Weir Has Run-In With Spikes

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Taking on Oak Hill didn't look so perilous compared to what Masters champion Mike Weir faced Monday afternoon -- a near collision with Buffalo Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes.
After playing a practice round for the PGA Championship, Weir went to the Bills' training camp at nearby St. John Fisher College and got a scare on the sidelines.
He was forced to scamper out of the way to avoid the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Spikes, who was chasing a player out of bounds.
'Yeah, I was going to hurry to get out the way of him,' Weir said, smiling.
There's plenty of high profile athletes in suburban Rochester this week as the PGA Championship is being held about a mile down the road from the Bills' training camp.
And that was enough to get Weir, an avid sports fan, to drop by.
'It's kind of cool,' said Weir, noting that he's attended a few Bills games with family and friends, who live in nearby Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Later, Weir was joined by Bills' Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who was also in attendance. After practice, Weir stuck around to have a conversation with Bills president Tom Donahoe and coach Gregg Williams.
Football proved to be a good distraction for the Canadian.
'You don't want to grind it out too much,' Weir said. 'This is just to unwind, watch the guys practice.'
Pointing to the Bills, he added, 'A lot of guys out there are under a lot of pressure. So I get to watch them and relax a little bit.'
Weir missed the 54-hole cut at The International last weekend, his first event since finishing in a tie for 28th at the British Open.
He acknowledged he's somewhat rusty.
'I'll be honest and say, `No, I'm not 100 percent satisfied,'' Weir said. 'I'm just not hitting it as solid as I'd like to. I'm not driving it quite as well as I like. But it's Monday and a lot of things can happen.'
Gauging Oak Hill, Weir said: 'It's tight, deep rough and sloped greens. I think it's really going to define who's playing the best because there's going to be no fluking it out there.'
Weir was then asked to gauge the Bills' chances in the NFL.
'I think they're going to be good. Drew's going to have more experience with the team and the system,' Weir said, referring to quarterback Drew Bledsoe. 'From what I see out there, they look great. I don't know much, but they look good.'
Tiger Woods could always count on a trip to Poipu Bay in Hawaii for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf for the four major champions of the year.
This time, he might not even get a chance to go after a sixth straight title.
Mike Weir (Masters), Jim Furyk (U.S. Open) and Ben Curtis (British Open) have already secured their spots in the field. If one of them were to win the PGA Championship, Woods isn't even first alternate among former major winners.
Vijay Singh, with a tie for sixth in the Masters and a tie for second in the British Open, is leading the alternates list by 21 points over Ernie Els.
Woods is 29.5 points behind.
For Woods to get back to Hawaii, he would either have to win this week or finish well ahead of Singh and Els.
Woods was an alternate in 1998, the only year he has failed to win a major.
Jeff Sluman is known as a practical joker, and after disclosing his favorite prank of all, it's a wonder he's still married.
'The fake lottery ticket on my wife on Christmas Day,' Sluman said. 'Long story, but she thought she hit a pretty good jackpot.'
Worse yet, he pulled it off in front of both their families.
'I thought I might possibly be in trouble because my mother-in-law was there,' Sluman said. 'She said, 'Why didn't you tell me? I would have got a camera to film this.' Then I knew I was all right.'
And how did his wife handle it?
'She got over it after a while,' he said. 'But it was pretty funny, I must admit.'
Jay Williamson and Billy Andrade are the latest players to qualify for the PGA Championship.
The PGA of America reserved a spot in the field for the winner of the International. Davis Love III already qualified as a past PGA champion, so that opened a spot for Williamson.
Andrade got in when two-time champion Larry Nelson withdrew with a hip injury.
The field will not be set until Thursday, but it has 96 of the top 100 players in the world rankings, the second-highest in history. There were 98 of the top 100 last year.
Related Links:
  • 2003 PGA Championship Home
  • More News from the 2003 PGA Championship
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • 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.