Beer Can Apple and an Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
AT THE CORE OF IT: Tiger Woods was making news this week - that's hardly surprising - but unfortunately for non-winning reasons. He underwent successful knee surgery on Tuesday and also made headlines for an apple he had apparently eaten at Torrey Pines which had somehow made it onto eBay.
Backspin First the knee surgery: Said Tiger afterwards - I look forward to working hard at my rehabilitation over the coming months and returning to the PGA TOUR healthy next year. Yes, as do millions of your fans, advertisers, and TV execs. And as for the apple core: This world seemingly gets weirder by the minute. And then another minute goes by. And it gets even weirder. And weirder. And then? Kenny Perry wins the Buick and things get back to normal somewhat normal again.

TO IN-BEE OR NOT TO IN-BEE: In-bee Park became the youngest winner in U.S. Women's Open history after shooting a smooth final-round 2-under 71 to win by four strokes over Helen Alfredsson. In the process, the 19-year-old also became the third South Korean to win the championship, joining hero Se Ri Pak and Birdie Kim.
Backspin It's amazing to think that 10 years ago Park had never even held up a golf club, and it was the victory of her compatriot, Pak, that inspired her to pick up the game. Park became the third player in the last six years to make the U.S. Womens Open her first LPGA Tour victory, a moment not lost on her saying, 'Everything happened so fast. Its scary. I really tried to stay calm, but it was so exciting, I couldnt do it. This is my day.'

OPEN ENDINGS: Paula Creamer entered the final round in the final pairing with a chance to take home her first major championship, only to shoot a disappointing 5-over 78 for a quick exit stage left for the Pink Panther. Meanwhile, Annika Sorenstam, who is 'retiring' at the end of the season, closed out her four days of golf by holing out from the fairway from 199 yards.
Backspin For Creamer: Sundays final round was a day to forget, as she was unable, yet again, to come through on the biggest stage. On the other hand, Annikas miraculous hole-out made her final 18 one to remember. There is some speculation that with her retirement at the end of the year, that might have been Sorenstams final shot in a U.S. Open. If it was, then what a way to finish an Open career, one that included three victories. However, dont bet on it, shell be back - eventually.

INVINCIBLE NO MORE?: Lorena Ochoa came into the U.S. Women's Open saying she was '100% ready.' She left saying she is in need of a rest after finishing a disappointing tied for 31st.
Backspin The low finish was not only surprising but more like shocking. The world No. 1 hadn't finished outside the top 10 in any event in over 16 months and had gone second, first, first and second in the last four major championships before this nightmare showing at Interlachen. The recent deaths of her grandmother and uncle surely had something to due with her mental make up coming into the event, but the Mexican star refused to use it as an excuse. Next major up? The Women's British Open, where she will be the defending champion and no doubt still the odds-on favorite.

VALHALLA HERE I COME!: Kenny Perry dodged several bullets on the 72nd hole to win the Buick Open, his second victory at the event and his second PGA TOUR win of the season.
Backspin Perry stated that his goal for the 2008 season was to somehow make the 2008 Ryder Cup team - which is being played in his home state of Kentucky. Well, mission accomplished for the 47-year-old veteran. The win locks up a spot on captain Paul Azinger's team as well as vaults him to third on the FedExCup points list. It also makes him the third player to win twice on TOUR this season - joining a pair of guys named Woods and Mickelson. What a homecoming it will be in September!

TIN CUP, ER, TEE: Playing in this past weeks Pro-am at the Buick Open, John Daly made viral media headlines while paired with musician Kid Rock. Daly, playing up to the large galleries following the duo, hit his tee shot off of a beer can.
Backspin Its unfortunate that it seems we only get to mention JD in this space for things that are not related to his performance during actual tournament play. Sadly, the two-time major championship winner has been reduced to little more than a sideshow that you can find clips of on YouTube. Daly missed the cut this week by five strokes, his seventh missed cut of the season.
SHARK TAKES BITE OUT OF MARRIAGE: Greg Norman and tennis great Chris Evert married Saturday on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It was the second marriage for Norman and the third for Evert.
Backspin Norman now has as many marriages as he does major championships. The legends were reportedly wed in front of a group of about 140 family and friends. The pair, both 53, was engaged last December in South Africa.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Loren Roberts won the Commerce Bank Championship, his first win of the season; Justin Hicks won the Wayne Gretzky Classic on Sunday for his first Nationwide Tour title; Vicky Hurst won her third Futures Tour title of the season by winning the Horseshoe Casino Classic; Michelle Wie missed the cut at the Women's Open after rounds of 81-75.
Backspin Roberts, long known as the 'Boss of the Moss' due to his putting prowess, lived up to the billing by making a 30-foot bomb on No. 17 to seal the deal; Not a bad way to win your first pro title - the Great One being the tournament host; Teen star Hurst is on a fast track to the LPGA Tour - she'll be the ONE to watch in 2009; Wie missed the cut by five strokes. Making a 9 on the par-4 ninth was the difference.

Related Links:
Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
Full Coverage - Buick Open
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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.