Mickelson has Big Hopes for the Bob Hope

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 17, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicAs they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
If so, then everyones heart should be jumping for joy this week as Phil Mickelson makes his return to the PGA Tour at this weeks Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson hopes he can shake off any rust that may of formed during his long layoff.
Lefty, as it has been well documented, has not teed it up in an event ' official, silly, or otherwise ' since mid-November. And thank goodness he's finally showing up when he is, as he represents the only player in the top-15 in the world rankings to make into the desert for the event in Palm Springs, Calif.
The absence of many of the top players is mainly due to a three-week run of European Tour events in and around the shores of the Persian Gulf, with those tournament fields including the likes of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els.
That will open up the field and makes Mickelson the prohibitive favorite for the 47th edition of the Hope. Heres a list of the top-5 contenders for the title:
Phil Mickelson
Despite his long lay off, Mickelson has no problem with quickly shaking off the rust and getting off to a fast start as shown by his two wins in this event in the last four years. In fact, five times in his career Lefty has won a title in his very first appearance of the season. Second only to Tiger in birdie average last year, Mickelson will have plenty of opportunities to score as the Hope is a 90-hole event played out over five days.
J.B. Holmes
In his meteoric rise to the PGA Tour, the obvious next step for this rookie would be a breakout victory. Having been only the second player ever to go directly from college and on to win the PGA Tour's Q-School, Holmes quickly showed it was no fluke by his solid top-10 performance at the Sony Open. A former All-American from the University of Kentucky, Holmes was on the winning United States Walker Cup team in 2005.
Mike Weir
Despite coming off one of his worst seasons in 2005 and a missed cut at the Sony, former Hope champion Weir is a grinder who might just need familiar surroundings to give him a boost of confidence to get things turned around. He has had good results during the West Coast Swing with his victory at the 2003 Hope, a pair of wins at the Nissan Open, and three straight top-4 finishes at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Justin Leonard
The defending champion shook off a disappointing 2004 season with two wins last year, including his victory in Palm Springs. Leonard rose from 42nd in earnings in 2004 all the way up to 12th in 2005. He started out 2006 with an eighth place finish at the Mercedes Championship and has enjoyed a good amount of success at the Hope with three top-10s in his last four starts.
David Duval
A longshot for sure, but Duval already has matched his total cuts made from last year after making it to the weekend at the Sony Open. More importantly, he fired his lowest round in three years with a splendid 7-under 63 in the final round in Hawaii. Remember too, that it was at the Hope seven years ago when Duval joined the rare company of Chip Beck and Al Geiberger as the only players to shoot a 59 in the history of the PGA Tour. With his off-course life settling down and his back problems slowly going away, Duval might begin to follow in the steps of Lee Westwood - his European counterpart in the golfer-who-fell-off-the-face-of-the-earth department - who has once again regained his old form.
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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.