Allenby Tries to End Jinx

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 13, 2002, 5:00 pm
Robert Allenby is the defending champion of this weeks Nissan Open, but that might not be the best of things.
Four consecutive defending champions have missed the cut on the PGA Tour. The curse started with Joe Durant at the Bob Hope; carried on with Mark Calcavecchia in Phoenix; bit Davis Love III in Pebble Beach; and ended Phil Mickelsons two-year run at the Buick Invitational.
Allenby will be making his first start since a two-week stint to start the season in Hawaii. He tied for 22nd in the Mercedes Championships, and tied for 23rd at the Sony Open.
Last year, Allenby produced the shot of the season by lacing a 3-wood from 225 yards to five feet on the first hole of sudden death.
Allenby birdied the 73rd hole to put an abrupt end to a six-man playoff, the largest in tour history (there was also a six-man playoff in the 1994 Byron Nelson Classic, but that event was reduced to 36 holes due to rain).
On a muddy Riviera course, Allenby, Dennis Paulson, Bob Tway, Jeff Sluman, Brandel Chamblee and Toshi Izawa all completed regulation at 8-under-par 276. Love could have voided the playoff, but he played his final four holes in 4-over to finish two shots back.
The six soggy competitors went to the 18th hole, where Allenby was in between clubs on his second shot ' 2-iron or 3-wood. He opted to choke down on the metal wood, and leter rip.
The end result was a bullet to five feet, from where he converted the winning putt.
I was trying to hit the perfect shot, and I came up with it,' Allenby said at the time. To be able to pull it off in those conditions ' pouring rain, five guys on your heels ' that's going to be a shot that stays in my memory bank a long time,
The victory further cemented Allenbys stature as 'The Playoff King.' The Australian upped his career playoff record to 7-0, with three of his four PGA Tour triumphs coming in extra sessions.
Allenby will once again have to best an impressive field ' along with the jinx ' in order to defend his title and collect the $666,000 first-place check.
David Duval, Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell III, Vijay Singh, Matt Gogel, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke are among those scheduled to compete.
Tiger Woods was on the original commitment list, but withdrew last week. Woods decided to go to his Orlando home to rest and practice before returning to his native state of California for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa.
Ive been sick for almost two weeks now, Woods said at the Buick Invitational, where he tied for fifth. I just want to go home and get some rest, try and get my strength back.
The Match Play Championship is the only World Golf Championship event Woods has yet to win. He did not play last year, when the tournament was contested the first week in January in Australia. He lost in the finals to Darren Clarke in 2000.
I will be back for the match play,' he said. 'I just want to have enough strength for that week. Im a little run down.
Woods, who played in his first tour event as a 16-year-old amateur at Riviera in 1992, has also never won the Nissan. Hes played this event each of the past five seasons, finishing runner-up twice. His best chance for victory came in 1998, when he lost to Billy Mayfair in a playoff.
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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.