The Show of Shows

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 21, 2008, 5:00 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.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: D.J. Trahan rallied from four shots back on the final day to overtake Justin Leonard to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. It was Trahan's second career PGA TOUR victory, following his win at the 2006 Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
Backspin Perhaps the bigger story, however, was Leonard's awful collapse on the inward nine. Looking for his second win at the Hope and second win in just the last four months, the Texan had three bogeys on the back nine to hand over the victory to Trahan.

MORE CONTROVERSY: A week after Kelly Tilghman's on-air remarks, Golfweek magazine fueled the flame by placing an image of a noose on its January 19th issue. The magazine's parent company, Turnstile Publishing Co., then fired Golfweek's vice president and editor, Dave Seanor.
Backspin Whatever the thinking at Golfweek, they at least knew that going with that particular image for its cover would spark more outrage. And it most certainly did. Jim Thorpe, one of two African-Americans on the Champions Tour added, 'That was absolutely stupid. That was just throwing fuel on the fire. Let him get barbecued.'

WORLD CUP WOES: Jennifer Rosales and Dorothy Delasin of the Philippines shot a 7-under 65 Sunday to beat South Korea by two strokes at the Women's World Cup of Golf. The United States team of Pat Hurst and Julie Inkster had a disappointing week ending up tied for 10th with Scotland.
Backspin The Philippines had to rally late against South Korea, with five birdies on the back nine, to capture its first title. Meanwhile, World Cup woes continue for the United States, who is now 0 for 4 at the event. Their best finish thus far was a fourth-place showing back in 2005, when they were represented by Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis.

ALOHA, FRED!: Fred Funk birdied the final two holes to gain a two-shot win at the season-opening MasterCard Championship in Hawaii. The 51-year-old Funk rang up 23 birdies over the three days, averaging just under eight birdies a round.
Backspin Funk, who had already played twice this year in Hawaii - on the PGA TOUR - is off to a good start in his quest to win $2 million on the both tours during the 2008 season. He earned $300,000 for his Champions Tour win and has collected close to $200,000 on the PGA TOUR. We want the Funk, bring on the Funk!

THE SHOW OF SHOWS: The PGA of America staged its 55th PGA Merchandise Show at the massive Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., this past week. The annual show brings together over 1,000 exhibitors that take up more than 1 million square feet of showroom floor.
Backspin The big buzz at this year's show was undoubtedly the innovations that will allow the golfing public to interchange their golf shafts from the head of the driver. But, of course, that was just one aspect of the show. The real fun is seeing many of the new, and sometimes useless products, that see there way to the showroom floor. And we're not sure what those skimpily clad women were hawking, but we think it had something to do with golf.

ABU DHABI SURPRISE: Martin Kaymer was the surprise winner this week at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. The 23-year-old German, who led by six going into the final round, managed to hang on to win at 15 under-273, topping Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood by four strokes.
Backspin Kaymer did his best to blow a chance at his first ever win on the European Tour, with three straight bogeys early in his round, eventually struggling to a 2 over par in the final round. But despite his worst efforts, the six-stroke lead he held going into the final round propelled the young German to victory.

FLAG FLAP: The management of the Chinese women's team at the Women's World Cup of Golf asked - and was granted - the removal of the Taiwanese flag from display on flagpoles, golf bags and scoreboards. China does not recognize the independence of Taiwan, referring to it as a breakaway province.
Backspin The Taiwanese team was not happy with the situation but played on anyway, eventually finishing in a tie for third with Japan. The Chinese team placed T-12, seven shots back of Taiwan. It should also be noted that South Africa - where the event was being played - also doesn't recognize Taiwan's independence. The Taiwanese players, it turns out, showed up to just play good golf.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: John Daly is considering filing a lawsuit against the insurance company that represents the Palm Beach County-based Honda Classic because of an injury he suffered last year when a female fan snapped a picture of him in the first round; The Hall of Fame ballots were released this past week and this years list comprises 17 names compared to 20 last year.
Backspin Apparently Daly is looking for different ways to collect checks since playing golf hasn't worked for him in the past several years. With as many exes as Daly has, he needs as much financial help as he can get; Lanny Wadkins expects to be inducted this year. Wadkins won 21 times on the PGA TOUR, including the 1977 PGA Championship and the 1979 PLAYERS.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
  • Full Coverage - MasterCard Championship
  • Full Coverage - Women's World Cup of Golf
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    Frittelli fulfilled promise by making Match Play field

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:40 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dylan Frittelli attended the University of Texas and still maintains a residence in Austin, so in an odd way this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a home game for the South African who plays the European Tour.

    Frittelli actually attended the event last year as a spectator, when he watched the quarterfinal matches on Saturday afternoon, and made a promise to himself.

    “I told a lot of people, I was running into them. I said, ‘I'll be here next year, I'll be playing in this tournament,’” said Frittelli, who climbed to 45th in the world ranking after two victories last year in Europe. “People looked at me, you're 190 in the world, that's hard to get to 64. It was a goal I set myself.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Frittelli’s next goal may be a little payback for a loss he suffered in college when he was a teammate of Jordan Spieth’s. Frittelli is making his first start at the Match Play and could face his old Longhorn stable mate this week depending on how the brackets work out and his play.

    “We had the UT inter-team championship. Coach switched it to match play my senior year, and Jordan beat me in the final at UT Golf Club. It was 3 and 2,” Frittelli said. “So I'm not too keen to face him again.

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    Match Play security tightens after Austin bombings

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:06 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – A fourth bombing this month in Austin injured two men Sunday night and authorities believe the attacks are the work of a serial bomber.

    The bombings have led to what appears to be stepped-up security at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

    “I was out here [Sunday]; typically that's the most relaxed day. But they had security officials on every corner of the clubhouse and on the exterior, as well,” said Dylan Frittelli, who lives in Austin and is playing the Match Play for the first time this week. “It was pretty tough to get through all the protocols. I'm sure they'll have stuff in place.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour told The Associated Press on Monday that it doesn't comment on the specifics of its security measures, but that the safety of players and fans is its top priority. The circuit is also coordinating closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of players and fans.

    Despite the bombings, which have killed two people and injured two others, the Tour has not yet reached out to players to warn of any potential threat or advise the field about increased security.

    “It’s strange,” Paul Casey said. “Maybe they are going to, but they haven’t.”

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    Rosaforte Report: Faxon helps 'free' McIlroy's mind and stroke

    By Tim RosaforteMarch 19, 2018, 8:00 pm

    With all the talk about rolling back the golf ball, it was the way Rory McIlroy rolled it at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that was the story of the week and the power surge he needed going into the Masters.

    Just nine days earlier, a despondent McIlroy missed the cut at the Valspar Championship, averaging 29 putts per round in his 36 holes at Innisbrook Resort. At Bay Hill, McIlroy needed only 100 putts to win for the first time in the United States since the 2016 Tour Championship.

    The difference maker was a conversation McIlroy had with putting savant Brad Faxon at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Fl., on Monday of API week. What started with a “chat,” as McIlroy described it, ended with a resurrection of Rory’s putting stroke and set him free again, with a triumphant smile on his face, headed to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Augusta National in two weeks.

    The meeting with Faxon made for a semi-awkward moment for McIlroy, considering he had been working with highly-regarded putting coach Phil Kenyon since missing the cut in the 2016 PGA Championship. From “pathetic” at Baltusrol, McIlroy became maker of all, upon the Kenyon union, and winner of the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedExCup.

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

    Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    As a professional courtesy, Faxon laid low, respecting McIlroy’s relationship with Kenyon, who also works with European stars Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. Knowing how McIlroy didn’t like the way Dave Stockton took credit after helping him win multiple majors, Faxon let McIlroy do the talking. Asked about their encounter during his Saturday news conference at Bay Hill, McIlroy called it “more of a psychology lesson than anything else.”

    “There was nothing I told him he had never heard before, nothing I told him that was a secret,” Faxon, who once went 327 consecutive holes on Tour without a three-putt, said on Monday. “I think (Rory) said it perfectly when he said it allowed him to be an athlete again. We try to break it down so well, it locks us up. If I was able to unlock what was stuck, he took it to the next level. The thing I learned, there can be no method of belief more important than the athlete’s true instinct.”

    Without going into too much detail, McIlroy explained that Faxon made him a little more “instinctive and reactive.” In other words, less “mechanical and technical.” It was the same takeaway that Gary Woodland had after picking Faxon’s brain before his win in this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Sunday night, after leading the field in strokes gained-putting, McIlroy was more elaborative, explaining how Faxon “freed up my head more than my stroke,” confessing that he was complicating things a bit and was getting less athletic.

    “You look at so many guys out there, so many different ways to get the ball in the hole,” he said. “The objective is to get the ball in the hole and that’s it. I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”

    All of this occurred after a conversation I had Sunday morning with swing instructor Pete Cowen, who praised Kenyon for the work he had done with his player, Henrik Stenson. Cowen attributed Henrik’s third-round lead at Bay Hill to the diligent work he put in with Kenyon over the last two months.

    “It’s confidence,” Cowen said. “(Stenson) needs a good result for confidence and then he’s off. If he putts well, he has a chance of winning every time he plays.”

    Cowen made the point that on the PGA Tour, a player needs 100-110 putts per week – or an average of 25-27 putts per round – to have a chance of winning. Those include what Cowen calls the “momentum putts,” that are especially vital in breaking hearts at this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Stenson, who is not playing this week in Austin, Texas, saw a lot of positives but admitted there wasn’t much he could do against McIlroy shooting 64 on Sunday in the final round on a tricky golf course.

    “It's starting to come along in the right direction for sure,” Stenson said. “I hit a lot of good shots out there this week, even though maybe the confidence is not as high as some of the shots were, so we'll keep on working on that and it's a good time of the year to start playing well.”

    Nobody knows that better than McIlroy, who is hoping to stay hot going for his third WGC and, eventually, the career Grand Slam at Augusta.

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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.