Kite Flies High Mother Nature

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 13, 2003, 4:00 pm
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Tom Kite knew that his only chance of winning the Senior Players Championship rested on his ability to shoot a very low score on Sunday.
 
He did, but it still wasn't enough.
 
Kite tied the TPC of Michigan's course record with a 9-under 63, but his four-day total of 14-under 264 was three shots behind winner Craig Stadler.
 
'We all knew Craig was going to be a significant force on this tour as soon as he got acclimated,' Kite said. 'Unfortunately, he decided to do that this week.'
 
Kite parred the first four holes, then birdied three in a row. After back-to-back pars gave him a front-nine 33, he had four birdies, an eagle and a bogey for a back-nine 30. He equaled the course record set by Jim Colbert in 1995 and matched by Hubert Green last year.
 
'That was a very special stretch of holes,' Kite said. 'I hit the ball well tee to green and made some putts. That made for a fun day.'
 
Kite's most spectacular shot was a 256-yard 5-wood on the par-5 17th to set up a birdie.
 
'That was pretty neat,' he said. 'It's a fun feeling to be able to knock a 5-wood onto the green like that and give myself a chance at picking up another shot.'

PURTZER FADES
 
Kite wasn't the only player who threatened the course record on Sunday. Tom Purtzer, who started the day in a tie for 15th, was also at 9-under before bogies at 16 and 18.
 
Purtzer birdied the first three holes and was 8-under after just 12, but played the final six holes in 1-over.
 
'After the first three holes, I was thinking about making 10 birdies and getting myself right back into this,' he said. 'I've never had it that far under par that early in a round before, so I didn't really know what to do.'
 
Purtzer's record attempt ended when he missed the fairway on 16 and missed the green at 18.
 
'I was really rolling until I hit that bad drive on 16,' he said. 'That was a disappointing way to finish.'
 
MOTHER NATURE
 
Although rain had been in the forecast in each of the tournament's first three days, the only delay of the weekend came at the very end of Sunday's final round. Thunderstorms stopped play for nearly two hours with three groups left on the course.
 
'That was some crazy weather,' Kite said. 'I heard the thunder just as I was getting ready to putt out on 18, so my timing was perfect.'
 
Kite joked that he hoped the delay would cause Stadler to stiffen up, but he finished the final two holes without incident.
 
DIVOTS
 
Jack Spradlin had the strangest weekend of the field, shooting 87-69. He finished tied for 64th at 11-over 299. ... Stadler and Jim Thorpe were the only players to shoot three rounds in the 60s. Both missed in the windy second round -- Stadler shooting 73 and Thorpe 72. ... Defending champion Stewart Ginn finished with a 2-under 70 and ended up in a tie for 15th at 286.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Ford Senior Players Championship
  • Ford Senior Players Championship Leaderboard
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.