QA HOF Sergios Happy Place
Do you think that golfers should be voted into the Hall of Fame after they retire like in other U.S. sports? ' Kris
I guess theres a small part of me that wishes golfers would be voted in at the end of their careers but I dont have a problem with the way we do it now. Once youve earned your right, why wait? The PGA TOUR does have a minimum age requirement of 40 so, essentially at that point, a player is beginning to wind down his career (unless hes named Vijay or Jack Nicklaus). As a member of the media, I find it compelling that a player like Se Ri Pak can qualify for it in her 20s. That speaks volumes to the level of accomplishment at such a young age. I think it helps to put todays talent into perspective.
Dear Kelly, do you get to play golf with your dad? I play golf with my daughter who just entered college and as the say, Its Priceless. Thanks. ' Ronald from Texas
I wish I could say that my dad and I play a lot of golf together but we dont. He was quite the golfer before he got me involved in the game but a nagging shoulder injury kept him from teeing it up in his later years. It was frustrating for me to see his beautiful swing and know that he couldnt put it to use. I am proud to say that he accompanied me on the golf course throughout the majority of my junior and amateur career so he was there for me in a different way. Hes always been very supportive of me and golf provided a bond for us. I am happy that you get to share so many great experiences with your little girl and its obvious to me that you appreciate it. No one can take that away!
Do you think that outsiders (as in people watching on TV or a reporter) should be allowed to phone in a rules violation on a player or a caddie, or should it be up to the people involved in the tournament? ' Colin from Victoria, Canada
I dont like the fact that viewers can affect the outcome of a professional event. In my opinion they are spectators, not participants, but I do understand why they allow it in golf. Its a unique sport in that anyone can police the game. The entire concept is designed to protect the field and the Rules of Golf and I respect that. The downside is that not all players are treated to the same amount of camera time so some are more prone to be policed than others. This is a great debate. We have it around our newsroom every time an incident surfaces. Thanks for the question.
I live about 10 minutes from Firestone CC outside of Akron and I know one of the favorite places to eat on tour is the Diamond Grill. What are the five best places on tour to eat? ' Rich
Rich, I cant wait to go to the Diamond Grill now that youve mentioned it. Ill be in Akron for the Bridgestone Invitational this week. Some of the best places for fine dining on TOUR are New Orleans (Commanders Palace), Chicago (Mortons Steak House) and Memphis (Rendezvous- awesome dry ribs). Maui also has a great Sushi place called Sansei right next to the Village Course at Kapalua. There are a lot of others but if you want the real dish then you should ask Lance Barrow of CBS Sports. Hes been producing their telecasts for years and he is the aficionado of fine dining on TOUR. He always tells me where to go.
Kelly, what was your take on Sergios British Open press conference? Im sure youve talked to him before, is he really that immature? ' Katherine from California
I wasnt surprised at some of the things Sergio said in his press conference at the British but I was surprised that he was still saying them at this point in his career. It must be hard, though, when you just saw a major slip through your fingers and within seconds you have a microphone shoved in front of your face with edgy reporters asking you to explain yourself. Sergio has grown up before our very eyes since slamming onto the scene in 1999 but he proved at Carnoustie that theres still more growth to be achieved as far as the emotional aspect is concerned. He will win a major. In fact, hell win a few, but I dont believe theyll come until he achieves peace on the inside. Sergio can be so charming and he is so good for the game. When he does find his happy place, hell take his game to new heights.
Email Kelly with your questions for next month's Q&A
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
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.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
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
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
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.
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."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
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.
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.