Looking Back and Looking Forward

By Kelly TilghmanJune 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: Each month, GOLF CHANNEL's Kelly Tilghman will be answering reader and viewer questions. Kelly is the first female in golf television history to be a lead play-by-play commentator.
Have you had any heroes in golf broadcasting/journalism and have you had the benefit of their advice and wisdom at any time in you career? ' Dan Dawson
Nick Faldo and Kelly Tilghman
Nick Faldo and Kelly prepare for THE PLAYERS telecast. (WireImage)
Dear Dan,
I don't have any broadcasting heroes per se but I do enjoy some styles more than others. I think it's important to understand a moment and the tone that it requires. I also think it's important to try to be yourself. That combination makes for a very thorough and entertaining anchor. On the sports side, Bob Costas does that very well. On the entertainment side, I think personalities like Matt Lauer and Ryan Seacrest are two of the best. The goal is to be informative and entertaining with the understanding that there is always room for improvement.
I read in last months questions that you do watch tapes of your performances. Like us all, I am sure you compare what you do to others that have preceded you. What do you think is your greatest opportunity for improvement in Golf broadcasting? ' Tom Haake, Centreville, Va.
Dear Tom,
I have the rare privilege of being able to watch my recorded work. Not many people can say that about their career. I would be inclined to think that if everyone was afforded this opportunity, they would probably take advantage of it. I remember when Tiger was just coming onto the professional scene. He would stop by the GOLF CHANNEL to look at all kinds of different tournament tapes. Golfers watch their swing on video all the time. When I do it, I don't actually compare my work to that of others. I just look at my performance individually and ponder the different ways that I can get better. Right now, my main focus is to continue growing into the role. It's a brand new position and I'm in the very early stages of transition. I'm trying to learn and have fun along the way.
I play maybe a dozen times a year during the warmer 8 months, and I usually hit the driving range 5 or 6 times a year to work out the kinks and tune up my swing. Any thoughts on how to continue to improve scores with limited amount of time available to play and practice? How do you keep your game sharp on the road? ' Dan Linney, Brentwood, Tenn.
Hi Dan,
I would recommend a lot of visualization drills to keep your golf game sharp when you have limited practice time. I know it sounds funny but there are proven studies that back up this suggestion. If you can spend five minutes a day recreating some of your best shots in your mind, you may find it easier to execute them when crunch time comes. Try it before you tell me that I'm crazy. Also, anytime you can work on your short game, even if it's indoors, it's worth it. Practice putting into a cup or chipping to a corner of the room when you have a little down time. Good luck!
I know that you are happy with your job and all. But when you cover all of the golf, do you ever (for just 1 second) wish you could be on the LPGA tour? ' par3man
Dear Par3man,
The short answer is no. I had a great run with my golf career but when I walked away it was because my heart told me to, not just my body or my checking account. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the competitive side of golf, I wasn't completely fulfilled on tour. I needed a different kind of challenge. It was time to walk away and I haven't looked back since. I still have that competitive drive and I release it through other activities like working out or water sports. When people ask me what I would be doing if I didn't work in television, I find it hard to come up with an answer. That's how I know I made the right choice.
Thanks for the question.
You were a college golfer. Do you think someone with pro aspirations would be better off turning professional right away or going to college and playing there? It seems like international players do pretty well by professionally early. ' Glenn, Jacksonville, Fla.
Dear Glenn,
That's a very personal choice and one that I couldn't make for someone. I wouldn't trade my collegiate experience for anything in the world but things seemed to work out pretty well for a guy like Tiger, who left after his sophomore season at Stanford. It just depends on your drive. If you know that golf is the only thing you will ever want to do, then skipping college probably isn't a bad decision. Personally, I wanted options because I knew that golf wasn't the only thing for me. Keep in mind, you can always go back to school if you so desire.
I hope that helps!
What event are you looking forward to covering most over the rest of the year? What was your favorite event to cover ' even as a reporter? ' Tracey
I'm really looking forward to so many events, but the one that I think will be most intriguing is the TOUR Championship. It's the first time these players will compete for the FedExCup and I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of drama will unfold. Will someone have a putt for $10 million? That's exciting stuff, don't you think?! My favorite event so far this year would have to be the Sony Open in Hawaii, because it was a real pleasure watching Tadd Fujikawa make the cut and actually make a bit of a run on the weekend. I also enjoyed the first day of the Accenture World Match Play, because it reminded me a little of March Madness. The first two rounds of THE PLAYERS was also a blast considering all of the changes to that event and the par-3 17th.
Thanks for the question!
Email Kelly with your questions for next month's Q&A
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.