Tucson Becoming Breakout Tour Stop

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 20, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 Chrysler Classic at TucsonWith the golf world's top players all gathered at La Costa for the WGC - Match Play Championship, the PGA Tour also makes a visit to the Arizona desert for the Chrysler Classic of Tucson.
 
Played opposite the Match Play event every year since 1999, the Chrysler Classic may not have the big names but it is starting to become a place that gets players started in the right direction of becoming a big name.
 
David Duval
David Duval has made the cut in three of the four events he has played in 2006.
Five of the last six winners in Tucson have made the event their inaugural victory on the PGA Tour. It's no coincidence that that streak started the same year it began playing opposite the WGC - Match Play Championship. With guys like Tiger, Lefty and Vijay out of the equation, the field at the Chrysler Classic is truly wide open with a great opportunity for someone to have their breakout victory on tour.
 
Prior to 1999, the list of winners read in part like this: Palmer, Trevino, Watson, Stadler, Mickelson and Duval. Since the playing of duel events began, the honor roll is noticeably absent of superstars: Hjertstedt, Carter, Willis, Leggatt, Lickliter, Slocum and Ogilvy (and that's Geoff, not Joe). Not star power precisely, but their wins still go down in the record books as an official PGA Tour victory.
 
A fact not to be forgotten when discussing breakout victories was that 15 years ago Phil Mickelson turned the tour upside down when he won his maiden PGA Tour title here in Tucson - as an amateur.
 
In that vain, here our five players currently without a PGA Tour victory to watch for in Tucson:
 
Harrison Frazar
A four-time runner-up on tour, Frazar has finished inside the top-100 on the money list in each of his eight full seasons on tour. He missed two cuts to start '06 but has improved in the standings in each of last three events, including a 19th-place finish at the Nissan. He seems to perform well in the heat as top performances have come in places like Hawaii, Texas and Las Vegas.
 
Bill Haas
Son of Champions Tour star Jay, the former three-time All-American from Wake Forest is in his rookie season on tour. He made the cut in 13 of his 19 previous starts on the PGA Tour with his best finish a T9 at the 2004 Deustche Bank Championship. Best result thus far in 2006 is a solid performance at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic were he tied for 14th.
 
Bo Van Pelt
Finished 51st and 39th on the money list in each of the last two seasons on tour and currently is sitting in the 46th position after his solid showing at the Nissan Open where he tied for 11th. He had a pair of top-3 showings at last year's Memorial Tournament and Chrysler Championship. Tied for 17th at the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
 
Justin Rose
Playing the PGA Tour on a conditional status beginning in 2003, Rose has steadily blossomed into a legitimate threat to jump into the winner's circle. He posted 10 top-25 finishes in 2004 and then added two third-place outings last year. Rose has four international victories including the dunhill championship and British Masters on the European Tour. The 25-old-year Rose held a share of the lead at the Nissan following an opening-round 64.
 
David Duval
Sure he shouldn't be on this list because of his 13 career PGA Tour victories including the 2001 British Open, but he's in here because it certainly feels like he has never won a tournament. Although his last visit to the winner's circle was back in 2001, the former world No. 1 is showing signs of life with three cuts made in his first four starts this year. He made only one cut in 20 attempts in 2005.
 
The Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa will play host to the event for the fifth straight year.
 
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    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."

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    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."

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    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."

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    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.