Questions for Kraig - Austin Tex

By Kraig KannMarch 17, 2002, 5:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeHey folks, Kraig Kann here in Austin, Tex., for the Canadian Tour's Texas Challenge. For the second week, the number of responses to our coverage has been terrific. Remember, you send the question including your name and where you're from and I'll answer one on the air over the weekend and put them all in this column which will appear at the So thanks for the great questions.
Curt Byrum, Jerry Foltz and Bryan DeCorso have had fun reading these over with me. Here we go!
1) Kraig, in your opinion, who is the most talented player on the Canadian Tour?
Witchita, Kansas
Steve, that's a very good question. Based on the last few weeks if you're going on sheer talent and potential ability Hank Kuehne gets my vote. The consenus out here is that his length and overall skills exceed the rest of the field. Steve Scott has a lot of ability as well. So does Jeff Quinney and even a guy like Rob McMillan from Canada. But Kuehne has em' all beat. His skills are amazing.
2) Which Canadian player scored a hole-in-one on a par-4 on last year's Canadian Tour?
George Smith
No hometown given
George, that was Todd Fanning who we featured Saturday during our coverage wearing a heart-rate monitor. It happened last year at the Shell Payless Open and tour officials told us they think it happened at the 6th hole. Great stuff.. and great memory by you. We still may see one this week at the 9th hole here at Circle C Ranch so keep your eyes in focus.

3) I was wondering what percentage of the players on the Canadian Tour actually get sponsorships and what kind of money are they making?
No hometown given
Matt, the percentage is very few and those who may be getting some endorsement money are getting very little compared to even a player from the Buy.Com Tour. This is a true proving ground tour with defininte talent. Guys like Quinney, Scott and Kuehne have a little endorsement value and a few established Canadians like Todd Fanning or Robb McMillan. But they're not getting rich off it.
4) Has a Canadian-born player ever won one of the four 'major' golf championships?

Vancouver, B.C.
Rich.. the answer is no. But don't count out Mike Weir he's got the ability for sure!

5) Will the Golf Channel be in Scottsdale with the Canadian Tour? If so, when will that be and what course are they playing?

Ann Sheppard
Scottsdale, Ariz.
Come out and see us, Ann. In two weeks the Canadian Tour makes a 'Scottsdale Swing' with a tournament at McCormick Ranch and then the next week there's a tournament at Eagle Mountain. Spread the word and keep the weathermen honest!
6) How do players qualify for the Canadian Tour? There are so many tours and so many players, is there a central organization that players refer to that gives them their options? If not how do they know?

Ann Sheppard
Scottsdale, Ariz.
There are 3 Qualifying Schools for the Canadian Tour. The recent Winter Qualifying Tour allowed Hank Kuehne, Jeff Quinney and James Driscoll among others to get their cards. There will be a Spring Q-School later this year in Canada and a Fall Q-school for Canadians who've lost they're playing privleges. There is no 'central organization' as you call it. Players find out about tours and options from their agents and from word of mouth. It's not a very complicated process actually.
7) I have some confusion on where to drop when you have hit the ball over the green into a hazard. Should you take the 2-club length rule from nearest point of entry from behind the green (which would put you closer to the hole) or do you go back to the original spotfrom where you hit?
David A. Ardis
No hometown given
David, you can take your 2-club drop no nearer the hole in any direction. But if you can't drop it without being nearer the hole, you must either go back to the original spot where you played from or you can go behind the hazard or on the other side of the hazard keeping the hazard between you and the green. Our announcers had a good time talking about this one.
8) Why is the Canadian Tour playing so many events outside of Canada??!!
Keith B.
Boulder, Col.
Hey Keith, what's the temperature up in Canada right now? About 12 degrees probably and there can't be too many courses open. Thus the idea, which has been a very good one, to get the season rolling south of the Canadian border. Eight events in the United States this year and one in Mexico plus the already completed Panama Open.
9) When was the Canadian Tour founded? Was it very long ago?
Joey Burris
Chicago, Ill.
Joey, the tour which is now the Canadian Tour began in 1983. That was the first year there was an 'order of merit winner'. But this tour actually has roots before that played by mostly Canadian born players. The Tour then grew into what is now the Canadian Tour which will play 16 full-field events this year, 19 total for a purse of $3.2 million Canadian.
10) Hi Kraig, I am 16-years-old with a 5.2 handicap and play on a junior tour here in B.C. What tournaments I should play in order to make myself known or ready myself for a professional career. Do you suggest I play in amateur or junior events?
Darren Ottenbreit
British Columbia
Hi Darren, we actually answered your question during our telecast on Saturday. Curt Byrum praised you for a solid handicap, but let you know that there's a lot of work to do. You need to come to the United States and compete in the American Junior Golf Association events. That's where the best young players are competing these days. Great competition. Play in those events and don't be disturbed by 17-year-old Ty Tryon who has a PGA Tour card already. Some guys like yourself are in need of a very good instructor who can work with you. And some guys just bloom a bit late. Good luck!!
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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."