Singh Defends Eighth at 84 Lumber

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicThe PGA Tour has stopped annually in Pennsylvania since 2000. But in reality, this weeks tournament is only in its third year.
In 2003, billionaire Joe Hardy and his 84 Lumber Company took up sponsorship of the event which was previously known as the SEI Pennsylvania Classic. He moved the tournament to his Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa and his Mystic Rock Golf Course.
Vijay Singh
84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy slips on the winner's jacket last year to Vijay Singh.
And thats when and where the event began to blossom.
Hardy and daughter Maggie Hardy Magerko have treated players like royalty, providing plush accommodations and plenty of perks. They keep track of important dates in players' lives, like birthdays, and send plenty of presents.
Hardy also signed John Daly and Vijay Singh to corporate deals. And he bulked up the golf course to make it both picturesque and challenging.
A year ago, Hardy enticed some of the best players in the world by offering them all-expense-paid charter flights to the following weeks WGC-American Express Championship in Ireland.
One of the two Boeing 737s, however, experienced air conditioning problems, which sent smoke bellowing through the cabin. Those on-board also had to endure two refueling stops, making the total flight time nearly 20 hours.
But that hiccup hasnt kept many top players from returning this year. In fact, the field is its best ever.
While Hardy still hasnt been able to convince world No. 1 Tiger Woods to enter in his event, he has finally gotten Phil Mickelson to attend. The PGA champion will be competing for the first time in the 84 Lumber Classic, as will Fred Couples and Justin Leonard. Jim Furyk will be making his first appearance since 2002.
But, once again, Singh is the man to beat.
Five for the Title:
Vijay Singh
This will be Singhs eighth title defense of the season and his third in as many weeks. He has successfully defended on two occasions (Shell Houston, Buick Open). In last weeks title defense at the Bell Canadian Open, he tied for seventh. Singh played this event last year for the first time since 2001 and found the revamped Mystic Rock Golf Course to his liking. All 18 greens were rebuilt from 2003 and the venue was lengthened to nearly 7,500 yards. He opened in 8-under 64 and won wire-to-wire. The course underwent another facelift for this year. It is narrower and longer (at 7,511 from the tips), which should both favor Singh.
Chris DiMarco
This event has been contested on three different courses over its first five years; though, some would say its more like four different courses based on the radical changes to Mystic Rock from 2003 to 2004. And DiMarco has had success on them all.
He won the inaugural event at Waynesborough in 2000; tied for 11th at Laurel Valley in 01; tied for 10th at Mystic Rock in 03; and tied for third last year. He earned his third runner-up finish of the year at the WGC-NEC Invitational, yet hes still seeking his first tour win since the 2002 Phoenix Open.
John Daly
Fan favorite John Daly creates a buzz wherever he goes.
John Daly
A win this week would be all-the-more special to Daly because of his relationship with Hardy. He has such affection towards the 84 Lumber founder that he refers to him as Dad. Daly hasnt had a top-10 finish since his playoff loss to Singh at Houston, but he loves this tournament. Daly tied for 13th here a year ago.
Frank Lickliter
The move to Mystic Rock has suited Lickliter just fine. He tied for second in 2003 and then tied for ninth last year. Lickliter, who last won on tour in 2003 at Tucson, has only one top-10 finish this year, but he has been playing better as of late. In his last two starts, he tied for 20th at the Buick Championship and then tied for 15th at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Stewart Cink
Cink had his most successful season ever a year ago, winning twice. This year hasnt been nearly as kind. After a quick start, in which he recorded four top-10s in his first seven starts, he hasnt finished better than 12th since March. This could be the site of his turnaround. Cink tied for second last year, shooting 67-65 over the weekend to put a scare into Singh.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more to keep an eye on
*Phil Mickelson, who is making his debut in this event. Normally, Mickelson would be among the top 5 favorites in any tournament in which hes entered. But its after the PGA Championship and Mickelson has only one career tour win from the month of September on (2000 Tour Championship).
*Fred Couples, who is also making his first appearance in this tournament. Couples has played well in the bigger events this season, and hes got another one coming up in a few weeks ' the Presidents Cup. He needs some momentum heading into the Matches.
*Jim Furyk, who last competed in this event in 2002. Furyk seems to have run out of steam after a strong mid-summer run that climaxed with a win at the Cialis Western Open. Hes taken the last two weeks off and should be well rested.
*Pat Perez, who tied for third last year. That was his only top-10 in 2004. Hes been playing well of late, with two top-10s in his last five starts, including a tie for sixth in the PGA Championship.
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.