What We Learned: McGladrey Classic

By Jason SobelOctober 21, 2012, 10:33 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the week. This week, we examine – among other things – the incredible ending to the McGladrey Classic, where Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey shot a final-round 60 to come from seven shots back to pick up his first PGA Tour victory.


Any golfer who’s been told they’re too unconventional or too graceless or too anything, really, should be celebrating with equal helpings of motivation and inspiration following Tommy Gainey’s victory at the McGladrey Classic. Most observers understand Gainey isn’t your cookie-cutter PGA Tour pro based on an unseemly swing wielded while wearing two gloves, making him appear not unlike a lumberjack chopping at an invisible tree. Those are hardly the only atypical parts to his story, though.

Gainey didn’t exactly attend a golf powerhouse at Central Carolina Technical College, then toiled as an assembly line worker before giving professional golf a try. Along the way, he played just about every tour you can find, even competing on Golf Channel’s “Big Break IV,” while working his way out of obscurity. It’s all part of a rags-to-riches Hollywood script born in the unlikely countryside of South Carolina. The moral of Two Gloves’ story is this: If he can hit the big-time of a PGA Tour winner’s circle, then other unconventional golfers can, too. If that doesn’t serve as both motivation and inspiration, nothing will. Jason Sobel


Winning only gets harder despite what the sports psychologists say. Consider Jim Furyk’s year, which has teetered on the edge between historic and horrible for months. Although Furyk has collected 16 PGA Tour titles in what many consider will be a Hall of Fame career, he has now booted chances at the U.S. Open, where he led through 69 holes, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he led through 71 holes, and now the McGladrey Classic, which he led by two strokes to begin the day but managed just two birdies and a bogey to finish third. – Rex Hoggard


I need two gloves.

I need a swing that makes me look like I’m trying to kill a cockroach with a crowbar, or as Brandel Chamblee once said, a swing that looks like a man trying to kill a snake with a garden rake.

Mostly, though, I want Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey’s guts. The guy has the nerve to defy convention in so many ways, and he makes it work in a way you have to admire. With that swing, you know a lot of folks never believed a day like Sunday could happen for him. Obviously, Gainey believed. He won the McGladrey Classic believing in himself long before this Sunday ever came along. Randall Mell


Yani Tseng may have turned the corner. While she didn't defend her title at the LPGA HanaBank, Tseng shot three under-par rounds to finish in third place. It might not seem like success for a 15-time tour winner, but it's Tseng's first top 10 in five months. She might not be able to catch Stacy Lewis for Player-of-the-Year honors, but it's an encouraging start to the end of her season. – Mercer Baggs


After a practice round at Riviera Country Club earlier this year, Tommy Gainey talked about the difference between being on the PGA Tour and belonging on the PGA Tour.

“I feel as if I belong here, but deep down – and I think everybody feels the same way – you don’t feel like you really belong until you’ve won,” Gainey said then. “Until you win, it’s: ‘That guy, he’s unorthodox. He goes after it funny. He hits it with two gloves.’ But when you win, you’re a winner. Then they have to respect the man even if they might not respect the way he plays. I sense the only way to belong is to win.”

On Sunday at the McGladrey Classic, Gainey came out of nowhere to dash by three of the game’s bold letter names – LOVE, FURYK, TOMS – firing a 10-under 60 that was the lowest score on Tour this season. More importantly, he proved to himself that he belonged.  Damon Hack

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.