Diversitys the KaName at Disney

By Mercer BaggsOctober 19, 2001, 4:00 pm
The leaderboard through two rounds of the National Car Rental Golf Classic at Walt Disney World is as diverse as Its a Small World.
Theres a Japanese player on top, followed closely by an Argentine, a Fijian and a host of Americans.
But even more differential are the motives these players have for winning this event.
On an overcast and windy day in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., PGA Tour rookie Kaname Yokoo birdied seven of his first ten holes on the Palm Course en route to a 7-under-par 65. He enters the weekend at 13-under 131.
I think once the Japanese people see me in the newspaper tomorrow morning, they will be pretty surprised, Yokoo said through a translator.
Yokoo is one shot clear of Jerry Smith, who shot his second straight 66.
Davis Love III (66) and Jose Coceres (65) each birdied their final holes at the Magnolia Course Friday, as did Vijay Singh (68) and David Toms (68).
Love and Coceres are knotted at 11-under, while PGA Championship winners Toms and Singh are tied with David Peoples (65) and Brian Wilson (68) at 10-under.
Meanwhile, two-time Disney champion Tiger Woods is lurking five shots off the pace.
Woods made his way to 9-under, before three-putting the par-4 17th for bogey. Tigers was forced to plow through a spike mark on his par putt.
It was one of those putts, that if I hit it easy, it could go anywhere, said Woods. So I just tried to ram it in there.
Admittedly red after the dropped shot, Woods blasted his tee shot on the par-4 18th some 360 yards down the center of the fairway. With only 89 yards to the pin, he placed his approach shot pin high, ten feet from the hole. But he missed the slippery, side-hill putt.
``That's the way it is sometimes,'' Woods said. ``You hit good shots and don't make a putt, hit a bad shot and make a bomb.''
With five PGA Tour wins and over $5.5 million in earnings this season, Woods is just looking to stoke the fire.
Others have greater motivation this week.
Smith, at 120th on the money list, and Wilson, No. 179, are trying to secure their 2002 tour cards.
There are only 125 guys that are going to (gain full exempt status via the money list). You just sort of try not to focus on that, just play your game, Smith said. It is hard. It is kind of a mental challenge every day.
Love and Toms ' both winners this season ' are trying to ride a wave of momentum into the upcoming year.
Ive always been the type of player to want to finish the year on a good note, said Toms, who is third on the money list with three victories. It gives you an extra boost going into next season.
Coceres, 56th on the money list, is trying to jump into the top 30 and qualify for the $5 million Tour Championship. And Singh is trying to avoid going winless on tour for the first time since 1996.
Then theres Yokoo, who earned his way onto the PGA Tour by finishing tied for 18th at the 2000 Qualifying Tournament.
The 29-year-old from Tokyo is trying to distinguish himself in what has become a pool of Japanese talent exported to the PGA Tour.
Shigeki Maruyama is the most famous of his countrymen, having become the first Japanese player in PGA Tour history to ever win on the mainland at this years Greater Milwaukee Open.
Theres also Toshi Izawa, who lost in a six-way playoff in this years Nissan Open and tied for fourth in the Masters Tournament; Shingo Katayama, the cowboy-hat wearing crowd pleaser who tied for fourth in the PGA Championship after leading the tournament through 36 holes; and Toru Tanaguchi, who finished third in the the WGC-World Match Play Championship in Australia.
Yokoo is the least known of the quartet, though hes already secured his 2002 playing privileges in his first season on the PGA Tour.
Im a little popular, said Yokoo. Shigeki Maruyama is really well-known in Japan. Shingo, he finished second at the Nissan this year. They are both really well known. They have had good success in Japan.
So, too, has Yokoo, having won in each of the past three years in his native land.
Now, he's trying to make his mark in the U.S.
Thanks to a tie for sixth in the Texas Open and a tie for 20th in last weeks Invensys Classic, Yokoo has climbed to 106th on the money list, with over $447,000.
'This is the strongest field in the world,' Yokoo said of the tour. 'I've always wanted to come over here.'
Though hes never been in this position before, Yokoo was in fourth place after two rounds of this years BellSouth Classic, only to shoot 77-78 on a 36-hole Sunday and tie for 34th.
Said Yokoos translator, Aaron Buchmiser: Hes afraid to go to sleep. He doesnt know whats going to happen. His swing might change or something.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Defending champion Duffy Waldorf shot 73-69--142 and missed the 36-hole cut by three strokes. The 5-under cutline was the lowest in tournament history. Seventy-one players made the cut.
*The final pairing - Yokoo and Smith - will tee off Saturday at 1:55 p.m. ET.
*Patrick Macune, the New York police officer who has been sifting through rubble at the World Trade Center since the terrorist attacks, made an eagle on the 14th hole of the Palm Course. His team finished at 18-under par, tied for 15th.
Full-field scores from the NCR Golf Classic
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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.