagen-Dazs vanilla. Beverages: extra-chilled Old Renwick sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or Corona Light with a lime. (Yeah, right. Like 'Light' beer is really going to help me after all those calories.)
Chicago-style pizza and a few cold ones. Add in a few Chicago dogs, too; though, Id be pretty confident the deep dish pizza would be a sell-out.
My Champions dinner: sashimi, cold lobster salad, lamb chops, roasted fingerling potatoes and broccoli.
I'm a simple man: steak, baked potato. Nothing too fancy, just really juicy and rare. Perhaps sushi, too. And since it's on Tuesday night and not Wednesday: bourbon. Lots of bourbon.
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 - Masters Tournament
  • Getty Images

    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

    Getty Images

    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

    Getty Images

    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

    Getty Images

    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.