Fans the Big Losers in Fonnests Elimination - COPIED

By Mark MitchellOctober 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
Big Break: MesquiteRoger Fonnest, we hardly got the chance to know you, which is Big Break: Mesquites fans loss.
 
One of the true beauties to ever appear in the series, he is a feisty New Yorker who could use the word friggin as a noun, verb or adjective. Never at a loss for energy, Fonnest is a walking Red Bull ad.
 
While he was sent packing by Benoit Beisser in the first episode of the 12-week series, his enthusiasm will live on as the 11 remaining competitors duke it out each week to win the coveted exemption to play in the 2008 Mayakoba Golf Classic, and as important, claim the title of Big Break: Mesquite champion against the deepest field in Big Break history.
 
Going into the series, Fonnest knew he was the weakest player in the talented field but relished the moniker of underdog.
 
A comparable lack of skill, however, wasnt his only disadvantage on the show. Fonnest had little preparation time for the event. A manager at the Eisenhower Golf Club in East Meadow, N.Y, he didnt have the time to practice or play in mini-tour events to prepare for the show like many of the other competitors.
 
Then, there was no golf pedigree to fall back on. While others list schools such as Auburn, Florida, and Texas A&M on their resume, not to mention playing on the Nationwide Tour and the PGA TOUR, Fonnest graduated from SUNY Delhi College of Technology and has never been in a TOUR event where he didnt buy a ticket.
 
Heart, though, Fonnest showed a ton of it. While an underdog, he approached Big Break: Mesquite with the never-say-die attitude. Fonnest said being on the show was a once in a lifetime experience and that he already felt like a winner by being picked from thousands of contestants who auditioned for the show. However, he quickly added that he had something to prove in the competition.
 
I didnt want to just occupy one of the spots on the show, said Fonnest, who missed the cut and was forced to compete in the Elimination Challenge against three other players. My parents taught me to fight for what I want. I came to Mesquite to win the thing.
 
It was a tall order for the 56 and 115 pound self-professed grinder who plays a type of game that matches his demeanor. Fonnest doesnt possess the power game, which was a liability in the first challenge of the show that required hitting a 260-yard shot, and relies on his accuracy.
 
Im the little guy with the funky swing, explained Fonnest, who has a loop in his swing that resembles PGA TOUR star Jim Furyks action. A lot of people underestimate me. I dont look like I can generate power, but I can. When they see me hit the ball they shut up real quick.
 
Fellow Big Break: Mesquite competitor Matt Vick, who learned a thing or two about competition as an All-America kicker while at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before playing professional golf, summed up Fonnest best when he said, You dont let the underdog hang around in sports or he will find a way to beat you.
 
Maybe Fonnest could have beaten them all with a little luck. A few inches higher on a flop-shot or making a putt in the Elimination Challenge and he might still be around.
 
While it wasnt this dogs day, Fonnest truly loves to play. In high school, he infuriated his prom date because, rather than getting ready for the prom, he spent four days camped out in the parking lot at Bethpage State Park to insure that hed be the first player to play the newly redesigned Black Course. Always the optimist, he likes to say that he held the course record for a couple hours.
 
And, in a nutshell, that is the Fonnest Big Break: Mesquite fans missed out on getting to know.
 
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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.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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.