Mayday for Mayfair

By Mercer BaggsMay 11, 2001, 4:00 pm
Billy Mayfair has fond memories of Southern Hills Country Club; he won his most prestigious tournament there in 1995, the Tour Championship.
The Tulsa, Okla., venue will play host to this years U.S. Open.
Advantage Mayfair, right?
Well, not quite. Theres one small problem. Mayfair isnt exempt for the seasons second major.
However, alls not lost for the 1981 U.S. Amateur champion. He still has three weeks left to qualify for the National Championship.
If I dont make the U.S. Open Im going to be very disappointed. Its going to be hard to watch it on television, said Mayfair, who has played in nine prior Opens.
Basically, Mayfair has three options. No. 1, he can make his way into the top 50 in the World Golf Ranking by the conclusion of the Kemper Open. Hes currently ranked 71st entering this weeks Verizon Byron Nelson Classic.
Secondly, the 34-year-old Arizonan can creep into the top 10 on the 2001 tour money list ' also by the end of the Kemper. Thats probably his best chance, as he currently resides in 15th place in earnings, less than $300,000 removed from the 10th position.
The final way is the least desirable ' the old fashion way ' trying to earn a spot through Open qualifying. The final stage is contested after the Memorial Tournament, two weeks prior to the Open.
Mayfair would have been closer to attaining his goal had he prevailed in this years WorldCom Classic. Though he had his chances, Mayfair failed to garner his first tour title in three years. Instead, Jose Coceres, who was already exempt into the Open due to his finish on the 2000 European Tour money list, cashed the $630,000 first-place check.
The $252,000 difference between first and second place wouldnt have been enough to vault Mayfair into the top 10 on the money list, but it certainly would have made things a little easier as the weeks to qualify dwindle away.
I had a big chance at Hilton Head, but let it slip away, said Mayfair, who has three top-6 finishes in his last four starts.
Just as Mayfair has fond memories of Southern Hills, the same holds true for the course he played Friday, the TPC at Las Colinas.
Mayfair married his wife, Tammy, on the 18th green at Las Colinas prior to the 1994 Byron Nelson Classic
Were going to be spending the rest of our lives on golf courses. We though we might as well be married on one, Mayfair explained.
Thursday marked the couples seven-year anniversary. Mayfair wanted to make seven birdies for his wife, but settled for six and a round of 5-under 65 at Cottonwood Valley.
Fridays second round wasnt worthy of celebration, but it wasnt one to be lamented, either. Mayfair notched an even-par 70 at Las Colinas, the harder of the two courses in rotation over the first two rounds.
Im happy with where I am, said Mayfair, whose last of five tour victories came in the 1998 Buick Open.
My immediate goal is winning. I want to win. I havent won for three years and its time for me to win.
A win this week would be two-fold for Mayfair; hed attain both short- and long-term goals in one fell swoop.
A victory would also be an exceptional belated anniversary gift to his wife - $810,000 goes to the winner.
Full-field scores from the Verizon Byron Nelson Classic
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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.

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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.