Press Pass Phil Firestorm Holes in One

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 2, 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
Should Phil Mickelson, who missed his Wednesday pro-am, have been able to compete in last weeks EDS Byron Nelson Championship?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
A lot of people think he shouldn't have. Certain players think others get preferential treatment. In this case, I'll take Phil and the PGA TOUR at their word.
 
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann- Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Yes. When weather circumstances like they faced (heavy storms and tornadoes) get in the way leaving no chance to fly in, I have no problem with it. Couldnt they have given Mickelson an afternoon tee-time in the pro-am on Wednesday? Players werent happy ' citing star treatment. Perhaps one free pass per year would be in order.
 
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
Yes, absolutely yes! There were extenuating circumstances because of weather issues. Even commissioner Tim Finchem could not arrive because of this problem.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
No. I understand why the PGA TOUR let him play, but given how strict they have been with other players - and they have been very, very strict - they should have held Mickelson to the same standard. What they need to do is relax the rule a little, allowing players at least one excused absence a year. Plus, given that Mickelson was traveling in a private jet, he could have made it on time if he really wanted.
 
Hot Topic
With Tigers old coach, will Mickelson ever be able to pass Woods for No. 1 in the world?
 
Hewitt:
It's a long shot. Phil will get better under Butch. But, as Phil says, it's Tiger's world and he's just living in it. Only way Phil gets to No. 1 is if Tiger gets injured or takes an extended leave from competitive golf.
 
Kann:
Theres a chance. But Phil will need some serious help. Not just from Butch Harmon, but from Tiger Woods. Mickelson is the most talented player outside of Tiger ... now we see if a change in coaching philosophy can get more out of him.
 
Rolfing:
No. Tiger is too far ahead of Phil and too many venues fit Tigers game better than Phils.
 
Baggs:
Looking at the current top 10 in the world, Mickelson is probably the only player capable of doing it, but, all in all, I'd say he will not. It's hard to imagine anyone overtaking Tiger unless he decides to make a swing change. Even as well as Vijay played a few years ago, he would not have passed Woods if he hadn't undergone a swing overhaul.
 
Hot Topic
This weeks Wachovia Championship is contested at well-liked Quail Hollow. What is the best regular tournament course on the PGA TOUR?
 
Hewitt:
TPC Sawgrass is No. 1, hands down. Quail Hollow, Muirfield Village and Cog Hill No. 4 are way up there. The Copperhead course (PODS) is a real sleeper. Pebble Beach also belongs on any list as does Riviera.
 
Kann:
In my opinion it is Muirfield Village. Looks great on television, always manicured beyond perfect. There will be plenty of votes for Riviera or Pebble Beach. I like Muirfield.
 
Rolfing:
Pebble Beach.
 
Baggs:
Of the ones that I have been to, I would go with Muirfield Village. The course just always looks pristine. You can't beat the visuals at Pebble or Kapalua, but Muirfield always impresses with the course itself.
 
Hot Topic
A lady in Arizona is said to have made eight holes in one in the last 14 weeks. What is your most memorable hole-in-one moment?
 
Hewitt:
True story. I was working, just out of college, at a golf course in Illinois. Was standing behind the 13th green of a long par-3, when I saw a man and his wife approach the tee. The man promptly aced the hole. But he and his wife immediately began arguing. He didn't think the ball had gone in the hole. She did. The bickering continued all the way up to the green. When he finally pulled the ball out of the cup, he was greeted with a loud, 'I told you so,' from his wife. He marched off in stony silence to the next tee. Somehow, I don't think they'd been having a very good time the first 12 holes.
 
Kann:
Ive only had one: 166 yards with a breeze at Dorals White (Greg Norman designed) Course. Hit a 6-iron two bounces and in. Couldnt believe it. Neither could Brian Hewitt. The rest of the round was forgettable, and I had no time to buy drinks. We had a 'Post Game' show to do that afternoon at the old Ford Championship, which was won by Craig Parry.
 
Rolfing:
My most memorable hole in one was my first at the third at the Bay Course at Kapalua. But Ive never seen one like Fred Couples' at the 17th hole at THE PLAYERS. He hit the ball in the water then re-teed it and made a hole in one.
 
Baggs:
I've never made one and I blame my father. He has made in the neighborhood of 20, which means the odds are against anyone else in the rest of the Baggs family of ever making one. I did, however, have the greatest near hole-in-one of all time. Playing with my brother a few years ago, I stepped on the tee box with a 7-iron and guaranteed an ace. Guaranteed it. I struck it perfectly, posed for all the imaginary cameras, and watched as the ball took one bounce, hit the flagstick and came to rest inches from the hole. It would have gone in -- if not for my father.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Wachovia Championship
  • Full Coverage - EDS Byron Nelson Championship
  • Getty Images

    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

    Getty Images

    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

    Getty Images

    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

    Getty Images

    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.