Hooks Cuts From Maui

By Rich LernerJanuary 10, 2009, 5:00 pm
  • Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas walked down the first fairway at Kapalua in lock step on Thursday, single guys in their 20s with millions banked and the Pacific spread out before them. On top of the world, they were. One or two indifferent rounds to start the season wont change that.
     
  • Saw Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Having grown up watching Pedro Morales pummel Crazy Luke Graham at the Little Palestra in Allentown, Pa., the film really struck a raw chord. Rourkes look and performance are startling.
     
  • Not long ago there was a sense that Camilos career might resemble Anna Kournikovas ' great looking but without great achievement. No ones thinking that now.
     
  • If Vince McMahon was recruiting golfers for Wrestlemania hed take Ernie Els as a big guy who could do damage with a forearm shiver and Anthony Kim as the acrobatic high flyer coming off the top rope.
     
  • There are a lot nice places in the world, but nice in Hawaii is nicer than nice in most spots. Make sense?
     
  • Jim Thorpe recounts a Tiger tale thats worth noting. Jim rolled into Isleworth recently for a round. Tiger was hitting 30-yard pitch shots at breakfast. Some four hours later, when Thorpe finished playing, Tiger was in the same spot working away. Thorpe says Tiger wins at Bethpage this June by double digits.
     
  • The more I talk to Trevor Immelman the more I like him long term. Pointing out that he just cant be brash, Trevor told me that golfs too hard and too humbling to be making bold public pronouncements about winning. Everyone, he said, gets knocked on their rear in this game. Everyone, he added, but Tiger.
     
  • For appearance, Camilos closer to Sergio or Ian Poulter, strutting in those clingy, bold colors. But for personality, hes closer to Padraig ' steady, quietly going about his business and completely driven.
     
  • Played hoops with Parker McLauglin, whose dad, Chris, coached President-elect Obama on the Punahou state title team of the late 70s in Honolulu. Last week when Mr. Obama was back in Hawaii Chris organized a reunion game and invited Parker. His scouting report on The Big O: likes to go to his left (no surprise); feathery touch from 15; unselfish and will find open man; and for those concerned about national security credentials, hes solid defensively.
     
  • Id be surprised if Davis Love III doesnt return to at least the top 30 by mid-year.
     
  • Els sharing travel tales remembers that on long flights across Africa in earlier model private planes, hed have to make frequent re-fueling stops in some remote outposts that did business in rather crude fashion. Often times Ernie had to trade vodka for fuel. That raises the question: Just how much white lightning was the Big Easy rolling with when he trekked from say, Los Angeles to Johannesburg? In travel terms, there are layovers and then there are hangovers!
     
  • Camilos girlfriend, Maria, threw him a surprise 27th birthday party Wednesday night and gave each guest a Spiderman mask. Someone needs to put Camilo into a commercial with basketball Superman Dwight Howard. Camilo cant dunk. But then again Dwight cant hit a tee ball 320 on a string.
     
  • If you venture to Maui, make sure you eat the Ono Burger at the Paia Fish Market ' best Ive ever had.
     
  • There are more funny Thorpe stories floating around the sport than you can imagine. Its killing me that damn near every one is unsuitable for print in this space. Ive said it before and it bears repeating because I just had the enormous pleasure of playing a charity event with Jim: If given a choice of Old Tom Morris, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods or Jim Thorpe for a pro-am day, with all due respect to those men I dont think you can have a better time than you have with Jim. He flattened us. I mean he literally put grown men on the ground on a couple of mind blowing, hilarious occasions.
     
  • The Plantation Course at spots looks like Jurassic Park.
     
  • There are rumblings that the Tour may be re-thinking the Hawaiian start to the season beyond 2010. I understand that well-heeled, well traveled players no longer need to schlep into the Pacific for a seven-figure payday in January. But unless they go to Florida ' an easy commute for Tiger ' you wont find better weather and certainly wont find more fabulous scenery than what you get from the islands. Would it be nice to have baseball-like Opening Day buzz in golf? Sure. But its not a necessity. Though most decisions in golf these days are made with at least one consideration in mind: What would motivate Tiger to play?
     
  • Indulge me one final thought on pro rasslin. The Hulkster couldnt carry Gorilla Monsoons wrestling tights.
     
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    Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

    The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

    That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

    He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.