Ten stories I hope come true in 2013

By Randall MellJanuary 1, 2013, 1:00 pm

Nostradamus offered no meaningful help in trying to see what may unfold in the 2013 golf season.

He didn’t even foresee the upheaval the proposed banning of anchored putters would cause this year.

Jeane Dixon didn’t offer any help, either. She failed to predict the monumental change at Augusta National this year with the club inviting its first two women as members.

The Mayans were also no help forecasting the season ahead, but, of course, they didn’t think there would even be a season.

So here’s one attempt to look ahead, not so much as prophecy, but as hopeful wishing for some over-the-top storylines to mesmerize us yet again this year. Here are 10 dreamy stories that would intrigue if they were actually to unfold in the new year:

Monty aims to be the real Great Scot

In a surprising but strategically bold maneuver aimed to counter the Americans naming Tom Watson as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, the European Tour announced that Colin Montgomerie will return as the Euro captain when the competition is played at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014. Watson won four of his five British Opens in Scotland. Montgomerie, born in Glasgow, is one of Europe’s most decorated Ryder Cup stars and captained the Euros to a victory in Wales in 2010.

Mickelson wins California Slam

Phil Mickelson won the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, completing the California Slam. Mickelson’s victory was his fourth in four starts with Lefty winning every California PGA Tour stop on this year’s West Coast swing. He won the Humana Challenge, the Farmers Insurance Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am before claiming the title at Riviera.

One from the heart: Compton wins at Doral

Erik Compton, golf’s only real miracle man, won his hometown event, claiming the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. The two-time heart transplant recipient, who qualified for the WGC event piling up FedEx Cup points with a hot run on the West Coast, was the No. 1 junior growing up in Miami. His triumph was celebrated as the most emotional in tournament history since Ray Floyd won at Doral after his Miami home burned down.

Wie finds her oasis in the desert

Michelle Wie, coming off the most difficult season of her highly scrutinized career, delivered a message heard 'round the world in women’s golf by winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Wie, the former child prodigy whose future seemed uncertain with her slump in 2012, broke through to win her first major in the most watched telecast in the history of women’s golf.

Kingdom comes: McIlroy defeats Woods in final-round Masters duel

Rory McIlroy birdied the 72nd hole to defeat Tiger Woods by one shot at The Masters. McIlroy and Woods traded a flurry of titanic golf blows on Augusta National’s back nine that will go down as a duel for the ages. Winning a spirited game of one-upsmanship shot making, McIlroy claimed his second consecutive major by outlasting Woods in the final pairing together. The victory gives McIlroy three legs of the career grand slam before his 24th birthday.

Red, white and Lexi: Young American wins first major

Lexi Thompson won the Wegmans LPGA Championship to become the youngest winner of a major championship in the history of women’s golf. Thompson was 18 years, 3 months and 29 days old when she claimed the title at Locust Hill.

The master schools the boy king: Woods takes down McIlroy at Merion

Tiger Woods defeated Rory McIlroy to win the U.S. Open by a single shot after their 18-hole Monday playoff at Merion was extended an extra hole. Two months after losing a heart-wrenching duel with McIlroy at Augusta National, Woods answered back, claiming his 15th major championship, his first in five years. Woods moved to within three of equaling Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship titles.

Tseng hits a grand slam, sort of

Yani Tseng, rebounding from a second-half slump in the 2012 season, won the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack to complete the career grand slam in women’s golf, sort of. With the Evian Masters becoming a major in September, there will soon be a fifth leg to the career grand slam in the women’s game. Nevertheless, Tseng’s triumph is notable because the U.S. Women’s Open had been her most elusive prize.

Cool Hand Luke breaks through at Muirfield

Luke Donald’s no longer the best player without a major championship title. Dogged by questions as to whether he was worthy of a No. 1 ranking without having won a major championship, Donald unburdened himself, winning the British Open at Muirfield. He becomes the first Englishman to win the British Open since Nick Faldo won at Muirfield 21 years ago.

A hot English summer

A month after Donald broke through to win his first major, fellow Englishman Lee Westwood did the same, winning the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Like Donald, Westwood was plagued with questions as to whether he was the best player without a major championship. At 40, he will endure the speculation no more.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.