TOUR Notes Phil Sets Sights on Major Record

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
PGA Tour (75x100) PGA TOUR:
  • Since the Masters was first played in 1934, only three players'Jack Nicklaus (1970-73), Tom Watson (1980-83) and Tiger Woods (1999-2002)'have won majors in four consecutive seasons. Phil Mickelson has a chance to join that group this week.
  • Eight of the first 14 tournament winners this year on the PGA TOUR are ranked among the top 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
  • Speaking of the Official World Golf Ranking, this week marks the 21st birthday for the system. Amazingly, five players who were ranked in the top 200 in the very first ranking are still among the top 200 today'Bernhard Langer (No. 1 and now 139), Corey Pavin (9-104), Fred Couples (42-110), Scott Verplank (133-67) and Jeff Sluman (193-147).
  • With his win last week, Adam Scott has five career titles to his credit. Only Sergio Garcia with six has more among players still in their 20s.
  • More on the 20-somethings: Of the17 players still in their 20s who have TOUR victories, 10 are Americans, three are Aussies and there is one each from England, Sweden, Spain and South Africa.
  • Scotts victory last week moved him into the top 10 on the FedExCup points list for the first time. He jumped up 23 spots to sixth on the season-long list. Stuart Applebys T2 allowed him to move up 76 spots to 31st.
  • Final on Scott: His win in Houston made him the eighth Australian winner of the Shell Houston Open and Applebys runner-up effort made him the seventh Aussie to finish second at the tournament.
  • This weeks Masters field will include 31 former Nationwide Tour players and eight current Champions Tour players.

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • With his win last week at the Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach, Keith Fergus becomes just the second player to win on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour. Ron Streck was the first to achieve the feat in 2005.
  • With his T2 last week, Hale Irwin has finished first or second 87 times in his Champions Tour career. That comes to 31.2% of his 279 career starts in which hes been on top or just missed.
  • Ben Crenshaw is having his best year yet on the Champions Tour. Hes been in the top 15 in four of his starts this year and has collected $257,463. Hes only bettered that mark once in his previous five seasons on tour.
  • Mark OMeara has made a strong debut on the Champions Tour finishing in the top 10 in four of his five starts, including a T2 last week.

    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • For the second consecutive week, the winner on the Nationwide Tour has established a record for most time between victories. First, it was Skip Kendall and last week it was Omar Uresti. Urestis victory last week at the Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship came 12 years, 11 months and 27 days since he won the 1994 Shreveport Open.
  • Urestis final-round 76 equaled the second highest final-round score by a winner in tour history. Only a final-round 79 by Roger Salazar at the 1991 South Texas Open was higher. In fact, his final two-day total of 150 has been topped only once as well'also by Salazar who finished his final 36 holes in 151 strokes. In addition, Urestis winning total of even par is the second-highest winning score in tour history, topped only by Salazars 3-over total in 1991.
  • Why the high scores? The Course at Wente Vineyards played extremely difficult. In fact, it played to a stroke average of 3.235 over par for the week, making it the ninth-most difficult course in tour history. Through the first five events of the year, the course contributed four of the five most difficult holes on tour.
    Related Links:
  • PGA TOUR Statistics
  • Champions Tour Statistics
  • Nationwide Tour Statistics
  • Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.