Hot Seat: Wie bit spicy

By Randall MellFebruary 14, 2012, 3:14 pm

You might want to loosen your collars, folks, it gets steamy in this space.

It’s time again to see who is taking their places on golf’s Hot Seat.

Here’s our special heat index with the PGA Tour moving to the Northern Trust Open at Riviera and the LPGA heading to the Honda LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club:

Spicy Thai curry delight – Michelle Wie

Wie makes her 2012 debut this week at the Honda LPGA Thailand in Chonburri.

A year ago, Wie finished second in this event to Yani Tseng, equaling her best finish of the year in her first winless LPGA season since her rookie campaign.

No matter what happens on the golf course, this is a big year for Wie. She will get her degree with a major in communications, graduating from Stanford this spring. Getting the college education was an important goal for the 22-year-old star.

Wie fans are hoping the freedom to focus solely on golf later this season will inspire a big year on the course.

A two-time LPGA winner, Wie has slipped to No. 17 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, making her the sixth highest-ranked American behind Cristie Kerr (No. 4), Paula Creamer (No. 5), Brittany Lincicome (No. 8), Stacy Lewis (No. 9) and Morgan Pressel (No. 16). Wie will be looking to become a factor in the majors again this year. She recorded seven top-10 finishes in her first 11 major championship appearances. She has logged just one in her last 16. A key factor in that is how she’s getting along with her putter. Wie went to a belly putter last summer, experimenting with a variety of grips.

Spencer Levin

China Syndrome – Whoever holds the 54-hole lead for the Northern Trust Open’s final round.

So whose turn is it to melt down next?

Who will be sentenced to sleeping on the third-round lead come Saturday night at Riviera?

If a recent trend of collapses continues, the PGA Tour might want to consider assigning a priest or rabbi to the locker room to meet with the condemned . . . ah, sorry, the 54-hole leader. The Tour also might want to consider showing some mercy on the poor fellow and drape a hood over his head when he steps to the first tee.

The leaders going off last on Sundays at PGA Tour events have the look of the doomed lately.

Brandt Snedeker came from seven shots back to beat Kyle Stanley in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open three weeks ago.

Stanley came from eight shots back to win two weekends ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Phil Mickelson came from six back to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this past weekend.

Luke Donald

Baja fever – Luke Donald

The world No. 1 makes his 2012 PGA Tour debut at the Northern Trust Open looking to get off to a better start than he did in Europe.

Donald, who last year became the first player to win the money titles in the same season as a member of both the PGA Tour and European Tour, made a lackluster start on the European Tour two weeks ago. He tied for 48th at Abu Dhabi, finishing 12 shots behind the winner, Robert Rock.

While Donald has some good showings at Riviera, he missed the cut there last year. Before that, though, he finished second, T-6 and T-3.

Aaron Baddeley

Santa Ana wind – Aaron Baddeley

The defending champ always faces some pressure trying to make sure he shakes all the right hands and appears in all the right places in his return.

Baddeley will be looking to become the eighth back-to-back winner in Northern Trust Open history. The others? Phil Mickelson (2008-09), Mike Weir (2003-04), Corey Pavin (1994-95), Arnold Palmer (1966-67), Paul Harney (1964-65), Ben Hogan (1947-48) and MacDonald Smith (1928-29).

Baddeley arrives in good form this week. He was solo fourth last week at Pebble Beach.

Jason Gore

Twitter fever – Jason Gore

With so many folks rooting on the big guy, there’s likely some pressure on Gore in wanting to perform well for all the fans who got him into the Northern Trust Open.

Gore is playing on a sponsor’s exemption, an honor he won with the help of Twitter followers, who mounted a Tweet campaign to get him to Riviera this week.

Back on Jan. 8, Gore tweeted this: “Just signed up for the @ntrustopen qualifier, but you have NO IDEA how stoked I'd be to get a sponsors invitation! #myhometown #mymajor.”

Four days later, the Northern Trust Open offered Gore a spot in the field. Tournament officials then tweeted that news.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.