Shag Bag Blog Week 18

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 3, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Welcome to the Shag Bag, where the GolfChannel.com team and Golf Channel talent will regularly file thoughts and opinions from around the world of golf.
 

 
Redemption thy name is 4-iron. Its not that Sean OHairs tee shot at Quail Hollow Clubs 17th was the steeliest of shots, and his bogey followed by a three-putt at the last made for a nervous few minutes, but given OHairs history down the stretch with tournament hardware on the line, it was progress.
 
OHair rinsed a few at TPC Sawgrass 17th a few years back to dunk his title hopes and earlier this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational he found another watery fate at Bay Hills 16th. On Sunday at Quail Hollow, OHairs 4-iron tee shot at the demanding 17th avoided the water and his bogey-bogey finish was good enough to hold off the likes of Tiger Woods, Lucas Glover and Bubba Watson.
 
Its worth pointing out that OHairs misses at the 2007 Players against Phil Mickelson and Woods at Bay Hill have given him a rare trail-under-fire seasoning among the games American young guns. Seasoning that likely made things a tad easier at Quail Hollow.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 3, 6:22 p.m. ET

 

 
In hindsight, Zach Johnsons birdie blitz, which featured eight birdies in an 11-hole stretch, on Friday at Quail Hollow Club should come as no surprise.
 
Charlotte, N.C., is close enough to Georgia ' where the Z Man has won three of his five Tour titles ' and Quail Hollow, tamed to scoring perfection this year by officials in search of a spark, has an Augusta National look to it. The rough is being maintained at 2 inches, at the Masters they call that the second cut, and the greens have been rolled to slick perfection.
 
It all adds up to a perfect fit for the fairways-and-greens putting wizard Johnson.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 1, 12:58 p.m. ET

 

 
In case youre wondering, 11 of Tiger Woods 66 PGA Tour victories have been wire-to-wire triumphs.
 
While a lots made of his record with the lead going into the final round of a PGA Tour event (45-3), Woods isnt bad protecting a first-round lead.
 
With his 65 Thursday at the Quail Hollow Championship, Woods took a first-round lead for the 24th time in a PGA Tour event. He won 13 of those and has won 9 of the last 12 times he jumped out front in the first round.
 
Here are his wire-to-wire PGA Tour victories: 06 CA Championship, 06 Ford Championship, 05 WGC-Bridgestone, 05 British Open, 03 BMW Championship, 02 CA Championship, 02 U.S. Open, 02 Arnold Palmer Invitational, 00 WGC-Bridgestone, 00 PGA Championship and 00 U.S. Open.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted May 1, 11:37 a.m. ET

 

 
Tiger Woods lost the Masters, a fact he is probably becoming tired of being reminded. After a few days cooling off in central Florida he seemed properly vented and ready to continue conquering at Quail Hollow on Thursday. That is until a member of the media reminded him of his Masters miss.
 
In 2000 I had a pretty good year that year and I didn't win the Masters, either, Woods said of that historic 00 campaign that featured nine victories and the final three legs of the Grand Slam.
 
Still a tad cool, we see.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 30, 3:51 p.m. ET

 

 
NBC-TV analyst Johnny Miller used a car analogy comparing Phil Mickelson with Tiger Woods in a media teleconference Thursday afternoon.
 
Phil has as much horsepower in his car as Tiger, Miller said. Its just that the lug nuts arent tightened down as much.
 
Miller is preparing to work The Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. next week.
 
If Tiger never existed, Phil would be the Tiger today, Miller said.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted April 30, 1:53 p.m. ET

 

 
Rumors of Hank Haneys demise have been greatly exaggerated. At least that was Tiger Woods figurative take of all the Axe Hank talk on the Inter-web since the Masters. On Thursday, the world No. 1 added a literal endorsement of his swing coach with a final-nine 30 at Quail Hollow Club and a Day 1 65.
 
Haney, who spent last weekend in central Florida working with Woods, would be particularly pleased with how the First Pupil picked his way around the layout, hitting 77 percent of his greens in regulation and needing just 1.57 putts per green in regulation.
 
Woods 65, good for an early three-stroke lead, is his lowest opening round on Tour since the 2007 Tour Championship, and ' hopefully ' a reason for the Web world to give Haney a break.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 30, 12:52 p.m. ET

 

 
John Daly says hes swinging better without his love handles.
 
Daly, who reports hes up to 60 pounds lost after Lap-Band surgery in Feburary, opened with a respectable 2-under-par 70 Thursday in the first round of the European Tours Spanish Open.
 
Losing the weight hasnt hurt his power. He averaged a whopping 328.5 yards per drive in the first round. It will be interesting to see how that stands up against long-hitting Alvaro Quiros at days end. Daly played a morning round, Quiros is out in the afternoon.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted April 30, 9:45 a.m. ET

 

 
Brandt Snedeker withdrew from this weeks Quail Hollow Championship and headed home to Nashville, Tenn., to receive treatment for a rib injury that flared up three weeks ago at the Masters.
 
Snedeker, who also pulled out of last weeks Zurich Classic, was scheduled to work with a pair of trainers from the Tennessee Titans staff and plans to be ready for next weeks Players Championship. The injury was characterized by Snedekers manager as a strain and should not be a lingering problem
 
In 2005 Snedeker cracked a rib while playing the Nationwide Tour and the time off could be helpful for a player who has struggled since his magical Sunday duel with Trevor Immelman at last years Masters.
 
The injury is another blow to the American youth movement. Anthony Kim has been slowed this season by a hamstring injury, all of which may prompt U.S. Presidents Cup captain Freddie Couples to request a weekly injury report along with points updates.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 29, 4:46 p.m. ET

 

 
Tiger Woods met with the media at the Quail Hollow Championship Wednesday.
 
He was asked about speculation about Hank Haneys future as his swing coach, speculation based on reports that Woods gave Haney an earful of his frustration after the second round of the Masters.
 
Heres a snippet of the ASAP Sports transcript where Woods addresses that:
 
Q: There was some speculation because you were a little cranky at times at Augusta about Hank and your status and his future.
 
TIGER WOODS: Thats complete speculation. It has nothing to do with Henry. I didnt hit the ball the way I wanted to and I didnt make any putts. I felt like that every day. It was 17 and 18 that hurt. I didnt finish off my rounds the last couple days, and it cost me a chance to win the golf tournament.
 
Q: So he just happened to be standing there when you were at the point of frustration as much as anything?
 
TIGER WOODS: No, I mean, usually you just leave me alone, let me vent for a while and then Ill be ready to focus on what I need to do to get ready for the next day. Its happened before, hes seen it before, Stevie (Williams) has seen it. Youve got to vent. We dont get a chance to do that because we come off the green, we do media right away. Youre constantly on, and I just need to vent for just a little bit. Give me five minutes, ten minutes, and once thats over, its what do we need to do to get ready to win this golf tournament the next day.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted April 29, 3:20 p.m. ET

 

 
During his first American news conference since winning the Masters, Angel Cabrera didnt reveal exactly what hell serve at next years Champions Dinner, but he suggested it isnt likely to be exotic.
 
A lot of different meats and a little wine, said his swing coach Charlie Epps, who served as translator for reporters Wednesday at the Quail Hollow Championship. Meat and potatoes.
 
Epps, who stayed with Cabrera Masters week, said Cabrera cooked every night of their Masters stay because he doesnt like to wait in lines at restaurants.
 
Chicken and rice, chicken and spaghetti, Salisbury steak, Epps said. He doesnt buy anything in the can. All fresh.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted April 29, 2:33 p.m. ET

 

 
Lorena Ochoa expects her injured caddie, Dave Brooker, to be back on her bag in six weeks for the McDonalds LPGA Championship, but shell have an experienced substitute to help bridge the gap, according to her brother and agent, Alejandra Ochoa.
 
Australian Adam Woodward, 34, a former caddie for Maria Hjorth who worked most recently with Ji Young Oh, will tote Ochoas bag for the two events she will play leading into the McDonalds LPGA: The Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill (May 7-10) and the Sybase Classic presented by Shoprite (May 14-17).
 
Brooker fractured a foot on the eve of the final round of the Corona Championship last weekend while playing a soccer match with other caddies, friends and club members, but he wont require a cast. Hes in a protective boot.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted April 29, 11:43 a.m. ET

 

 
There will be more balls in the air in a quicker start to the Solheim Cup this year.
 
U.S. Captain Beth Daniel and European Captain Alison Nicholas will switch up the format when the matches are played Aug. 21-23 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Instead of the traditional foursomes (alternate-shot) matches leading off morning play the first two days, the captains have agreed to start with fourball (best-ball).
 
I always felt as a player that we would see better golf if you played your own ball in the morning and then played alternate shot in the afternoon, Daniel said. As a captain, you see more golf out of your players in the morning to help you make your picks in the afternoon. Another positive is that fans on the first tee in the morning see four players tee off in a group instead of just two.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted April 29, 10:10 a.m. ET

 

 
John Daly is celebrating his 43rd birthday Tuesday in Spain.
 
Hes there to play in the European Tours Spanish Open.
 
In his space on Twitter.com, Daly noted that other than being jet-lagged from the flight overseas, its actually the best Ive felt in years. Finally, everything is feeling good.
 
He lost 40 pounds after undergoing Lap-Band surgery in February. Daly apparently likes the way hes looking. He twittered about the possibility of wearing a white belt with white shoes on tour. He said hes planning to spend most of today working on his short game, putting and wedge play. Hes scheduled to play in the pro-am on Wednesday.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted April 28, 11:39 a.m. ET

 

 
Two years ago Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan drew a crowd, maybe the biggest Wednesday gathering ever on Tour, when they played together in the Quail Hollow Championship pro-am.
 
This years undercard is slightly more subdued. Woods will tee off at 7:30 a.m. (ET) with NFL star Payton Manning, while defending champion Anthony Kim pulled a North Carolina staple and will play with NASCARs Jimmie Johnson.
 
It may not be MJ/TW, but Manning and Johnson arent too bad on Tobacco Road.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 28, 11:15 a.m. ET

 

 
As reported in an earlier blog by our colleague Randall Mell, the U.S. Center for Disease Control has recommended all non-essential travel to Mexico be postponed because of the onset of swine flu. The alert may be a few days late for some LPGA Tour players who competed in last weeks Corona Championship but early enough to get Nationwide Tour officials thinking.
 
The Nationwide Tours Mexico Open is scheduled to be played May 21-24 at El Bosque Golf Club, but officials said Monday they are monitoring the situation closely.
 
We havent made a decision but we are concerned by what we have been seeing and reading, said Bill Calfee, president of the Nationwide Tour. Right now were planning to play the event as scheduled, but that could change.
 
Nationwide officials sent an e-mail to players on Monday to update the situation and plan to make a decision by early next week whether to play the event. Calfee said the tournament would probably be rescheduled for later in the season if the situation worsens.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 27, 5:01 p.m. ET

 

 
LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster returned home to the United States thinking family and friends back home this past weekend were probably more nervous about the swine-flu outbreak in Mexico than the players competing at the Corona Championship in Morelia.
 
I felt pretty comfortable there, Inkster said. The LPGA did a great job keeping us updated on what was going on. To me, it wasnt a big deal, I felt fine being there.
 
Morelia is about 200 miles from Mexico City, a city reported on Sunday to be slowed to a snails pace by the threat. Richard Besser, acting director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control, said Monday that the center will recommend non-essential travel to Mexico be postponed.
 
Inkster said she flew out of Morelia and did not go through Mexico City. She said the airlines did a great job helping reroute players who were scheduled to fly through Mexico City on their way out.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted April 27, 4:02 p.m. ET

 

 
Friendly has become a fad on the PGA Tour. Quail Hollow Club, home to this weeks star-laden Tour stop, has always been a favorite among players, but a little tweaking by officials this year may make the layout an instant classic.
 
According to tournament director Kym Hougham the rough for this years event will be maintained throughout the week at 2 inches, more than an inch shorter than normal. As a trade off, officials will ramp up Quail Hollows greens to about 12 on the Stimpmeter. Hougham was quick to note, however, the layouts pitched greens could not be allowed to roll much faster than that.
 
We dont mind letting them go 12, 14 under par, Hougham said. We want some fun for our fans.
 
Fun for the players, as well.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 27, 2:12 p.m. ET

 

South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

The fourball results:

LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

 

Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

Images and footage from Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson's round Friday at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., alongside President Donald Trump:



Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''