Punch Shot: What's your one wish for 2013?

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 1, 2013, 3:30 pm

Forget New Year's resolutions. How about one wish for 2013? In this Punch Shot, GolfChannel.com writers weigh in with what they want most - golf related - in the new year.


Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods in a final-round, head-to-head duel in a major.

That's my one wish for tournament golf in 2013.

Should a full-fledged rivalry emerge between these two talents this year, the game's electrified in a fresh way. I asked Jack Nicklaus at the Father-Son Challenge a couple weeks ago if he thought this kind of rivalry would be good or bad for Tiger, if it would give Tiger a boost, or if it would make Tiger's path harder. Nicklaus was emphatic that it would be good for Tiger, that it would give him helpful motivation beyond breaking Nicklaus' record for major championship triumphs.

We've learned that what's good for Tiger is usually good for the overall health of the game. A meaningful rivalry will be good for the game.


Like most diets and resolutions of all sorts this New Year’s wish will likely lose some steam before the big payoff, but for sheer parity we’d like to see an International victory at October’s Presidents Cup.

If not a triumph then at least a shootout at Muirfield Village, a close bout to help wrest the event out of the lopsided doldrums it has drifted into since the last outright victory for the Rest of the World squad.

The International side is now 15 years removed from its last victory and has lost five of the last six biennial matches by an average of 5 ½ points. You may enjoy the event, the camaraderie and Fred Couples, but without a little parity the Presidents Cup is in danger of lapsing into irrelevancy.

Every two years the Presidents Cup begins with plenty of promise. In 2011 it was International captain Greg Norman leading a group on home soil at Royal Melbourne that was, at least according to the world golf ranking arithmetic, the favored side.

The International squad fell behind on Day 1, dropping four of the first six foursomes matches, and never recovered. The slow start drained the energy from the home crowd, if not the 12 internationals.

Our 2013 wish would be for a close match, regardless of outcome, or maybe just a fast start for the International team. 


My one golf wish for 2013 is the ability to bomb 330-yard drives, hit towering iron shots that land softly on the green and roll in putts from everywhere – even one-handed and behind my back, Ty Webb style.

OK, so maybe that’s three wishes. But I need 'em all.

As far as the professional ranks are concerned, give me the same thing I always wish for: rivalries.

Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson – two green jacket-clad lefties – going head-to-head at Augusta. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods facing off at Merion. Adam Scott trying to avenge last year’s loss to Ernie Els at Muirfield. A bevy of potential first-time major winners – let’s say Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose – at Oak Hill.

Is that too much to ask?

Hey, I won’t be too greedy. I’ll settle for just a few of those. Or feel free to mix and match. Phil against Ernie? Sign me up. Rory and Lee? Love it. Tiger and Bubba? Awesome.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a Cinderella story outta nowhere as much as anybody, but in a superstar-driven game, the big names bring more eyeballs to events and get more of us talking around the proverbial watercooler. With more parity at the elite level in recent years, traditional rivals are becoming more obsolete than ever. Let’s hope we see a few more blossom in 2013.


My wish: for the PGA Tour to enact its own rule and ban the anchored stroke in October, at the start of the 2013-14 season.

There is no place in our game for what happened at the World Challenge, where Keegan Bradley was jeered by a numbskull fan for anchoring a putter in his belly. Legally. 

Sadly, we could see more of the same if the proposed rule is not enforced until 2016, when the next edition of the Rules of Golf is published.

The governing bodies may say differently, but this new rule puts players such as Bradley and Webb Simpson in professional limbo, their accomplishments viewed with an asterisk because they used a technique that will soon be illegal.

The PGA Tour should bypass the potential headache and create its own rule: No anchoring, beginning in October 2013.

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The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

Speaking of greatness …

There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

This, according to Curtis Strange.

The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

Tony's gonna stand on an egg

A post shared by theCHIVE (@thechive) on

Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

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The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.

Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)