A Wedding Wish for Tigers Locker
Kraig Kann here from TGC. Hope this note finds you well, and your ailing back feeling better. (Didnt realize those private planes could be so uncomfortable.)
I havent received an official or unofficial invitation to the wedding. Reports have all but assured us that its taking place in Barbados on Monday. Reports also say its taking place at a place called Sandy Lane Resort. I did a search and found it to be a breathtaking honeymooners paradise. Good choice.
Reports also say Elins been there for a few days at the spa getting ready. Reports also say you and Elin and a few of her girlfriends have been spotted at the resort in recent weeks. So, if I choose it all to be true, Im writing to wish you good luck with this new chapter in your life.
But I must admit that as a member of the media, Im a bit leery of reports. After all, reports just prior to the Ryder Cup had you and Elin on the outs. Supposedly a big argument led to the break-up.
By the way, we even called the Sandy Lane Resort looking for a room for next week. They told us all 112 of the rooms were booked ' under one guest!
Man, you must get sick of all this stuff! Private life be damned! But I want to applaud you for handling it as you have.
Sure, Ive been a bit down on some of your on-course behavior of late, but the way youve handled the off-course rumors and even truths has been exemplary.
I was in Milwaukee in 1996 when you made the famed statement, Hello world. You tied for 60th that week. Bet you never imagined what your life would be like each and every day after that news conference announcing that you were turning professional. Golf paparazzi chasing your every drive, following your every late afternoon drive, and wedging themselves into every little moment of time your eyes are open.
Back to that Ryder Cup week and the questions about your alleged break-up with Elin. While you questioned the medias reporting skills by asking how or why a certain number of us could get away with such reporting, you never demanded an apology. You never singled any reporter out for bad behavior either. Assuming the report was inaccurate, you had every reason to put that reporter in the Dan Rather position.
There are times though -- many of them actually -- that I wish we could get a little more from you in the interview setting. As a member of the Sprint Pre/Post Game show, I wish youd storm the set unannounced like our chummy pals Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood giving us entertainment value that any television network would die for.
I wish we could get a few more sit-down interviews without having to jump through hoops to get it done.
But you know what, I guess I understand. And this report about your break-up with the woman youre set to marry is reason enough to make things tough on us.
So, I just want to wish you the best this weekend in Ireland. Get the W as a wedding present to yourself!
And I want to give you and Elin my best on Monday. As a married man with three great children, the best of your life is ahead of you.
No matter how many people want you to live the same life you did in 1999 (8 wins) and 2000 (9 wins including 3 straight majors), do yourself a favor and dont look back. Dont ever look back.
Look ahead to the great life that begins on Monday. I have a great feeling that marital bliss will lead to even better golf. And nothing would make the fans and fellow PGA Tour pros happier than to see Tiger Woods back at his very best.
I can guarantee that Vijay wants to beat Tiger when he appears unbeatable. No. 1 in the world is great, but still a bit hollow with a weakened Woods. Ernie, too, wants his shot at No. 1 while Tiger is playing his best game. Even Woody Austin wants a victory to count when a top-notch Tiger is competing alongside him.
Please, give us everything youve got toward the goal of reaching your old form. But do it at your pace. Dont rush it. Take time to enjoy the good life and the good wife. Just dont give up the habit of good golf.
The best time of your life is set to begin. And it has nothing to do with 18 professional majors. Trust meif you can.
p.s. Are you and Elin registered at Target?
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
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."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
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.'"
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."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
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."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
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.