Running Off at My Computer

By Kraig KannAugust 25, 2006, 4:00 pm
Here we all sit, a week removed from Tiger Woods' 12th major title, a few days removed from Tom Lehmans Ryder Cup captains picks, a month or so away from the Ryder Cup itself, and a few months away from a new season which puts a good bit of PGA TOUR golf in the hands of The Golf Channel and a whole lot of FedEX Cup money into the pockets of the players.
 
So what to think? Actually a lot. So here goes:
 
  • Tigers headed for his biggest stint of domination since turning professional. Somehow I cant see it any other way. Much as Id like to see a stiffer brand of Sunday competition when Tigers in the mix, sadly these Sundays have become predictably predictable.
     
  • If youre on the bandwagon ridden by those expecting a disappearing act of Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Davis Love III and other big names whove challenged Woods for headlines and been among the favorites at big events ' dont get a comfy seat. The PGA TOUR is thankfully littered with stories of 40somethings and late 40somethings whove been big winners. If Vijay can do what he did in his 40s, then so can Ernie. Believe me, so can Ernie. None of these guys is done.
     
  • Love not on the Ryder Cup team? Hard to believe but you (and he) had to see it coming. Davis is one of the most likeable guys on the PGA TOUR. Now hell become one of the most determined. And that will be a great thing.
     
  • Can you believe Retief Goosen hasnt won on the PGA TOUR this year? I sure cant.
     
  • Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank? No wow factor. But name a European Ryder Cup team that had much wow beyond the the likes of Faldo, Montgomerie, Ballesteros and Langer over the years. There wasnt a pick aside from John Daly and whoevers No. 1 on the Nationwide Tour money list this week that would have made huge noise. Maybe this team without a lot of hype and fanfare is just what the doctor ordered.
     
  • By the way, its Johnson Wagner at the top of the Nationwide Tour money list. And really ' Tom Lehman could have gone with his two vice captains (Corey Pavin and Loren Roberts) and not done half bad.
     
  • So who among PGA TOUR rookies is going to give Tiger a run for his FedEX Cup money in the next few years. Heres some choices: Immelman, Holmes, Villegas, Hoffman, and Watson (Bubba).
     
  • Do you really think Tiger wont win this weeks WGC-Bridgestone Invitational? Hes won 10 of 20 WGC events hes played. Hes won $13 million dollars in those events and has 18 top-20s.
     
  • Will anyone ever wear a red shirt again when paired with Woods on a Sunday? In a major no less?
     
  • For those who think Luke Donald has emerged as the best European Tour player out there right now, lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. Sergio Garcia still has the most talent. Donald might be the most refined, but when a guy makes 16 birdies over three days on a course that had a one-week firesale on them, and then makes ZERO on Sunday when the heat is on and everyones still going low, it says he still has work to do. Not that Sergio is the Sunday role model, but I think hes still Europes best hope for its first major since Henry Ford put a car on the road.
     
  • Wasnt Paula Creamer supposed to go bananas this year? And for that matter, what eight-month cruise ship has Grace Park been on?
     
  • Phil Mickelson will be just fine in 2007. In fact, Ill say it right now: Hell win a major next year ' maybe the first one. And my friend Dave Pelz didnt even tell me to say it.
     
  • And think about it. How would you handle the year after the 18th at Winged Foot? Surprising to look at his results ' he really hasnt been a threat since Augusta and the fact that he nearly won the U.S. Open without his best game off the tee is a huge testament to his talent.
     
  • From this media guys perspective, Lehman has set a new pre-Ryder Cup standard for captains. Hes a true leader. But while Tiger might be viewed as the leader of the team among players, the guy who might fall second might just be Chris DiMarco. And when its all said and done, the points leader might well be Jim Furyk.
     
  • Anybody wonder if Michelle Wies put in her application for PGA TOUR Q-school?
     
    If that last one doesnt get you thinking ' I dont know what will. Whats on your mind? As always, I'm all ears.
     
    Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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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."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.