Like Father Like Son

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The kid is not stagestruck.
 
Ricky Barnes might be at the Masters, instead of watching it on TV with his roommates at the University of Arizona, the way he has the last three years. And the guy playing alongside him might be Tiger Woods, instead of just another college senior whose monthly living expenses don't equal Woods' cleaning bill. And judging by the scores, Augusta National might be playing longer and tougher than it has at any time in the last 15 years.
 
But the kid does not scare easily.
 
After completing 28 holes Friday, he was at 1-under and clinging to fourth place.
 
'If you come out here ready to settle for a missed cut or something like that,' Barnes said, 'you're out here for the wrong reason.'
 
At least Barnes comes by his bravado honestly, same as his athletic pedigree.
 
His father, Bruce, played two seasons in the NFL as a punter for the New England Patriots, and older brother Andy, who is carrying his bag, played on the Canadian tour and is spending this season playing Monday qualifiers on the PGA Tour.
 
Talk about growing up in a competitive household: the brothers have been playing against each other since Ricky was as tall as a putter and now he's 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. They went head-to-head two months ago at the Tucson Open, and the desire to zing each other hasn't subsided one bit.
 
Coming off the 18th hole after his opening round 69 - seven shots better than playing partner Woods - someone asked Andy Barnes whether Ricky was young enough to ignore the pressure that was mounting.
 
'He's just dumb enough ... ' Andy began.
 
But his questioner cut him off with, 'I said 'young enough.''
 
'I heard what you said,' Andy said, flashing an ever-widening grin.
 
The only thing that really matters at the moment, though, is whether Ricky Barnes is good enough to hold his place among the pros, as opposed to the college crowd he's been running with. Phil Mickelson, who played his college golf at nearby rival Arizona State, has watched Barnes long enough to vouch for him.
 
'I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed there for 72 holes. In fact,' Mickelson said, 'I expect that type of play out of him.'
 
Barnes didn't know what to expect when he arrived at the Masters. The only thing that worried him in the least was getting his opening tee shot into the fairway. So naturally, Woods sidled over, said, 'Relax, things are going to be OK. It's going to be a long day.'
 
Sure enough, Barnes short-armed his opening swing and sent a hook skidding into the left rough. Being the cool character he is, Barnes promptly found it and knocked it on the green. Tiger sidled up a second time.
 
'He said, 'See'' Barnes recalled, 'and I was like, 'OK.''
 
OK doesn't quite capture the up-and-down quality of Barnes' day. He was great in the lousy weather that dominated the morning and not so great in the benign conditions of the afternoon. The only constant was that he followed all but one of his bogeys with a birdie at the next hole, and after making a double at the 14th, he nearly eagled No. 15.
 
'That's what I was most proud about,' Barnes said.
 
It was harder to say what made Bruce and Cathy Barnes proudest.
 
His mother, a schoolteacher, probably was most impressed by his demeanor
 
'He was a hothead growing up, but now we think it's because he's such a perfectionist. It's one reason why he reminds me of Tiger Woods.'
 
His length off the tee is another. But that's not what impressed his father.
 
'It's probably his imagination,' Bruce Barnes said. 'When he gets into trouble, he can be really creative. He's got a short game I'd kill for. He had that early on.'
 
That's one reason why Bruce didn't mind that Ricky's last competitive football game was his freshman year in high school.
 
'I never pushed them in that direction. I knew for a fact unless you're really good AND really lucky, the chances of a long career in the NFL are really bad.'
 
Besides, nobody in the family ever lacked for competitive juices. Though Ricky gave up basketball in high school as well, he still plays pickup games at school, where one of his roommates was starting Wildcat forward Rich Anderson.
 
'That's why,' Barnes said, pointing, 'I have these six stitches over my eye.'
 
If the apple really doesn't fall from the tree, it's easy to see where Ricky learned his deadpan delivery. Asked about his NFL career, his dad summed it up this way:
 
'I got picked the same year the Patriots took Sam Cunningham, John Hannah and Darryl Stingley. It was a pretty good draft,' he recalled, 'except for me.'
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


FALLING

Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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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.