Q-School of Hard Knocks - COPIED

By Ian HutchinsonNovember 28, 2007, 5:00 pm
Ian Leggatt of Cambridge has a knack for sneaking under the radar when he takes a step forward.
 
If all goes accordingly, Leggatt will resume his PGA TOUR career after grinding through six rounds at the final stage of qualifying school, which begins Wednesday.
You may recall Leggatt winning his first TOUR event on Feb 24, 2002, but then again, maybe not.
 
Even diehard golf fans would be forgiven for briefly turning their attention to Olympic hockey that day when Canada ended a 50-year drought by winning gold.
 
Had Leggatt not been busy winning the Tucson Open, he would likely have been glued to the game himself, but accomplished something pretty significant that day.
 
There was no Olympic hockey game to steal his thunder just over a week ago, but Leggatt was operating on a stage not nearly as grand as the one where he got his first TOUR win.
 
He shot respectable rounds of 70-70-71, but flirted with disaster when he posted a final round 75 to tie for 19th, when only the top 20 and ties advance.
 
'I shot 41 on the first nine holes. I hit it over a couple of greens and I had a couple of three-putts and the next thing you know, I was 5 over par,' said Leggatt, adding that the inflated score was not indicative of his play.
 
'I really didn't play that badly. I had been hitting it pretty good. I hadn't really been putting very good the whole week, but my ball-striking was really good,'' he added.
 
'I had to shoot under par my next nine because after my first nine holes, I was back to even par (for the tournament),'' said Leggatt, who thought 1-under might get him through. Aided by an eagle on the 15th hole, he finished two-under to advance to the final stage.
 
Once again, Leggatt flew under the radar into Q-school after earning an exemption through the first stage thanks to his previous PGA TOUR experience. After several health issues, including a nasty battle with carpal tunnel syndrome in his left wrist, Leggatt found himself on the Nationwide Tour this season.
 
He played four PGA TOUR events, missing the cut in each, and things didn't get much better on the Nationwide Tour, where he missed the cut in 13 of 19 events and withdrew from another to finish 151st on the money list.
 
'My short game has been terrible all year, my putting's been terrible,'' said Leggatt.
'There are days when I go out and I shoot 1or 2-over par and it should be 2 or 3-under par and, on the other side, I was shooting 3 or 4-under par and it should be better than that. I just wasn't competing very well because my putting hasn't been very good.
 
'My ball-striking hasn't been exactly where I wanted it to be. That always used to hold me up when I wasn't putting all that great. Now, I'm back hitting it really well again and driving the ball great. I just need to putt a little bit better. I've been working really hard on my short game these last three or four weeks.''
 
Leggatt now has the opportunity to make one of those sudden reversals of fortune so common in golf, but the six rounds of the final stage is renowned for being a minefield. With his health a non-factor and a renewed confidence in his game, Leggatt says he will draw on his experience.
 
'Guys think that it's a long week, but I never take any time off. I play golf every day. Playing nine days in a row, for a lot of guys, is a lot. I play and hit balls every day, so it's not any different than any other week for me,'' said Leggatt, who feels the second stage is more difficult than the final stage.
 
'There's no doubt (final stage) is stressful, but I don't think it's really any different than any other tournament for me, mentally anyway.
 
'I think, for a lot of guys who have never played on tour before, it's even more stressful because they're so close to having an opportunity to play on the PGA TOUR and that adds a little bit more (pressure) than the guy who has already been there.''
 
Leggatt is a guy who wants to be back there and if it's mission accomplished by this time next week, it's unlikely he'll sneak under the radar of Canadian fans.
 

Email your thoughts to Ian Hutchinson
 
Toronto Sun Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.
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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.