Pain But No Gain

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2008, 5:00 pm
In Backspin, takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
FRUSTRATING FINISH: Annika Sorenstams storied career came to a sudden and frustrating halt Friday when she missed the 36-hole cut at the ADT Championship, her final LPGA event before stepping away from competition.
Backspin As if Annika wasnt mad enough about going out with a whimper instead of a bang, she then had to endure the ignominy of giving a urine sample for a drug test. Sorenstam will have plenty of fond memories when she looks back on her career. None of them, however, will include this past week.

MILLION DOLLAR BABY: In Annikas absence, Ji-Yai Shin won the $1 million first-place prize at Trump International. She beat seven others over an 18-hole sprint to collect her third victory of the year, which also includes the Womens British Open.
Backspin Good for Shin. Not so much for the LPGA. The tour saw Annika, defending champion Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr and South Florida native Morgan Pressel all miss the first cut. This format is much like match play: it adds excitement and a change of pace, but it is also volatile and can lead to people switching their televisions to bull riding on Sunday.

WHERE IS MY APPENDIX?: Paula Creamer, who with a win could have won the season-long money title, survived to the final day of the ADT Championship and ultimately finished in a tie for third. But she almost didnt make it to the course on Sunday. Creamer went to a local hospital Saturday after play due to pain similar to appendicitis. Doctors cleared her to play ' with an inflamed abdominal wall ' even though she still experienced discomfort.
Backspin Creamers rush to the hospital and back was probably the most exciting part of the ADT weekend. You would think eight players, including Creamer and Karrie Webb, battling from scratch for $1 million would be great excitement. For at least this weekend, youd be wrong.

BIVENS SPEAKS!: LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens took to the podium on the eve of the her tour's season finale to give her 'State of the Tour' address. Topics discussed were the 2009 schedule, the controversial LPGA language initiative, and the economic challenges it faces next season.
Backspin Bivens arrived to the press conference on crutches, which was symbolic of the tour right now. Tournaments will be down next year (34 to 31), as will total prize money (about $5.25 million). And things may get worse before they get better. Unfortunately for the LPGA, they don't have a Tiger Woods to carry them through the lean times.

HONEST HAYES: J.P. Hayes became golf's latest symbol of honesty when it was revealed that he disqualified himself from the second stage of Q-School after he discovered that he used an illegal ball during play.
Backspin The best thing about all this isn't that Hayes was honest about not cheating; it's that he was honest in his emotions after the fact. Hayes admitted that he was disappointed, but reminded everyone that he had made over $7 million in his career and would be just fine without playing full time on the PGA Tour in 2009. In fact, he can now spend more time with his family. Don't worry about J.P., because he's not.

WHITE HOUSE WELCOME: President Bush welcomed the victorious U.S Ryder Cup team for a tour of the White House and visit to the Oval Office. Seven of the 12-member team made the trip, along with captain Paul Azinger and assistant captain Raymond Floyd.
Backspin A PGA Tour player meeting a Republican president must be like a Trekkie meeting William Shattner. It's hard to believe only seven of the 12 players showed up. Perhaps Bush should have offered up an appearance fee.

HONG KONG PHOOEY: Wen-Tang Lin defeated Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari in sudden death for his first European Tour title at the UBS Hong Kong Open. Molinari was knocked off on the first extra hole, while Lin took out McIlroy with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
Backspin McIlroy may not have won, but he was mighty impressive on Sunday. The 19-year-old, who made a splash at the Open Championship two years ago, shot 5-under 65 in the final round. With all of the big names set to star on the European Tour this 2009 season, McIlroy might steal a little limelight himself.

DALY DOINGS: Not to be overlooked in Hong Kong was John Dalys performance. Daly opened with back-to-back 68s and, after a third-round 73, closed with his best round in years: a bogey-free, 8-under 62.
Backspin Hard to figure where this came from. Maybe he got a good nights sleep Saturday. Daly next heads to Australia for this weeks Aussie Masters. With most of the golf world in hibernation right now another strong performance from Daly would wake up some fans.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: La Paz hospital in Spain released Seve Ballesteros from the intensive care unit this past week. ... Nick Faldo stated that he'd like another shot at captaining the European Ryder Cup team. ... 14-year-old Jason Hak became the youngest player in European Tour history to make the cut, doing so in his native Hong Kong. ... Tommy Armour repeated as champion of the Pebble Beach Invitational.
Backspin Seve isn't out of the woods just yet. But if anyone knows how to escape from wooden areas, it's Seve. ... Sure, Nick. Just jump in line ' right behind Sir Jack Neveragain and Anthony Areyoukiddingme. ... Hak broke the record of Sergio Garcia, who was 15 years, 46 days. ... Armour started the final round with a five-stroke lead, but after shooting 76, needed a 36-foot birdie in sudden death to win again.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' ADT Championship
  • Full Coverage ' UBS Hong Kong Open
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    CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

    The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

    Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

    Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

    Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

    Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

    Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

    Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

    Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.

    Notables in the field

    Phil Mickelson

    * This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

    * For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

    * He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

    * This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.

    Jon Rahm

    * Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

    * In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

    * Last year he finished T-34 in this event.

    Adam Hadwin

    * Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

    * In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

    Brian Harman

    * Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

    * Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

    * Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    Brandt Snedeker

    * Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

    * This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

    * Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.

    Patrick Reed

    * Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

    * This is his first start of 2018.

    * Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

    (Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.) 

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    Teenager Im wins season opener

    By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

    South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Tour.

    Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

    Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

    Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Tour event at age 20.

    Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

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    Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

    He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

    12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

    Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.

    11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

    At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.

    11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

    Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.

    1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

    Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

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    Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

    By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

    HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

    It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

    Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

    It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

    ''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

    The reward now?

    ''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

    He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

    During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

    ''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

    Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

    ''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

    During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

    ''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

    It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

    Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

    And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

    It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

    ''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

    Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

    And not the Masters.

    He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

    ''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

    There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

    Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

    ''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

    He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

    ''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

    He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

    ''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

    Except for that first week in April.