Curtis Honeymoon on Hold

By Mercer BaggsAugust 28, 2003, 4:00 pm
NORTON, Mass. -- Ben Curtis has married a very understanding woman.
 
Were focused on golf this week, said the former Candace Beatty. We have plenty of time to spend with each other.
 
Candace is now a Curtis, having married the Open champion last Saturday evening following Bens third round in the WGC-NEC Invitational.
 
The wedding took place, as originally planned, at United Methodist Church in Akron, Ohio, about 20 minutes from Firestone Country Club.
 
And now the couple is spending their honeymoon in Norton, Mass., site of this weeks Deutsche Bank Championship.
 
Well, not really.
 
Curtis is set to play in the Trophee Lancome in Paris, France in two weeks. The two will spend a little quality time together prior to the event.
 
We decided that were going to play in France and it was kind of like, well, well do something in between, Curtis said. Going to spend a few days by ourselves and have a good time.
 
And when they get back home, Candace can cruise around in her new Mercedes SLK convertible, which Ben surprised her with their first full day as newlyweds.
 
The 26-year-old PGA Tour rookie is in need of a break. Hes been on a whirlwind tour since capturing the claret jug as the 396th-ranked player in the world: Hundreds of interviews, thousands of autograph requests, and not to mention a marriage on the same day as the third round of a $6-million tournament.
 
This week, Im just looking forward to getting back out and playing again, said Curtis, who shared the first-round lead in Akron, before finishing tied for 30th. Its been a long month, but it went by quick ' a lot of stuff in a months span.
 
It just feels nice when Im out there.
 
CLARKE BAR
 
Darren Clarke is good friends with Tiger Woods ' despite the fact that he beat him in the 2000 WGC-Accenture Match Play final and held him off to win last weeks NEC Invitational.
 
Clarke asked Woods for an exemption into this event earlier this year. And for good reason.
 
I think theres more Irish in Boston than anywhere else, said the Ulsterman. Theres enough good Guinness to hang around here.
 
Clarke arrived Wednesday for a practice round.
 
I wasnt really fit to play any golf until today, he said only half-jokingly.
 
The burly Northern Irishman has been nursing a celebratory hangover after riding a blisteringly hot putter to victory at Firestone.
 
The victory was his second on the PGA Tour, and has given him full exempt status for the next three years.
 
He said he plans to take advantage of the offer, but will increase his American schedule only slightly in 2004.
 
I think Im probably going to play about 16 next year, said Clarke, who is making his 13th tour start this week, and will also compete in the WGC-American Express Championship outside Atlanta in early October.
 
Im going to take up my membership, he added. Mercedes (Championships) is the first one and then the Sony (Open) is the week after and Im going to try and play a very similar schedule to what Ive done this year.
 
CROWD CONTROL
 
Much has been made of the PGA Tours return to the Boston area, which last hosted a tour event in 1998 ' even though the Deutsche Bank Championship is closer in proximity to Providence, R.I.
 
But, odds are, when you think of Boston and golf, you dont initially think of the CVS Charity Classic. More likely, its the 1999 Ryder Cup.
 
The last Ryder Cup contested in the United States was held at Brookline Country Club in Sutton, Mass. No one will ever forget the home teams record come-from-behind victory. Nor will they forget the sometime overly exuberant emotion displayed, particularly by the fans.
 
The crowds at Boston during that particular Ryder Cup, were they supportive? Yes. Did they cross the line? Yes, said Woods, who was a member of the victorious team.
 
I played with (Colin Montgomerie) in one of the matches. It was brutal to see the things that people were saying about him personally.
 
Woods added that the crowds over those three days were far more respectful in the morning sessions than in the afternoon ones.
 
Its amazing when you get under the influence of a couple of beverages of your choice, what happens. People get slightly more opinionated and I think thats exactly what happened, he said.
 
Obviously, such obnoxiousness is not expected this week; though, that doesnt mean some fans wont be louder than others.
 
They were out there, thats for sure, Woods said of the thousands of fans that followed him in his Thursday practice round. You could hear them. The fans were supportive. Again, they love their golf.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.