Golf Channel to Give Viewers Head Start on New Year's Resolution to Improve Their Game with "12 Tips of Xmas," Dec. 14-24

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 14, 2015, 2:20 pm

“12 Tips of Xmas” Kicks off with Special Holiday Instruction Show, Airing Exclusively on GolfChannel.com and

Featuring New Tips from Michael Breed, Peter Jacobsen, Todd Hamilton and Martin Hall

Twelve Golf Channel Academy Coaches to be Featured within Special Year-End “Morning Drive” Programming, Dec. 14-24

Viewers Can Utilize More Than 70 Tips Being Showcased Across

Golf Channel Social Media Platforms Using #12TipsofXmas

VIDEO: Special Holiday Instruction Show: #12TipsofXmas

Golf Channel is helping viewers get an early start on their New Year’s resolution to improving their golf game in 2016, with a dedicated “12 Tips of Xmas” campaign, beginning this week and continuing through Thursday, Dec. 24.

To help kick off the 12 Tips of Xmas, GolfChannel.com is featuring a special holiday instruction show on its homepage. The show is hosted by School of Golf‘s Blair O’Neal, and features exclusive new tips from Michael Breed, host of The Golf Fix; Champions Tour players Peter Jacobsen and Todd Hamilton; Golf Channel Academycoach Erika Larkin; and School of Golfhost Martin Hall. Beginning today, Dec. 14, and continuing through Thursday, Dec. 24, an additional 11 tips featuring Golf Channel Academy coaches will be unveiled one-by-one each day in the closing segment of the network’s Morning Drive year-end specials. GolfChannel.com’s specific show pages also will take part in 12 Tips of Xmaswith carousels of instruction tips from throughout the year.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Golf Channel’s social media platforms will complement the on-air and online component of 12 Tips of Xmas with an extensive campaign across its social media handles using the hashtag #12TipsofXmas. Collectively over the course of the 12 day campaign, posts will encompass more than 70 video clips of instruction tips from throughout the network’s 2015 programming. To access all #12TipsofXmas videos, follow:

Golf Channel:   Facebook & Twitter

Golf Channel Academy:   Facebook & Twitter

The Golf Fix:   Facebook & Twitter

Morning Drive:   Facebook & Twitter

YEAR-END INSTRUCTION PROGRAMMING: In addition to tips airing within Morning Drive, Golf Channel will feature some of the most memorable tips and lessons from 2015, beginning Monday, Dec. 14 and continuing through Thursday, Dec. 24. Programming will include episodes of The Golf Fix, Golf Channel Academy, School of Golf, Champions Tour Learning Center and Playing Lessons, and will air each day, Dec. 14-24, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET. Viewers won’t have to wait long for the return of new instruction programming, with dates and airtimes scheduled for shows to make their 2016 debut:

The Golf Fix                                                 Monday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET

Golf Channel Academy                                Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. ET

School of Golf                                              Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. ET

Champions Tour Learning Center               Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Playing Lessons                                           Spring 2016

GOLF CHANNEL ACADEMY IN 2016: Golf Channel’s network of instruction facilities, Golf Channel Academy, also has become an on-air staple, with its coaches regularly appearing on Morning Drive in the popular “Coach of the Week” segments on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with instruction tips to help viewers improve their game. “Coach of the Week” will resume in 2016, Tuesday-Wednesday, Jan. 5-6, with Henry Brunton (Ontario, Canada). And taking the coaching element a step further, the new Golf Channel Academy Digital Magazine is now available at http://www.golfchannelacademy.com/magazine, where golfers can sign up for a free trial. The latest issue focuses on unique ways to practice like the pros, and will be available Tuesday, Dec. 15.

#12TipsofXmas Airing on Morning Drive Schedule (All Times Eastern)

Monday, Dec. 14                    Trent Wearner (Englewood, Colo.)                             7-9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 15                    Kevin Weeks (Lemont, Ill.)                                        7-9 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 16               Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott  (Scottsdale, Ariz.)          7-8 a.m.

Thursday, Dec. 17                   Charlie King (Greensboro, Ga.)                                 7-8 a.m.

Friday, Dec. 18                       Fred Griffin (Orlando, Fla.)                                         7-8 a.m.

Saturday, Dec. 19                   Mitchell Spearman (Rye Brook, N.Y.)                          7-8 a.m.

Sunday, Dec. 20                     Dana Rader (Charlotte, N.C.)                                      7-8 a.m.

Monday, Dec. 21                    Kip Puterbaugh (Carlsbad, Calif.)                               7-8 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 22                    Kelley Brooke (New York, N.Y.)                                 7-8 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 23               Kenny Nairn (Celebration, Fla.)                                  7-8 a.m.

Thursday, Dec. 24                   Kellie Stenzel  (Palm Beach, Fla.)                               7-8 a.m.

2015 “BEST OF INSTRUCTION” PROGRAMMING (All Times Eastern)

Monday, Dec. 14        The Golf Fix                                                                           11 a.m.

                                 Golf Channel Academy – John Daly  (Driving)                           Noon

                                 Champions Tour Learning Center                                            12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 15       School of Golf - Get in the Zone                                              11 a.m.

                                  Playing Lessons – Gerina Piller                                                Noon

Wednesday, Dec. 16   The Golf Fix                                                                            11 a.m.

                                  Champions Tour Learning Center – Legendary Lessons           Noon

                                  Golf Channel Academy – Dave Stockton (Putting)                    12:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 17      School of Golf – Unique Swings                                               11 a.m.

                                  Playing Lessons – Morgan Pressel                                            Noon

Friday, Dec. 18           Golf Channel Academy – Retief Goosen (Full Swing)                 11 a.m.

                                  Champions Tour Learning Center                                            11:30 a.m.

                                   The Golf Fix                                                                            Noon

Saturday, Dec. 19        Playing Lessons – Long Drivers                                               11 a.m.

                                   School of Golf – Power Pointers                                               Noon

Sunday, Dec. 20          Champions Tour Learning Center – Legendary Lessons            11 a.m.

                                   Golf Channel Acadmy – Jim Furyk (Full Swing)                          11:30 a.m.

                                   The Golf Fix                                                                            Noon

Monday, Dec. 21         Playing Lessons – Scott Stallings                                               11 a.m.

                                   School of Golf – Find Your Putting Stroke                                Noon

Tuesday, Dec. 22         The Golf Fix                                                                             11 a.m.

                                    School of Golf – Bring Your ‘A’ Game                                      Noon

Wednesday, Dec. 23     Golf Channel Academy – Ian Woosnam (Scoring Irons)               11 a.m.

                                    Champions Tour Learning Center                                              11:30 a.m.

                                    Golf Channel Academy – Paul McGinley (Short Game)               Noon

                                    Champions Tour Learning Center                                              12:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 24        The Golf Fix                                                                              11 a.m.

                                    School of Golf – Mickelson Magic                                              Noon

 

 

Getty Images

McIlroy gets back on track

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

He is well ahead of schedule.

Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

“Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

“I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

Everything in his life is lined up.

Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

Getty Images

Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

Getty Images

Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

Getty Images

McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.