Bunker Shots PGA Championship Week

By Randall MellAugust 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipAug. 13 is a special day. It isnt just the start of the PGA Championship. It was Ben Hogans birth date (1912). We set the storylines for the week ahead with the help of words from and about Hogan, who died July 25, 1997.
 
Slow play, slow burn?
 
I cant say anything. Everything I say gets blown up. ' Ben Hogan
 
Golfs on upset alert with the PGA Championship beginning Thursday at Hazeltine National Golf Club.
 
Tiger Woods is upset, we suspect, though its all a little confusing.
 
The worlds No. 1 player wasnt happy that he and Padraig Harrington were put on the clock in their Sunday duel at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. And he couldnt have been happy with a news report that the PGA Tour was fining him for public criticism of a rules official in the wake of his victory. He called it an erroneous report in his PGA Championship news conference Tuesday morning.
 
Following Harringtons meltdown after John Paramor announced at the 16th tee that Harrington and Woods were being put on the clock for slow play, Woods expressed his disappointment with the rules official.
 
Im sorry that John got in the way of a great battle, Woods said he told Harrington afterward.
 
The Associated Press reported Monday that the PGA Tour was fining him, but Woods denied that.
 
If there wasnt a fine, then certain fellow PGA Tour pros who have been fined for criticizing tournament or rules officials might be upset.
 
Fined or not, Woods was still disturbed Tuesday about Sundays slow play issue.
 
The way I understood it, we were the only two in contention to win the event, he said. We had separated ourselves. The winner was not going to come from the groups ahead, even though Robert [Allenby] played just a great round ahead of us. It was going to come from our group. And we were having a great battle... [Harrington] was 1-up with three holes to go and he had a par 5. And you know, when we were put on the clock, it certainly changed everything.
 

 
Somebody please check under Paddys hood
 
Concentration is the business side of golf. Swinging the golf club is incidental. I won more tournaments playing badly than I ever did playing good. I try to outwork em and I try to outmanage em. The shots I miss, they dont bother me because I anticipate those. Youre lucky if you hit three shots that you actually like in 18 holes. ' Ben Hogan
 
Padraig Harrington put this funny image in our heads this summer when he shared his fascination with a story about Howard Hughes. Harrington loved hearing how Hughes once tore apart a sports car as a teenager and then put it back together because he wanted to see how it worked.
 
Harrington said the same analytical interest applied to the swing changes he made after winning the British Open and the PGA Championship last year.
 
The image Harrington put in our heads, given the shaky state of his swing a few weeks ago, was that of a man who put a sports car back together only to discover he had lost the steering wheel. With Harrington appearing to have found his steering wheel through three rounds at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, we discovered Sunday that he may now be missing the speedometer.
 
The PGA Championships defending champion could use a good mechanics once over before he tees it up Thursday at Hazeltine National, though we expect hes got all the right pieces in all the right places again.
 

 
Cink looks like a dangerous man
 
People have always been telling me what I cant do. I guess I have wanted to show them. Thats been one of my driving forces all my life. ' Ben Hogan
 
When Stewart Cink missed that short putt at the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills, the damage to his confidence seemed to stay with him a long time.
 
Hes carrying the memory of yet another important putt with him now, only this time the staying power is all good.
 
The terrific putt Cink made at the 72nd hole to get into a playoff that won him the British Open last month appears to have super charged his confidence. This made putts force is every bit as powerful as that missed putts. His soaring confidence makes him a dangerous man as he seeks back-to-back major championship victories. He tied for 10th the last time the PGA Championship was staged at Hazeltine.
 

 
Tiger, Jack and Walter
 
In 1950, [Hogan] began to take on the miracle-man aura. Small crowds that included a number of his fellow pros would gather around him and try to watch his every move anytime he started hitting practice balls. ' Cary Middlecoff on Hogan
 
With a victory this week, Tiger Woods will claim his fifth Wanamaker Trophy, tying Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen for most PGA Championship titles.
 
A victory also will mark the fifth consecutive year that he has won a major. Walter Hagen is the only pro to have won majors in more consecutive years. Hagen won in six from 1924-29.
 

 
Beems one-shot wondering
 
Reverse every natural instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing. ' Ben Hogan
 
Rich Beem figuratively stared down Woods to win the PGA Championship the last time it was at Hazeltine.
 
Though Beem wasnt paired with Woods that Sunday seven years ago, he knew who was chasing him. Beem won by a shot with Woods in front of him closing out his round with four consecutive birdies. It was a big deal at a time when NBC analyst Johnny Miller was criticizing players of the era for lying down for Woods.
 
This week, Beem will literally have to look Woods in the eye to win. Theyre together with Harrington in a grouping for the first two rounds. Beem, a three-time PGA Tour winner, hasnt won another title since his PGA Championship, hasnt finished among the top 100 in money in the last five seasons and is ranked 259th in the world. He isnt faring so well again this season, having made just three of his last nine cuts and ranking 131st in the FedEx Cup race, which is outside the playoff cutoff with two events left.
 

 
Presidents Cup berths on the line
 
'You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but I was enjoying myself. I couldnt wait to get up in the morning, so I could hit balls. When Im hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply, its a joy that very few people experience. ' Ben Hogan
 
The Presidents Cup teams for the United States and the Internationals will be decided with the conclusion of the PGA Championship.
 
The top 10 in points ' based on money accumulated from the beginning of the 2008 season ' for the Americans earn automatic roster spots with Captain Fred Couples adding two picks. Here are the top 15:
 
1) Tiger Woods 2) Phil Mickelson 3) Steve Stricker 4) Kenny Perry 5) Zach Johnson 6) Stewart Cink 7) Sean OHair 8) Jim Furyk 9) Anthony Kim 10) Justin Leonard 11) Brian Gay 12) Hunter Mahan 13) Lucas Glover 14) Nick Watney 15) Jerry Kelly
 
For the Internationals, the top 10 off the world rankings earn automatic roster spots with Captain Greg Norman adding two picks. Heres the top 15 this week:
 
1) Geoff Ogilvy 2) Vijay Singh 3) Camillo Villegas 4) Retief Goosen 5) Ernie Els 6) Angel Cabrera 7) Mike Weir 8) Robert Allenby 9) Tim Clark 10) Rory Sabbatini 11) Jeev Milkha Singh 12) Shingo Katayama 13) Adam Scott 14) Matthew Goggin 15) Thongchai Jaidee
 
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.