Better Than Most - COPIED

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 

THE PLAYER: Sergio Garcia knocked down a clutch par putt on the 72nd hole that enabled him to get into a playoff with Paul Goydos at THE PLAYERS Championship. He then won the event on the first extra hole, after Goydos knocked his tee shot into the drink on the par-3 17th, for the biggest win of his now-not-so-young career.
 
Backspin A deep breath and where do we start? For Sergio, who had started to become curiously irrelevant in the last half year - despite a runner-up finish in both the 2007 PLAYERS and the 2007 British Open - he completely blew the doors off his critics in this huge victory. With an almost non-stop barrage of putting questions in his interviews, Garcia was able to drain enough important ones on Sunday to come away with an incredibly hard-fought win. Granted this wasn't an actual major, but remember: Phil didn't win his first major until the age of 32 and his first PLAYERS until last year. Sergio is just 28. Kudos to Sergio for making golf A LOT more interesting.
 

GOY- D'OH!: Paul Goydos came into THE PLAYERS Championship as the 164th player in the world and a virtual unknown amongst most of the general golfing public. Yet he leaves as a fan favorite and a media darling, due mainly to his many forthright comments to the press over the course of the week ' and his impressive play.
 
Backspin Here's a small sampling of Goydos-speak: In a sense, I got to feel what it was like to be Tiger Woods. Thats from a crowd standpoint, not a talent standpoint. - You cant kneecap him (Garcia). You just have to accept the guy beat you and move on. - I may have made some mistakes, but the day I dont make mistakes is the day Im dead - 'I had already hit it in the water on Thursday, so I already had a good yardage feel for the drop area.' - ''The key is to have the lead with no holes to go.'' Good stuff from a new fan favorite.
 

THE SUPERMODEL: It has been billed as golf's 'fifth major,' and for good reason. But even with so much adulation as one of the best overall events in the world, the unquestioned supermodel of this event is Pete Dye's short par-3 17th - the famous/infamous island green.
 
Backspin Wow, what a week for this beauty! Ian Poulter was the first to play this gem on Thursday - and made birdie! The first player to dump one in the water? Goydos. The last to dump one in the water? Again, agonizingly, Goydos. And then to top it all off? She was the first hole in the playoff. And for all of you scoring at home, the final tally: 64 balls in the water. The beautiful ones always break your heart. Ask Mr. Goydos.
 

NO-BRAINER: Jack Nicklaus received the PGA TOURs lifetime achievement award Wednesday, honored for his extended contributions on and off the golf course and for serving as an ambassador of the game.
 
Backspin This was about as tough a decision for the PGA TOUR to make as the one Tiger faces when deciding what color shirt to wear on Sundays. An easy tap-in for Finchem to honor Nicklaus, whose records and accomplishments we quite frankly dont have the space, or manpower, to list in this space. But to just name a few: 73 TOUR wins, a record 18 professional majors, and a mind-boggling 19 runner-ups in majors.
 

TAPPING ON A SHOULDER: Annika Sorenstam won the Michelob Ultra Open in a runaway with a tournament-record 19 under, as former world No. 1 beat four others by a record-tying seven strokes. The victory is the second straight for the former No. 1 ranked player in the world and her third overall in 2008 ' but her first with Ochoa in the field.
 
Backspin Not only did Annika win this tournament going away, but she ran over Lorena Ochoa in the process, beating her by twelve shots. Sorenstam's thrashing of the competition harkened back to the days when she was the world's best, something not lost on the Swede saying afterwards, Thats the way I used to play.' Lorena, the ball is now in your court.
 

CLASS DISMISSED: The PGA TOUR held its annual players meeting at Ponte Vedra Beach and stressed the importance of keeping a professional appearance even when not competing in an event. Slow play was also a hot topic ' once again.
 
Backspin Just a hunch, but Finchem probably had a shirtless, shoeless John Daly in mind when he urged players to represent the TOUR professionally outside of tournaments. As for the action on the course, players complain and moan all the time about slow play and the TOUR does little or nothing about it. Expect them to slow play the slow play issue once again.
 

YES, I CAN ACTUALLY PLAY: Unable to qualify for THE PLAYERS Championship for the second straight year, John Daly continued his European Tour at the Italian Open. Daly, who missed the cut last week at the Spanish Open, had a solid week of play, finishing in a tie for 23rd.
 
Backspin Daly not only made the cut, but he did make Commissioner Finchem proud. He wore a shirt and shoes at all times (on the course), managed to complete at least two full rounds, and there were no reports of unsightly behavior on Dalys part. Maybe the European Tour is the perfect place for Daly to get back on track. One question though? Are there 'Hooters' restaurants in Europe? Let's hope not. And by the way, Hennie Otto won the tournament (in case you were interested).
 

WIE BIT RUSTY: Michelle Wie made her first start since February at this past weeks Michelob Ultra Open, missing the cut by four strokes. The Stanford freshman opened with a 4-over 75 in the first round and never recovered, failing to make it to the weekend.
 
Backspin Chalk up another MC for Wie, who was in a tough situation this week in Virginia. Even Tiger Woods would be rusty after not playing competitive golf for over two months, and Wie is far from Tiger Woods. But with school letting out for the summer, expect to see Wie more in the coming months, and expect to see some much better finishes as well.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Famed golf architect Pete Dye was selected for the Hall of Fame; Caddie Greg Rita, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor a year ago, stopped by TPC Sawgrass to visit some familiar faces; Colt Knost shot 5-under 65 Sunday to win the Nationwide Tours Fort Smith Classic.
 
Backspin Dye, who was selected on a Lifetime Achievement category, has designed more than 120 courses, including TPC Sawgrass and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island; Rita was a welcomed site to players and caddies who hadnt seen him since he underwent Chemotherapy and radiation; Knost can now answer questions about his first professional victory instead of why he turned pro instead of competing in this years Masters, U.S. Open and British Open as an amateur.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - THE PLAYERS Championship
  • Full Coverage - Michelob Ultra Open
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.