Stricker no stranger to contention

By April 28, 2012, 12:41 am

AVONDALE, La. – Some PGA Tour players like to play their way into the prime time of the season, loading up on starts.

Not Steve Stricker. This week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans is just his seventh start of 2012. Yet he's in contention for his second win of the year, tied for fifth place, two shots behind Jason Dufner after 36 holes at TPC Louisiana.

Aside from Ernie Els, the five other contenders tied with or in front of Stricker have a combined three wins. Stricker has 12, including eight over the past four years, the most of any Tour player during that period. If he wins this weekend, it would mark the fourth consecutive year in which he has won at least twice. This year he won the season opener at Kapalua and posted top-10 finishes in both World Golf Championship events.

Stricker can contend on virtually any venue. He drives the ball well, hits it a modest but sufficient distance and has an enviable short game. On the weeks when he is not at his best, he typically hides it well. 

'I have weaknesses, but they're not huge weaknesses, so I think that's key wherever you go,' he said Friday after shooting a 4-under 68 that left him at 10 under. 'I can find a way to get it around, and I've been playing smart.' 

Stricker's approach to tournament golf is one of measured aggression, which bucks the trend toward running an all-out sprint at many PGA Tour events. 

'I'm fairly aggressive at times, but I play smart,' he said. 'I know when to pick my spots and when to back off, when to take my pars and run. I get the most out of my game. I'm getting older, not hitting the ball as far as I used to as when I was younger, but I'm playing smarter.' 

He's playing less, too. Last year the Wisconsin native decided to scale back his schedule to maximize his time at home with his family.

After this week, Stricker will skip Quail Hollow before returning at The Players Championship. He'll then take another two weeks off to prepare for his title defense at the Memorial, then head to Fort Worth for the Colonial.

Stricker is even eating less, deciding to watch his diet despite being a 45-year-old in better shape than a lot of people half his age. He passed on the tempting treats of New Orleans' finest cooks during the Wednesday pro-am. 

'I've been watching what I eat,' he said. 'I was eating a lot of raw nuts in my bag. Usually I would hit every one of those stops. I had one little dish out there and that was it. I'm trying to eat some better stuff because I tend to not eat so well.' 

While Stricker denied himself the culinary treats here in New Orleans, he savors the flavor from the last six seasons and wants to keep that taste in his mouth this weekend. 

'This has been a run of the last six years where I've played some really good golf. I'm excited about that,' he said. 'I take it one day at a time still and see what it gives me.'

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.