Sindelar Says No to Open

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
ENDICOTT, N.Y. (AP) -- Joey Sindelar qualified for the British Open for only the second time in his 23-year PGA career -- and he's not going.
 
'It's a huge deal to qualify. It's the British Open. That says it all,' Sindelar said Wednesday during a pro-am at En-Joie Golf Club. 'I want to go back very badly, but this year's fit wasn't quite right.'
 
The B.C. Open fit just fine, though. So the 45-year-old Sindelar, who missed the cut when Greg Norman won at Turnberry in 1986, will play a course he won on in 1985 and 1987.
 
And it's not so bad, really, because Sindelar grew up only an hour away -- in Horseheads, N.Y. -- and still calls it home.
 
'It's a home week for me. That's the important thing -- comfort,' said Sindelar, who ranks 74th on the money list with $555,439. He could nearly double his earnings with a win. 'Getting home on Monday, you can play five tournaments, and it only feels like three.'
 
Sindelar and J.L. Lewis were among several players at the Western Open who had a chance to qualify for the 132nd British Open. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club gives PGA Tour players a chance to get into the Open without having to qualify the weekend before in England.
 
Lewis made the trip to Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England. Officials at the B.C. Open fully expected Sindelar to do the same.
 
'The local guys called me and told me they wanted me to go, not to even think about it,' said Sindelar, who beat Jeff Sluman by four strokes in 1987 to become the first two-time B.C. Open winner. 'I can't call it agonizing, but it was still a tough decision because it was two good choices.'
 
Brad Faxon is the only other two-time B.C. Open champion. He won in 1999, beating Fred Funk in a playoff, and again in 2000, when he failed to qualify for the British Open and flew back to defend his title at the 6,974-yard, par-72 course.
 
Sindelar has been wildly popular here ever since he holed a 5-iron tee shot from 201 yards on the 14th hole of the final round in 1985 to take the lead for good. He beat Mike Reid by one shot and calls that one of the greatest moments of his career.
 
Spike McRoy can identify with that. He drained a 31-foot birdie putt on the final hole last year to beat Funk by one stroke. That made McRoy the 12th player since the B.C. Open began 30 years ago to claim his first PGA Tour victory at En-Joie.
 
Considering McRoy missed the cut at the B.C. Open the first three times he played the tournament, the victory remains special.
 
'It's no problem having to put up with winning. It's a pretty good deal,' said McRoy, who tied for 10th last week at the Greater Milwaukee Open. 'It's great to be back in a place where I have pretty positive thoughts.'
 
The field was at 151 Wednesday, five below the norm after several players pulled out.
 
Sindelar, who has only six victories on Tour, hasn't won since he beat Willie Wood in a playoff at the 1990 Hardee's Golf Classic. He's still shooting.
 
'To win anything would be fun,' Sindelar said. 'And if I get silly and win a couple of tournaments, I'll have a chance to get back to the Masters. There are a lot of things I still want to do, and I'm not willing to give it all up, especially when I have a shot at another major.'
 
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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.'"


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    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.