Things Id Like to See
The whole ordeal got me to thinking about the whole idea of simply seeing. You know, things I couldnt see so well versus things I could see well versus things Id really like to see. So heres where Im going with this weeks column. Now that John Daly has made us open up our eyes really wide. the following is a list of a few other things Id really like to see happen in golf ' be it this year or in the next few years. Here we go:
Phil Mickelson wins the 04 Masters
But heres the catch ' lets have him trail Tiger, Vijay and Ernie by two shots on Sunday when play commences. Lets have Phil head to the back nine on Sunday still trailing, only to mount a rally to remember. I wont lie, Id love to see Ernie win it too, and Im a big fan of watching Tiger do the unthinkable. But enough of this Mickelson story regarding the majors. Hes got the ability. Hes got the support. Its about time he got it done. I just hope he wins with some pizzazz, if you follow my thinking.
Jay Haas wins a PGA Tour Event
This guy is all class. If you were searching for the consummate professional ' this is your guy. He might not have the most victories or the most exuberant personality. What he does have is one of the best attitudes ever toward the game and an understanding of his place in it. Hes 50 now and everyone has him headed to the Champions Tour before he seems to want it. More power to you, Jay! Make it The Players Championship just for emphasis.
Colin Montgomerie wins in the United States
At this point, let him win the Permian Basin Open on the Nationwide Tour! This guy not only doesnt have a major, but hes without any win in the States. Heck, Jose Coceres has TWO! Monty is the guy everyone loves to pick on. Most of the time, its been well-deserved. But I wonder what hed be like if he won just one. Wouldnt it be neat to see? OK, maybe you shouldnt answer that.
David Duval returns with a bang
The most recent Mr. 59 wins a golf tournament and makes Hal Sutton think about the possibilities of having him on the Ryder Cup team at Oakland Hills. Makes for good debate, huh?
Laura Davies and Dottie Pepper earn entry into the LPGA Hall of Fame
Cmon already! Their current points total might not fit the current requirement for entry, but these two were making their big mark before Annika took the LPGA by storm. Peppers legendary on-course demeanor is enough to qualify. But she has the wins, the majors and the Solheim Cup numbers to go with it. Injury and personal conflict has slowed her down, but any red-white and blue-blooded young American need look no further than Pepper as the unofficial how to manual for spirit and competitive know-how.
As for Davies, please forget the ANZ debacle last week. Shes laid the modern day framework for female success and character in Great Britain. Catrin Nilsmark was just awarded a second term as European Solheim Cup captain. Take nothing from Nilsmark, but if thats what shes earned, then Davies should get a full decade as captain.
Ben Crenshaw catches fire
This guy is due like a 20-year-old library book. We talk all the time about the Champions Tour needing players like Fuzzy Zoeller, Craig Stadler and Tom Watson to have success. Jack and Arnie go without saying, but if Gentle Ben could find his way back to the winners circle ' WOW. Now wed really have something. How can you not like this guy? Im a strong believer in fate, and Ive got a good feeling about this, so maybe Ill be right. (Sorry for borrowing your material, Ben.)
Peter Jacobsen as the next PGA Tour commissioner
Dont get me wrong. Tim Finchem has (with a little kick from Eldrick) elevated the PGA Tour to heights unimaginable just a few decades ago. It is a powerhouse and may not even have hit its peak. Thats where Jake comes in. This guy gets it ' period. Show up to play, but show up with love to play. That seems to be his motto. Treat the amateurs like gold, make a few extra speeches, sign a few extra autographs ' and then lets see where were at.
Give back to the dedicated tournaments
Along the same lines of what Id do if I were commissioner, to all those sponsors (on any of the tours) who signed big money deals to lend their name and money to events BEFORE 9/11. give them an extra year on their deal at no cost. Use tour funds to subsidize that events purse for that year while still leaving the sponsors name attached. Talk about good will for those who stepped up when our economy was on thin ice!
Get rid of Doubleheader weeks
Show Tucson some respect. They deserve more than second billing. In fact, why not make Tucson Chrysler Classic, B.C. Open and Valero Texas Open designated majors on the Nationwide Tour? They dont need to scrape up $4 million for the purse ' just 1.5 or so and theyre guaranteed four rounds live on The Golf Channel with a chance to see the up-n'-comers like Chad Campbell, Jonathan Byrd or Zach Johnson battle for big money under much bigger pressure.
Tiger and lin get married live on The Golf Channel
Hey, if it was OK for Trista and Ryan, why not give it a shot?. Since Monday is now Your Game Night, maybe we could change Saturday to Your Wedding Night. Think of the possibilities! We get the exclusive which eliminates many of the tabloid shows and the dreaded possibility that Mary Hart and Bob Goin would show up. Heck, we could do a Sprint Pre-Game and a Sprint Post-Game!
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week
Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.
That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.
Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.
From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.
Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.
She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.
She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.
“Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”
Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.
With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.
The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.
She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.
The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.
One & Done: 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge
Beginning in 2018, Golf Channel is offering a "One & Done" fantasy game alternative. Choose a golfer and add the salary they earn at the event to your season-long total - but know that once chosen, a player cannot be used again for the rest of the year.
Log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to start your own league and make picks for this week's event.
Here are some players to consider for One & Done picks this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where Hudson Swafford returns as the defending champion:
Zach Johnson. The two-time major champ has missed the cut here three years in a row. So why include him in One & Done consideration? Because the three years before that (2012-14) included three top-25s highlighted by a third-place finish, and his T-14 at the Sony Open last week was his fifth straight top-25 dating back to September.
Bud Cauley. Cauley has yet to win on Tour, but that could very well change this year - even this week. Cauley ended up only two shots behind Swafford last year and tied for 14th the year prior, as four of his five career appearances have netted at least a top-40 finish. He opened the new season with a T-7 in Napa and closed out the fall with a T-8 at Sea Island.
Adam Hadwin. Swafford left last year with the trophy, but it looked for much of the weekend like it would be Hadwin's tournament as he finished second despite shooting a 59 in the third round. Hadwin was also T-6 at this event in 2016 and now with a win under his belt last March he returns with some unfinished business.
Charles Howell III. If you didn't use him last week at the Sony Open, this could be another good spot for the veteran who has four top-15 finishes over the last seven years at this event, highlighted by a playoff loss in 2013. His T-32 finish last week in Honolulu, while not spectacular, did include four sub-70 scores.
David Lingmerth. Lingmerth was in that 2013 playoff with Howell (eventually won by Brian Gay), and he also lost here in overtimei to Jason Dufner in 2016. The Swede also cracked the top 25 here in 2015 and is making his first start since his wife, Megan, gave birth to the couple's first child in December. Beware the sleep-deprived golfer.
DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.
The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.
''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''
In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.
''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''
The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.
''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.
Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member
Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.
Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:
Matt Kuchar— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 17, 2018
"It's been a passion of mine to explore & see the world, and I'll now be joining the European Tour as an Affiliate Member, which is very exciting." pic.twitter.com/7wDbuGXz8j
As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.
Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.