Press Pass Sergio Car-Nastys 18th

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 25, 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
Will Padraig Harringtons Open Championship victory open the floodgates for European victories in major championships?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
I think it will have the biggest effect on the younger Euros. For example, Paul Casey was just 22 when Paul Lawrie was the last European to win a major (Open Championship 1999). Harringtons victory will serve as a terrific example for Casey, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and even Rory McIlroy. For that matter, the pressure, for now, is off all the top Euros. But especially the young ones.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
It very well could. Two majors in a row have now been won by European Tour players. Sunday, Padraig said he thought other Europeans would see how he did it and understand that Europeans can win the big events. He was extremely proud to end the eight-year drought and expects to see his continent continue to perform well in majors..
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
No. I'm sure, as a group, the Europeans were happy to see one of their own win a major, but I don't think it has given each individual added confidence on his own that he can do it, too. I don't think there are many European players, at this point in time, who are capable of winning a major championship. And Harrington's win didn't change that.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
No, I really dont think Europeans can be grouped together because so many of them play the PGA TOUR full time. I dont think a particular players origin will determine whether or not he can win a major.
Hot Topic
How do you think Sergio Garcia will respond to his defeat, and how long, if ever, before he will win a major?
When and if Sergio will ever win a major is anybodys best guess at the moment. Might be a lot of permanent damage there after Sunday. I have a theory that Sergio, like Colin Montgomerie, plays better when he has teammates. When its him against the world, Sergio feels too much weight. Garcia and Monty are both spectacular Ryder Cup performers because they have other players rooting for them for at least one week. Tiger is the opposite'terrific as a lone wolf but not a natural-born and bred team player. Woods has come a long way as a team guy in the Ryder Cup. Maybe Sergio needs to wear his old Ryder Cup uniforms at the majors.
I think Sergio will respond well. It was a crushing defeat, but his putting is improved with the belly putter and his ball striking hasn't suffered. He's a more confident player now. I think he'll win his first major next season.
This will take a very, very long time to get over. Sergio will most likely win a major, but I've always felt that it would happen when he'd shoot 65 on Sunday to come-from-behind -- similarly to what Harrington did. I don't think Sergio was overly tough mentally to begin with, so this makes it even more difficult. But, once the world stops conspiring against him, he'll have his day.
This will be a tough loss for Sergio. However, I think hell respond better and sooner than his prior major meltdown.
Is the 18th hole at Carnoustie the toughest finishing hole on any course in major championship history?
Hard to think of another one that tops it. And thats fast company when you consider the 18th holes at both Winged Foot and Oakmont, sites of the last two U.S. Opens. If you had a list of the five hardest holes in major championship history, the first that would come to my mind is the 17th at The Old Course followed by No. 18 at Carnoustie.
I think it's the toughest and best finishing hole in the world. It has everything. A choice of driver or iron off the tee. A choice of laying up or trying to carry the burn. If you hit two good shots you're rewarded with a birdie chance. If you hit a bad shot or two you'll be punished. I love it!
I'm sure you could make one harder by tricking it up, but as far as the natural layout of the hole, 18 at Carnoustie is the toughest I've seen. Even when you try and play it safe on that hole, you can still very easily make bogey or worse.
Im not old enough to say any course in history, but it is the hardest Ive seen.
What is the ONE thing you are most looking forward to this week?
Film of the celebrations in Dublin.
The one thing I'm looking forward to the most this week is hearing the Canadian fans cheer for Mike Weir. He's a legend in his home country.
Nick Faldo is making his debut on the Champions Tour this week, competing in the Senior British Open. I'm very curious to see how his game stacks up out there, and to see if this will spark any kind of competitive fire.
The thing Im looking forward is to see how Sergio will react. Padraig said had he not won the British Open he might have had to reconsider his career. I hope Sergio doesnt, this should be a highlight for him.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.