Bring On Southern Hills - Quick

By Kraig KannJuly 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
A few days removed from Padraig Harringtons biggest moment in professional golf, Im ready to move on ' even if Sergio Garcia isnt.
Harrington turned Ireland upside down, had all of Europe running the streets sideways with screams of we did it, we did it!, and sent the young 27-year-old Spaniard to the press room bewildered and feeling betrayed by golfs gods.
Now 0-for-36 in majors counting his appearances as an amateur, Garcias eight top-5 finishes and 13 top-10s dont seem like progress anymore.
Dumbfounded by why it doesnt seem to go his way on golfs grandest stage, Sergio found interesting perspective. You know whats the saddest thing about it? Its not the first time. Its not the first time, unfortunately. Im playing against a lot of guys out there, more than just the field.
Ive always been a Sergio Garcia supporter ' arguing his worth as a talent and a showman over his now-and-again lapses of maturity and sportsmanship. But now I wonder about how hell be treated over the next ' oh ' 36 majors.
Garcia did the wrong thing in the press room on Sunday at Carnoustie ' raising eyebrows on a public stage after three days of fantastic golf. Garcias first three rounds, in fact, were as polished as Ive seen in a few years.
And all of this was ill-timed ' especially given the positives Garcia found at the Open Championship. Always a terrific driver and iron player (perhaps the best of the big names), now hes got the putter to go with it. And if you chalk Sunday up to a day (which Tigers had many of) where the putts simply didnt fall, then Sergio is as good a bet to win the PGA Championship as anyone.
So lets get to Southern Hills. And I must admit, I havent exactly been thrilled about a return so soon. But now this course, which gave us its own set of 18th hole calamity in the form of Stewart Cink, Mark Brooks and Retief Goosen at the U.S. Open a few years back, is set to give all the big names one last shot in 2007.
Tiger with child, but without a major in '07? Whod have put the two together?
Phil Mickelson sheds pounds and gets fit, but doesnt sniff a major in '07?
Harrington ends Europe's 31-major drought; are the floodgates open?
I hope it does push out the other guys, said Padraig. I do believe very much in that side of things.
So much to play for. And so little time to gear up. In two weeks well be there to see Harrington walk the fairways and the clubhouse walkways with the deserved swagger of a major champion.
Well also be watching Tigers every swing, hoping hell have the magic back to make the story lines even more compelling.
And hopefully well have another Sunday show-stealer in the mold of Andres Romero to make things interesting.
And speaking of stealing ... lets hope Sergio gets over the idea that he was robbed and shows up with a better perspective on what was arguably his greatest week of play.
Get ready Tulsa ' the balls in your court. We cant wait to get there.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Getty Images

McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

Getty Images

Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

Getty Images

Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

Getty Images

Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.