Questions From Colonial
Why is only one player among the Big 4 here this week?
My gosh ' this place has great history and it also tests every part of your game. Kenny Perry hit the media center Thursday and said he thinks other players are missing the boat. Perry won here in 2003 and currently leads the PGA Tour in Total Driving and Greens in Regulation. And while I know that those two statistics really help around this ball-strikers course ' his length seems proof enough that theres something for everyone here.
Is the shorter golf course really a thing of the past on the PGA Tour?
Doesnt seem like it. Roughly 7000 yards and a par 70, Colonial Country Club is playing fast and firm this week. And while Patrick Sheehan made a run at 59 on Thursday, Colonial is just as apt to punish someone whos just a step off. Insert my good buddy Steve Flesch ' the defending champion birdied the first hole and then boarded the bogey train and couldnt get off. The man whod posted 8 straight rounds of 69 or better here finished with 79 on Thursday. His scoring average at Colonial was better than Ben Hogans. And Hogan won five times. Go figure. This place is no gimme.
Do we just like to see how far guys hit it?
Sure ' we love length. Kenny Perry hit driver and 6-iron into the 1st hole which is a par-5. And Perry joined many in hitting driver and sand wedge into the finishing par-4 18th. I must admit that I dont like a finishing hole that requires just a wedge in to win the tournament ' but it does provide for some drama. Colonial is all about working the ball. Thats a good thing. Left to right, right to left. And you really need to hit the shots around the greens. The beauty of Colonial is that you dont have to hit it high and land it soft. You can run it up, around and down. I love it. The wind can make a big difference too. Rough here isnt ankle deep and it doesnt need to be. I say ' more courses like Colonial.
Can a blind man win?
Kenny Perry walked into the media center on Thursday after a round of 65 and talked about how he couldnt see very well. I cant see the balls land on the greens, Perry said. He was talking about how a LASIK surgery in 1998 didnt quite work and how hed had it done again in 1999. Perry said hes struggling with reading the greens and plays much better when its sunny. A doctor told him hed have trouble passing a drivers test right now and hes set to visit another next week before going to Memphis where hell ' gulp ' where a pair of glasses at the FedEx St. Jude Classic next week. Is this crazy or what? We joked on the Sprint Post Game that hell have no trouble getting ahead of himself this weekend because he cant possibly look at the leaderboards ' he cant read them anyway!
If Ted Purdy wins again ' is that a good thing?
I say yes. Nobodys won the Nelson and then the Colonial in back-to-back weeks. Purdy is right in the thick of it again this week after winning the EDS Byron Nelson Championship for his first PGA Tour title. Purdy came on the Sprint Pre Game on Wednesday where he talked about having set goals to make the Presidents Cup team at the beginning of the season. More power to him for big thinking. Teds a guy we can relate to. The PGA Tour should definitely have room for the Purdys and the Petrovics.
Speaking of those guys ' whos next to capture our attention?
Ill give you some names to watch for over the coming weeks who arent in the Top 20 in the World Golf Ranking. Watch out for Billy Mayfair. Hes back and doesnt appear far from finding himself in the hunt come late Sunday. Watch for Lucas Glover and D.J. Trahan. I love the poise these two youngsters show. On Thursday here I was watching play at the 10th tee. Glover, who is 39th in money ($808,273), was waiting as rookie D.A. Points was preparing to hit. A man walks by the tee talking on his cell phone. Glover stops the proceedings and tells the man to turn it off or put it on vibrate. After shaking his head, Glover watches Points hit, then steps up with an iron at the par-4 and wasting no time at all (and wearing no glove) promptly rrrrrrrrips one right-to-left into the middle of the fairway. This guy can play. And nothing seems to disrupt his rhythm.
What do we make of Sean OHair?
A lot, actually. By now you know the story. O Hair turned professional at 17 under the watchful eye and tough standards of his father who turned his professional attention and career into making one for his son. Now theres a lawsuit pending as the father wants paybacks for all the work he put into his sons career. Sean finished second at the Nelson last week and this week looks at the money list where hes now A.) assured of keeping his card for next year and, B.) one spot ahead of Davis Love III at 32nd. Rooting for OHair is easy. Ripping his father for treating his son as a family investment is easy. But before we do ' lets consider Seans plight. Imagine being him and hearing people lay into your father. You might agree but it certainly doesnt making things any easier. O Hair has plenty of game to make it big. I hope he stays the course and I hope dear ol Dad realizes that kids should be kids and no parent should look at their child as their future nest egg. Support is one thing, control is another.
Can a caddie turn a mans game bad?
Ask Steve Flesch. Last year I hauled his bag on pro-am day here and he went on to win. So this year we figured wed keep things the same in hopes of a chance to repeat. Flesch shot 79 on Thursday and said the disappointment of not having a chance to successfully defend was tough to take. He feels terrible ' I dont feel so great either. All I know is that he said I was definitely employable. Even still ' last year he bogeyed the first two holes in the pro-am. This year he birdied the first two. Maybe that was it.
I wish Flesch was going to have the chance come Sunday. But right now ' it seems like Kenny Perrys the man to beat. One thing I know for sure ' theres nothing wrong with ol Colonial Country Club. Were set for a shoot-out and some of the other big names ought to consider taking part.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational
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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play
ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.
Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.
As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.
Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.
This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.
The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.