New Years resolutions for players

By Win McMurryJanuary 7, 2011, 8:02 am
Six days ago clocks across the globe struck midnight and as quick as a New Year’s kiss it was out with the old and in with the new! Just like that the PGA Tour wasted no time kicking off 2011. At 10:20 a.m. local time Thursday in Maui first-time winner Arjun Atwal struck the first tee shot of the new season.

Certain players like Graeme McDowell  may not be ready to ring in the New Year. Others like Tiger Woods may have begun humming the chorus to 'Auld Lang Syne' more than a month ago.

No doubt 2010 was a strange year on Tour. We saw three new major champions crowned, Tiger return to competition without taking home any hardware and the Americans hand back one of the most prized possessions in golf to a surging European contingent of players.

So what’s on tap for 2011? Hmmm…well I think it’s perfect timing for the men of the PGA Tour to start scratching out their new goals for the New Year and taping them to their bathroom mirrors. To help them get started, here are some New Year’s resolution suggestions.

-Rickie Fowler: Resolve to invent a new color (orange is becoming too mainstream).

-Jonathan Byrd: Resolve to make a hole-in-one on a hole where you can win a car (really you dummy!).

-Rory McIlroy: Resolve to swap the lemon juice highlights for a mullet (most great American golfers had a mullet at some point in their career).

-Jim Furyk: Resolve to ignore the alarm clock jokes (and remind people you’re focusing on ways to spend $10 million).

-Camilo Villegas: Resolve to star in Spiderman: The Musical on Broadway (the real Spiderman doesn’t need harnesses..he doesn’t even need clothes…haven’t you seen the ESPN Body Issue?).

-Ben Crane: Resolve to actually build muscles instead of laughs from YouTube workout video (should increase pace of play).

-Rocco Mediate: Resolve to hole out five times in a tournament (because four times is for amateurs).

-Tiger Woods: Resolve to hmmm… win? (and why settle for one, when you can have many?).

-Phil Mickelson: Resolve to become the first vegetarian world No. 1 (because it’s never happened…and most likely won’t).

-Lee Westwood: Resolve to become the No. 1 tweeter in the golf world (it’s a much harder feat with much fiercer competition than becoming No. 1 in the world).

-Ian Poulter: Resolve to mark balls with iPhone (since it’s something that is always firmly in grasp when a tweet needs to be tweeted).

-Graeme McDowell: Resolve to pick an accent (because when having tea and crumpets with the Queen she may not understand a Northern Irish Alabaman twang).

-Paul Casey: Resolve to begin two-year campaign again for Ryder Cup bid (because as we all know being No. 9 in the world doesn’t cut it when you need a wild card pick).
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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward the back-right hole location, about 25 feet away, closer than both Fleetwood and Johnson.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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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."

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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."