Punch Shot: The must-see event for rest of 2013?

By Rex HoggardOctober 30, 2013, 12:46 pm

The 2013 season may have ended, but there is still plenty of golf to be played across the globe over the remainder of the calendar year. GolfChannel.com writers debate which event is the best of the rest.


With respect to this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions or next month’s Australian Masters, the only must-see golf stilling looming on the 2013 schedule is the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The European Tour finale is lucrative, star-studded and infused with a healthy amount of intrigue even for American audiences.

Henrik Stenson is poised to become the first player to win both the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season, but the Swede showed up at the first playoff event last week in China with an ailing right wrist and plenty of doubt.

If Stenson’s wrist becomes more than just an annoyance, Graeme McDowell, No. 2 on the Race to Dubai points list, Justin Rose (No. 3) and American phenom Peter Uihlein (No. 9) all could race past him in Dubai.

As an added level of intrigue, Rory McIlroy, currently No. 62 on the points list and outside of the field for the season ender in Dubai, has started to show signs of life and is poised to make a late-season run.

Remember, the Ulsterman finished third at the Singapore Open and won the DP World Tour Championship to close 2012. He could be due for a similar rally which could make the European Tour’s season-ending stop a must-see event.


During what is largely viewed as the off-season for golf (perish the thought), the best of the remaining events look to combine a strong field with a world-class venue. For my money, no tournament will merge those two factors better than next month’s World Cup of Golf.

The event boasts a limited field of 60 players, but among them some of the world’s best – recent major winners Adam Scott, Graeme McDowell and Angel Cabrera, not to mention rising stars like Jason Day, Nicolas Colsaerts and Matteo Mannasero. Nearly a third of the field can make the claim that they have participated in either a Ryder or Presidents Cup.

The true appeal of the World Cup, though, is the venue. For four days, players and viewers alike will be treated to the rolling fairways and pristine greens of Royal Melbourne, host of the 2011 Presidents Cup and arguably one of the best courses in the world. During a portion of the calendar when the golf pickings are relatively slim, I look forward to watching some of the game’s best compete on a truly fantastic layout – all for pride, country and an $8 million purse.


Give me a seat in front of the television for the Turkish Airlines Open next week.

Hey, it's world No. 1 Tiger Woods in his last tournament appearance outside his unofficial, limited-field event at Sherwood Country Club. It’s an official event for the European Tour, one of its Final Series tournaments in the Race to Dubai. Three of the top five players in the world are in the field with No. 4 Henrik Stenson and No. 5 Justin Rose also scheduled to play.

While this event won’t be stacked with all the top players in the world, Woods will get a test with Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els all in the field. This competition is meaningful and that makes watching Woods more meaningful. Will he get his sixth title of the year? That’s one of the better questions left this year.


Of all the tournaments between now and the end of the year, I’m most looking forward to the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge.

More casually known as “Tiger’s Tournament,” this one may feature a better lineup with only 18 players in the field than half of the regular season full-field PGA Tour events on the schedule.

That’s because each of the 18 players who will tee it up at Sherwood CC are currently ranked inside the world’s top-30, including, of course, its No. 1-ranked host.

And therein lies the biggest reason for so much anticipation: No matter how you slice it, Sunday’s leaderboard down the stretch will be filled with elite players for the simple reason that everyone in the field is an elite player.

You can’t say that about any other event over the next two months. 

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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.