The Round Mound of Bogeys

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
THE ROUND MOUND OF BOGEYS: Rick Rhoden rallied to birdie the last two holes to win his seventh American Century Celebrity Golf Championship on the shores of Lake Tahoe. But that was just part of the story.
Backspin This all-celebrity tournament has never been about winning and losing for the participants, just that the players beat Charles Barkley, who is infamous for his - for lack of a better word - atrocious swing. As Dallas Mavericks star and 2008 U.S. Olympian Jason Kidd said, 'As long as I'm ahead of Charles, I'm in good shape.' We are all in good shape when it comes to comparing our swings to Sir Charles. God bless him, he's still out there being a good sport.

CHA-CHING: According to Forbes Magazine, Tiger Woods is on pace to becoming the world's first billion dollar athlete by 2010. In last year alone, Woods earned $115 million, while his biggest endorser Nike reported over $600 million in sales.
Backspin We all knew Tiger was rich, but this is staggering. Before Nike signed Tiger in 1996, they didn't even have a golf line of shoes and clothing, and in only 10 years since they are pulling in half a billion dollars. Now, if he could only talk to Steve Austin, astronaut, about his knee. Because $6 million seems like a bargain these days, especially for the world's richest athlete.

NOTHING RUNS LIKE A DEERE: Kenny Perry won the John Deere Classic in a playoff on Sunday for his third win of the season. It was a victory that vaulted him to just behind Tiger Woods in both the FedExCup standings and on the money list.
Backspin And now here comes the now all-to-familiar awkward moment: Kenny Perry, the hottest player on the planet and a real good choice to be the odds on favorite to win the Open Championship is...playing next week at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. Perry's decision making on this matter will no doubt be debated forever - and rightfully so. But what's not to be debated is Perry's resolve over the last month or so and his lights out play.

PLANE AND SIMPLE: The John Deere Classic offered players set to compete across the pond this week at the Open Championship a chartered 100-seat 767 jet airplane. This is part of an ongoing effort to draw a stronger field to the due the fact that it is scheduled just a week prior the year's third major.
BackspinAround 22 players were scheduled to take the John Deere Classic up on their offer to give them a lift, nearly triple the amount who played in both events just one year ago. With the rising cost in gas, this has turned into quite the deal: all passengers can fly for a bargain 'donation' of just $1,000. The only player who didn't like this deal? Kenny Perry, because it ruined his, 'I couldn't find an available flight' excuse. We like to kid Kenny.

PINK PANTHER: Paula Creamer shot an opening-round 60 on Thursday and then held on for her third win of the season at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
Backspin Talk about the greatest karma for a sponsor: Creamer - already famously known in and out of golf circles as the 'Pink Panther' - won an event that is sponsored by Owens Corning, who lo and behold, have the cartoon character of the Pink Panther as their... spokesman, er, mascot, er, whatever. Nice job Paula, we're sure there will be a little something extra in the mail this week. And somewhere, Annika Sorenstam was surely happy knowing she still is the one and only Ms. 59.

LOCH AND KEY: Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell won the Scottish Open Sunday with three clutch birdies in a row coming home on the back nine for a 3-under 68 en route to his second victory this year. Phil Mickelson, who played this week as part of his tune up for the Open Championship, finished 11 shots off the pace in a tie for 38th.
Backspin Mickelson's struggles aren't a surprise, as he rarely performs well in Europe. The reason why is anyone's guess. As for McDowell, keep an eye on him next week at Birkdale. He will try to keep the Irish mojo, sort of, going at the Open Championship and he didn't get to No. 2 on the European's Order of Merit list by accident.

IT'S ALL RELATIVE: Tiger Woods' niece, Cheyenne Woods, announced this week that she will sign with Wake Forrest to play golf. Cheyenne, who was also first introduced to the game by Earl Woods Sr., is one of the top female high school golfers in the country, and a two-time Arizona state high school champion.
Backspin Cheyenne, the 17-year-old daughter of Tiger's half-brother Earl Jr., has hopes of one day playing on the LPGA Tour but wants to enjoy the college experience first. So the $64,000 question is: How much does she have in common with her superstar uncle? Cheyenne is so fascinated with the mental aspect of the game that she plans on majoring in psychology while attending Wake Forest, and we all know Tiger is the strongest player between the ears on TOUR. LGPA Tour players - take notice!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Rick Price won the Nationwide Player's Cup, collecting the lion share of the record $1 million purse; Luke Donald will not play in this week's Open Championship, as the Englishman had to withdraw with a wrist injury; Greg Norman's ex-wife received $103 million in their divorce settlement.
Backspin Price only had to make bogey on the first playoff hole to collect the largest check in Nationwide history of $180,000, not the way tournament organizers planned it; Bad news for Donald, is great news for Jerry Kelly. Kelly, the second alternate, will take Donald's spot at Royal Birkdale; Norman wasn't even in attendance at court, as the two-time major winner was on his honeymoon with new wife Chris Evert. However, the $103 million lost was surely made up for in the sale of Greg Norman wine at the wedding reception. That is, if it was a cash bar.

Related Links:
Full Coverage - Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic
Full Coverage - John Deere Classic
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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.