Shag Bag Blog Week 22

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 31, 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.
 

 

Haney and Woods courtside at a NBA playoff game

 
We spotted Tiger Woods and swing coach Hank Haney in the crowd at Saturdays Orlando Magic game, perhaps finally ending the blog-driven rumors that Haney would be fired.
 
Per Woods standard pre-tournament MO, he has been working with Haney at Isleworth before heading up to Ohio for next weeks Memorial.
 
As the two cheered on the Magics Game 6 victory they smiled and talked freely. Seems all those rumors of Haneys demise were greatly exaggerated.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 31, 9:38 a.m. ET

 

 
Who's the best PGA Tour member without a victory?
 
Tim Clark, 33, is aiming to take his name out of the running as the answer to that question at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
 
Clark is making his 184th PGA Tour start. He has finished runner-up six times, including last year's Colonial and the '06 Masters. Clark, a three-time European Tour winner, seems to be warming up to something big. He won the Australian Open in December and knocked off Tiger Woods in the Accenture Match Play Championship in February.
 
If Clark isn't the best PGA Tour member without a victory, who is?
 
' Randall Mell
Posted May 30, 9:53 a.m. ET

 

 
Good to see Ryan Palmer in the hunt at Colonial, but we cant say its a surprise.
 
Palmer has struggled since last fall with a shoulder injury, having missed his last three cuts and finishing no better than 19th in 2009. Colonial, however, is familiar ground for the Texas native and Hogans Alley is the home course for his caddie Big Game James Edmondson.
 
Edmondson is a regular in the venerable clubs weekly games when hes at home and hes a former mini-tour player. According to caddie code, Edmondson is adept at showing up and keeping up, but Palmer may want him to speak up this week.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 30, 9:07 a.m. ET

 

 
John Daly shot 76 Friday and missed the cut by two shots at the European Open in England.
 
There's good news even in that. It marks just his second missed cut of 2009. He had made three of four cuts since heading over to play the European Tour last month. The last time Daly had a good run of making it to the weekend? Back in 2005, when he went four straight weeks without missing a cut. At one point last season he went eight consecutive PGA Tour events without making a cut.
 
Daly, however, wasn't alone among big names missing the cut at the European Open. Shane Lowry, who won the 3 Irish Open as an amateur, missed the cut in his professional debut. Retief Goosen, Henrik Stenson and Angel Cabrera also didn't make the weekend.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted May 29, 3:22 p.m. ET

 

 
Steve Stricker seems determined to put himself in position to fail again with his quick start Friday at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
 
Yeah, that sounds so negative, so pessimistic compared to saying he's trying to put himself into position to win again, but the truth is that tournaments are lost more than they're won. At week's end, one player will walk away with the trophy and a half dozen or so will be recounting how they could have won it, or just plain lost it.
 
Stricker, a four-time PGA Tour winner, knows this hard truth as the winner and loser of events. He squandered a chance to win The 50th Bob Hope Classic earlier this year, shedding his final round lead with a couple wild shots in on the way to a 77. He had a another chance at the end of the Northern Trust but couldn't finish off a strong final-round run, making bogey at the last hole to miss out on a playoff by a shot.
 
But when it comes to rebounding, Stricker is an expert. He's a two-time PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year. That's a remarkable distinction, being able to rebound from significant adversity from one season to the next. If he's able to win this week, he'll have engineered a comeback within a season. Stricker's shown he isn't afraid to give himself a chance to fail. He has finished second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh already this season. He may get knocked down, but he keeps getting up, and he keeps coming.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted May 29, 12:02 p.m. ET

 

 
Joe Ogilvie suffered through his worst year on the PGA Tour in 2008 not because of a particular swing flaw or inefficiency in his game, but because of a global economic crisis that didnt square with Ogilvies structured view of the world.
 
I probably spent too much time reading and thinking about everything that is going on, said Ogilvie, who is among the early leaders at Colonial Country Club after an opening 67.
 
Weve never had that problem. In fact, sports psychologist Dr. Gio Valiante recently introduced us to a phase that resonated with the Shag Bag staff ' dumb focus.
 
Of course Ogilvies mind has not slowed that much, as evidenced by an XM Radio interview he gave on Wednesday. Ogilvie said he was going to suggest to the Players Advisory Council this week a plan that would require players participate in the traditional 15-event minimum and earn a certain number of points to maintain their Tour cards.
 
Under Ogilvies plan, players would need 30 points to keep their cards, with starts at bigger events, like majors and World Golf Championships, worth one point while lesser events, like stops in New Orleans and Memphis, worth five or 10 points.
 
Ogilvies plan would promote more starts from top players, while not violating the independent contractors independence.
 
Not bad for a guy who committed to less thinking, more swinging in 2009.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 28, 3:47 p.m. ET

 

 

 
The PGA Tour inserted basketball legend Jerry West as the face of the Northern Trust Open on Thursday, but the real news may be who the former NBA great will be working with.
 
The Tours Championship Management division has stepped in to run the event along with the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce. Championship Management runs 12 Tour and Champions Tour events ' including the World Golf Championships, two FedEx Cup playoff events, The Players and Presidents Cup 'but the L.A. stop will be the first off the shelf event that Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., will run directly.
 
West, an icon in L.A. who spent his entire Hall of Fame career with the Lakers, was named executive director and will undoubtedly raise the profile of the event, but expect most of the shots to be called from Tour HQ.
 
In fact, considering the events high-profile run in with Congress this year over corporate entertainment and a three-year hole in the tee sheet where Tiger Woods name is supposed to be, officials may want to woo Lakers coach Phil Jackson over to try and mix things up as well.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 28, 12:47 p.m. ET

 

 
Laura Davies has accepted an offer from the USGA to extend her streak to 24 consecutive appearances in the U.S. Women's Open.
 
The championship is scheduled July 9-12 at Saucon Valley Country Club's Old Course in Bethlehem, Pa. Davies won the 1987 U.S. Women's Open, defeating JoAnne Carner and Ayako Okamoto in an 18-hole playoff at Plainfield (N.J.) Country Club. It's one of her four major championship triumphs. She also won two McDonald's LPGA titles (1994, '96) and a du Maurier Classic ('96).
 
In case you're wondering, the record for most consecutive U.S. Women's Open appearances is 31. Hollis Stacy set the mark between 1970 and 2000.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted May 27, 4:57 p.m. ET

 

 
Charles Howell III continued his solid play last week, finishing tied for 45th at the Byron Nelson after a wayward 73 on Sunday.
 
Howell cracked the head on his driver during last Wednesdays pro-am and struggled on the weekend with a replacement gamer, hitting just 11 of 28 fairways. The good news: he found a driver closer to the original this week at Colonial. The better news: his putting ' a soft spot in an otherwise on-form game ' continues to improve.
 
CH3 needed just 27 putts on Thursday and 28 on Saturday. If he continues that at Colonial, officials should start looking for a tartan champions jacket in his size. Were guessing something along the lines of a 33 slim.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 27, 4:47 p.m. ET

 

 
Amanda Blumenherst, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion and three-time NCAA Player of the Year, announced Wednesday that she has turned pro and will make her debut June 11-14 at the Michelob Ultra Duramed Futures Players Championship.
 
She'll also play the Wegman's LPGA June 25-28, where she tied for 17th as an amateur three years ago. In five LPGA appearances, her best finish is a tie for 10th at the 2006 U.S. Women's Open at the Newport (R.I.) Country Club.
 
Blumenherst, 22, graduated magna cum laude from Duke earlier this month with a degree in history. She has signed with IMG and will be managed by Matt Iofredo.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted May 27, 1:07 p.m. ET

 

 
The LPGA Tour Championship has a home, plans for television, a finalized format but still no title sponsor in the wake of news of Stanford Financials legal problems.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The LPGA announced Tuesday that its season-ending championship will be played at The Houstonian Golf & Country Club in Richmond, Texas, just outside Houston Nov. 19-22 and will be televised by the Golf Channel.
 
Originally designated the Stanford Financial Tour Championship, the LPGA has yet to announce a new title sponsor. Stanford Financials backing became an issue after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission raided the offices of R. Allen Stanford in February and froze the assets of three companies he controls as part of a fraud investigation.
 
The LPGA Tour Championship, which replaces the ADT Championship playoff finale as the tours last event, will feature a $1.5 million purse, down from the $2 million originally planned. A 120-player field will be cut to the low 70 players and ties after 36 holes and the low 30 and ties after 54 holes.
 
' Randall Mell
Posted May 26, 5:50 p.m. ET

 

 

 
The 2007 Rookie of the Year will remain on the disabled list, at least for one more week according to Brandt Snedekers trainer Randy Myers.
 
Snedeker, who strained a rib on his right side during the Masters and hasnt played since missing the cut at Hilton Head, will probably not play this weeks Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, opting instead to rest the injury at least one more week.
 
Hes 95 percent (for Memorial), said Myers, the director of instruction at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort. Theres some pain right now when he swings.
 
Rib injuries are golfs version of the ubiquitous groin injury in the NFL ' never career threatening, but painful and slow to heal.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 26, 4:10 p.m. ET

 

 
Whos the best American woman in the world?
 
Paula Creamer didnt wait long to grab back that distinction, based on the Rolex Womens World Golf Rankings. She leaped back over Cristie Kerr in this weeks rankings.
 
If youre into this debate, the argument has been between Creamer and Kerr for two seasons now with Angela Stanford deserving strong mention. Creamer, 21, was the highest ranked American woman in the world for 72 consecutive weeks until Kerr, 31, won the Michelob Ultra Open two weeks ago. With a second-place finish at the LPGA Corning Classic on Sunday, Creamer climbed back up to No. 3 in the world rankings with Kerr No. 4 and Stanford No. 7.
 
Creamer has yet to win this year, but shes zeroing in. In her last three starts, she has finished second (Japans Salonpas Cup), tied for third (Sybase Classic) and tied for second (Corning).
 
' Randall Mell
Posted May 26, 2:02 p.m. ET

 

 
Brian Davis is one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour following top-5 finishes at The Players, Texas Open and last week at the Byron Nelson. So why would an on-form Englishman who has posted eight consecutive rounds in the 60s skip qualifying for the British Open to play in a Monday pro-am?
 
Seems Davis bypassed a shot at his national championship for all the right reasons.
 
Earlier this year Davis approached Colonial officials for a sponsor exemption. In exchange Davis offered to play in the events Monday pro-am. When he qualified for this weeks Fort Worth, Texas, stop with his play at TPC Sawgrass and San Antonio he gave back the exemption and could have skipped the pro-am and played in Mondays 36-hole qualifier for Turnberry.
 
Instead, Davis honored his commitment to Colonial officials and played the pro-am. We thought it was a really standup-ish thing to do, one Colonial official said.
 
So do we.
 
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 26, 11:19 a.m. ET

 

 
'Hey, Foltzy, Let me ask you a question about TV coverage,' my longtime friend said as I passed him last fall on the practice green at Turning Stone. 'My kids wanted to know when I changed my first name to '49-year-old' Michael Allen?' He was joking, of course, but it did seem that we all referred to him that way during coverage ' as if it were some type of badge of honor or that it made his competitive play more impressive.
 
So it was ironic yesterday to hear the new Senior PGA champion referred to as young, by Bruce Fleisher, and a long hitter by Gary Koch. Perhaps the most ironic thing about his impressive win in Cleveland is the fact that the long-time Q-School stallwart, who's currently exempt on the PGA Tour, and as of two days ago had absolutely no status on the Champions Tour, is now exempt and won't have to go through Champions Tour Q-School should he opt to play full time out there.
 
Ain't golf grand? It is now for the man who has never had an enemy on earth. It took a while, a very long while, but sometimes really nice guys do indeed finish first.
 
' Jerry Foltz
Posted May 25, 12:30 p.m. ET

 

 
Late last year during the PGA Tours playoff stop in New Jersey we were talking with Michael Allen when he mentioned that a Champions Tour Q-School application had just arrived at his house. What am I going to do with that? he smiled.
 
On Sunday one of the games most endearing journeyman got his answer, a victory in his first start on the 50-and-over circuit and a major championship for good measure. There are no shortage of reasons to like Allen, but his post-round interview says it best.
 
  • After being introduced as the Senior PGA champion, a title that was also won by Arnold Palmer: If you refer to me and Arnie, the only thing we had in common before was we liked to drink wine.
     
  • On his first victory in a Tour-sanctioned event in 334 attempts: Three hundred and thirty-four? Seems like just yesterday.
     
  • On his pre-final round meal Saturday night in Ohio: Went over to Flemings and I drank some nice pinot noir. I figured red wine is good for your nerves. White wine is not good; I drank that Wednesday night, so you can see what happens.
     
  • On leaving the Cleveland/Orlando NBA playoff game Friday night, which was won by a buzzer beater, with one second remaining: It was one second. What could happen?
     
  • Finally, when a scribe asked what he would do with his prize money Allen smiled: I could buy you all champagne is what I would like to do.
     
    Tony Lema would be proud.
     
    ' Rex Hoggard
    Posted May 25, 9:37 a.m. ET

     

     
    Related Links:
  • More Shag Bag
  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''