TOUR Notes Aussies in Houston Tough in Florida

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
PGA Tour (75x100) PGA TOUR:
  • You might want to look for an Aussie to challenge this week at the Shell Houston Open. Since the tournament began in 1946, Australians have won the title seven times while finishing second six times. Of the events on TOUR, only the British Open (nine wins by Aussies) has seen more Australians win than Houston. By the way, there are 12 in the field this week.
  • The new look Florida Swing produced four of the six toughest courses on TOUR so far this season. Bay Hill (Arnold Palmer Invitational) is the toughest to date, playing to a stroke average of 2.054 over par. PGA National (The Honda Classic) is second with Innisbrook (PODS Championship) fifth and Doral (WGC-CA Championship) sixth.
  • Thirty-two players who graduated from the Nationwide Tour or the Q-School last year are among the top 144 players on the FedExCup points list. The 32 players have averaged 7.7 starts this year.
  • Sergio Garcia has back-to-back top-10 finishes (T5-T3). He has not had three in a row since the 2002 season.
  • Robert Allenby continues to rack up the top-10 finishes. He has six in his first eight starts this year or as many as he had in 53 starts in the 2005 and 2006 seasons combined. The six are also the most hes had in a season since he recorded nine in 2003. While he hasnt won, his steady play has him in eighth place in the FedExCup points race.
  • Talk about eliminating the left side'Kyle Reifers has missed the fairway left off the tee only nine times in 140 tee shots (6.43%). Shaun Micheel misses right the least of anyone on TOUR'7.66% (19 of 248).

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • Andy Bean enters this weeks Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach with a strong record in the previous Florida events. Bean has finished T9-T2-T7 in the first three Champions Tour events in the state this year. He won four titles in his PGA TOUR careeer in Florida.
  • The Ocean Hammock course, site of this weeks Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach, was designed by Jack Nicklaus. It is one of four Nicklaus courses on the Champions Tour in 2007.
  • Theres a great field assembled this week at Ocean Hammock with 16 former major championship winners on the PGA TOUR on hand. The 16 have combined for 38 major championships. There are also 22 former Champions Tour major championship winners competing. Theyve combined to win 43 Champions Tour majors.

    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • Skip Kendall set a new Nationwide Tour record for most time elapsed between victories with his win at last weeks Chitimacha Louisiana Open. It came 12 years, eight months and 27 days since his last win at the 1994 Carolina Classic.
  • You might think that opening with a 60 in a tournament would certainly lead to victory, but that has not proven to be the case. Three times a player has opened a Nationwide Tour event with a first-round 60, including Brenden Pappas last week, but only one has won. Chris Nallen performed the feat at the 2004 Gila River Classic. Pappas ended in a T12 while Jimmy Green finished second at the 1998 Carolina Classic.
  • Miguel Carballo won the season-opening Movistar Panama Championship and last week made his U.S. debut on the Nationwide Tour. He began in promising fashion with rounds of 69-67 before falling back on the weekend and finishing T77. Hes third on the money list behind Scott Sterling and Nicholas Thompson.
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x