TOUR Notes Davis Goes for 6 Miller Back in Action

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 10, 2007, 4:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
PGA Tour (75x100) PGA TOUR:
  • Davis Love III will be looking for his sixth Verizon Heritage title this week at Harbour Town. If hes successful, hell join a short list of players who have won the same event six times or more in TOUR history. Sam Snead is on the list twice (Greater Greensboro Open eight times, Miami Open six times), while Jack Nicklaus (six Masters), Tiger Woods (six WGC-CA Championships), Harry Vardon (six British Opens) and Alex Ross (six North & South Opens) each performed the feat once.
  • More on Love: He has 11 top-10 finishes at Hilton Head in 21 career starts, including seven top-3 efforts. Hes had 49 sub-par and 38 rounds in the 60s in his 75 career rounds at Harbour Town.
  • Eight players have won more than half the 38 Verizon Heritage tournaments to date. The eight'Davis Love III (5 wins), Hale Irwin (3), Stewart Cink (2), Hubert Green (2), Johnny Miller (2), Payne Stewart (2), Tom Watson (2) and Fuzzy Zoeller (2)'have won 20 of the first 38 tournaments on Hilton Head.
  • Jim Furyk has been the runner-up in each of the past two years at the Verizon Heritage and has been T15 or better in his last four starts at the event. Hes 36-under par during that stretch.
  • Zach Johnson will look to become only the fourth player in history to win the Masters and then win the next tournament on the TOUR schedule. The last to do so was Bernhard Langer in 1985 (at the Verizon Heritage) and the others are Gary Player (1978 Tournament of Champions) and Jimmy Demaret (1950 North Fulton Open).
  • With his T2 last week at the Masters, Tiger Woods moves into second place on the FedExCup points list. Thats his highest ranking to date and hes only 263 points behind leader Vijay Singh.
  • With the smallest greens on TOUR, Harbour Town has been the site of a number of TOUR putting records. Kenny Knox tied the 18-hole mark with 18 putts in 1989 while David Frost set the 72-hole record of 92 putts at this course in 2005. When Frost broke the record, he eclipsed the 93 putts needed by Knox at the 1989 Verizon Heritage.

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • After a long absence from tournament competition, next weeks Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf will feature a familiar face'Johnny Miller. Miller, who has not appeared in a Champions Tour event since the 1997 Transamerica, will team with Mike Reid in the Raphael Division.
  • The Champions Tour certainly did themselves proud at last weeks Masters. Three current members made the cut at Augusta'Craig Stadler, Ben Crenshaw and Fuzzy Zoeller. Two others'Mark OMeara and Tom Watson'just missed by one stroke of joining them on the weekend.
  • You often hear that short putts get tougher as you get older. No one told Gary Player. The 70-year old Player has made 91.79% (123 of 134) of his putts inside of 10 feet this season. Thats the second best mark on the Champions Tour. He trails only Fred Funk (91.89%).

    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • The victory by Zach Johnson last week at the Masters was the 201st PGA TOUR win by a former Nationwide Tour player and the 11th major championship.
    With the exception of the first-year Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun and the PODS Championship, former Nationwide Tour players have won every event on TOUR at least once.
  • This weeks stop on tour, the South Georgia Classic, will be contested on the Davis Love III-designed 7,781-yard Kinderlou Forest GC in Valdosta, Ga. The course is the longest to ever host a PGA TOUR-sponsored event.
  • No less than 20 of the top 50 players in the current Official World Golf Ranking are former Nationwide Tour players.
  • This weeks inaugural South Georgia Classic will feature a field that includes four of the first five winners on this years Nationwide Tour, along with 30 former PGA TOUR champions who have earned 61 TOUR titles between them. Four players'Carlos Franco, Jim Gallagher Jr., Bradley Hughes and John Huston'have even competed in The Presidents Cup.
    Related Links:
  • PGA TOUR Statistics
  • Champions Tour Statistics
  • Nationwide Tour Statistics
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    Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

    Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

    Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.

    Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

    Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

    Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

    Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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    Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

    ‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

    Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

    Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

    Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

    “Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

    “Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

    Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

    Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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    Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

    By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)

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    Wie's goal to reach goals: Just. Stay. Healthy.

    By Randall MellJanuary 23, 2018, 3:30 pm

    Michelle Wie’s player bio should come with medical charts.

    Her caddie would be well served if he could read X-rays as well as he reads greens.

    Remarkably, Wie will begin her 13th full season as a pro when she tees it up Thursday in the LPGA’s season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

    Wie is only 28, but on some days, she must feel like she’s going on 40.

    It isn’t the years, it’s the mileage. Her body has too often been like an exotic sports car, a sleek and powerful machine capable of thrilling rides ... when it isn’t sitting it in the shop for weeks for repairs. There’s been one breakdown after another, spoiling her rides.

    That’s why one burning desire trumps all others for Wie as she begins this new year.

    “Being healthy, staying healthy, it’s my No. 1 priority,” Wie told “I hired private physios at the end of last year, to work on my body. I’ve been working with my doctors in New York, and they’ve been doing a great job of getting me to a place where I’m pain free.

    “For the most part, I’m feeling pretty good and pretty healthy. I’ve got little aches and pains from hitting so many balls over the years, but I’m really excited about starting this year. I feel really driven this year. I just want to be healthy so I can build some momentum and be able to play at 100 percent.”

    Wie would love to see what she can do in an injury-free, illness-free year after all the promising work she put into rebuilding her game last year. She seemed on the brink of something special again.

    “We worked last week, and Michelle looked really, really good,” said David Leadbetter, her swing coach. “It’s quite impressive the way she’s hitting the ball. She is hitting it long and feeling good about her game. So, the main goal really is to see if she can go injury free.”

    After winning twice in 2014, including the U.S. Women’s Open, Wie battled through a troublesome finger injury in the second half of that year. Hip, knee and ankle injuries followed the next year. She didn’t just lose all her good momentum. She lost the swing she grooved.

    Wie rebuilt it all last year, turning her draw into a dependable fade that allowed her to play more aggressively again. She loved being able to go hard at the ball again, without fearing where it might go. The confidence from that filtered into every part of her game. She started hitting more drivers again.

    And Wie found yet another eccentric but effective putting method, abandoning her table-top putting stance for a rotating trio of grips (conventional, left-hand low and claw). She would use them all in a single round. It was weird science, but it worked as she moved to a more classic, upright stance.

    “It’s not pretty, but it’s working,” Stacy Lewis said after playing with Wie at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last summer.

    Wie said she’s going back and forth between conventional and left-hand low now.

    “I can’t promise I’ll stay the same way all year,” Wie said. “But even with different grips, I stayed with the same putting philosophy all year. I want to keep doing that.”

    Leadbetter calls Wie a rebel in her approach to the game. She’s a power player, but she carried a 9-wood and 11-wood last year. She says the 11-wood will be back in her bag this week. Her unorthodox ways go beyond technique, strategy and equipment. She’ll be sporting pink hair come Thursday.

    “She has never been orthodox,” Leadbetter said. “She doesn’t like to conform. She’s always liked to buck the system in some way.”

    Wie looked as if she were poised to make a run at her fifth career title last season. She logged six finishes of fourth place or better the first half of the year. She contended at the ANA Inspiration, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

    And then a neck spasm knocked her out of the U.S. Women’s Open.

    And then emergency appendectomy surgery knocked her out for six weeks at summer’s end. It kept her from playing the year’s final major, the Evian Championship.

    “I can’t list all the injuries Michelle has had in her career,” Leadbetter said. “I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue.”

    Over the last three seasons alone, Wie has played through bursitis in her left hip, a bone spur in her left foot and inflammation in her left knee. She has battled neck spasms and back spasms. There have been platelet rich plasma injections to aid healing, and there have been too many cortisone injections for her liking.

    There also have been ongoing issues in both wrists.

    In fact, Wie, who broke two bones in her left wrist early in her career, is dealing with arthritic issues in both wrists of late. She underwent collagen injections this off season to try to be more pain free.

    “I’ve had to pull back the last couple years, restrict the number of balls I hit, not practice as much as I would like, but I was able to put in a lot of work this offseason,” Wie said. “I’m excited about this year, but I’ve been smart about things.”

    Leadbetter says he has been focusing on injury prevention when working with Wie. He worries about the stress that all the torque she creates can have on her body, with her powerful coil and the way she sometimes likes to hold off shots with her finish. His work, sometimes, is pulling her back from the tinkering she loves to do.

    “Everything we do with her swing now is to help prevent injury,” he said.

    Leadbetter relishes seeing what’s possible in 2018 if there are no setbacks.

    “Michelle would be the first to admit she hasn’t reached anywhere near her potential,” Leadbetter said. “We all know what she is capable of. We’ve had fleeting glimpses. Now, it’s a matter of, ‘OK, let’s see if we can really fulfill the potential she’s had from a very young age.’

    “She’s really enthusiastic about this year. She can’t wait to get back in the mix.”