The many reasons to be jealous of DJ

By Jason SobelJanuary 9, 2013, 12:50 am

KAPALUA, Hawaii – It's perfectly acceptable to be crazy jealous of Dustin Johnson. Green with envy, as they say. Hell, you can even hate him if you want.

Just pick a reason, any reason. There are plenty to go around.

Maybe it’s his golf game.

Since graduating from Coastal Carolina, he's won in each of his first six years on the PGA Tour – the first player to accomplish that out of college since Tiger Woods. His victory Tuesday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was the seventh of his career and emblematic of the way he plays. He started the final round atop the leaderboard, opened up a bigger lead, nearly coughed it away, and then separated himself once again.


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Johnson is golf’s version of Brett Favre in his prime. He’ll often do something stupid to make you shake your head, but he’ll always follow it with a display of brilliance that few others could pull off.

On this occasion, the back-and-forth occurred on the 13th and 14th holes. At 13, he pulled driver into the thick grass left of the fairway, failed to advance his ball with his second shot and made double-bogey. The next hole, he fearlessly hit driver again and came up just short of the 14th green, then chipped in for eagle – the ultimate in “bouncebackability.”

“I've done it enough times that it doesn't really bother me anymore,” he laughed. “I've been in this situation enough now and I've made enough double bogeys in my life, that, you know, it's just another hole, and you've got a lot more holes to go where you can make it up.”

Yes, with a little more luck and a little better decision-making, his seven-win record could be 10 wins with three majors, but it’s not exactly like the guy is wasting talent. In what is simultaneously the best and most irrelevant stat of the week, three of those titles have come in 54-hole tournaments, meaning he's getting paid full-time even when he gets a day off.

If that’s not enough to make you jealous, though, there’s more.

Maybe it’s his athleticism.

At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, he was fourth on the PGA Tour in driving distance last year at just over 310 yards per clip. Kapalua’s Plantation Course annually offers some of the longest measured drives of the season, but that shouldn’t belittle Johnson’s numbers this week. In just three rounds, he had 13 tee shots of more than 350 yards, including two that passed the 400 mark.

“He's got that athletic build, that athletic body,” playing partner Steve Stricker said. “He's got a tremendous amount of flexibility. He gets the club in positions that people can't get it into, and he can use that height to his advantage and big arc to get that big, powerful hit on the ball.”

Not impressed yet? Well, his athleticism extends beyond golf. The dude can dunk – barefoot. He loves all water sports. Last year at AT&T Park, he threw out the first pitch before a San Francisco Giants game. Sure, he bounced it, but with an effortless motion and lanky delivery it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him taking the mound if that’s the direction he’d chosen long ago.

Still not envious? I’ll keep going.

Maybe it’s his demeanor.

At one point during Tuesday’s final round, one commentator opined that Johnson is the only golfer who could make the notoriously cool Fred Couples seem nervous. Some may mistake Johnson’s nonchalance for a lack of devotion, but it’s just his nature.

Bubba Watson is fidgety on the golf course. Keegan Bradley looks perpetually determined. Johnson looks like he’s strolling along the beach in golf clothes.

As far as personality traits for professional golfers, the ability to remain constantly casual isn’t the worst one to own.

Anyone who’s ever thrown a club in disgust or muttered a naughty word would be jealous. And if you’re not, there’s this.

Maybe it’s … other things.

Throughout the week at Kapalua – OK, week-and-a-half, by the time it was over – Johnson was seen canoodling with Paulina Gretzky.

Yes, that Paulina Gretzky. Daughter of the hockey legend, actress and lover of the camera lens.

If you haven't seen her, do a Google search right now. If you have, do another one.

(Take your time…)

(Still waiting...)

(Um, OK, you can come back now...)

(Hello?)

When asked about his relationship with her after the tournament, Johnson responded, “Does it matter?” When informed that inquiring minds wanted to know, he followed, “I don’t know who you’re talking about,” while a huge smile splashed across his face.

So like I said, there’s plenty of reasons to be jealous of Johnson. Envious even. And yeah, you can even hate the guy.

Or you can take all of these reasons – the golf game, the athleticism, the demeanor, the … other things – and use them as the very reasons to root for him, to understand what makes him so talented and how he’s been able to win so frequently.

He proved it all once again this week.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.