Q-School The Real Skins Game

By Kraig KannNovember 28, 2001, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)As players file in from their final hole of competition in rounds 1 or 2 at either of the two courses here at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, FL, theyll remember that this stress test is far from over. Its six rounds, not four. Its 108 holes, not 72.
Its like groundhog day, chirped former Shell Houston Open winner Mike Heinen. You just keep getting up and seeing the same thing. But somehow youve got to focus to get the job done. Im hoping my experience will help. Heinen told me hes lost count of the Q-School appearances hes made. And hes not the only one.
One-hundred-sixty-seven players, like Heinen, arrive sporting stout resumes, but must somehow put disappointment behind and find the positive. After all, they are chasing a golden carrot that will give them the chance at competing with the worlds best, and the opportunity to set themselves up for life financially.
But unlike the Skins Game, which took place last weekend, this is about more than just padding the bankroll. Many of these players are down to their last meaningful dollars, which makes this a REAL competition of men putting everything on the line.
Fifteen former PGA Tour winners are here, including the likes of Tommy Armour, Michael Bradley, Tom Byrum, Nolan Henke and Gabriel Hjertstedt. Bradley and Hjertstedt dont have to look too far back to find that success, but as each player will attest, that PGA Tour card that is up for grabs this week is simply a loaner.
Ask Joe Ogilvie, who nearly upended David Duval at this years British Open. He finished 139th in moneyand now, just seven days from his wedding week, he must find a way to recapture the job that will help pay the honeymoon expenses.
With all due respect, Ogilvie said, this is one of the weaker fields of the year. You dont see many of these guys competing on any given week on the PGA Tour. So with that mindset, I feel like if I just play my game and let my ability get the job done.
Thats pretty good thinking for a man who doesnt need more stress than an upcoming wedding!
Actually, that intense pressure to somehow stay focused on the prize has even the chattiest of players staying quiet this week. Interviews are as tough to come by as finding out whos getting more in the divorce settlement, Nicole Kidman or Tom Cruise.
Indeed, nothing is guaranteed this week. Some are here for the first time, looking to take a spot away from a man used to a certain way of living afforded by playing on the PGA Tour. And those finishing near the top of the field arent guaranteed much, either. Ask Steven Allan ' last years medallist at the finals in La Quinta, Calif. He wasnt able to parlay that success into a great year, finishing outside the top 150 on the money list, which would at least get him a few starts in the upcoming year. And for that matter, Tommy Tolles is back after flirting with victory at this event a year ago. And so, too, is David Moreland. And so on. And so on. And so on.
This, folks, is the real Skins Game. Everything on the line. Every shot matters. Every putt matters. Every scorecard signature matters.
Its name players competing against up-and-comers for one of just 35 spots that will allow them access to the big money. And so you tell me ' what is more compelling theater? Norman, Woods, Montgomerie and Parnevik? Or perhaps Ben Crane, Steve Holmes, Brian Sharp or Boo Weekley finding their way to the PGA Tour with the chance to beat the Skins Game Four and make grinding after that dangling carrot all worthwhile.
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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.