What We Learned: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Jay CoffinMarch 26, 2012, 12:00 am

Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events. This week, the team reflects on Tiger Woods' victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge and the tournament host.

I learned that none of the people who constantly hammer Golf Channel for covering Tiger Woods too much were among the 20,000 at Bay Hill Sunday chanting Woods’ name after he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Couldn’t have been. There wasn’t one person who went home disappointed. – Jay Coffin

I learned that I’d better pack a few extra notebooks for the drive down I-20 East toward Augusta, because this year’s Masters Tournament has a chance to be an all-timer. Not that we already weren’t looking at a potentially epic event based on Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald among those in-form enough to win early-season titles, but the victory by Tiger Woods on Sunday just ratcheted things up a few more notches. This is what we want heading into the Masters each year – the world’s best players competing at the highest levels – and it appears this is what we’re going to get this time. After the win at Bay Hill, Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, said that his player probably wished the Masters started tomorrow. Make that two of us. Actually, make that all of us. That journey to Augusta can’t get here soon enough. – Jason Sobel

I learned that Arnold Palmer is still the coolest guy in golf. It’s more a reminder rather than a learning experience, but each time his tournament comes around it obvious that there is no one like him in the game – past or present. Palmer’s news conferences can’t last long enough, his energy and enthusiasm are inspiring. The news that he had been admitted to the hospital for blood pressure reasons was alarming, but fortunately nothing more. At 82 years old and 39 years removed from his last PGA Tour win, Palmer is still the King of golf. – Mercer Baggs

I learned that a player can lose their health, their confidence, their mojo and their status as the world’s best, but you don’t lose talent. Any victory for Tiger Woods would have been remarkable, but a five-stroke walk-off on a mini-major golf course makes an unmistakable statement.

Also that Ernie Els, who came up short in his bid to crack the top 50 in the World Golf Ranking and earn an invitation to the Masters, may be the game’s best four-tool player. If he ever finds a cure for his putting woes the Big Easy is bound to reclaim his world-beater status. – Rex Hoggard

Golf is the ultimate meritocracy. Players get paid only if they perform. There are no guarantees. Nevertheless, sentiment runs deep in the sport out of respect of the accomplishments of the living greats of the game.

On the cusp of earning his way into a 19th consecutive Masters, Ernie Els has come up painfully short both in Tampa and at Bay Hill. Els finished in a seven-way tie for fourth place at Arnold Palmer's event, leaving him No. 58 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The only way Els can get into the Masters on his merit is with a win in Houston next week. The only other way he goes down Magnolia Lane again is at the mercy of Masters chair Billy Payne. Els knows Augusta is unlikely to budge, reserving space for their champions and few else.

Though painful to watch at times, the quest for Augusta has clearly invigorated the Big Easy. With little left to prove in his career, to see the chase for one more Masters chance drive a man as accomplished as Els is a stirring reminder of how fleeting time really is. Where did 20 years go? – Ryan Ballengee

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.