Duval Looks to Finish Michelob Season on a High Note

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 3, 2002, 4:00 pm
David Duval said last weeks Ryder Cup showed him what his game was lacking: passion. With a renewed vigor, Duval shot 7-under-par 64 to earn a share of the lead in the Michelob Championship.
Duval is tied with Japan's Hidemichi Tanaka, who birdied five of his final eight holes.
Five players are tied at 5-under, including last week's Texas Open winner Loren Roberts, Ryder Cupper Scott Hoch, who won this event in 1996, Corey Pavin, who hasnt won anywhere since 96, Jose Coceres and Bart Bryant.
Kind of a carryover from last week at England where I was really fired up about being there and playing, Duval said. I kind of had the same feeling as I got in here yesterday.
Duval skipped the Wednesday Pro-Am, instead opting to go home after the Ryder Cup to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
He said he wanted to give myself that extra day of rest and really try to put on a good show for the last year here.
This is the 36th and final edition of this event, held at the Kingsmill Golf Club in Kingsmill, Va. Like other tournaments, this one has fallen victim to a lack of a sponsor for next season.

Duval, for one, hates to see the tournament come to an end. Following seven career runner-up finishes, he won his first PGA Tour event here in 1997. It was the first of three wins in a row to cap the season, and the first of 11 wins in 34-tournament stretch that vaulted him to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
He also successfully defended his title in 1998.
The 30-year-old hasnt won since his 2001 British Open triumph, and has only one top-10 finish this year. Thursday, however, he recorded an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys for his lowest round in the 2002 campaign.
His eagle came at the par-5 15th, where he hit a 6-iron from 190 yards to 20 feet and converted the putt.
Duval has shown flashes of his old self in recent events. He shot 65 in the final round of the World Golf Championships-NEC Championship, and then did the same in round two of the American Express Championship. Last week, he went 1-1-1 in his three matches played.
Really, in the last 10, 12 rounds its been the exception when I havent played well, he noted.
Duval has suffered through a lot this year. Hes missed seven cuts ' more than hes missed in the previous three years combined ' including at the Masters and the U.S. Open. He was also forced to withdraw from the Nissan Open after a bout of food poisoning.
On top of his professional woes, he ended an eight-year relationship with his fiance in late January, and suffered an injured shoulder in a snowboarding accident.
My head has been in different places this year unfortunately, simply because Ive had other things going on that Ive had to focus on and pay attention to, he said.
But, for now, Duval said hes body and mind are right, and hes focused on golf.
I have three rounds left this week, and the way Im kind of thinking right now is Ive got a good chance to being in the Tour Championship come next Sunday, and Im way outside it right now (currently 93rd on the money list), but thats how I feel, Duval said.
The thinking I have is I can clean up this year with three wins pretty easy, that I can turn whats been a bad golf year into another multiple-win season. Thats how I feel about my golf right now.
Two-time defending champion David Toms, who was the leading American points earner a week ago, opened in 1-under 70. Local favorite and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Curtis Strange shot 3-over 74.
Full-field scores from the Michelob Championship
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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.