TOUR Notes Keeping an Eye On Freddie Couples

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 27, 2008, 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 keep on eye on Fred Couples this week at the Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley. In his last 10 starts in the event, Couples has six Top-10 finishes, including a victory and two seconds. In his last 12 rounds at Muirfield Village, Couples has broken par 11 times.
     
  • Phil Mickelsons shot on 18 last week is the one everyone will remember, but the fact that he was 9 for 9 in Sand Saves might actually be the reason he won last weeks Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
     
  • One more on Mickelson: If he finishes first or solo second this week at the Memorial, he will move into first place in the FedExCup standings. Hes currently 2,399 points behind Tiger Woods.
     
  • Theres a strong field assembled this week at the Memorial with seven of the Top-10 players in the current FedExCup standings on board.
     
  • Since THE PLAYERS began in 1974, 29 countries have been represented in the field.
     
  • Hes been fighting back problems for the last few seasons, but Ben Crane looks like he might be regaining his top form. In his last two starts, Crane has finished T6-5 for his first back-to-back Top-10 efforts since late in the 2005 season. Hes currently 37th in the FedExCup standings.
     
  • Who 3-putts the least on TOUR? Craig Kanada has only 3-putted three times this season (468 total holes). That works out to 0.64% of the time.
     
  • There are a lot of reasons for the success Tiger Woods has enjoyed, but heres a pretty significant one'he leads the TOUR in Scrambling, getting up and down 74.03% of the time. The TOUR average, by the way, is 57.34%.
     

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • You cant have a much closer race than the one in the Charles Schwab Cup competition. Bernhard Langer leads Jay Haas by a single point, 1413-1412.
     
  • More on Langer-Haas: Last week, Haas was the winner with Langer second. Langer leads the Tour in Scoring Average at 69.74 while Haas is second at 69.79. Haas, however, leads the All-Around category with Langer in second. Finally, Langer leads the money list with Haas right behind him.
     
  • Joey Sindelar, a rookie on the Champions Tour, had his best finish to date when he T3 last week at the Senior PGA Championship. Hes 31st on the money list after only six starts with $258,251.
     
  • Ronnie Black, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, will make his Champions Tour debut this week at the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, IA.
     
    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • The winner of this weeks Bank of America Open will have a huge leg up on finishing among The 25 and gaining his PGA TOUR card for 2009. All six previous winners of this event have gone on to graduate to the TOUR that year.
     
  • Ricky Barnes has three Top-10 finishes in a row to his credit, including a T7 last week. Never before in his career has he had as many as two in a row.
     
  • Jeff Brehauts T2 last week at the Melwood Prince Georges County Open was his best finish on either the Nationwide Tour or PGA TOUR since he lost in a playoff at the 1997 Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open. He played in 287 events (60 Nationwide Tour-227 PGA TOUR) events over that span.
     
  • Prior to the South Georgia Classic back in early May, David Mathis was in 58th place on the money list. Since then, however, hes finished T6-1-T2 and now leads the money list with $223,679.
     
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Memorial Tournament
  • Full Coverage - Principal Charity Classic
  • Full Coverage - Bank of America Open
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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."

    Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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.