Kinder Gentler Game Now Says Curtis

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Administaff Small Business ClassicThe idea of making a comfortable transition from the broadcasting booth to the golf course has gone by the wayside. So has his rookie season on the Champions Tour.
 
'I just haven't hit the ball very well,' said Curtis Strange. 'I've been working at it as much as I thought I would, but it comes down to ball-striking, especially out on this tour.'
 
Strange plays in the Administaff Small Business Classic this week, with only one more tourney waiting before the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Strange has had a difficult time after turning 50 Jan. 30. He has played in 17 events, but in only two has he finished in the top 10.
 
One of them, of course, was just three weeks ago at the Constellation Energy Classic when he finished third. But then it was back to the same-ol'-same-ol', a tie for 24th in the SAS Championship. And last week he was slowed by the flu, dropping out of the Greater Hickory Classic before the second round.
 
After spending nearly six years in the television booth with ABC, Strange has found it more difficult to get in playing shape than he thought. His putting has been good, the eighth best on the tour, but he stands 59th in driving distance, 68th in fairways hit and 53rd in greens hit in regulation.
 
Actually, this isnt entirely a new experience to him. As a television analyst, he did several Champions Tour events, including majors. I knew the players, obviously, Strange said. I knew the atmosphere, which is more sedate and calm and relaxed than the PGA Tour. And so I knew pretty much what to expect, yes.
 
What he didnt have a reason to expect was the difficulty he would have in acclimating to the playing style. Strange twice won the U.S. Open, and even an extensive tour in the television booth didnt prepare him for the hard times which have come his way. Maybe its because he hadnt truly been trying to win when he played the last few years.
 
When I played the last three, four, five years on the regular tour, it was more to be around the guys, said Strange, It was more for my TV work, it was kind of to go out and knock the cobwebs off four or five times a year. And it served its purpose very well.
 
But I didn't play very well doing that. What I'm getting at is there was no real - other than a purpose of TV work - there was not a real goal in sight of playing.
 
And now all of a sudden come last November when I started working, there was something to push for - to play well and to compete again.
 
And it has been somewhat difficult to feel the butterflies again, the nervousness of again being around the top of the leaderboard.
 
Apprehensive to the point of not really quite sure what to expect, is the way Strange phrases it. Whereas, when you're playing well and playing well day to day and playing a lot of tournament, years ago, it was - that's what you try to do, obviously. And you expected it.
 
'But it's getting better. It's getting better. I sprinkled too many bad rounds around a couple good rounds. But at least I shot some good rounds. That's the good thing.
 
And in case hes forgotten a few things, it didnt take long for him to remember. He had to remind myself how tough this game really is. I think when you get in the booth, you forget in a hurry, because you don't know what to expect.
 
This time in his life, though, its time to enjoy the fruits of his prior success. Back 25 years ago, golf was so different. It was a need back then - not WANTING to play well, but HAVING to play well. Both financially, wanting to make a name for yourself.
 
Now it's not quite like that. Doesn't mean I don't want to go try to beat the guys, try and beat them, yeah. But it's a little different.
 
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.