A Quick Round with Alvaro Quiros

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2010, 9:45 pm

PGA Tour pros stop on the range and watch Alvaro Quiros hit balls more than they do just about any other player.

It happened again last week at the WGC-CA Championship at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral.

The 27-year-old Spaniard is as much a spectacle as he is a player because he hits it places other pros can’t, like off the rooftop of the Jim McLean Golf Center at the back of the range at Doral, or over the rooftop.

At 6 feet 3, with his long, whiplash of a swing, Quiros led the field in driving distance for the week at Doral, averaging 316 yards per smash, but he’s becoming about more than titanic drives. He’s a three-time European Tour winner who tied for sixth at the WGC-CA Championship, his best finish in a PGA Tour event. He is getting more time in the United States because he has climbed among the top 50 in the world rankings (No. 33 this week), which gets him into majors and World Golf Championships.

Quiros is this week's subject in a Quick Round:

Many of us imagine your swing thoughts must be something like “Kill” or “Decimate” or “Destroy” because you hit the ball so far. Are we close?

No, no, no. I try to be coordinated, to have balance with my swing and the speed.

So you aren’t imagining a missile launch when you waggle over the ball?

No, lately, I’ve been focusing on hitting the ball straight.

Where does your power come from? Is there some sort of hyper-alloy, skeletal-combat chassis beneath your skin?

I have long arms, but what’s important is the coordination and balance with the speed. It’s impossible to hit it long without that.

Is your power a gift, or can normal human beings learn to hit it long?

You can learn. If you are a child, and you practice to swing fast always, the power will come.

I’m guilty of something here and wonder if it annoys you. The focus on your power, does it bother you because it overshadows what a strong player you are becoming? You just tied for sixth at Doral.

I understand. I know people focus on my strength and that’s all, but I think as you become a better player, they start to realize how good you are. So I have to be a better player and people will realize.

What’s the most underrated part of your game?

I’m very skillful around the greens.

What are you working on most right now?

My pace, I play too quickly.

I’ve read where you’re trying to play smarter. There’s been so much focus on young players laying up this year. You hate laying up, don’t you?

Yes, and that’s cost me a lot. If it’s impossible to go for it, I will lay up, but if I know I have even a small chance of getting there, I always go for it. I’m learning.

You were paired with Tom Watson at the Dubai Desert Classic. What did you learn from him?

I learned even if you hit it shorter, you can make a lot of birdies. If I was north, he was south. You could feel how smart he was playing. At the par 5s, he didn’t need to be the closest to the green to make 4s. It’s something I have to learn.

European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie says he has his eye on you, that you’re a player he “wants to see mature into a Ryder Cup player.” You are 10th on the European world points list (top four qualify) and 16th on the European points list (top five qualify). How important is making the team for the October matches in Wales?

Yes, it’s on my mind. It would be one of the most important tournaments that I’d play. At the same time, to be honest, it’s so far away. My scores aren’t what they need to be to play the Ryder Cup today.

You’re becoming more recognized in the United States. Do you want to play the PGA Tour?

I would like to establish myself over here. It’s something I have on my mind, but it’s not going to be possible this year because it is a Ryder Cup year. Also, I have to be happy here. To be honest, I feel lonely here. If I’m going to suffer here, it’s not a good thing. I’m very happy around Europe and being around my colleagues and being in the top 50 in the world. The real tests, I know, are world Golf Championships and majors.

What’s hardest about playing in the United States right now?

Missing family, friends, the culture is different. We have different ways, you know.

What do you like about the United States?

People love spectacular things here, they love action.

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Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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Webb granted special exemption for U.S. Women's Open

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

"As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.

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Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

“Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

“Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

“And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

“So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1, leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

8/1: Tiger Woods

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

50/1: Alex Noren

60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner