Mexico Meets Canada in California

By Rich LernerJanuary 27, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicGeorge Lopez scratched his thick black hair, wondering about his playing partner at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
 
How could a guy who just spent a week in Kapalua, asked the red-hot comic actor of Mike Weir, be as white as the day he left?
 
Masters sun block, deadpanned the low key Canadian, slipping comfortably into the role of straight man.
 
I think youre using mayonnaise, Lopez fired back.
 
At the first tee at Bermuda Dunes for round one, the duo grew to an ensemble cast. Film star Samuel L. Jackson and legendary burnout Cheech Marin joined Mike and George.
 
The Incredibles of color, quipped Lopez, referring to the animated hit in which Jackson played the super cool super hero, Frozone.
 
About Cheech, who played the loyal and loopy looper to Kevin Costners Roy MacAvoy in Tin Cup, Lopez said, If we stay upwind everythings fine, although I brought a sheriff over to check his bag.
 
Cheech told the good natured law enforcement official, Its OK as long as you dont have a dog.
 
In the end, Weir registered more laughs than birdies in a tepid round of 71. The shot of the day actually belonged to Lopez.
 
I hit a five wood at 18 five feet above the pin, the 14 handicap recalled. It never left the flag and Mike was right over my shoulder watching the whole time.
 
That has to be the best shot you ever hit, Weir said at the time.
 
It was, confirmed Lopez.
 
The 18th at Bermuda Dunes alongside a couple of pop culture icons and a Masters champ is a long, twisting dog leg from the Mission Hills section of the San Fernando Valley where Lopez grew up.
 
I used to hit lemons with a garage sale three wood in our backyard, remembers Lopez of his introduction to golf in the early 80s. The only other club I had was a seven iron but we used that to keep the door closed so the dog wouldnt get out.
 
Lopez was raised in a lower middle class area primarily by a stern grandmother. An only child who filled the lonely hours watching comedy on television, his early idol was the late, great Freddie Prinze, who starred in the 70s sitcom, Chico and the Man.
 
Tiger Woods hung pictures of Jack Nicklaus in his bedroom as a child and dreamed of breaking his records. George Lopez hung Prinzes picture on his wall. In his New York Times bestseller, Why You Crying?, he writes, Day after day I stared at it, thinking, I can be a comic. I can do what Freddie is doing. I want to make people laugh.
 
His first mini-break, what Lopez calls a minor fracture, came with an appearance in the early 90s on The Arsenio Hall Show. The big shot came in the late 90s at the Improv in Southern California. Actress Sandra Bullock was in the audience. Blown away, she approached him after his spot and said she wanted to do a show.
 
Today, with Bullock as executive producer, Lopez anchors his own prime time hit, The George Lopez Show on ABC on Tuesdays at 8:30pm.
 
It allows me to close those painful circles that began as a kid, he explains. Instead of being angry and shutting down I turned it into music on the other end. Its beautiful.
 
His enormous success has allowed him to move from that lemon tree in his backyard to a whole different golfing neighborhood. Hes a member of fabled Lakeside, whose roster once listed W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and today includes Ray Romano, Joe Pesci and Jack Nicholson.
 
Lopez has a second home at Pebble Beach above the 15th hole. Its the most peaceful, tranquil place Ive ever been, he said. When youre putting on the 7th green, its like youre hanging on to the end of the world.
 
Hell play the upcoming AT&T for the second time, and is intent on helping to put what he calls a fresh coat of paint on The Hope.
 
Getting set for his second round, George is dressed in pinstriped slacks, an argyle sweater and teal shoes.
 
Right out of Duck Soup, he cracked. If I showed up in the hood dressed like this, everyone would yell, Narc!
 
Hoping to witness one last glorious and well played comedic stroke, I asked George if its harder to be funny when you have money.
 
Since Im Mexican, he began, people assume I dont. I bought a Porsche. People looked at me funny like I was takin it to get detailed. So I got rid of it.
 
Good shot, George. Good shot.
 
Email your thoughts to Rich Lerner
Getty Images

Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.