Lefty Tries to Tame Blue Monster

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 1, 2004, 5:00 pm
The West Coast swing is now in the PGA Tour's rearview mirror as the tour begins to motor through the Sunshine State starting with the Ford Championship played on the famed Blue Monster course at the Doral Golf and Spa Resort in Miami, Fla.
 
Headlining the field is Ford spokesman Phil Mickelson, fresh off a solid performance at the WGC-Match Play Championship where he lasted into the quarter-finals, bowing out to Davis Love.
 
Mickelson, who wasn't in the field last year due to the birth of his third child, will face a different course than the one he played in 2002.
 
Over the winter, the legendary Blue Monster added yardage to five of its holes in an effort to put some bite back into a course that had grown soft over the past few years.
 
The famed 18th hole, a par-4 dogleg left, used to lay claim as one of the best finishing holes on tour. With water all the way down the left side and bunkers and trees on the right, the 18th was not just one of the toughest finishing holes on the PGA Tour, it was actually the toughest hole of any on tour.
 
'The new changes at Doral will keep the Blue Monster at the top end of all tour courses and I'm quite sure that the lengthening of hole No. 18 will make this, once again, the toughest finishing hole on the PGA Tour,' said golf instructor Jim McLean, who has Doral Golf Resort and Spa as the headquarters of the Jim McLean Golf School.
 
The field in south Florida will be a little thin on big names as world No. 1 Tiger Woods flys to the Middle East to join up with world No. 3 Ernie Els at the Dubai Desert Classic. Also absent are Vijay Singh, who is taking a rare week off, Davis Love, Mike Weir and the injured Jim Furyk.
 
Some top names, however, will tee it up along side Mickelson as the road to the Masters - just six weeks away - starts in earnest. Early season suprise Jesper Parnevik, South Africans Nick Price and Retief Goosen and Florida native Chris DiMarco will join Lefty for the first of four straight tournaments in Florida.
 
Speaking of the Masters, Scott Hoch, who's missed two-footer on the 18th in the final round of the 1989 Masters cost him the green jacket, will return to Doral as the defending champion.
 
Last year's victory came in a Monday morning finish as Hoch rolled in a 12-foot birdie to outlast Furyk on the third playoff hole. The rare Monday ending came after Hoch, then 47, deemed it to dark to continue as the the two were about to putt on the second playoff hole Sunday evening.
 
The decision proved to be a wise one, as Hoch captured the 11th PGA Tour win of his career. Hoch will look to be the first player since Raymond Floyd back in 1981 to defend the title. In fact, Floyd is the only player in the event's 43 year history to successfully repeat as champion.
 
The Blue Course at Doral has been the only venue in the tournaments 42 years.
 
This years purse was raised to $5 million, with $900,000 going to the winner.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Ford Championship
  • Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.



    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.