Press Pass Wins for Phil Advice for Wie

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 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
Phil Mickelson returns to action this week looking for his 33rd career PGA TOUR victory. With how many will he end his career (including majors)?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Fifty PGA TOUR wins and five majors. He will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He will be viewed as one of the five or six most naturally-gifted players who ever lived. He will be looked upon by many golf historians as an underachiever. Others will point out he made the mistake of living in the time of Tiger Woods. Phil had no choice.
 
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
I think Phil still has a lot of winning left to do. Mickelson will end up winning 54 PGA TOUR events, including seven major championships before he wraps it up for good.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
At age 37, Mickelson probaly has up to 10 productive-to-fairly productive seasons remaining. I don't think he'll reach 50 total TOUR wins, probably falling short by two or three. In the majors department, I think he can win two or three more. I'll give him six ... max.
 
Ian Hutchinson Ian Hutchinson - Contrib. Writer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Hes still three years away from his 40th birthday, so barring injuries, I dont see why Mickelson cant hit 50, which will put him in some impressive company on the all-time list. Phil has always been capable of winning on TOUR, but his major record is what people will point to once things are said and done. He isnt the best player never to win a major anymore, but majors are what the truly great players are measured by, especially since he played in the Tiger era.
 
Hot Topic
With her 2007 playing season over, how would you advise Michelle Wie for 2008?
 
Hewitt:
Take a year off from golf. Convince your parents to go back to Hawaii and let you be a college kid. I might even consider starting to work with Butch Harmon. Las Vegas, where Harmon teaches, is a short plane ride from Stanford where Michelle goes to school.
 
Sands:
I would advise Michelle to have a great freshman year at Stanford and not worry about golf for a while. Enjoy your time as a college student. Dont be tempted by sponsor exemptions, especially on the PGA TOUR. Play select events on the LPGA Tour. Try to qualify for the majors. But more than anything, be a kid. Have fun, hangout with friends, study hard, skip class, learn how to be on your own, etc. In other words, do what almost everyone else does when theyre 18 and in college.
 
Baggs:
It would be nice if she could sit back for a while and be a kid, but she's getting paid to be a professional golfer. Unless she is willing to void some money (and I don't think her parents are for that plan), she needs to make sure that she works diligently on her game. I hope she has fun and enjoys her college experience (which would be easier to do if she could get her parents to stay in Hawaii), but she must work to improve her game and then play a limited schedule -- of only LPGA events -- in 2008.
 
Hutchinson:
Dont try to force anything. Be what youre supposed to be at this point in your life. Be Michelle Wie the person and not Michelle Wie the golfer and everything will fall into place naturally. Hopefully, the people around her have gotten that message, too. Nobody outside of that group is trying to put pressure on her. In fact, most people would hate to see such a talent destroyed by undue pressure she isn't ready for at such a young age.
 
Hot Topic
The LPGA is playing the second of six straight limited-field events to close their season. Is that unfair to those trying to earn their cards for 2008?
 
Hewitt:
Hard to be critical of the LPGA these days. To anybody, male or female, unhappy with the obstacles of getting a tour card, I say this: Play better.
 
Sands:
No. Play better.
 
Baggs:
It seems a little excessive. I could understand two or three near the end of the season, but six straight? While there isn't nearly as much public interest in LPGA players trying to keep their cards as there is PGA TOUR players (do you know the exempt number on the LPGA money list?), I'd still rather see a few more full-field events on the schedule leading up to the ADT Championship.
 
Hutchinson:
Its unfortunate for those on the bubble because theres a very small window of opportunity during the season in which to establish momentum. However, the same can be said for everybody in that situation so its fair across the board. The first priority is the tour itself and golf fans want to see the bigger names as much as possible and so do sponsors. I havent seen a great deal of excitement about the PGA TOURs Fall Series. With most big names in hibernation now, its a noticeable contrast between now and the weeks leading up to the Presidents Cup.
 
Hot Topic
How much will Ernie Els victory at the HSBC World Match Play help him in terms of winning on the PGA TOUR and possibly a major next year?
 
Hewitt:
I think Els, who turns 38 Wednesday, is poised, along with Mickelson, to take a good run at Tiger Woods in 2008. Els has quietly crept back up to No. 4 in the world. He was spectacular last week at the HSBC Match Play at Wentworth. And he was one of only two players'Woody Austin was the other'to extend Woods in any serious way Sunday at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in August.
 
Sands:
Im not sure it will help. Ernie needs to get that winning feeling again in a stroke-play event. Its been far too long for one of the games great talents. Once he gets another victory under his belt I think itll be back to normal for Els.
 
Baggs:
It will certainly help his confidence right now, but since he's not planning on playing a PGA TOUR event until a few months into the 2008 season, this win will mean very little as he preps for the Masters.
 
Hutchinson:
Hes won seven of them so far and, as great as it is to win an event like that, it hasnt been a magic potion for him. Theres a lot of time between now and the Masters.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.