Honda Still Searching for Its Identity

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 8, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Honda ClassicThe Ford Championship has Doral. Bay Hill has Arnold Palmer. The Players Championship has the Fifth Major label. The Honda Classic has
 
While three of the four tournaments which comprise the tours Florida Swing have at least one defining quality, the Honda Classic is still searching for one of its own.
 
Todd Hamilton
Todd Hamilton became the 17th different player in a row to win The Honda Classic.
Maybe its due to its wandering ways. The Honda Classic has Bachelor in its blood. It just cant seem to settle down or make a firm commitment.
 
Ten years, four different venues. And a fifth may be in the near future. Its Warren Beattie still looking for its Annette Benning.
 
The Sunrise Course (par 72; 7,488 yards) at the Country Club at Mirasol will play host for the third consecutive season. But when the current contract runs out after 2006, the tournament may be on the move once again ' just a couple of miles down the road to PGA National.
 
But its Mirasol at the moment. And while it doesnt have the superstar field of last weeks Ford, it does have 1999 champion Vijay Singh, who will begin his quest this week to regain the No. 1 spot in the world, and Match Play champion David Toms.
 
Davis Love III is also on the commitment list. Love, who entered the event just prior to last Fridays 5:00 p.m. ET deadline, has finished runner-up each of the last two years in this event.
 
Justin Leonard knocked him off in 2003; Todd Hamilton was the culprit a year ago.
 
Before he was the British Open champion, Hamilton was just a 38-year-old tour rookie, who had lived a life more nomadic than even the Honda Classic.
 
A veteran of almost every imaginable circuit not named the PGA Tour, Hamilton birdied each of his final two holes to clip Love by a shot. Of course, he then went on to shock Ernie Els ' and the rest of the world ' in a playoff at the British Open.
 
Jack Nicklaus, in 1977-78, is the only player to successfully defend his title. But that might not be at the forefront of Hamiltons mind. Right now, he would probably just settle for a decent finish.
 
Hamilton has posted only three sub-70 rounds this year and has yet to crack the top 25.
 
Both Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo step out of the commentary booth and back onto the course this week. While Azinger has already played four times this season, Faldo will be making his first start on tour since last years PGA Championship.
 
This is the 33rd playing of the tournament, which was first contested as Jackie Gleasons Inverrary Classic. Tom Weiskopf was the initial winner, in 1972 at Inverrary Golf & Country Club.
 
Other notable champions include: Lee Trevino (1973), Larry Nelson (1979), Johnny Miller (1980, 83), Tom Kite (1981), Hale Irwin (1982), Curtis Strange (1985), Fred Couples (1993), Nick Price (1994) and Mark OMeara (1995).
 
The tournament purse has been upped $500,000 to $5.5 million. The winner will collect $990,000.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.