Please Mail These for Me

By Kraig KannJanuary 30, 2004, 5:00 pm
As I left the set of the Sprint Pre-Game Wednesday night, I found myself caught up in the chase to catch Tiger Woods atop the World Golf Rankings. We debated the strength of Vijay Singhs current run of domination and its lasting potential. In his last 20 events, Vijay has posted nine finishes of second or better. Singh has become an amazing story, but also a confusing character. And he leads my personal mailbag thats in need of a run to the Post Office.
 
Dear Vijay,
 
Congratulations on what made for one of the best years in PGA Tour history. Anyone who finds reason to question your status in the game these days needs a swift wedge to the behind!
 
So now its 2004 and Id like to suggest a few things. First, take a moment to reflect on all the good things that could come ' aside from money. You have deservedly become one of the tours top draws and with that comes attention. You cant and wont be able to escape it, so try to embrace it. Fanfare is cool! Smile about your success and the fact that so many people want to hear from you.
 
Secondly, please make a better effort to find the media room. If youre leading the tournament, (which happens quite often these days) put on the microphone. Even on Thursday. Let us hear what you have to say about things. Your opinion is big these days. We media folks work for the fans. If you take a pass, they want to know why. And if we cant get hold of you, we feel the need to tell newspaper readers and television viewers why we failed at our job. If you dont want to go how about signing more autographs and we can get quotes while you do it?
 
Now, all that said, I realize youve had some disagreements over the accuracy of your comments once they hit the press. Lets start fresh. Ive heard many insightful things from you. Your laugh is great ' youre a funny guy. There has to be more where that came from, right?

Did you see our two-hour interview with the embattled and challenged David Duval last year at the PGA Championship? He was enthusiastic about the forum, we played fair, he opened up, and in turn came off with more support than he had during his time at the top.
 
Give us a chance. Join us on the show. Make us laugh, make more friends.

The way things are going, you just might be No. 1 before the years out. Lets not wait. Golf fans want to cheer their superstars, not find reason to discard them.
 
Sincerely,
Kraig Kann
 

Dear Phil,

 
Wow! What a way to come out of the box! It seems like you might be on to something. And believe me when I say that lots of us are glad about that. This whole major thing has run its course. We dont want to talk about it any more than you do.

Last year was a tough one. Who can blame you for putting golf in its proper place with what your family went through.

Lets try something new. Lets make this run back to the top together, shall we? Youve got the fan support ' we know that. Put the media back on the bandwagon because some have fallen off.

The PGA Tour is better when you are at your best. Golf is a better sport when you are at your best. We like our job a whole lot better, too.

You said last week that you love the challenge of trying to win major championships. How about we take that and go hard with it? Dont dismiss the talk, try embracing it. See if that works. Because when that first major comes, Id like to see that day arrive with a party bursting at the seams with folks trying to get a peek, not with a bus full of fans and media members whove simply had their fill of Phil.
 
All the best,
Kraig Kann

 

Dear Tiger,
 
Theyre gaining on you! Any chance you can add a few events to the schedule this year? The last two years youve played 18 events. How about you going back to the 1999 season when you played 21? You play for success in the majors. The other big ones find their way onto the schedule. The Buick events are a given as well, and a very, very, very select handful of others.

Just for kicks, how about paying a return visit to Milwaukee? How about the folks in the Quad Cities? I remember the support you got there. I just know what your support would mean to those places. There are others, too.

Far be it for me to tell you how to run your professional life, but a trip to Brewtown never hurt Kenny Perry, and Vijay found some comfort at the John Deere. If you would come back, believe me, it would come back to you.
 
Just Thinking,
Kraig Kann
 

Dearest Nancy,

 
I save your note for last, but your bit of news this week comes first in my mind.
 
Congratulations on the post of Solheim Cup captain! You played in the first, and you are a big reason the event is around for a ninth time.

Dont worry about your place in history being tied to the result of next years competition. Enjoy the spotlight. Use the platform to promote the tour you helped like no other. Talk about how great the talent is on the LPGA ' even if the tour itself doesnt spend whats necessary to promote its own. Never a better time to follow the stars on the LPGA, make people realize it.

Oh yeah, winning the Solheim Cup back wouldnt be a bad thing.
 
Your fan, Your friend,
Kraig Kann

 
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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.