Dear Santa You Owe Me

By Mercer BaggsDecember 8, 2006, 5:00 pm
Dear Santa,
 
Im going to ask for a few things, and Im going to try and do it in as congenial a manner as possible. I know weve been on the outs lately, but I think we both know that really has little to do with me. After all, Ive been a pretty good boy and Ive havent gotten a thing from you in about 20 years ' 20 damn years, Kringle!!
 
Sorry. Sorry. I dont mean to yell.
 
My therapist said it would be beneficial for me to work out our problems. That it would ease my mind and calm my soul.
 
Whatever.
 
Anyway, I dont know what I can really do on my end (obviously just being good isnt good enough), but Im willing to give this a shot.
 
So heres what Im going to do: Im not going to ask for anything tangible this year. Instead, Im just going to present you with my hopes for the upcoming year. Nothing serious; Ill share those with the real Big Guy. Ill just focus on something simple ' golf.
 
Heres my list. Its in no particular order. I know not to expect too much from you since youre soooo busy working one whole day a year, so Ill just take what I can get.
 
  • For one, how about letting Phil Mickelson grab a lead on the back nine of a major ' lets say ... the U.S. Open. Id really like to see how that plays out. In fact, I take back what I said above ' I want this most of all; I really, really want you to make this happen.
     
  • For that matter, why not let Sergio Garcia do the same. Any major would be fine. He says hes got what it takes; Im not yet sold. That would be his chance to silence his doubters. Or, it could be like watching a fawn trying to walk for the first time ' on ice.
     
  • Let Annika Sorenstam play to her ability. She looked out of sorts last year and even a little bored. Plus, I want to see just how good Lorena Ochoa is. I think shes the real deal and nothing will prove that more than beating an inspired and focused Sorenstam.
     
  • Dont let Karrie Webb fall into another funk. But do let Paula Creamer get out of hers. And let Michelle Wies team do a better job of directing her.
     
  • If you're in a funk-busting mood, give Ernie Els a look before he loses his mind. I must say, though: I did enjoy watching him throw his driver last week. He nearly brained his caddie, but there's nothing quite as captivating as raw emotion.
     
  • Dont let the Americans win the Presidents Cup and then start believing that theyve finally figured out how to win as a team (like last time).
     
  • Let Tiger win the Masters. That will give him a chance to go for another Tiger Slam at the U.S. Open and keep alive the possibilities of a seasonal Grand Slam. Golf sometimes has all the drama of a Senate filibuster. Like him or not, nobody stirs up more interest and intrigue than Tiger.
     
  • Sticking with drama: Let John Daly take control of his life. Seriously, no joke here. Hes a good guy, but he needs to take ownership of his problems instead of vice versa.
     
  • Please dont let me die of a Nick Faldo overdose. Hes going to be on TV more often than a Medicus infomercial. Hes entertaining. I like him. But there was a time in college when all I could afford was canned tuna and I ate it for two weeks straight and didnt eat it again for nearly five years. Dont let Nick Faldo turn into tuna fish.
     
  • And, I guess I should ask that The Golf Channel does a good job in its coverage in 2007. I dont want to have to look for another job myself. I assume you have no room for a 61 elf who abhors cold weather and has the toy-making skills of Joe Cocker.
     
    I could go on and on, but Ill leave it at that. I dont think that this is too much to ask; not for a man who can make reindeer fly and, in one night, deliver toys to good boys and girls all over the world ' most of them anyway.
     
    After all, its not like Im asking you to turn Retief Goosen into Lee Trevino or anything.
     
    So these are my hopes for 2007. Please dont let me down again.
     
    Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.