Love Harbours Thoughts of No 6

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2004, 4:00 pm
Davis Love III still doesnt have a green jacket, but he will have an opportunity to earn his sixth plaid jacket this week.
 
Love leads a pack of 37 players who make the short drive from Augusta, Ga., to Hilton Head Island, S.C. for the MCI Heritage.
 
Despite his Masters frustrations, Love has experienced immense success at Harbour Town Golf Links ' almost unparalleled in the history of golf.
 
Love has won this event five times. Only five others have won the same tournament on more occasions than Love has at Hilton Head.
 
Sam Snead holds the PGA Tour record, having won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Jack Nicklaus (Masters), Snead (Miami Open), Alex Ross (North & South Open) and Harry Vardon (British Open) have won the same event six times.
 
Love has said over the years that he tries to get his game to peak during this time of year. But it has led to two wins the week before the Masters and five wins the week following.
 
I take a deep breath and drive down the road to Hilton Head and say, Why didn't I win the Masters? And then I play at Hilton Head and I win, because I relax and I play my game and I'm confident, Love said.
 
I'm tuning it for that time of year. You can't say, all right, Sunday of the Masters is the day I'm going to play good this year. You can't be that good, but you can have your game ready for the big times of the year.
 
Love tied for seventh at Augusta. That means, if history is any indicator, that he will not be able to successfully defend his title.
 
He has never won the MCI Heritage after finishing inside the top 10 at Augusta.

Love earned his first tour title at this event in 1987, his second full season. He won again in 1991, 92, 98 and again last year.
 
His most recent victory was a combination of resiliency ' on Loves behalf ' and a meltdown ' on his opponents.
 
Love chipped in on the final hole to force a sudden-death playoff with Woody Austin.
 
Austin then missed a 6-foot putt on the second playoff hole and a 3-footer on the third extra hole, both of which would have given him his first title since the 1995 Buick Open.
 
Love then slammed the door shut on the fourth playoff hole by making birdie after his approach shot hit the flagstick.
 
To win five times on a tour is pretty awesome, but to win five times in the same place ' pretty incredible, Love said.
 
Others in the 132-man field include: Darren Clarke, British Open champion Ben Curtis, Masters runner-up Ernie Els, Jay Haas, 2002 winner Justin Leonard, Mark OMeara,1997 winner Nick Price and 36-hole Masters leader Justin Rose.
 
Masters champion Phil Mickelson is not in attendance, meaning Bernhard Langer will remain the last player to win both the Masters and the following tournament. Langer captured his first Masters title in 1985 and then won the Heritage immediately thereafter.
 
The purse is $4,800,000, with $864,000 going to the winner.
 
Love easily holds the record for most Heritage victories, but he isnt the only multiple champion. Hale Irwin won in 1971, 73 and 94; Johnny Miller in 1972 and 74; Hubert Green in 1976 and 78; Tom Watson in 1979 and 82; Fuzzy Zoeller in 1983 and 85; and Payne Stewart in 1989 and 90.
 
Related Links:
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.