Press Pass PLAYERS Move Golf Fashion

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 21, 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
This week is normally the spot for THE PLAYERS Championship. Do you like having the fifth major between the Masters and the U.S. Open or as a lead-in to the seasons first major?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
I was never really comfortable with THE PLAYERS Championship being two weeks ahead of the Masters. Too much of the media focus was (necessarily) on the upcoming Masters and the value of THE PLAYERS as a stand alone event was unfairly diminished. Plus, the grasses and the golf course at Sawgrass never seemed to synch up with what the players could expect at Augusta National. THE PLAYERS needed a move on the schedule. Now it has.
 
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
I like the new PLAYERS Championship May date because the Masters was always the topic of discussion at Bay Hill. Now with the new date, THE PLAYERS will become one of the five most important events on the PGA TOUR.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
I'm a fan of the move. The TOUR doesn't really lose anything by having the Doral event, now under the WGC umbrella, in its place. The move should keep things interesting when there is often a lull the two months in between the Masters and U.S. Open.
 
Hot Topic
Should the PGA TOUR do more to make the WGC events contested on a more global level?
 
Hewitt:
For starters, I find it a tad hypocritical for the 'International' players to complain that too many WGC events are in the U.S. when so many of them own homes in this country. That having been said, it wouldn't upset me to see more WGC events abroad, especially at some of the great old courses in the British Isles.
 
Rolfing:
WGC events need to be contested in countries other than the United States.
 
Baggs:
Of course it would be nice; but TV, money and player malaise on traveling abroad are reasons it won't be happening for the next four years. The new schedule makes it tough to do as well. The TOUR risks a healthy amout of withdrawals if it moves the Accenture Match Play overseas. The new event at Doral isn't likely to chagne venues since it folded into an existing -- and very popular -- event. Really, the only current tournament that would be feasible to play overseas is the Bridgestone, but that is contested at Firestone, one of the more respected and well-like venues on TOUR. Translation: get used to seeing the same U.S. courses year-in and year-out in the WGC events.
 
Hot Topic
Vijay Singh won this past week by using a belly putter. Should belly and/or long putters be made illegal?
 
Hewitt:
Hogan said there was golf and there was putting. The two, he maintained, were different games. With that in mind, I have no problem allowing any kind of implement on the greens. Nor do I have a problem with different putting styles.
 
Rolfing:
No, belly and/or long putters should not be made illegal.
 
Baggs:
I wouldn't mind seeing a ban, at least for professionals. You can say that this is just another form of technology that has made the game a bit easier for players, like titanium or solid core, multi-layered balls, but, with belly/long putters, you have fundementally changed the way the club is used. Drivers, irons, wedges and balls may be more advanced, but they are still used, in essence, just as they were long before we were born. That is not the case with belly/long putters.
 
Hot Topic
Who are the best and worst dressed golfers, on any tour, today?
 
Hewitt:
As my grandmother used to say, 'There's no accounting for taste.' I think Retief Goosen looks as comfortable, fit and sharp in golf clothes as any male player. Tiger is not far behind. And my wife, who pays much more attention to this sort of thing, agrees. Worst dressed? Asking a sportswriter to answer this question is a bit like asking a sinner to name his least favorite commandmant. I will say that Calc's Sunday outfit at Honda earlier this month wasn't exactly GQ. Not that he cares what I think. On the women's side, I think Natalie Gulbis dresses smartly. I'm not a big fan of Paula Creamer's look, particularly the occasional high socks. Would love to see Marty Hackel's best and worst dressed top 10 on the men's and women's side.
 
Rolfing:
Best: Tiger Woods. Worst: Any golfer that wears a tight shirt.
 
Baggs:
Tiger is probably the best dressed on the men's side in a classic sense. Adam Scott has his moments. So, too, does Darren Clarke; though, he can go a bit overboard. Ian Poulter's among the worst; he's beyond daring with his fashion, taking it to a purely tacky level. Most of his clothes should be cast aside with every Tabasco shirt ever made. But Sergio Garcia, in his horrendous matching outfits, takes the cake in regards to awful attire. Ironically, the same company who outfits Garcia does so for Paula Creamer. She's the first female player that comes to mind when I think 'best dressed' (love the high socks, too).
 
Click here to e-mail us your take on all of the above four questions. We'll publish select reader responses on Friday.
 
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    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.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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    Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

    “That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

    So was Woods.

    DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

    “His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

    Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

    “He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

    Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

    “Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

    “Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

    Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time. 

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    With blinders on, Rahm within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

    SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

    The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

    It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

    “It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

    Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

    According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

    “I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

    And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

    As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

    He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

    “I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

    Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

    “I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

    Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

    Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

    “If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

    Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.