Bunker Shots The Return of Hunter

By Randall MellOctober 19, 2010, 11:00 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from the return of Hunter Mahan and Michelle Wie to “bubble boy” mania.

PGA TOURPGA Tour (75x100)

Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Hunter Mahan has wiped away the tears and now the moving on begins in earnest.

In his first appearance since the American Ryder Cup loss thrust him into the final, cruel spotlight in Wales, Mahan looks to shake the sour memory and start making new ones again. It’s critical to building on the bright, promising outlook he brought to the Ryder Cup. He arrived in Wales riding the crest of his best PGA Tour season with two victories this year.

Playing the pivotal anchor match with the Ryder Cup on the line, Mahan lost to Graeme McDowell. In time, the end of Europe’s Ryder Cup victory should be remembered more for McDowell’s clutch birdie at the 16th hole than Mahan’s chunked chip at the 17th. With Mahan 2 down with two holes to play, his last ballooned tee shot and failed chip were more Hail Mary shots than anything else. McDowell all but clinched the Ryder Cup when he rolled in that pressure-packed 15-foot birdie a hole earlier. Still, Mahan’s perspective on how it all ended is ultimately more important in how he moves on that what anyone else thinks. He beats the memory or it beats him.

“I played with Hunter in the first two matches,” Zach Johnson said. “He carried me most of the first match and portions of the second. He probably played as well or better than anybody on our team. The end, it’s unfortunate, but I think it’s going to make Hunter a better player. There’s no doubt in my mind, which is kind of scary, because he’s already really good.

“Hunter took it hard, but that’s because every fiber and piece of him went into the Ryder Cup. As anyone on that team will say, we didn’t lose the Ryder Cup because of that match. That is the furthest thing from the truth. We had a lot of opportunities.”

Bunker shot: It feels like this could be Rickie Fowler’s week. This event has a history of crowning first-time winners with the last six champions claiming their first PGA Tour titles. Plus, it’s a home game for Fowler, who moved to Las Vegas upon turning pro. Fowler’s showing an ability to close hard, though he’s still looking to close down a pro title. Fowler made birdies at three of his final seven holes Sunday at the Frys.com Open, but it was only good enough for a fourth-place finish after Rocco Mediate’s remarkable hole out for eagle at the 71st hole all but clinched the title. Fowler birdied his last four holes at the Ryder Cup to steal a half point from Edoardo Molinari.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Rickie Fowler. Contender – Anthony Kim. Dark horse – Kevin Streelman.

Course: TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nev. Par 71, 7,223 yards.

Purse: $4.3 million (winner’s share, $756,000).

TV times: Golf Channel – Thursday-Sunday, 5-8 p.m.

Last year: Martin Laird won in a playoff with a birdie at the third extra hole, outlasting George McNeill and Chad Campbell.


LPGA 

LPGA Tour _new

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia

The battle for No. 1 is renewed in the women’s game.

Ai Miyazato is atop the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for the ninth consecutive week, the longest streak since Lorena Ochoa stepped away from the game in April. Miyazato’s been atop the rankings 11 weeks overall, one week more than Jiyai Shin as the most weeks at No. 1 since Ochoa’s retirement.

Cristie Kerr will be looking to reassert American rule over the rankings by taking back the No. 1 spot on foreign soil. Kerr’s been atop the rankings for four weeks this year.

Bunker shot: The last time we saw Michelle Wie, everything in her game appeared to be coming together for the hottest run of her LPGA career. She won the CN Canadian Women’s Open in late August and finished second at the P&G NW Arkansas Championship in her next start, but then her summer ended. She returned to Stanford to resume her studies. The big question is whether the layoff and long trip to Malaysia cools her down. Wie also plans to play next week’s LPGA Hana Bank Championship in South Korea and then it’s back to school again. It’s possible this week’s winner could be squeezing birdies in between homework assignments.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Yani Tseng. Contender – Michelle Wie. Dark horse – Mika Miyazato.

Course: Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Par 71, 6,192 yards.

Purse: $1.8 million (winner’s share, $270,000). It’s a 54-hole event with a limited field (60 players) and no cut.

TV times: Golf Channel – Friday-Sunday, noon - 2 p.m.

Last year: Inaugural event.


Champions Tour

CHAMPIONS TOUR

Administaff Small Business Classic

Steve Lowery makes his debut on the Champions Tour this week.

Lowery, who turned 50 last week, is a three-time PGA Tour winner who doesn’t have to think back very far to remember what it takes to win. His last title came at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2008.

Bunker shot: Watch out for Fred Couples. It’s another homecoming for him. Almost three months after he returned to his Seattle roots for the U.S. Senior Open, Couples makes a return to Houston, where he played collegiately. Couples claimed the last of his 15 PGA Tour titles at the Shell Houston Open in 2003.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Fred Couples. Contender – Bernhard Langer. Dark horse – Steve Lowery.

Course: The Woodlands Country Club, the Woodlands, Texas. Par 72, 7,018 yards.

Purse: $1.7 million (winner’s share, $255,000).

TV times: Golf Channel – Friday-Sunday, 8:30 -10:30 p.m.

Last year: John Cook won, finishing two shots ahead of Jay Haas and Bob Tway.


NATIONWIDE TOURNationwide Tour

Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open

Nationwide Tour pros’ quest to win PGA Tour cards is winding down to the final two events.

The top 60 on the money list after this week’s inaugural event at PGA Tour headquarters advance to the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship next week at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C. That means there is a pair of “bubble boys” this week. Patrick Sheehan sits on one bubble at No. 60 on the money list. The top 60 in money at season’s end earn fully exempt Nationwide Tour status next year. Chris Nallen sits on another bubble at No. 25 on the money list. The top 25 money winners after the Nationwide Tour Championship concludes win PGA Tour cards.

Bunker shot: Jason Gore, who won last week’s Miccosukee Championship for his Nationwide Tour record seventh career title, has more work to do to make it back to the PGA Tour, where he won the 84 Lumber Classic five years ago. Gore jumped from 124th on the Tour’s money list to 39th winning in Miami last week. He’s still $43,842 away from cracking the coveted top 25 in money.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Jamie Lovemark. Contender – Chris Kirk. Dark horse – Colt Knost.

Course: TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Par 72, 6,864 yards.

Purse: $600,000 (winner’s share, $108,000).

TV times: Golf Channel – No TV.

Last year: Inaugural event.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

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

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


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