Talk is Cheap Maybe Not

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 8, 2008, 4:00 pm
In Backspin, GolfChannel.com takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
 
ABOUT FACE: Less than one week after news broke that the LPGA would be requiring all of its players to speak English, commisioner Carolyn Bivens back-peddled saying that those in non-compliance would not be suspended, as originally stated.
 
Backspin This is actually worse than the original mandate. Bivens had to know the kind of backlash she would receive relating to the original policy. If you're going to make such a statement, you should be prepared to stand behind it. She didn't. Backing down just further goes to diminish her effectiveness as a leader of this tour.
 

THE 2030 MASTERS CHAMPION?: Tiger Woods announced Tuesday that he and wife Elin are expecting their second child in late winter. Woods, whose daughter Sam was born on Monday after the 2007 U.S. Open, did not go into specifics on the due date.
 
Backspin With Tiger likely sidelined over the remainder of Elins pregnancy, Woods wont be pressed too hard on the gender of the child. Wonder if he has another daughter if hell want to have children until he produces a son? Wonder what his wife, a former swimsuit model, would think about that?
 

VIVA VILLEGAS: Camilo Villegas grabbed his first career PGA TOUR victory with a wire-to-wire, two-stroke win at the BMW Championship. The 26-year-old Colombian, in his third year on Tour, collected $1.26 million for his efforts, as well as moved into second on the FedExCup standings.
 
Backspin Villegas, a former Florida Gator, has been knocking on the door for a few months now, starting with holding the 36-hole lead at the Open Championship, and culminating with this past week's success. Villegas always seems to play his best in the playoffs, the question is now can he build on his breakthrough?
 

SUSPENSE OVER: With Villegas' victory, Vijay Singh only needs to show up for the TOUR Championship in three weeks to win the FedExCup, and its hefty $10 million bonus. Villegas could even win the final event and have Singh finish in last, and the Big Fijian would still have a 101-point lead.
 
Backspin Back to the drawing for Mr. Finchem, as the adjusted FedExCup format was supposed to produce suspense. Knowing who the champion before the final leg is the antithesis of drama. But we have little doubt that the folks at the PGA TOUR are already drawing up ways to fix the problem. That being said, with the Tour off this week and the Ryder Cup coming up, you can bet your bottom dollar that even though he could shoot a 100 each round and still win, Singh will still spend hours, and hours, and hours and ' well, you get the point ' on the range.
 

THANKS FOR NOTHING: When approached by NBC Sports after his round Sunday for a few comments regarding his all-but clinching of the FedExCup, the surly Singh brushed them off as well as a group of waiting media.
 
Backspin You'll hear a lot about how Singh is misunderstood. That he has a great sense of humor. That he can be generous. He may be those things, but most of the negative perception cast towards Singh is through his own doing ' and is much deserved. There are plenty of reasons to pull for him, and plenty of reasons to root against him.
 

A BORESOME FOURSOME: U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger finalized his team Tuesday in New York by selecting Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, J.B. Holmes and Chad Campbell as his wildcards.
 
Backspin Unfortunately for Azinger, he didnt have much to choose from, as no player proved to be a must have after the PGA. Were not exactly sure what Azinger saw in these four picks, but we know it wasnt experience (three rookies among the four picks) and it certainly wasnt personality. Take Boo Weekley off this team and you might have the dullest Ryder Cup squad in history.
 

A CLAP FOR THUNDER: Tommy Bolt, the 1958 U.S. Open championship, died Aug. 29 at the age of 92. The passing was revealed last week. Bolt won 15 PGA TOUR events, competed in two Ryder Cups (1955, 57) and was inducted, in 2002, into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
Backspin As great a player as Bolt was, he will be remembered much more for his temperament. Bolt had a bevy of nicknames based on his demeanor on the golf course: Terrible, Tempestuous, Thunder. Ben Hogan once said, If we couldve screwed another head on his shoulders, Tommy Bolt could have been the greatest who ever played. But, as his wife Mary Lou Bolt said, He was the best man I ever knew.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: News broke this past week that Tadd Fujikawa's father was indicted by an O'ahu grand jury on two counts of first-degree methamphetamine trafficking and, if convicted, could face up to 40 years in prison Brendon Todd cruised to a six-shot victory to win the Utah Championship, but the big story was produced by Peter Tomasulo, Chris Stroud, Brian Stuard and Jonathan Fricke - each of whom had holes-in-one in Thursday's opening round Ten Duramed Futures Tour players earned 2009 LPGA membership by finishing in the top 10 on the season money list.
 
Backspin Victor Bakke, Derrick Fujikawas lawyer, said his clients biggest concern is the shadow that this might cast on his son and his sons career. Agreed...You have to go back to the 1989 U.S. Open to find the last time there were four holes-in-one in a single day. In '89 the aces all happened on the same hole. Pretty incredible stuff Of those 10, Vicky Hurst led the money list and is expected to have an impact on the LPGA in 2009. Also among that group, coming in at No. 10, was Big Break IX winner Kim Welch.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.