Backspin Leftys Loss Car-Nicety

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In our new feature, Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
COMING HOME LATE AGAIN: Phil Mickelson came to the 72nd hole of the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond with a one-shot lead. He then preceded to make a bogey to fall into a playoff with Gregory Havret of France. Another bogey on the first playoff hole cost Mickelson his first official win outside the U.S.
 
BackspinA look at his scorecard shows why Lefty is the most entertaining player in the world. The world No. 3 did not make a single par on the last seven holes he played, going birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey. Buy your tickets now for the roller-coaster ride with Phil at Carnoustie.
 
BYRD SOARS IN TO TAKE TITLE: Jonathan Byrd came from behind on Sunday to win the John Deere Classic, fashioning a bogey-free round which included four back-nine birdies for his third career PGA TOUR victory. In the process, he denied a late-faltering Tim Clark his first TOUR title.
 
BackspinHaving to win the event to even qualify for this week's Open Championship, Byrd didn't even bother bringing his passport along with him in case that happened. He did so partly because he had missed the cut in his last four events, but mainly because he thought it would 'jinx' him. Who says superstitions don't work?
 
ONE FOR THE THUMB: Se Ri Pak joined a select group of golfers when she won the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic this past week. Pak joined Mickey Wright (Sea Island Open) and Annika Sorenstam (Mizuno Classic) as the only LPGA Tour players to win the same tournament five times. Its happened 20 times on the PGA TOUR, with Sam Snead winning the Greater Greensboro Open on eight occasions.
 
BackspinJust another piece of history for one of the more over-looked players of her generation. Pak will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame later this year and will be remembered not only as one of the games greats, but the matriarch of the South Korean influx on the LPGA.
 
NICK'S WORLD: Nick Faldo announced that he was going to return to competition for the Open Championship and then make his senior debut in the British Senior Open at Muirfield, site of his 1987 and 1992 Open triumphs.
 
BackspinPerhaps more interesting than how he fares on the course, will be how he fares in the broadcast booth. Faldo will pull double duty at Carnoustie and will re-join Paul Azinger on air with ABC Sports. The two Ryder Cup captains should provide fans with plenty of entertaining commentary.
 
CAR-NASTY OR CAR-NICETY?: Royal and Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said wet weather over the past two months in Scotland should make for a kinder, gentler Carnoustie than the one players faced eight years ago, when 6 over par was the winning total.
 
BackspinIt wasnt Mother Nature who created the majority of the chaos in 1999; it was an unchecked course superintendent. The field shouldnt be lulled into thinking that Carnoustie will be a pushover like Royal Liverpool, where Tiger Woods won last year at 18 under.
 
FRIDAY THE 13TH: Zach Johnson, competing in what he considers to be his home event, missed the cut at the John Deere Classic. Johnson, who grew up about an hour away, in Iowa, from the Silvis, Ill., site, had three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine en route to missing weekend play by a stroke.
 
BackspinThe Masters winner wasnt the only player who experienced a nightmare Friday the 13th. Defending John Deere champion John Senden missed the cut by five. Fresh off his win in Ireland, Colin Montgomerie missed the cut in the Scottish Open, as did Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and David Howell. Paula Creamer also missed the cut on the LPGA for the first time since May, 2005.
 
E! ENTERTAINMENT GOLF: Chris Chandler went wild in the final round by making seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch to win the American Century Celebrity Championship. Chadler held off six-time winner Rick Rhoden for the win.
 
BackspinNot sure how many people actually tuned in to see the likes of a Chandler and Rhoden battle down the stretch, but the real deal was to see how 500-1 underdog Charles Barkley would fare this time around. Lets just say the 500-1 odds on Barkley winning the event should have been more like, oh we don't know, a trillion to 1. Sir Charles, and his beyond frightening golf swing, finished dead last among the field.
 
HAWAIIAN HONEYMOON: Tadd Fujikawa, 16, who captured the hearts of golf fans with his emotional turn at the 2006 U.S. Open and then when he made the cut at this years Sony Open, announced he was going to turn pro at the Reno-Tahoe Open next month.
 
BackspinAh yes, let the comparisons begin. Young Hawaiian teen turns professional; young Hawaiian professional grabs lucrative company sponsorships; young Hawaiian professional takes PGA TOUR exemptions away from struggling PGA TOUR professionals; young Hawaiian teen eventually gets crushed by unforgivinging media. Well, here's hoping that last one isn't the case.
 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Little-known R.W. Eaks beat out the likes of Craig Stadler and Scott Hoch to win on the Champions Tour; Colt Knost, a recent grad from SMU, captured the 82nd U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship with a 6-and-4 win over Cody Paladino, and in the procees earned a trip to the Masters; Alexis Thompson, who was the youngest qualifier in history for the U.S. Women's Open last month, became the youngest champion in the 32-year history of the Jr. PGA Championship; And Steve Williams denied rumors that he is leaving Tiger Woods' bag at the end of the year.
 
BackspinEaks, who oddsmakers had at 18-1 before they teed off on Friday, finally had his moment in the sun after seven top-5 finishes this year without a win; We'd like to be there when Knost is introduced to former Augusta chairman Hootie Johnson - 'Hootie, Colt. Colt, Hootie.'; Alexis Thompson, 12, probably has more trouble choosing between Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs at breakfast than she does when deciding what club to pull on a par-3; For a brief moment, camera men rejoiced. But then why would Williams leave? He earns more money than most of the guys who play on TOUR.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Barclays Scottish Open
  • Full Coverage - John Deere Classic
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    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?''

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    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.

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    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. 

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    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.