Tour players reveal goals for 2013

By Jason SobelJanuary 4, 2013, 2:50 am

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Lose weight. Quit smoking. Eat better. Exercise more. Get organized. Play better golf.

Congratulations. At least one of your New Year’s resolutions mirrors that of every professional golfer.

Most of us are seeking a fresh start to the year and those who tee it up for big bucks are no different. With this week’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions set to begin Friday, even those who have reached the pinnacle of the game have set goals for the upcoming campaign.

And yes, they all include playing better golf.

Hyundai TOC: Articles, videos and photos

“I don't know about other players, but my goal is to make it to Maui. This is what we have always wanted to do is to play here, qualify for this event and then come here,” Masters champion Bubba Watson opined this week. “So for me it's about winning a golf tournament. And the second thing is making the team event. In the U.S., we have a team event every year. We don't have a year off. This year it's the Presidents Cup, so that would be the second goal. I got my Tour card for five years now. So that would have been No. 3, to keep my Tour card, but I'm good for five years.”

It’s a familiar refrain here in paradise, where the relaxed local atmosphere matches the competitors’ attitudes. With everyone in the field already fully exempt through at least the end of the 2014 season, they can each focus on bigger and better goals than those primarily just hoping to stay afloat.

“I definitely want to make sure I'm ready to play every time that I tee it up,” Rickie Fowler said. “I want to be in contention more often and work towards having a multiple-win season. Finally got the first one out of the way, so started trying to pick off a few more from there.”

For some players, these preseason goals are less about certain accomplishments and more about the process …

“There are certain things that I set goals on,” explained Hunter Mahan. “Not so much wins or losses or anything like that, trying to win this tournament or put myself in this category. That's too hard I think; that's too broad. I think it needs to be more specific and so I've got some things I want to improve on. It's not about winning or putting myself up in this category, because if I do these things well, that will put me up there, but there's things I need to improve on and get better at.”

… while others dive right into specific achievements.

“Presidents Cup is a big goal of mine,” Brandt Snedeker revealed. “Never played on one of those and I want to do that, especially with Freddie [Couples] being the captain, pretty special. I think to start the year, my main goal is to make the FedEx Cup finale and Tour Championship, to get there and know that you have to play some pretty great golf and win some tournaments. That's my main goal.

“And obviously majors are a big goal going into this year, a bunch of really good setups for me. I don't say my goal is to win a major; my goal is to get myself in contention to win a major. Did it last year at the British Open and want to try to do it a couple more times – a couple chances a year at it, so those are the main goals. Whether that happens or not, I don't know, but I feel like I can make those happen pretty easily.”

Whether specifically stated in a neatly written checklist or vaguely considered in ambiguous terms, every single PGA Tour player has some sort of goals for the year.

You won’t find many – any, really – whose list doesn’t include working harder, playing better and receiving improved results.

“Good, bad or indifferent, I’ve never been one to set goals,” said J.J. Henry, who captured last year’s Reno-Tahoe Open. “I just do the things I need to do; I let things fall the way they may. If I work on my short game and wedges, I feel like a lot of things take care of themselves. That’s everybody’s goal. It’s easy to sit here and say it, but another thing to go out there and do it.”

Henry then pauses for a moment, considers what else he’d like to accomplish this year and realizes, “I’d like to lose about 10 pounds.”

OK, so maybe you have more than one resolution in common with the world’s best golfers after all.

Getty Images

Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”

Getty Images

Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:11 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.

He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.

Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.

“I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”

Getty Images

McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 1:06 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.

McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.

“I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.

Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.

“It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”

Getty Images

DeChambeau comes up short: 'Hat’s off to Rory'

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 12:48 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Amid a leaderboard chock full of big names and major winners, the person that came closest to catching Rory McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational turned out to by Bryson DeChambeau.

While Henrik Stenson faltered and Justin Rose stalled out, it was DeChambeau that gave chase to McIlroy coming down the stretch at Bay Hill. Birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 were followed by an eagle out of the rough on No. 16, which brought him to within one shot of the lead.

But as DeChambeau surveyed his birdie putt from the fringe on the penultimate hole, McIlroy put an effective end to the proceedings with a closing birdie of his own to polish off a round of 64. DeChambeau needed a hole-out eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff, and instead made bogey.

That bogey ultimately didn’t have an effect on the final standings, as DeChambeau finished alone in second place at 15 under, three shots behind McIlroy after shooting a 4-under 68.

“I thought 15 under for sure would win today,” DeChambeau said. “Rory obviously played some incredible golf. I don’t know what he did on the last nine, but it was deep. I know that.”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

DeChambeau will collect $961,000 for his performance this week in Orlando, just $47,000 less than he got for winning the John Deere Classic in July. While he would have preferred to take McIlroy’s spot in the winner’s circle, DeChambeau was pleased with his effort in Sunday’s final pairing as he sets his sights on a return to the Masters.

“For him to shoot 64 in the final round, that’s just, hat’s off to him, literally. I can’t do anything about that,” DeChambeau said. “I played some great golf, had some great up-and-downs, made a couple key putts coming down the stretch, and there’s not really much more I can do about it. My hat’s off to Rory, and he played fantastic.”