Bunker Shots Hello and Goodbye

By Randall MellApril 27, 2010, 6:24 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from Tiger Woods’ return to the regular stage to Lorena Ochoa’s goodbye as a tour regular ...

PGA Tour (75x100)PGA TOUR

Quail Hollow Championship

How about if we pick up where we left off at the Masters?

With Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim and Lee Westwood in the field, the cast that created so much weekend drama at Augusta National is back together at Quail Hollow.

The focus on Woods promises to be about more than golf yet again. This marks the first time he’ll tee it up in a regular PGA Tour event since news of his marital infidelities rocked the golf world. He’ll meet the media again Wednesday a little after noon Eastern time. The traditional golf media outlets will be joined this week by news crews from CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC. The entertainment news media, however, won’t be there. Inside Edition and Extra were among gossip-style programs that were denied credentials after missing April 2 deadlines for applying to cover the event.

Bunker shot: Nobody’s watching Woods more closely than his fellow Tour pros. At Doral, Graeme McDowell said what most players are thinking. He said players would be looking for signs of vulnerability when Woods returned. They would be looking to see if Woods appeared to have lost any of the intangible gifts that have made him so dominant his entire career. He said if Woods doesn’t win quickly, players would begin to believe his “force field” has weakened. McDowell, though, also said he expects Woods will quickly assert himself. What ought to worry Woods’ peers is how terribly rusty Woods looked in his return at the Masters, specifically at the start of the final round, and yet still managed to threaten with a Sunday push. He looked just a couple dabs of polish from regaining his winning form.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Tiger Woods. Contender – Phil Mickelson. Darkhorse – Jason Dufner.

  • Course: Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte. N.C. Par 72, 7,447 yards. (Designed by George Cobb in 1961, modified by Arnold Palmer in 1986 and redesigned by Tom Fazio in 1997 and ’03).
  • Purse: $6.5 million (winner’s share, $1,170,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m. (ET); Saturday-Sunday, CBS, 3-6 p.m. (ET)
  • Last year: Sean O’Hair (11-under, 277) came from three shots back starting the final round to win, finishing a shot ahead of Lucas Glover and Bubba Watson.

LPGA Tour _newLPGA

Tres Marias Championship

Lorena Ochoa’s farewell as a full-time player is this week’s big story.

Ochoa, who announced her retirement Friday, won’t return to the LPGA again until she plays in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November. The love that Mexico will pour out on its favorite daughter will be palpable. The perfect ending would be an Ochoa victory, and it wouldn’t constitute a fairy-tale finish, but definitely a feel-good finish. Ochoa is still the No. 1 ranked player in women’s golf and a favorite this week. She’s the defending champ.

Bunker shot: The week’s subplot is nearly as compelling as the main storyline. Who wants to step up as Ochoa’s successor? It’s the question even LPGA pros are asking. The favorites to assume the No. 1 ranking are all foreign born. South Korea’s Jiyai Shin, Taiwan’s Yani Tseng and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen were challenging even before Ochoa announced her retirement. Japan’s Ai Miyazato has shown strong signs she’s game and willing. Among Americans, the curiosity centers on Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie. Kerr, 32, is the most decorated American with a chance, and she fiercely desires the crown, but Wie, 20, is the great American hope with all that potential working for her. Paula Creamer, out mending a thumb injury, will be looking to work herself into the conversation with her return expected in June and Angela Stanford has the tools. There’s a statement waiting to be made this week.     

Mell’s picks: Winner – Lorena Ochoa. Contender – Suzann Pettersen. Darkhorse – Vicky Hurst.

  • Course: Tres Marias Country Club, Morelia, Mexico. Par 73, 6,539 yards (Designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 2004).
  • Purse: $1.3 million (winner’s share, $195,000).
  • TV times: No TV.
  • Last year: Lorena Ochoa (25-under 267) finished a shot ahead of Suzann Pettersen.


2009 European TourEUROPEAN TOUR

Open de Espana

No Spaniard’s won the national event since Sergio Garcia in 2002.

There’s no shortage of Spanish contenders for the title with Miguel Angel Jimenez, Alvaro Quiros, Pablo Martin, Pablo Larrazabal, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Rafael Cabrera-Bello in the field.  

Bunker shot: With European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie playing, there will be bids to win his favor. For the first time since 1995, a European captain will have more than two picks to fill out his team. Montgomerie will have three. If the teams were decided today, here’s who is in, based on points: Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Ross McGowan, Martin Kaymer, Simon Dyson, Paul Casey and Oliver Wilson. Here’s who would be out and in need of the captain’s favor: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Graeme McDowell, Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Edoardo Molinari and Alvaro Quiros. The tougher the choices, the better Montgomerie’s team will look. And this looks like a formidable opponent for the Americans come early October at Celtic Manor.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Francesco Molinari. Contender – Alvaro Quiros. Darkhorse – Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

  • Course: Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain. Par 72, 7,140 yards (Designed by Jose Maria Olazabal and opened in 1991).
  • Purse: $2 million euros, about $2.66 million (winner’s share 330,330 euros, about $443,000)
  • TV times: Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 9:30-12:30 a.m. (ET); Saturday-Sunday, 8:30-11:30 a.m. (ET).
  • Last year: Thomas Levet (18-under 270) finished two shots better than Fabrizio Zanotti.


Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic

Looking for their best form, Champions Tour pros have just two events before the major championship season begins.

The Senior PGA Championship is the first of their five majors and will be played May 27-30 at Colorado Golf Club.

Bunker shot: When Tiger Woods doesn’t play your event on the PGA Tour, it’s disappointing. It’s compounded on the Champions Tour when the top draw doesn’t just pass on your event but plays in a competing event in the United States. That’s what’s happening this week with Fred Couples playing at Quail Hollow on the PGA Tour. 

Mell’s picks: Winner – Bernhard Langer. Contender – Jay Haas. Darkhorse – Mike Reid.

  • Course: Fallen Oak Golf Club, Saucier, Miss. Par 72, 7,054 yards, (Designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 2006).
  • Purse: $1.6 million (winner’s share, $240,000).
  • TV times: Friday, Golf Channel, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (ET); Saturday, Golf Channel, 6:30-9:30 p.m. (ET); Sunday, Golf Channel, 7-9:30 p.m. (ET).
  • Last year: This is the inaugural event.


Stadion Athens Classic at UGA

Australian Ewan Porter rocketed from dead last on the Nationwide Tour money list ($0 in earnings) to No. 6 with his victory at the South Georgia Classic last week. His first cut made this year was a victory. A quarter into the season, he’ll be working to remain in the top 25 in money and earn a promotion to the PGA Tour next year.

This marks the fifth straight year the Nationwide Tour stops in Athens, Ga., but its first at the University of Georgia Golf Course.

Bunker shot: If you like rooting for the working class man, Matt Peterson’s your guy. He’s moonlighting big time. He’s got three jobs this week, including trying to win the tournament. Peterson is the head professional at the UGA Golf Course. He’s also the assistant tournament director. His third job is as a player. He played his way into the field through a local PGA qualifier.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Chris Kirk. Contender – Bobby Gates. Darkhorse – Miguel Angel Carballo.

  • Course: University of Georgia Golf Course, Athens, Ga. Par 71, 7,240 yards (Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., opened in 1968).
  • Purse: $550,000 (winner’s share, $99,000).
  • TV times: No TV.
  • Last year: Patrick Sheehan (14-under 274) birdied the first playoff hole to defeat Michael Sim at the Athens Regional Foundation Classic.
Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.