Big names colliding at Doral

By Rex HoggardMarch 7, 2012, 11:34 pm

DORAL, Fla. – Imagine the possibilities: tee sheets riddled with more intrigue than an episode of “Grim” and enough volatility to set the World Golf Ranking on its side, again.

Imagine the possibilities if the math and mojo lineup. It’s happened here before, back when Doral was more South Beach than Sawgrass. Before the WGC cut Doral’s field in half and turned a true South Florida soiree into something a little more sterile.

In Cliff’s Note form, No. 2-ranked Tiger Woods went into the final round of the 2005 Ford Championship two strokes adrift of No. 4 Phil Mickelson, they turned all square, Woods pulled away with a birdie at the 17th and Lefty’s chip at the last that would have forced a playoff lipped out. Pandemonium ensued.

For good measure, No. 1 Vijay Singh finished tied for third place in 2005 but it wasn’t enough to keep Woods at bay and the Fijian slipped to No. 2 in the world.

It was as good as golf gets this side of Magnolia Lane.

These type of events rarely go to script and no matter how hard the PGA Tour contrives, there is no way to ensure magic. But on the eve of the year’s second World Golf Championship it’s impossible not to imagine the possibilities.

In order, Thursday’s tee sheet at Doral features an in-form Woods and Mickelson, a newly crowned world No. 1 and enough ranking points to allow for another overhaul of the world order on Sunday if the tumblers fall as prescribed.

Per custom, world Nos. 1, 2 and 3 will set out together on Thursday and it is a measure of how much subtext is swirling through the South Florida air this week that it’s not even the day’s most-compelling three-ball.

That honor belongs to Woods, who will play with defending champion Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia. Or maybe it’s Mickelson who tees off with WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship winner Hunter Mahan and Adam Scott.

It’s all enough to make reporters forget about Hank Haney’s impending book on Woods, at least temporarily.

In the last month Mickelson outdueled Woods, among others, at Pebble Beach and finished runner-up at Northern Trust Open, Woods closed with a 62 on Sunday at the Honda Classic for his best Tour finish (T-2) since 2009 and Rory McIlroy overtook Luke Donald atop the World Ranking with his win at PGA National.

“We have not had somebody play to the level of Tiger and so now we have four, five, six guys that are battling for the No. 1 spot it seems like monthly,” Mickelson said. “I don’t know where it will all settle.”

It doesn’t seem likely the ranking roulette will end any time soon with little let up in most players schedules through the Masters. Woods and Mickelson will play Bay Hill before the year’s first major, while McIlroy has planned a three-week hiatus before arriving at Augusta National which promises to only add to the ranking volatility.

Paul Casey has spent the last two months on the DL coming to grips with his inner couch potato following a snowboarding accident that dislocated his right shoulder. He doesn’t cherish the role of spectator but, all things considered, he picked an interesting time to become a bystander.

“I actually watched. I watched (Northern Trust), I watched the Match Play. Watched a bunch of stuff in the Middle East,” Casey said. “I’ve never done that before. It was very inspiring to watch and sort of thinking, I’ve won Abu Dhabi.”

But if the stars seem aligned for a Duel at Doral II, Woods sidestepped the hopeful hyperbole on Wednesday, pointing out that only the names on the tee sheet have changed, not the stakes.

“I’ve been in the same situation before,” Woods cautioned. “It was Vijay (Singh), myself, Phil and Ernie were all going at it for a number of years. So now it’s just a different crop of guys.”

Better than anyone Woods knows the dangers of unrealistic expectations. Despite the litany of intriguing story lines this week fate remains undefeated. In 2005 it took more than just opportunity to deliver a historic Sunday and karma, not ranking math or recent form, has the ultimate vote.

Still, considering this week’s lineup it’s easy to imagine the possibilities.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


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

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.