Ballesteros Tiger Can Expect More Pain
'Tiger looks different this year,' Ballesteros says in the September issue of Golf magazine. 'He is a very seasoned 27, not a baby anymore. He is understanding the things that happen to your body as you age. After an injury, you don't go 100 percent. Your mind is waiting for discomfort, and that changes your swing.'
Woods had knee surgery at the end of last year, then won three of his first four events upon his return. Still, Woods says he doesn't practice as long as he once did.
'When you are in your early 20s, you can take the violent swing,' Ballesteros said. 'It starts to get tough in your late 20s. The early 30s are more difficult, and it never gets easier.'
Among the regrets Ballesteros has about his career are turning pro at 17, not playing more in the United States and not taking better care of his body.
He exercises, swims and stretches to help his back, 'and I think it's a losing battle.'
'Gary Player knew how to care for his body, which is one big reason he, (Jack) Nicklaus and Sam Snead are the only ones to peak for more than 10 years,' Ballesteros said.
Most people would be thrilled to shoot their age in a major championship, especially when the number -- age and score -- is 81 at Turnberry.
Jack Fleck had reason to be remiss.
'I should have had a 75,' he said.
Fleck, the surprise winner in the 1955 U.S. Open in a playoff over Ben Hogan, posted his 81 in the first round of the Senior British Open two weeks ago.
That included a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 13th hole when he wound up in thick rough and didn't have the strength to chop it out. Then on the 16th, his approach caught the ridge in front of the green and slid down into Wilson's Burn, leading to a double bogey.
'I don't know what it was,' Fleck said. 'I just didn't have the coordination. The wind was strong, and I'm pretty thin. I think that had something to do with it.'
LPGA Tour players have been whispering for months that some fathers of Korean players might be guilty of improper coaching during tournaments.
Golf World reports this week that the LPGA has called a meeting at the Wendy's Championship in Ohio to discuss a series of accusations, including one that a father moved his daughter's ball from behind a tree.
LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw told the magazine the meeting was 'to make sure they understand the rules and regulations of the LPGA and the rules of golf.'
Some players have complained that fathers stand behind greens as a directional marker, use hand signals to indicate the right club selection and offer advice in Korean -- all of which violates the Rules of Golf. Players can only receive assistance from caddies.
Votaw declined comment on the allegation that a father moved his daughter's ball.
'There are a number of issues that need to be addressed,' he said. 'That's why we're having the meeting. Many of these are 'he-said, she-said' situations with no corroborating evidence.'
CATCHING A FAMILY MOMENT
Rick Dempsey, World Series MVP in 1983 for the Baltimore Orioles and now their first base coach, moonlighted as a caddie on the Futures Tour last week.
It was a rare opportunity to work with his sister, Cherie Zaun, a former tour pro recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Hunters Oak Golf Club owners used their private helicopter to get Dempsey from the course in Queenstown, Md., to Camden Yards, but it turned out to be a short week.
Zaun withdrew after nine holes of the second round because she had problems using the right side of her body to accelerate through her shots.
'It's like having half a body,' Zaun said. 'I'm still learning about what this disease is doing to me.'
Zaun, whose son Geoff was a catcher for the Florida Marlins when they won the '97 World Series, played on the LPGA Tour in 1976 and 1977. She now is a teaching pro at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif.
Ben Curtis was relatively unknown until winning the British Open, but he might not have been the most obscure winner of golf's oldest championship.
Bev Norwood, an IMG publicist who has edited the British Open annual the last 20 years, makes a strong case for David 'Deacon' Brown, who won at Musselburgh in 1886.
According to local legend, Brown was the town chimney sweep and a good golfer, having played the previous two Open championships at Musselburgh.
Because they had an odd number of players that year, tournament officials sought out Brown to complete a pairing. They found him hard at work and covered in soot, brought him to the links, gave him a bath and dressed him in clean clothes. He shot 79-78 and won by two strokes over Willie Campbell.
Brown gave up his trade for golf, emigrated to Boston and lost in a playoff to Willie Anderson in the 1903 U.S. Open. He was said to have earned enough to live comfortably, but lost most of his wealth in the 1929 stock market crash, returned to Musselburgh and died a year later.
Mark O'Meara is taking his 14-year-old son to work. He and Shaun have entered the Father-Son Challenge, one of the most popular silly-season events. 'Shaun and I have watched the event for the past several years and started looking forward to the day when we could play,' he said. 'This is the right time.' The tournament is Dec. 4-7 at ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla. ... Grace Park surpassed the $1 million mark for the first time in her career. Park is only the seventh player in LPGA history to reach $1 million in a single season. ... Old Waverly Golf Club, where Juli Inkster won her first U.S. Women's Open, has been selected as site of the 2006 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Hank Kuehne's drives measure more than 300 yards 86.5 percent of the time. The PGA Tour average is 24.5 percent.
'If she could putt and chip like me, or I could hit it straight like her, you would have the best player in the world.' -- Seve Ballesteros, on Annika Sorenstam.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
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
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
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.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
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.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
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.