Sutton To Toe Emotional Line

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 13, 2003, 4:00 pm
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Hal Sutton felt the U.S. team was on its best behavior during last year's Ryder Cup, perhaps to a fault.
'I wanted to make sure that I made every step just right,' he said. 'And sometimes, there wasn't room for me to be myself.'
While the U.S. captain doesn't want a repeat of the over-the-top celebration on the 17th green in 1999 that brought widespread criticism, Sutton does want his players to be themselves next year at Oakland Hills.
'I don't want to put everybody in a straitjacket,' Sutton said Wednesday at the PGA Championship. 'I think there is a way to have free will and still do it the right way.'
He declined to label the Americans' behavior in 1999, when some players, wives and caddies stormed the 17th green after Justin Leonard made a 45-foot putt that ultimately clinched victory.
'I would have defined it as an uncontrollable urge to express enthusiasm,' Sutton said.
As for last year, Sutton said, the U.S. players were too cautious while losing to the Europeans at The Belfry in England.
'We were so aware of (what happened in 1999) that we wanted to be in check,' he said. 'I'm not sure that was necessarily a bad thing.'
While he's not begun to consider the makeup of the U.S. team, Sutton said his first priority is to speak to Tiger Woods, encouraging him to become more of a team leader.
'Tiger has not been very vocal. He's just tried to play his game,' Sutton said. 'I think if he had something to share with the team, everybody would listen. So yes, I will try to impress upon him to share things.'
Sutton is also recommending the PGA of America follow Europe's lead by limiting alcohol consumption to the concession area.
Tom Watson worries better equipment that has led to longer hitters is making classic courses like Oak Hill obsolete.
'That's the real fear,' Watson said. 'These courses are obsolete.'
Watson, who competed at Oak Hill in the 1980 PGA Championship and 1989 U.S. Open, said the course is now too long, playing at 7,134 yards this weekend -- 230 yards longer than normal.
But it's not as if Oak Hill officials had much choice in an effort to keep scores manageable, Watson said.
'We've gotten to a point where the golf ball goes too far and now we are taking these golf courses and extending them too far and we are running out of space,' Watson said. 'I want to see golf courses play as similarly as they can compared to how they played a long time ago.'
Watson considers recent improvements made to golf balls and to club heads as having the biggest impact on the game. He urged both USGA and PGA Tour officials to consider restrictions.
Jim Awtrey, chief executive of the PGA of America, shared Watson's concerns, but added he is not afraid of seeing lower scores recorded at this weekend's tournament.
'Is obsolescence going from this course being resistant to par, to having players winning at 7 or 8 under?' Awtrey said. 'If that's obsolescence, and the caliber of the play of today's player and the level of competition is greater, I'm not sure that, in my mind, is obsolescence.'
Defending champion Rich Beem hasn't lost his sense of humor or his Pepto Bismol bottle.
'Chug down a little Pepto Bismol before every round, and have a golf towel to prove it,' Beem said.
Beem's favorite drink became apparent during last year's PGA Championship at Hazeltine, an event he won by holding off a late-charging Tiger Woods in the final round.
Beem drinks it in part because of the pressure of playing on tour and because of his diet, which includes some spicy foods.
'It settles my stomach down so I don't have to use the restroom all the time,' he said.
DIVOTS: The PGA of America said Wednesday this year's purse will be $6 million, with $1.08 million going to the winner. That's up from $5.5 million a year ago and marks the first time the purses of all four majors are $6 million or more. ... Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player are to announce their respective captains picks for the U.S. and International teams for the President's Cup on Monday. The President's Cup will be played in November in South Africa.
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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.