What We Learned: Honda Classic

By Mercer BaggsMarch 5, 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 the Honda Classic from PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Rory McIlroy learns fast. The 22-year-old – yeah, 22 – picked up the pieces after Augusta last year. He learned from the setback a week ago against Hunter Mahan. He has some scars, but they have healed stronger.

McIlroy won the Honda Classic in his new adopted home state. He did it over the guy he idolized growing up, Tiger Woods. He did it with the kind of efficiency Jack Nicklaus showed in winning so prolifically.

 In a Ryder Cup year, it seemed fitting for the new world No. 1 to end the American victory streak to begin 2012. – Ryan Ballengee

I learned that for all the talk about how hard the Bear Trap is (and in fairness, it was), PGA National needs to toughen up the rest of the course.  Tiger Woods shoots a final-round 62? OK, he’s Tiger Woods. But a rookie, Brian Harman, shoots 61 to break the course record by three shots? And he could have shot a 59, and he should have shot a 60? That ain’t right. This isn’t  Bermuda Dunes. This is the Champion Course. But it didn’t always act like one this week. – Al Tays

I learned that we should all brush up on our math skills, because for the second straight year, the drama surrounding the No. 1 world ranking will be an intriguing subplot throughout the season. New top man Rory McIlroy could be on the verge of an extended stay atop the list, while erstwhile No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald aren't going anywhere. And then there's Tiger Woods, as rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. What does it all mean? On a weekly basis, any one of 'em could be in the hunt to become the next top-ranked player. Of course, it all comes down to a formula, so keep those calculators handy. – Jason Sobel

The game may be racing to exhilarating new heights again.

We learned Sunday at the Honda Classic that Rory McIlroy is ready to begin a reign over a new era. We also learned that Tiger Woods is ready to contest that. Rory vs. Tiger isn't wishful thinking anymore. It looks like it's real, like the best rivalry since Jack Nicklaus vs. Arnold Palmer is about to be fully engaged. – Randall Mell

I learned that there is the possibility of a Rory McIlroy-Tiger Woods rivalry. It's difficult to downplay what happened Sunday. Tiger didn't just have a good final round; it was a 62, free of bogeys in trying conditions. Rory didn't just win; he held firm in the face of a charging Woods, with the added weight of the No. 1 world ranking on his back. Golf doesn't just need a rivalry. It needs the game's most popular player to be part of that rivalry and it needs the game's best player as well. Woods-McIlroy satisfies both criteria and Sunday made it seem very possible. – Mercer Baggs

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.