Jimenez

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 18, 2004, 4:00 pm
European Tour
 

The European Tour's last full-field event is set to tee it up for the Telefonica Open de Madrid at the Club de Campo course in Spain.
 
The last event prior to the season-ending Volvo Masters Anadalucia holds quite a few subplots` including the race to finish in the top 115 on the Order of Merit (European Tour money list) which secures playing privileges for the 2004 season.
 
It's also the last chance for players to qualify for the lucrative Volvo Masters, where only the top 60 get invited to play.
 
Peter O'Malley is currently on the outside looking in, sitting in the 61st position. Arjun Atwal is in the 60th spot but won'l be playing this week, thus giving O'Malley a golden opportunity.
 
Another emotional subplot will be that of long time European Tour player Steen Tinning.
 
Tinning, ironically, returns as the defending champion of this event, but has announced that due to injuries, it will also be the last tournament of his career. It will be a nice way to go out for the 41-year-old Dane, who has two career tour titles to his name.
 
The Harry Vardon Trophy, which is presented to the player finishing first on the Order of Merit, has already been wrapped up as Ernie Els cruised to his fifth World Match Play Championship Sunday.
 
It is Els' first time to win the award following Retief Goosen's two-year run at the top. Darren Clarke currently is in second.
 
Els, Clarke and Goosen will not be in this week's lineup, but the field still is loaded with marquee players and offers a good look of the past, present and future of the European Tour.
 
Veterans Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal and Constantino Rocca will tee it up alongside current stars Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia, while youth will be served with the likes of Adam Scott, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.
 

 
The Open de Madrid will be played for the 30th time on The European Tour International Schedule in 2004 with Club de Campo hosting the event for a fourth successive season from October 21-24.
 
The announcement means that Spain will host the last three Volvo Order of Merit tournaments on The 2004 European Tour International Schedule with the Turespaa Mallorca Classic at Pula GC, Majorca, the previous week from October 14-17 and the season-ending Volvo Masters Andalucia at Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande, from October 28-31.
 
Following last months Open de Sevilla and the Canarias Open de Espaa, won by Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina and Christian Cvar of France respectively, and the return to the country from November 18-21 for the World Golf Championships ' World Cup, Spain will be hosting no fewer than six events on The 2004 European Tour International Schedule. The Open de Madrid will be promoted by Amen Corner.
 

Ken Schofield, Executive Director of The European Tour, said: We are delighted to announce a sixth tournament in Spain with the Open de Madrid. We congratulate Amen Corner for promoting this tournament and express out gratitude to Club de Campo for hosting this event for a fourth successive season.
 
This event has consistently produced high drama and great theatre and I know all our Members will relish a return to Club de Campo in October.
 
The past three editions of the event at Club de Campo have proved a huge success. In 2001, Retief Goosen of South Africa won the title, beating Englands Steve Webster at the third hole of a sudden-death play-off after the pair tied on 20 under par 264, and in the process sealed the Volvo Order of Merit title for the first time.
 

The following year Denmarks Steen Tinning recorded his second victory on The European Tour International Schedule, a closing 67 giving him a 19 under par total of 265 and a one shot victory over Scotlands Andrew Coltart, Brian Davis of England and Australian Adam Scott.
 
In 2003, it was the turn of Gonzalez when he produced the biggest final round comeback on The 2003 European Tour International Schedule, coming from six strokes behind on the final day. A 72 hole total of 270, 14 under par, left him one stroke clear of Englands Paul Casey, Irelands Padraig Harrington, Australias Nick OHern and Maarten Olander of Sweden.
 
Designed by Javier Arana in 1932 and redesigned by Seve Ballesteros in 1994, Club de Campo has earned a reputation as one of the finest courses in Spain. In addition to hosting the Open de Madrid, Club de Campo has also hosted the Open de Espaa on eight occasions, the first of which was one by the 1951 Open Champion Max Faulkner of England in 1957. Since then Spains Sebastian Miguel (1960), Sam Torrance of Scotland (1982), Australian Rodger Davis (1990), Argentinas Eduardo Romero (1991), Scotlands Colin Montgomerie (1994), Ballesteros (1995) and Harrington (1996) have all won at Club de Campo.
 

 
Ricardo Gonzalez fired a final-round 65 to overcome a six-shot deficit and win the Telefonica Open de Madrid on Sunday. Gonzalez finished at 14-under-par 270 for his second career victory on the European Tour. Paul Casey, who held the lead on his own throughout the tournament, struggled with a 1-over 72 to finish one shot short. Casey was joined by Padraig Harrington, Nick O'Hern and Marten Olander
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Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.

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The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

Yeah, you heard that right.

“I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

“I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

Here's two more just for good measure.

Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.

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Spieth selected by peers to run for PAC chairman

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 6:43 pm

Jordan Spieth may still be relatively young, but he has gained the confidence of some of the PGA Tour's most seasoned voices.

Spieth is one of two players selected by the current player directors of the Tour's Policy Board to run for Chairman of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). Spieth will face Billy Hurley III in an election that will end Feb. 13, with the leading vote-getter replacing Davis Love III next year on the Policy Board for a three-year term through 2021.

Last year's PAC chairman, Johnson Wagner, replaces Jason Bohn as a player director on the Policy Board beginning this year and running through 2020. Other existing player directors include Charley Hoffman (2017-19), Kevin Streelman (2017-19) and Love (2016-18).

The 16-member PAC advises and consults with the Policy Board and Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on "issues affecting the Tour."

In addition to Spieth and Hurley, other PAC members for 2018 include Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, James Hahn, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Geoff Ogilvy, Sam Saunders, Chris Stroud, Justin Thomas, Kyle Thompson and Cameron Tringale.

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Florida golfers encounter python-wrapped alligator

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

Alligator sightings are pretty common on Southern golf courses - see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Also, here. (RIP, Timmy the Turtle.)

But here's one that deserves distinction.

Those images come from the Golf Club at Fiddler's Creek, down in Naples - in case you're booking a vacation to Southwest Florida or just looking for a Hot Deal this week. Hit 'em straight, folks.