Doral Doldrums

By Mike RitzFebruary 27, 2002, 5:00 pm
And you thought I had a glamorous life ...
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.
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.