What We Learned: Tampa Bay Championship

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2013, 10:49 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. This week, our writers weigh in on an 'Everyman' winning on the PGA Tour, an American ascending to the No. 1 world women's ranking, and an underrated gem of a Florida course.

As journalists, we root for the story – and there aren’t many better stories on the PGA Tour than that of Kevin Streelman. Think about it: Just 10 years ago, he was earning extra cash to play mini-tours by caddying at Whisper Rock GC, otherwise known as golf course-to-the-superstars. 'I was just trying to save up money and practice wherever I could,' he told me a few years ago. 'I'd be running around there in my jumpsuit, dodging rattlesnakes, trying to make a couple of hundred bucks each day.' He was less than five years removed from looping when he earned PGA Tour status through Q-School and he’s never looked back. But that doesn’t mean Streelman doesn’t remember the good ol’ days. In fact, it’s difficult to find a more grounded pro on the most elite level. I’ve witnessed him genuinely interested in the lives of pro-am partners and taking time away from practice sessions to greet those who reside well below his pay grade. That may not be saying much, but the simple fact that Streelman has retained everyman status even while climbing the PGA Tour ranks should enhance the story now that he’s a champion for the first time. – Jason Sobel

The American women’s game has its bright new beacon.

If becoming the first American in 18 years to win the LPGA Player of the Year award last season wasn’t convincing enough, Sunday’s ascension to No. 1 seals the deal. Stacy Lewis will become just the second American to rise to No. 1 when the new Rolex world rankings are out. She will join Cristie Kerr as the only USA players to hold the top spot. Lewis’ emergence is timely because there isn’t another American in the top 10 in the world. She gives the American game a dose of hope and inspiration. You can be sure all the other top Americans will be ratcheting up their games to try to catch Lewis. – Randall Mell

Once again, Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course proved it is the best Tour track in Florida, the most complete test. PGA National is manufactured difficulty, having been converted to a par 70 for tournament week. Doral routinely produces a high-quality winner – Tiger, for instance, has won four times there – but it also has the best field. Nothing about Bay Hill’s layout excites the rank and file, and TPC Sawgrass is viewed by some as gimmicky. But you’ll hear nothing but praise for Innisbrook, with its tree-lined fairways and complex greens. It remains a hidden gem on Tour, though hopefully not for long. – Ryan Lavner

The PGA Tour needs more variety. Consider that in consecutive years Innisbrook has delivered three vastly different champions – from bona fide bomber Gary Woodland (2011) and short-game specialist Luke Donald (2012) to endearing journeyman Kevin Streelman (2013). Unfortunately, there are far too few Innisbrooks on the circuit’s dance card. It seems the Tour is a fan of just one flavor. – Rex Hoggard

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

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.