Jason Sobel - March 9, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamMarch 9, 2012, 1:22 pm

Rory McIlroy shot a first round 73 at Doral and he was not surprised that Rory was feeling a bit flat after going to New York for a couple of days after becoming World #1. It is not exactly the end of the world for Rory and anticipates that this will be his highest round of the week.

Jason Dufner does not seem to give off any edge at all. He does not want to say that it looks like Dufner doesn’t care, but he does not seem very emotional out on the course. He just keeps on rolling and proved he can do that after losing the 2011 PGA Championship in a playoff to Keegan Bradley.

He was more surprised to see Tiger at 72 after the 1st round than Phil. Tiger has a great history at Doral and when you consider the final round 62 last week and the eagle on the 1st hole on Thursday, one would think that Tiger would have shot a better round than 72. But again, the course is playing hard and Tiger should have better scores this week.

Sergio Garcia put two in the water at 18 to end a horrible back nine and he actually enjoyed seeing the 18th hole play as difficult as it did. It will be very exciting to see a few players in contention on Sunday have to face the difficult 18th. He hopes that the wind keeps blowing this week.

Earning an invitation to The Masters is arguably the top prize in professional golf and considering that this is Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament, Sobel suggested that there be a way to select players using certain criteria including at-large picks to play in The Masters every year. It seems like a fun idea and if not The Masters, certainly you can do another event. Sobel has more on this idea in his upcoming Weekly 18 article on GolfChannel.com.
 
In his second visit to Friday’s edition of Morning Drive, Sobel began by saying that he has been all over the map with his predictions about Adam Scott because you never know which Adam is going to show up. We have seen him both struggle and succeed in Major Championships and other big events. He thinks that Adam seems to have found something with the belly putter and thinks that he could have a 2012 that is similar to 2011.

Juvic Pagunsun won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2011 and is 172nd in the Official World Golf Ranking. He was the first player from the Philippines to win the Order of Merit on that tour and he lost the Barclays Singapore Open in a playoff in 2011. In doing a Google search, the first thing that you find out about him is his height and different sites say different things.

We should not be too bummed about Tiger Woods starting with a 72 and being 6 shots back. In 2012, we have seen larger comebacks over 18 holes so we can definitely see that kind of comeback over the last 54 holes. Tiger is a lot like a prize fighter and it seems like he starts a tournament by getting an idea of the course and the field and he strikes later in the tournament.

Jarrod Lyle’s illness really puts things into perspective. Just as he is about to welcome his first child into the world with his wife, he has found out that he has leukemia for the second time in his life. Social Media has been a way for a number of players to express their best wishes for Jarrod and he is as nice of a person as you will meet on the PGA TOUR. Lyle and his family are in everyone’s prayers right now and we all want to see Jarrod healthy again as soon as possible.

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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 Web.com 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.

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.

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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.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."