TOUR Life Week 2 in the Majors

By Nick FlanaganOctober 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's note: Nick Flanagan competed in his second event as a card-carrying PGA TOUR member in this past week's Viking Classic. Here is a look at his week on TOUR, on and off the course.
 

ON THE COURSE
The first two rounds my ball striking was great and my putting has started to improve. Over the weekend I struggled with my accuracy and just didn't swing the club good. My putter behaved at times but I was still averaging 30 putts ar ound. So I still have a lot of work to do there.
 
Nick Flanagan
The Viking Classic was Nick's second straight top-20 result in the Fall Series. (Getty Images)
The course was a good test. The first round proved to be somewhat of a marathon with weather delays ' I teed off at 9 a.m. and walked off the last green at around 5 p.m. The second day I was in the very last group of the day and we very nearly didnt get finished as the light faded very quickly after sunset.
 
I feel I am getting a lot of experience right now which will help me enormously next year. My two finishes( T18th and T17th) have made for a pretty good start to my PGA TOUR career and hopefully with a bit of hard work I will be able to improve on that over the next couple of weeks.

 
OFF THE COURSE
This week was reasonably quiet compared to my first week on the TOUR. I roomed with my mate, Michael Sim, again and I really enjoyed that. Did the usual gym sessions and ate at my favorite restaurant on the road ' Outback Steakhouse. This is as close as it gets to Australian-style food here in the U.S. and I tend to eat there a lot. Early in the week, I was approached by a gentleman who I believe was an investor in Outback Steakhouse and he handed me a card, which he said he had tried to leave in my locker but couldnt, and when I had a look at it, it meant I could eat at the Outback Steakhouse for free for the whole week. Dont know how it happened and dont know if the gentleman knew it was my favorite restaurant but Im not complaining and I was very grateful!
 
I am feeling a little tired at the moment and looking forward to this week in Texas and then a week off. I am not playing Las Vegas, instead opting to spend the week at Michael Sims house in Scottsdale, Ariz.. I dropped my BMW (the one I won in May at the BMW Classic) back to the dealership in North Carolina after my last event on the Nationwide Tour and arranged for it to be shipped to Michaels house. It should be waiting for me when I get there next week; it is an amazing car. There are a lot of Aussies who live in Scottsdale and I am going to have a look around with the thought of perhaps purchasing something there early next year, if I decide I like it.

 
FROM LOCKER ROOM TO THE FIRST TEE
I enjoyed all my playing partners' company this week ' in particular playing with Fred Funk, someone who I have watched on TV for many years. Fred was pretty animated and made the time on the course a lot of fun. Everyone I have come in contact with the past two weeks have been very welcoming and encouraging.
 
This week back home in Australia, it was the finals of two of our three football codes. We play Australian Rules Football in Victoria, Rugby League in NSW and Queensland, and Soccer nationally. On Saturday it was the Australian Rules Final and on Sunday it was the Rugby League Final. Paul Gow - fellow Aussie and member of the PGA TOUR - managed to find a pub in Jacksonville that was televising the matches and was trying to get all the Aussies to go and watch them with him. I like to know the results, but I am not that keen that I would get out of a warm bed very early in the morning to watch - and I am not sure how many did just that in the end!
 
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Related Links:
  • Nick Flanagan's 2007 Results
  • Full Coverage - Viking Classic
  • Full Coverage - Valero Texas Open
  • Fall Series Coverage
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Enrique Berardi/LAAC

    Ortiz leads LAAC through 54; Niemann, Gana one back

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

    Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz shot a 1-under 70 Monday to take the 54-hole lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship in Chile.

    At 4 under for the week, he leads by one over over Argentina's Jaime Lopez Rivarola, Chile's Toto Gana and Joaquin Niemann, and Guatemala's Dnaiel Gurtner.

    Ortiz is the younger brother of three-time Web.com winner Carlos. Alvaro, a senior at Arkansas, finished tied for third at the LAAC in 2016 and lost in a three-way playoff last year that included Niemann and Gana, the champion.

    Ortiz shared the 54-hole lead with Gana last year and they will once again play in the final group on Tuesday, along with Gurtner, a redshirt junior at TCU.

    “Literally, I've been thinking about [winning] all year long," Ortiz said Monday. "Yes, I am a very emotional player, but tomorrow I want to go out calm and with a lot of patience. I don't want the emotions to get the better of me. What I've learned this past year, especially in the tournaments I’ve played for my university, is that I have become more mature and that I have learned how to control myself on the inside on the golf course.”

    In the group behind, Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who is poised to turn professional, unless of course he walks away with the title.

    “I feel a lot of motivation at the moment, especially because I am the only player in the field that shot seven under (during the second round), and I am actually just one shot off the lead," he said. "So I believe that tomorrow I can shoot another very low round."

    Tuesday's winner will earn an invitation to this year's Masters and exemptions into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, and final qualifying for The Open.