Wie Back On Biggest Stage

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 5, 2005, 4:00 pm
Despite the absence of most of the top players from this week's John Deere Classic due to next week's British Open, tournament officials still have at least one thing to be happy about - Michelle Wie.
 
The 15-year-old Wie will tee it up for the third time on the PGA Tour and for the first time on the U.S. mainland. In both of her previous efforts, Wie has failed to make the cut - albeit by just one shot in the 2004 Sony Open and then by seven strokes in her Sony appearance this year.
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie will make her third PGA Tour appearance at the John Deere Classic.
Undaunted, the Hawaiian phenom still forges on in her effort to be the best she can be, despite the fact that the debate rages on about her presence in these events.
 
Whatever side you stand on, the fact that she is entered in the field makes the John Deere Classic a lot more noteworthy.
 
Without her in the field, the event is a tough sell as it can boast of just two players from the top-25 in the world rankings - David Toms and Stewart Cink.
 
With her in the field, the question at the John Deere Classic becomes a lightning rod for golf fans - will she make the cut or won't she.
 
It also makes for quite an interesting week for the players, each and every one of them hoping the young teen sensation is not listed above them at the conclusion of Friday's second round.
 
She beat 49 PGA Tour players at the Sony Open in 2004 and this year finished ahead of 14 players, including a pair of major champion runner-ups in Len Mattiace and Thomas Levet.
 
True, her best chance to make a cut was probably at the Sony in Hawaii due to her local knowledge of the course, but something says she is chomping at the bit to begin to prove more of her naysayers wrong.
 
And making the cut here would go a long way towards that goal.
 
Five for the Title
 
David Toms
Returning to the event for the first time since 2000, Toms brings with him quite a resume at the John Deere Classic. He won the title back in 1997 when it was known as the Quad City Classic. It was his first-ever PGA Tour title and then followed it up the next year with a fourth-place finish. He did, however, miss the cut in his last start when the event changed venues, going from the Oakwood Country Club to the TPC at Deere Run.
 
Stewart Cink
Stewart Cink currently holds the 30th spot on the PGA Tour money list.
Stewart Cink
Like Toms, Cink is the only other player in the field inside the top-25 in the world rankings. Having somewhat of a down year up to this point, Cink has seen his ranking drop from 10th in the world following his win at last year's Tour Championship, to 16th after his 15th place showing at the U.S. Open. After back-to-back top-5s in the season's opening two events, Cink has just one since, coming back in March at the Bay Hill Invitational.
 
Mark Hensby
Though not yet a household name, Hensby is starting to make some serious noise on the PGA Tour. His victory in this event last year was his first on tour and led the way to his finish at 15th on the 2004 money list. Though only two top-10s thus far in 2005, they both just happened to come in the biggest events of the year - a third at the U.S. Open and a fifth at the Masters.
 
Nick Price
The 48-year-old Price has obviously seen his game go into a decline since his hey days on the PGA Tour in the early to mid-90s, but he is still thought of as a great ball striker. If his putter can get hot, the guy still regarded as one of the nicest players on tour could possibly add to his PGA Tour win total of 18.
 
J.L. Lewis
Won his maiden PGA Tour title in this event in 1999, Lewis has good vibes at the John Deere Classic. In addition to his victory in '99, Lewis had a runner-up finish in 2003 and a tie for 8th in 2002. Last year closed out the weekend with a pair of 68s to place 27th. Had a strong showing at this year's Players Championship where he finished 8th.
 
Playing Out the Front Nine
 
Four more players to keep an eye on
 
* Esteban Toledo
Confidence high after winning on the Nationwide Tour last week in New York. The veteran PGA Tour player first played in the event back in 1986 when it was known as the Hardee's Golf Classic.
 
* Spencer Levin
The hot shot amateur turned professional at the U.S. Open but failed to make the cut and cash his first check as a pro. Has said he has learned to control his emotions and still has a world of confidence in his game. Finished 13th at the 2004 U.S. Open.
 
* Michelle Wie
Has the length to compete with the men, but short game and mental side of game is work in progress. Although a win is seemingly out of the question, Wie making the cut would be just as big for her confidence.
 
* David Duval
Almost as much as Wie, people would like to see the former No. 1 ranked player in the world make it to the weekend. Duval recently became a father for the first time and hopes to break through this week and make his first cut of the year.
 
Related Links:
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.