Slow Down We Move Too Fast

By Kraig KannFebruary 10, 2006, 5:00 pm
Before we slip a green jacket on J.B. Holmes, lets just hold on one second. Clearly he is a huge talent. And one could argue that aside from the FBR Open not exactly being the PGA Championship, there were a whole lot of similarities between Holmes and John Daly.
Quick to be a folk hero. Quick to pick up a win on the PGA Tour. Hits it longer than most can imagine.
J.B. Holmes
J.B. Holmes currently leads both Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour money list.
With the win last week, Holmes became the first to win the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament and then win on the PGA Tour the next season since Mike Weir won the '98 Q-School and then the '99 Air Canada Championship. The last rookie to do it was Woody Austin who won at the Qualifying School in 1994 and then won the '95 Buick Open.
Holmes won by seven shots at the FBR. The last first-time winner to win by more than seven shots was Jose Maria Olazabal, who blistered the field at the 1990 NEC World Series of Golf by 12 shots.
And get this ' in winning, Holmes soared from 464th in the world rankings to the 77th ranked player in the world.
All amazing. But lets not be so quick to make him the PGA Tour rookie of the year or the second coming of Tiger Woods.
Tiger is Tiger. Hell always contend. Hell rarely disappoint. But if we make J.B. Holmes, whos one year removed from college at the University of Kentucky, out to be something hes not ready for, than can he just as quickly be an older version of Ty Tryon or perhaps a Bryce Molder. Wonderful talents ' without staying power. Have you forgotten the great Matt Kuchar? What wasnt to like? He made us all smile in winning the Honda Classic and hasnt won since. Heck, he hasnt been able to keep his card.
Last year we fell in love with Jason Gore, who could do no wrong for a period of months and so far this year is struggling to find the same form. Sean OHair is a super talent who, like Gore, made off with a PGA Tour win in short order. Let him win two more or follow up 2005 with a $2 million season and contend in a major or two before we give him the spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Its OK to let players grow into stars isnt it? So cmon. Lets give these guys 2006 to live up to the 2005 accolades. The term sophomore slump didnt come about without reason did it? And for that matter, who says you have to win to be considered a break-out player?
J.B. Holmes is a wonderful story. He and fellow long-hitter Bubba Watson are going to wow the fans for weeks to come.
But lets not put pressure where pressure isnt needed. Let them grow into PGA Tour stars. Lets not force them into stars before its their time.
I was rooting Holmes on just like many of you. I think his story is great and I think he could be very good for the game which can always use a man with some charisma, some flair and some bravado.
But lets not get too quick with this swing of fanfare. It might just be me, but one week does not a superstar make.
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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.