Price Right for Special Delivery

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
Nick Price says that he has one goal this season. Its not to win a major; its not to even win a PGA Tour event. It really has nothing at all to do with winning, but more with just being allowed to compete in something he holds dear.
Nick Price
Nick Price is in search of his third career FedEx St. Jude victory.
My motivating force this year is making the Presidents Cup team, Price said. Thats my No. 1 goal.
I hope to accrue enough points to make it into the top 10. If not, I hope to show (International captain) Gary Player that I warrant an invitation.
Price is currently 22nd on the International Presidents Cup team points standing, which is based on ones position on the Official World Golf Ranking. The top 10 on the list following the conclusion of the PGA Championship will automatically qualify for the biennial event, which will be contested Sept. 22-25 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Lake Manassas, Va.
In order to make it on his own accord and spare Player the dilemma of having to use one of his two captains picks on him, Price may have to do something dramatic over the next four months ' like win.
Price could certainly help his cause at this weeks FedEx St. Jude Classic.
As the tour heads out of Texas and into Tennessee, there are just three tournaments before the seasons second major championship.
Many of the favorites for the U.S. Open are not on hand this week. Theres no Vijay or Tiger or Phil or Ernie ' or even Retief, for that matter.
Of course, they were all in Irving for the EDS Byron Nelson and Ted Purdy walked away the victor.
That just goes to show the depth of field on tour. And it is because of that depth that it is so very difficult to pick a winner ' at least before the start of an event. But here are some of the favorites to win this weeks FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Five for the Title:
Nick Price
Thanks to some minor technical adjustments, Price is seeing a major improvement in his iron play this season. One of the games all-time ball-strikers, Price was a ghastly 192nd on tour in greens hit in regulation last season. Hes 51st this year. Putting, however, is what plagues the 48-year-old Hall of Fame member. Price was 17th on tour in putting average last year, compared to 169th this year. Should he get the flat stick going this week, Price could contend for his first tour title since the 2002 Colonial. In 17 career starts at the FedEx, Price has two wins (1993, 98), two runner-up finishes (1988, 2003) and six top-5s. He is also fresh off his best finish of the season, a tie for sixth at the Byron Nelson.
Kenny Perry
Kenny Perry
Kenny Perry has his sights set on a second win in as many weeks.
As evidenced in 2003, when Perry gets hot, watch out. He collected three wins in a four-start stretch a couple of years ago, beginning with a record run at the Colonial. Perry, who won this years Bay Hill Invitational, put together another record run at Colonial this week, matching his 72-hole tournament scoring record.
David Toms
Toms is the two-time defending champion ' and he tied for fourth in 2002, which makes him a de facto favorite. However, he is mired in a legal battle against his former agent and has said the personal problems have affected him professionally. Since earning four straight top-5 finishes early in the season, including a dominating win at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Toms hadn't cracked the top 30 ' until last week, when he tied for third at Colonial. He will be trying to become the first player to win this tournament three straight years, and the first to win any event on tour on three consecutive occasions since Tiger Woods concluded his four-year reign at Bay Hill in 2003. Lee Trevino (1971, 72 80) and Dave Hill (1967, 69, 70, 72) are the only players to win this tournament at least three times.
Bob Estes
Aside from Toms, Estes might have a better record at the TPC at Southwind than anyone else in the field. Over his last six FedEx starts, he has a first- (2001), a second- (2004), a third- (2003), and a fourth-place (1998) finish. He had seven straight birdies in his second-round 64 a year ago. Estes has missed only one cut in 15 appearances since the tournament moved to Southwind in 1989. He made his first nine cuts this season, but has failed to qualify for weekend play in two of his last three starts. This may prove to be the perfect place for Estes to not only reverse that trend, but also win on tour for the first time since 2002.
Tim Herron
The tour media guide generously lists Herron at 210 pounds. After a week in the balmy Memphis climate, Herron may actually sweat himself to that weight. But he may also exit the area with his first win in over six years ' or at least a hefty check (no pun intended). Herron has played here seven times and he has six top-20 finishes. He earned his best result last year, tying for third. Herron is having his typical Lumpy season thus far in 2005. He has made the cut in nine of 13 starts for a 69-percent success rate (he averages 70 percent over his career). He also has three top-10s (he averages about 4.5 per season). What he doesnt have is a win, which last came in 1999 at Bay Hill.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more players to keep an eye on
*Sean OHair, who is making his first start since his impressive runner-up performance at the Byron Nelson. The 22-year-old tour freshman has already locked up his card for a sophomore season. With security ' and momentum ' on his side, he may be poised to become the first rookie to win on tour this season.
*Shaun Micheel, who lives in Memphis and plays out of the TPC at Southwind. Micheel has done little on tour since winning the 2003 PGA Championship and hasnt fared well here either. He has six missed cuts in 10 starts and has never finished better than tied for 19th. He may not win this week, but hes a local favorite who has ties to both FedEx (his father was one of the companys first pilots) and St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital (he visits cancer patients there).
*Loren Roberts, who lives near the course and has missed the event only once since it moved to Southwind. Like Micheel, Roberts is a local favorite with plenty of course knowledge. But unlike Micheel, Roberts has had some success here. Roberts has four top-10s in 22 career starts, dating back to 1982. He tied for 18th last year and has only one round over par on this course since 1999.
*Kip Henley, who is making the move to the PGA Tour this week. Henley, of Big Break II fame, used his first Nationwide Tour exemption last week in Virginia, where he barely missed the cut. He earned his way into this event by making it through a local qualifier. He has four times before competed in this event, missing the cut on each occasion. But in his last two attempts, he did manage to shoot sub-70 scores in the second round.
Related Links:
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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.