Hooks Cuts Faldo to Phil

By Rich LernerOctober 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
  • Nick Faldos engineered the most remarkable personality transformation since George Foreman went from sullen bully to lovable teddy bear.
     
  • Whats the moment of the year in golf? Tiger breaking down in tears at the British Open? Daren Clarke holing a chip shot at the Ryder Cup? Sadly, its probably Phil Mickelson picking his ball out of the cup on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot -- the course of golf history so radically altered inside of 10 tragic minutes.
     
  • Lee Trevino offers this Ryder Cup fix: Make Tiger Woods the playing captain and let him pick whichever 11 guys he wants.
     
  • As it turns out, this was not, as expected, the year for the young stars on the LPGA, but rather for the established Hall of Fame members. Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer are winless, while Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb have recaptured greatness.
     
  • Hard to imagine that Coke, which sponsors the TOUR Championship, and Mercedes Benz, attaching its name and considerable dollars to the 07 season opener, are too thrilled with Mickelsons decision to stay home. Majors, not money, motivate Phil. Some of us would swim to Hawaii to stay in the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and play for a million.
     
  • Alex Hay, formerly the lyrical voice of the BBC, on Faldo: He used to say very little. Now you cant get him to stop talking.
     
  • Eyebrows are raised when Jack Nicklaus is mentioned as a possible Ryder Cup captain for 2008. Whats the difference? Hell, make Jack Black the captain, or Jack Daniels for that matter.
     
  • With both Tiger and Phil on different planets, golfs so starved for a new, charismatic, young American superstar whos willing to play in Houston and Greensboro and Memphis.
     
  • There are already 77 players on The PGA TOUR whove earned at least a million dollars this year, raising the question: Is the huge money making guys so comfortable that its killing that burning desire to actually win golf tournaments?
     
  • Lets amend the previous idea that Tigers on another planet. Hes actually in an unknown galaxy. His current win streak, longest in a calendar season since Hogan won six straight in 48, gives Tiger at least a half dozen of the 12 to 15 greatest achievements in golf history. In no particular order, lets obviously submit Jones grand slam; Jacks 18 majors; Nelsons 11 in a row; Hogans triple major season of 1953; and Sneads 81 PGA TOUR victories. Then, without argument, can we safely include the following from Tiger: four consecutive majors; U.S. Open by 15 in 2000; Masters at 21 by 12; three U.S. Amateurs in a row; 67.79 scoring average in 2000; the career slam at 24; first ever with three seasons of eight victories or more; and six in a row, not once but twice? Oh, and hes now won multiple majors in back-to-back seasons, each worthy of consideration in the discussion of the handful of greatest single seasons ever.
     
  • Finally, something to chew on from the late, great Byron Nelson: We had to play every week to make a living. We played because we loved to play. We were family, really. Today the players see each other only at the first tee and practice tee. In our day, when we left Phoenix, Louise and I would tell Valerie and Ben (Hogan) wed stop at Las Cruces, New Mexico, at a little bus stop that specialized in tamales.
     
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.