What We Learned: CIMB Classic

By Damon HackOctober 28, 2012, 11:37 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the week. This week, our writers weigh in on the difficulty of watching late-night golf; the underrated talent of Bo Van Pelt; the unsatisfactory nature of exhibition golf; the continued improvement of Tiger Woods and the loneliness of being Stacy Lewis.


You really want to know what I learned this week? Fine. I'm old. That's what I learned. Overnight golf – well, at least overnight in my time zone – used to be an excuse to sit around with a big bag of pretzels and a few cold ones. (As opposed to most other nights, when I had no excuse.) This week, I was the viewing equivalent of Nick Watney before the final round. That's right – a sleeper. Either somebody spiked my pretzels or I don't have what it takes to stay up anymore. Which is a shame for a few reasons. One is that it promoted random dreams about random PGA Tour players. That's not a good thing. Another is that in between snores I was able to catch only a few glimpses of really good players playing really good golf half a world away. I don't think Watney will win a major next season because of his victory in Malaysia, but I do think those who were able to stay awake Saturday night received a look into why he'll win one. As aloof as he is off the course, Watney is calm, confident and in control when he’s in contention. I wasn’t one of those who was able to watch his entire final-round 61, but there is some good news: Coverage of the WGC-HSBC Champions begins at 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Pass the pretzels – and a wake-up call. – Jason Sobel


Bo Van Pelt may be the most underrated player in golf. For those who are less than impressed with Van Pelt’s win-place combo the last two weeks at the Perth International and CIMB Classic, consider that he finished inside the top 25 more times than not (16 times out of 24 starts) in 2012, has finished inside the top 30 in FedEx Cup points the last three seasons and is 49th on the career money list. Not bad for a one-win (official) afterthought. – Rex Hoggard


Like sweet potato soufflé on Thanksgiving, I’ve had my fill of exhibition golf. A pair of Rory McIlroy comments this week pinned my needle. First, McIlroy said of his Turkish boondoggle that it was a nice, relaxing week with his girlfriend and that he didn’t “take it too seriously.” He then said of his impending one-on-one against Tiger Woods in China, “it will be hard to get myself up” for the match. Meanwhile, he’s making millions of dollars off both events he’s deemed meaningless. This isn’t a mini-McIlroy rant. I don’t blame him for taking the cash and appreciate him not blowing smoke up our keisters. I just prefer competitive golf or no golf at all. – Mercer Baggs


Time was, a 63 by Tiger Woods on a Sunday meant curtains for everybody else. The other players would hear those Tiger roars and start hitting shots into trees and tributaries. That is no longer the case, as Tiger’s closing kick at the CIMB Classic (similar to his 62 on Sunday at the Honda Classic while chasing Rory McIlroy) left him short of victory. Nick Watney was the man in Malaysia. He shot 61 on Sunday.

Tiger is still one of the two best players in the game, an awesome force who remains a heavy favorite to break Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour wins and may find a way to catch Jack’s record of 18 majors, too. But his biggest haymakers don’t leave scars like they used to. His opponents have learned to parry them. Tiger, no doubt, will keep on punching. – Damon Hack


Any quest to return American women's golf to prominence is beginning to look like a lonely proposition for Stacy Lewis. Lewis still holds the lead in the Rolex Player of the Year standings in her bid to become the first American to win the honor since Beth Daniel in 1994, but her fellow Americans have quietly continued to slip way down in the world rankings.

Lewis leads the Player of the Year race with 184 points, though Inbee Park moved within striking distance of seizing the honor with her second-place finish Sunday at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship. Park is second to Lewis, trailing by 28 points with three events left in the season. A win is worth 30 points.

While Lewis leads the POY race, the next best American is Angela Stanford at 13th in points. Lewis is No. 2 in the Rolex world rankings, but no other American ranks among the top 10 anymore. One year ago, four Americans ranked among the top 10 in the world. The 2012 money list also has a similar look of diminishing returns for Americans. Lewis is second on the money list. You have to go all the way down to No. 14 to find the next American (Paula Creamer). Just last year, five Americans ranked among the top 10 on the final money list. – Randall Mell

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.