Well, let me tell you about my evening. Please. I need to vent.
After suffering through the wrong directions provided by the hotel, I finally arrived at my temporary home in Miami to cover the Genuity at Doral. It was six in the evening.
I should have sensed something coming
To be (somewhat) fair to the hotel where Im staying this week, it shall remain nameless. Lets just say its world-famous and is most conveniently located for intrepid reporters hoping to cover the PGA Tour stop at Doral.
When I pulled my car up to register, I declined valet parking and was told by a very nice young man I could pull it right over there while I checked in. I parked it, as directed, out of the way. Then a not very nice, not as young man, told me Id have to leave him my car keys.
Curious, I asked why? Well, I always take the keys for cars parked here. But I dont want anyone else to drive my personal car, I explained. He then said, Oh, I wont drive your car, but I need your keys.
Huh?!? If youre not going to move my car, then why do you need the keys? It seemed a logical question. Well, this scintillating exchange went around and around about three more times until the nice young man thankfully intervened and explained it was OK.
When I got to the front desk, I gave the very nice young woman my name and confirmation number. After quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing at her computer screen, she informed me no rooms were ready. Your surprised storyteller: Really, at six oclock? Im very sorry sir. Twenty minutes later I was told a chamber had been discovered.
I noticed during my desk encounter, PGA Tour veteran Neal Lancaster was experiencing something eerily similar. Wait, Im supposed to have one king-sized single tonight and two adjoining doubles starting tomorrow night, Neal explained. Neal was still explaining when a bellboy hailed me.
I should have sensed something coming
After this very nice young man escorted my luggage and me to my room, we discovered it wasnt ready, after all. First, it was not the coveted single king I had reserved and second, one of the two beds was not maid, er, made. Upon further review, we found dirty towels strewn in the bathroom and the service bar unlocked with a few $5 sodas missing.
Oh, it gets worse.
After a phone conversation with reception that netted nothing, that very nice young man and I returned to the front desk. The bellboy had obviously seen such shenanigans before, so he wisely suggested we get the manager.
A very nice young manager apologized profusely, nodded in understanding and said hed see what he could do. Fifteen minutes later his smiling countenance informed me a non-smoking single-king would be available. Id just have to wait while the room was readied. Meanwhile, that very nice bellboy gave up on me and went to hustle some tips elsewhere.
Twenty minutes later (a recurring theme) my new room was ready. My bellboy returned and we gleefully entered the non-smoking single-king. Oh, what a great room! With generous tip in hand, the bellboy left me on my own.
I should have sensed something coming.
After un-packing and settling in, I ordered room service. I sprawled on the couch, watching Kelly Tilghman and Dorals Jim McLean on Academy Live while I waited (yes, the hotel has The Golf Channel, no wonder its four-star).
As I pondered how I could finagle a free lesson from Jim, a loud bang shook me from the sofa. My God! Someone was trying to break into my room! A prudent peak through the peephole and then I opened my door to another bellboy and another equally shocked hotel guest. You see, that crazy front desk had given him the same room.
I had been told room service would take about 55 minutes. One hour and ten later, I called. Twenty minutes later, it arrived. Yup, you guessed it - it was not the meal I had ordered.
Twenty minutes later, my dinner was delivered. Twenty minutes after supping, I went to my self-parked car to retrieve a couple items. Upon returning, my key-card didnt work and I couldnt get back into my room. Apparently that crazy front desk had changed the code for the other guest. Imagine that. So I trudged the mile back to the desk, found my friendly manager and got a new key.
Oh, by the way during one lobby stint I chatted up one of the Tours more successful young stars. He informed me he had just flown in with his family from Orlando on a demo flight. A what? Oh, you know, a private plane. They demod it for me. Really? It sure beats the hell out of that four-hour drive.
And you thought I had a glamorous life.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
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
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
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.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
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.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
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.