Waite and See

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 8, 2000, 4:00 pm
Grant Waite may lead the way through two rounds of the Bell Canadian Open, but it's another who's making all the noise. You-know-who seems to have broken his Canadian jinx, and he's put himself in prime position to capture his ninth PGA Tour title of the season.
Tiger Woods played a four-hole stretch in 6-under-par to catapult his name up the leaderboard at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. At 7-under-par through 36 holes, young Mr. Woods is just four shots back of Waite entering the weekend.
Waite, who finished second at last week's Air Canada Championship, shot a Friday 64 to take a one-shot lead at 11-under-par over Australian Greg Chalmers, who shot 65. Brian Watts birdied the par-5 18th to gain sole possession of third place at 9-under.
Sergio Garcia, Shaun Micheel and Keiichiro Fukabori are all tied for fourth at 8-under. Woods shares seventh place with four others, including Davis Love III and first-round leader Kevin Sutherland, who shot an even-par 72 in the second round.
It's been well documented that Tiger's only missed cut as a professional came at this event circa 1997. Friday, Woods almost added another Bell Canadian blemish to his resume. He nearly missed his 7:57 am ET tee time.
'I thought my tee time was an hour later than it was,' said Woods, who shot 7-under-par 65 in the second round. 'I got here early to eat some breakfast and the lady came up to me and says, `Well, you have 15 minutes until your tee time.' I said, `Oh, that's nice. Great.' `No, really, you do.' `I guess I do.'
'So I ran down there and got on the range and actually it was probably a blessing in disguise because I'm not really feeling my best physically. It was nice to actually not wear myself out on the range.'
After rushing to the 10th tee, Woods started his second round in much the same fashion as he played his first round. Tiger was one-over for the day, and for the tournament, through his first five holes. And then - BOOM!
Woods went 2-3-3-3. Birdie, Eagle, Birdie, Eagle. Six-under-par for four holes.
It began with a solidly struck 8-iron to six feet on the par-4 15th. Said Woods: 'The shot I hit on 15 was the best shot I've hit this week so far.'
That shot lead to Tiger's first birdie of the day. Then, after a power-drive at the par-5 16th, Woods stuck a 9-iron from 163 yards to a mere two feet. The ensuing eagle placed Tiger in red numbers for the first time in 13 holes.
At the par-4 17th, Woods played a 6-iron from the fairway bunker to 'about eight feet at the hole and made that.'
A 380-yard drive (yes, 380 yards) left Tiger with just 113 yards to the hole at the par-5 18th. Woods then proceeded to spin a 60 degree sand wedge into eagle range, which he promptly converted.
Thursday, Tiger played the par-37 back nine in 2-over 39. Friday, he scorched it in 5-under-par 32.
'I really wasn't hitting the ball that solid and I was hitting a couple here and there, but maybe I was just saving up my hands, and I finally hit that one shot on 15 and I just, as I said, tried to keep that same feeling throughout the day and I was able to do it for most of the round.'
Tiger's front nine wasn't as exciting as his backside, but he did manage to pick up two more birdies, without dropping a shot.
Woods will play the third round alongside Love. That makes for an interesting pairing due to some of the comments Love made earlier in the season - though, the 13-time Tour winner insists he wasn't, and isn't, raising the white flag.
'I was definitely criticized for saying (Tiger) was very good,' Love said after shooting a second round 69. 'If I have a fault, it might be that I talk a little too much and I'm a little too honest. But I'm not going to come in and say the guy's getting lucky, or that nobody out here is going to be beat him.
'It's obvious for the last year that he's making putts. He hardly ever misses and if a guy doesn't miss putts, he's going to win. You can say it about Phil Mickelson or Fred Couples or anybody that hits the ball a long way and makes every single putt. I wasn't saying we were all quitting and going home.'
Saturday, Love will get another chance to go head-to-head with the world's No. 1 player. This year, Love, ranked 8th in the Official World Golf Ranking, lost to Woods in the semi-finals of the WGC - Andersen Consulting World Match Play Championship. He also finished runner-up to Tiger at the Bay Hill Invitational.
A week ago, Waite shot a Saturday 68 to take a one-shot lead entering the final round in Surrey, British Columbia. This Friday, the Kiwi posted a 10 birdie, two bogey round of 64 to move into the top spot a day earlier.
Waite is seeking his first Tour triumph since the 1993 Kemper Open. The next five on the leaderboard are all in search of victory No. 1. Chalmers, Watts, Garcia, Micheel and Fukabori are all hoping this will be 'their' week.
We'll just have to Waite and see.
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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.