Quotes of the Year - Part II

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 1, 2012, 12:00 pm

“You could play bad and shoot the same score that you would if you played good.” -  Spencer Levin, on the tough playing – and scoring – conditions at Royal St. George’s.

'In terms of what’s going through my heart, there’s obviously somebody who is watching down from up above there, and I know she’d be very proud of me.” – Darren Clarke, referring to his late wife, Heather, after his win at the British Open.

“I’ve been caddying for 33 years and this has been the best week of my life.” – Steve Williams, who has caddied for Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd, after teaming with Adam Scott to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

“You think you're friends with a guy. You talk to him once a week for 15 years. You're like, this dude is my friend, we do things, we have fun together. … I haven't talked to him in two years and I'm wondering what the hell is going on.” – Charles Barkley, during an interview on “The Mike Lupica Show”, on how his friendship with Tiger Woods has cooled since his extramarital scandal broke Thanksgiving of 2009.

“It was dangerous. … I thought if I could make contact with the ball and just let the club go, I might get away with it. You know, in hindsight it would have been better to chip out sideways.” – Rory McIlroy, reflecting on his decision to hit his ball that was resting against a tree root on his third hole of the 93rd PGA Championship.

“He's a bloody walking ATM. I slid my AmEx (card) between the cheeks of his ass and out popped $500.” – David Feherty, at charity event, about Luke Donald, who ended up leading both the PGA and European Tours in earnings for 2011.

“To have been a part of something like Golf Channel since its inception has been remarkable. It’s a great place filled with many great people and headed for even bigger things.” – Kraig Kann, upon announcing his departure after 16 years at Golf Channel. Kann is now the LPGA’s chief communications officer.

“I’ve told him that he’s going to be on the team. … There is no reason for me to wait until Sept. 26 to pick Tiger. He’s the best player in the world forever.” – Fred Couples, on his official decision to use one of his two captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup on Tiger Woods, which he announced one month before he was required to.


Quotes of the Year - 2011


“You’re trying to survive. It’s desperation. … It’s sadistic. In a way it’s fun, if you’re into that (stuff).” – Ernie Els, on the nature of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

“Basically, when I was 2 1/2, my dad was late at home from work, and the trash guy out there, we called him a bin man. I don't know what you guys call the guy who collects the trash. My dad missed him. So he had to go to the skip, the dumpsters, I think you call them, to put all our trash away. I was always glued to my dad's side. So, I went with him, and I was sort of messing around trying to help. Being knee-high, I fell into the skip, and I was rolling around, and I found a golf club ... And that's how I started golf.” – England’s Stiggy Hodgson, a member of the GB&I Walker Cup team, on his auspicious start in the game of golf.

“I thought I had won on the second playoff hole and then he hits it out of the water to 2 feet. It seemed like he was destined to win this week.” – Hunter Mahan, after losing to Bill Haas and Haas' miraculous shot in a playoff at the Tour Championship.

'Because he's Tiger Woods. It's a no-brainer, isn't it?' – Joe LaCava, on his decision to leave Dustin Johnson’s bag and become Woods’ full-time looper.

'Well, I do have two young kids, enough said. And I go to (Los Angeles) Dodger games.' – Tiger Woods, when asked if he was ever planning on eating hot dogs again, after a fan threw a hot dog at him in the final round of the Frys.com Open.

“That was for Seve.” – Sergio Garcia, after his 11-shot victory at the Castello Masters in Spain, dedicating his first win in almost three years to his golfing idol, Seve Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in May.

'I'm surprised, but I'm old enough to know this happens.' – Chubby Chandler, upon hearing news that Rory McIlroy was leaving his International Sports Management company after a four-year relationship.

“For someone that grew up playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour and is a huge fan of the franchise, this is a great moment in my career.” – Rickie Fowler, on being voted to share the cover of the 2013 edition of EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game with Woods on copies sold in the U.S.

“I’m now the opposition. I’d love to see Martin go No. 1 and knock Luke off the perch.” – Christian Donald, brother and former caddie for Luke, on causing a little stir in the family with his vote of confidence for his boss these days, Martin Kaymer.

'He’s exactly what you like to see in a player. If everybody conducted themselves like Phil week in and week out, we’d be stronger yet.' – PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, sitting alongside Mickelson in the Hall of Fame announcement.

“It’s a plan but obviously if I don’t get clearance from Augusta, I am not going to do it.” – Jason Day, on wanting to spread his father's ashes at Augusta National. Alvyn Day, who gave Jason his start in golf, died of cancer when Jason was 12, and one of his final requests was that his son spread some of his ashes at Augusta if his son ever played there.

'It feels awesome. Today was a picture perfect day.' – Tiger Woods, after winning the Chevron World Challenge for his first win of any kind in more than two years. He birdied the final two holes to top Zach Johnson by a shot.

“Step outside and settle it.” – Robert Allenby, whose words were directed at fellow Aussie Geoff Ogilvy after the two got in a heated, public debate because of sarcastic comments Ogilvy wrote about Allenby on Twitter.

“I didn’t think it was possible to win the money lists on both tours. This was never going to be an easy week but it has capped off an amazing year for me.” – Luke Donald, on winning the European Tour money title along with the PGA Tour money title.

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.