Monday Scramble: Echoes of a noisy U.S. Open

By Ryan LavnerJune 22, 2015, 7:15 pm

Jordan Spieth moves a step closer to the Grand Slam, Dustin Johnson squanders another major opportunity, Chambers Bay makes its major debut, Tiger Woods reaches a new low and more in this week’s bleary-eyed edition of the Monday Scramble. 

Only Jordan Spieth could have saved this U.S. Open. He was the perfect winner for an imperfect event.

All of the pre-tournament angst about Chambers Bay turned out to be justified, as the 8-year-old links-style course proved to be the most controversial Open venue in history. If players weren’t kvetching about the quality of the greens, then they took exception to the USGA’s goofy tee boxes or the unfair hole locations cut on crowns. It created a hostile work environment.

That it was Spieth who prevailed only underscores how far he has come in the past 15 months. Last spring he described himself as a “mental midget” on the course, but at golf’s most grueling event, on the most mentally and physically demanding day of the year, he won with toughness and patience and without his best stuff. 

Spieth wasn’t afraid to speak his mind – he sharply criticized the USGA’s decision to play the finishing hole as a par 4, for instance – but he also didn’t let all of the whining affect his game plan. 

When any number of factors could have derailed his bid for history – the greens, the setup, the competition, the grind – he never wavered in his belief. Of the kid’s many gifts, his impenetrable mind might be the most coveted.

1. Have you fully grasped what we’re witnessing here? Spieth isn’t just a 21-year-old phenom. He’s now solidified himself as a once-in-a-generation talent. 

And that's not hyperbole. Take a look at some of the most notable statistics:

  • He’s the sixth to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same season, and the first since Tiger Woods in 2002. 
  • He’s the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923.
  • He’s the youngest two-time major winner since Gene Sarazen in 1922. 

2. The ages for the last five major winners: 29-25-25-21-21. It's the first time in the modern era that five consecutive major winners were under the age of 30. Seems we're transitioning rather seamlessly out of the Tiger and Phil Era, no? 

3. Spieth has resisted putting himself in the conversation as Rory McIlroy's chief rival because he doesn't feel as though he has reached Rory's level yet. The world rankings tell a different story. It's those two studs, and everybody else: 

  • 1. Rory: 12.77
  • 2. Spieth: 11.06
  • 3. DJ: 6.97
  • 4. Rose: 6.65
  • 5. Bubba: 6.64

4. The only guy more popular than Spieth in the aftermath of Sunday’s victory? His caddie, Michael Greller.

Much was made of Greller’s homecoming to Chambers Bay, but in truth that storyline was overblown. Greller has looped there maybe 40 times, and not in the past five years. Even then he was carrying the bag for men who couldn’t break 90.  

“If anything,” he said, “I felt more pressure because people thought I knew it so well. I really don’t.”

In the years B.S. – before Spieth – Greller was a sixth-grade math teacher in the area. Reminders of his past life were everywhere. During Monday's practice round, the standard bearer was a former member of the girls’ golf team that Greller used to coach; three days later, it was a former student. On Sunday, the hole captain on No. 10 was Greller’s former principal. Walking down that fairway in the final round, he saw the couple that set him up with his future wife, Ellie.

“It was tough to focus,” he said. “I had to be very intentional about keeping my head down and not really engaging with the fans.”

It was worth it. On the 18th green afterward, he was feted by his friends, his family and his community. A proper homecoming. 

5. Sadly, Dustin Johnson has become known as much for his major meltdowns as his prodigious length. But there was something different about the manner in which he came unraveled Sunday. In his previous near misses, Johnson was undone by poor decision-making. The reason he didn’t win this time was simply poor execution. Johnson was clearly playing the best of any of the four co-leaders – at one point he hit 19 consecutive fairways – but the wide-right miss with a short iron at 10 really seemed to shake his confidence. He was fortunate to even have a chance to win at the end, but it doesn’t make the loss any less tragic.  

6. The updated list of DJ's biggest major heartbreaks:

      1. 2015 U.S. Open: In the span of about two minutes, he went from thinking he was on the verge of winning his first major to hoping to get into the playoff to wondering what the heck just happened. 
      2. 2010 PGA Championship: Everyone remembers the infamous grounding-the-club penalty. Don’t forget he had a one-shot lead on the 72nd hole. 
      3. 2010 U.S. Open: Yes, it was the biggest major lead that he coughed up (three shots), but he self-immolated so quickly that day that by the end of the final round he was an afterthought.
      4. 2011 Open Championship: Only two shots behind Darren Clarke at Royal St. George's, he sailed a 2-iron out of bounds on the 68th hole of the tournament. 

7. If the level of crowd support at Chambers was any indiciation, Jason Day gained a lot of fans last weekend. He became the tournament’s most inspiring story after collapsing near the ninth green Friday following another episode of vertigo. Spells of dizziness have sidelined him in the past, even as recently as last month at the Byron Nelson, and he was a game-time decision for the third round. Starting the day three shots off the lead, he labored around Chambers Bay and its 195 feet of elevation to post one of the best rounds of the day, a 2-under 68 that gave him a share of his first 54-hole major lead. 

The gutsy performance evoked memories of Michael Jordan’s flu (food poisoning) game in the 1997 Finals, and Curt Schilling’s bloody sock in the ’04 postseason, but the most apt comparison was Ken Venturi at the 1964 U.S. Open, when doctors warned him that he’d be risking his life if he continued the 36-hole day in suffocating heat.

It was fitting that on Father’s Day weekend Day quite literally was leaning on longtime caddie and swing coach Colin Swatton, who has become as a father figure for the 27-year-old Australian after his dad passed away from stomach cancer when he was 12. 

Though he was unable to script the Hollywood finish, Day’s T-9 performance was remarkable given his condition. 

8. So who’s mostly to blame for all of the commotion at Chambers: the designer, the superintendent or the USGA? That's an easy call: The blue blazers.

The course is an absolute blast to play under normal conditions, but it is the USGA that stressed the greens to the breaking point and made them virtually unplayable. Why run the greens at 11 ½ or 12 on the Stimpmeter? The Open Championship has slow greens, but no one seems to complain because the ball rolls true. 

The USGA knew the inherent risks of hosting a U.S. Open at a venue with “predominantly” fine fescue that also had approximately 10 percent poa annua. It creates an uneven and bumpy surface, especially late in the day, and trying to hole speedy, downhill putts when the ball doesn’t hold its line is a guessing game. The Open deserves better.

9. On a related note, here's a question that arose last week: Is Mike Davis becoming too big of a factor at the U.S. Open? He’s a very intelligent man, but he was featured as prominently as some of the players. Davis was all the talk before the event, because of his assertion that only those who took an advance trip to study Chambers Bay had a chance to win. (Note: Tony Finau, who played only 26 practice holes, was T-5 heading into the weekend.) And he was undoubtedly the talk during the tournament, too much so, with his daily attempts to keep the players off balance by moving around tee boxes and hole locations and even the pars on certain holes.

Why is all of that necessary? Chambers Bay is plenty challenging, with its length and wild green complexes and elevation changes. And why is Davis so front and center? Shouldn’t the man behind the curtain actually stay there, hidden from view, heard from only when he makes a mistake? Quick: Name the setup man for the Open Championship ... 

10. That said, the USGA should be applauded for the way it set up the golf course Sunday. In all, there were 21 under-par scores, the second-most in a final round in U.S. Open history. The 71.29 scoring average was the lowest ever. 

One of the few advantages to Chambers Bay is that players and fans can hear roars from everywhere. It creates an electric atmosphere. Rory holing that bomb on 13? The lead group heard it on No. 3. Adam Scott’s birdie on the last? Heard that, too. Louie’s hole-out on 14? Spieth’s big birdie on 16? Yep and yep. 

All of which makes us wonder: Why doesn’t the USGA set up courses like this more often? Davis and Co. pride themselves on providing the most thorough examination in championship golf, but too often they’re obsessed with par. These venues are plenty tough without all of the tricks. What's wrong with seeing a few birdies, especially on Sunday?

11. The 2016 U.S. Open is at Oakmont. The last time the Open was held there, in 2007, Angel Cabrera won at 5 over. Prepare for another predictable bludgeoning. 

12. So where does Woods go from here? He made three birdies, beat exactly three players and recorded the worst 36-hole score of his pro career (156). For the past two months he’s talked about swing patterns and baseline shifts, about how this is just short-term suffering for long-term gain, about how he’s been there before. Except no, he hasn’t. Not like this. Every start, it seems, brings another wave of embarrassment, another update to his list of career worsts. He’s nowhere near as close as he seems to suggest.

The calls to fire consultant Chris Como will only get louder now, but it’s worth remembering that Woods has completed only 16 competitive rounds this season. He at least has to play out the string on this lost season – which may have as few as eight rounds remaining – before deciding on his next step. Changing directions now would basically be admitting what the rest of us have known for months now: He is completely and utterly lost.  

Speaking of which ...  

There is no more fitting metaphor for Woods' sad decline than when he disappeared into the 10-foot-deep Chambers basement after – gulp – cold-topping a fairway-wood shot from the middle of the 18th fairway. The cavernous bunker was supposed to be out of play; in four rounds, only one other player trudged in there. 

The hole from which Woods now must climb is even deeper than this: 

This week's award winners ... 

Quiet, Please: The U.S. Open marshal who attempted to silence a moving train because Tiger was about to hit. 

A Friend In Need is a Friend Indeed: Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. When Day collapsed, it was the 21-year-old who shooed away photographers and barked at reporters to put down their phones. Never mind that Spieth showed incredible focus too, stepping in 10 minutes later and burying his birdie putt. 

Master of the Hot Take: Gary Player. Oven mitts are required to watch this fiery and passionate rant by the Black Knight, who said Chambers Bay was a “tragedy” and “devastating” and “the most unpleasant tournament I’ve seen in my life.”  

Bad Look of the Week: Billy Horschel. In a four-hole span Sunday, he faked a tomahawk chop into the green and then swerved his hand down the path of his putt to mimic the bumpiness of the line. Later, he declared that he had “lost respect” for the USGA. And this was a dude who shot 67!

Man Least Likely to Return for a USGA Alumni Event: Joe Goode. The organization’s former managing director of communications, who left his post late last year, tweeted this during the opening round of the Open: “Watching @USOpenGolf on @FoxSports or is it British Open? Perhaps #ChambersBay will mark day when @USGA lost its way. #nobrandidentity”

Worst Shot of the Week: Branden Grace’s 3-wood off 16 tee. That was MILES right of his intended target, at least 50 yards, and a big surprise from a player who had closed out all six of his 54-hole leads on the Euro circuit. 

The Tiger Effect: Louis Oosthuizen. Woods used to intimidate players because he was so clearly superior. Now he's bringing them down with his poor play. Oosthuizen shot 77 in the opening round while fellow playing competitors Woods and Rickie Fowler combined to take 161 strokes. Oosthuizen followed it up with rounds of 66-66-67 and finished one shot back. 

The Last Word: Lee Westwood, who quipped that Chambers Bay would be a fun course to play … if you have a cart, good company and a couple of beers. 

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Monday Scramble: Just getting started

By Will GrayJanuary 22, 2018, 4:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood dazzles, Jon Rahm outlasts, Phil Mickelson falters, Rory McIlroy starts the year on the right foot and more in this week’s edition of Monday Scramble:

He didn't hit a single shot on Sunday, but the biggest winner of the weekend may have been Thomas Bjorn.

That's because the burly Dane watched one potential European Ryder Cup stud after another either lift a trophy or show significant signs of promise.

First it was Sergio Garcia cruising to victory in Singapore, then Tommy Fleetwood's stirring rally in Abu Dhabi. By the time Jon Rahm finished off the CareerBuilder Challenge in the waning daylight, the European skipper likely had a grin plastered from ear to ear.

There will be countless ebbs and flows of momentum before the first shot is struck at Le Golf National, but this week proved once again that the Americans won't be the only ones sporting some serious depth at the biennial matches.

1. The most dazzling display Sunday came from Fleetwood, who successfully defended his title in Abu Dhabi thanks to an absolutely unconscious back nine.

The Englishman was five shots back when he made the turn, but six birdies over his final nine holes turned that deficit into a two-shot win.

It was in Abu Dhabi last year that he sparked a career turnaround, winning the event en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. He turned up once again this year with ample confidence and a new wedding ring, and the results were much the same.

He doesn't have the star power of some of his contemporaries, but it's becoming increasingly clear that Fleetwood can more than hold his own against even the best in the game.

2. Hours before Fleetwood caught fire, it was Garcia rolling to a five-shot win in Singapore to complete the transition from tournament headliner to tournament champion.

Garcia was just days removed from his 38th birthday and making his first start with a full bag of Callaway clubs. But he showed no signs of offseason rust or equipment adjustment while capturing his second worldwide win since slipping into his green jacket.

The Spaniard has certainly enjoyed the fruits of his Masters victory nine months ago, but it's apparent that he has no plans to rest on the laurels of last spring.

3. He didn't leave Abu Dhabi with the trophy, but McIlroy may have found something more lasting: confidence.

It was in his first start last year that McIlroy injured his rib and plummeted into a vicious cycle of attempted rehabs and ill-fated comebacks. This time around, he came out of the gates with a relaxed swagger en route to a tie for third.

As Ryan Lavner wrote, it was an ideal beginning to a big year for McIlroy, who has already offered up the notion that 2018 could be the busiest season of his career as he chases the final leg of the career Grand Slam and a return to golf's upper echelon.

After the first leg of a two-week stay in the Middle East, that plan is off to a promising start.

4. Let's take a moment to marvel at McIlroy's record in Abu Dhabi, where he has done everything but win the tournament.

In his last nine appearances, McIlroy has finished fifth or better eight times. That stretch includes four runner-up results and now two straight T-3 finishes.

There remain two equally remarkable factors to McIlroy's run: the fact that he somehow hasn't managed to lift the trophy (yet), and the lone outlier: a missed cut in 2013 after his celebrated switch to Nike.

5. With darkness rapidly encircling the Coachella Valley, Rahm managed to shake off Andrew Landry and capture his second career PGA Tour victory.

Rahm's 20-foot birdie on the fourth playoff hole proved the difference in Palm Springs, where he entered as the highest-ranked player in the field and supported that status with his stout play.

Rahm barely took his foot off the gas, both across the difficult closing stretch at PGA West and during the playoff when he sent one approach after the next hurtling toward the pin. It's the fourth worldwide win in less than a year for Rahm, who continues to outpace even the rosiest of projections for his burgeoning career.

6. The win moves Rahm past Jordan Spieth to world No. 2, making him the fourth-youngest player to ever reach such heights.

One year ago, the Spaniard was ranked 137th in the world. His win at the Farmers Insurance Open the following week altered his trajectory, and he now finds himself only one rung away from the top of the ladder.

While so much focus has been (deservedly) heaped upon players like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, perhaps it's Rahm who has the best chance to eventually unseat world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. He'll have a chance to chip into that deficit this week as he defends his title at Torrey Pines.

7. Speaking of Torrey Pines, it's officially Farmers Insurance Open week which means that Tiger Woods watch is about to kick off in earnest.

It's something of a tradition to see Woods strolling the fairways of the South Course, where he has won eight times including the 2008 U.S. Open. But this week will bring heightened expectation following Woods' better-than-anticipated return from injury last month at the Hero World Challenge.

Granted, Torrey Pines is a far cry from the forgiving fairways of Albany. But if Woods is able to put together two solid rounds and make the cut, it should be seen as a step in the right direction.

Of course, for all of Woods' success in San Diego, it's also the place where he struggled with chipping yips prior to a withdrawal in 2015 and missed the cut last year in his final official PGA Tour start of the year. So his results this time around might be anyone's guess.

Ken Duke is one of the bona fide nice guys on Tour, and he proved it this weekend in Palm Springs.

Duke is playing off past champion status this season, and he unsuccessfully petitioned tournament officials at the CareerBuilder Challenge for a sponsor invite. With 156 players in the field, Duke was the odd man out at No. 157 and relegated to first alternate status.

He didn't get into the tournament proper, but Duke was willing to step in when Corey Pavin's first Tour start since 2015 ended with a withdrawal after just 17 holes. Because of the tournament's pro-am format, Pavin's amateur partner was left without a pro for the next two rounds.

So in came Duke to play what amounted to a 36-hole pro-am, an effort of good faith to help an event that couldn't find room for him at the start of the week:

It's not often you see a pro compete where his score only counts for his amateur partner. But such was Duke's situation this week, and kudos to him for handling it with class.

This week's award winners ...

Unusually Short Stay: Phil Mickelson. Lefty has become a regular in Palm Springs, but three shaky rounds left him with his first missed cut in this event since 1994 - a few months before Rahm was born.

Nice Job, Kid: Sungjae Im. The 19-year-old Korean joined Jason Day as the only two teenagers to win on the Tour, as Im shot a final-round 65 to win the season opener in the Bahamas.

A for Effort: Andrew Landry. Landry put up a stellar fight in Palm Springs, holing a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff and going shot-for-shot with Rahm for nearly an hour. He came up short in his effort to win for the first time, but Landry certainly has plenty of positive takeaways from his week in the desert.

On the Disabled List: Brooks Koepka. The reigning U.S. Open champ is out for the next couple months because of a torn ligament in his wrist, with hopes of returning before the Masters. The diagnosis comes after Koepka finished last at both the Hero World Challenge and Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Still the Bridesmaid: Ross Fisher. The Englishman now has 14 runner-up finishes on the European Tour after he coughed up a late lead to Fleetwood. It's been a resurgent year for Fisher, including nine top-10s and three runner-ups in his last six starts. But he's still looking for his first win in nearly four years.

More Euro Momentum: Not to be outshone by Fleetwood and McIlroy, Matthew Fitzpatrick (T-3) and Thomas Pieters (T-5) both started the year on the right foot in Abu Dhabi. Both men were at Hazeltine two years ago, and expect one (or both) to factor on the team in Paris this fall.

Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Bill Haas. A two-time winner and the all-time leading money-winner in Palm Springs, Haas never factored and eventually missed the cut. Honorable mention here goes to 2014 champ Patrick Reed who also stayed home on Sunday.

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Rosaforte Report: Landry's grit born in a Pea Patch

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 22, 2018, 3:40 pm

In this week's Rosaforte Report: The birthplace of Andrew Landry's grit, Tiger's former coach invites instruction debate, downtime may be good for Brooks Koepka, Stacy Lewis is amped for 2018, and a "very boring" birthday gift for Jack Nicklaus.

The beauty and drama of tournament golf played out in the California desert on Sunday when Andrew Landry, a journeyman who learned the game on a shabby nine-hole course called the Pea Patch in Port Groves, Texas, took the hottest young player in the game, Jon Rahm, to four holes of a sudden death playoff before finally succumbing. It was riveting drama in a yard-for-yard, stride-for-stride and putt-for-putt contrast that ended with the sun setting over the Santa Rosa Mountains.

With it, the 23-year-old Rahm went to No. 2 in the world and the 30-year-old Landry, a grinder finally off the Tour, moved from 184th to a career high 102nd in the world ranking.

The 5-foot-7 Landry, who had his “Tin Cup” moment in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, where he held the first-round lead and hung with the big boys until a T-15 finish, never backed off in the shadow of the 6-foot-2 Rahm, just as he never backed away from bets in the Tuesday and Saturday games at the Pea Patch. That’s where he would write his name on the chalkboard for the “Dog Fights” that were the club’s version of the SWAT competition that is an Oakmont tradition.

“Those money games are what made us,” Andrew’s brother, Adam, told me the day his sibling became the proverbial no-name leader after shooting the lowest opening round (66) in U.S. Open-Oakmont history.

Andrew Landry lost his money game to Rahm, but his second-place finish still paid out $637,200, putting him over the $1 million mark for the season, and sending him off to the Farmers Insurance Open with a message that this isn’t the last time we’ll hear from him.

“We’ll take it and move on to Torrey Pines,” Landry said before exiting Palm Springs. “It’s obviously a great course for me. I’m driving the ball really well and I’m doing everything really good, so we’ll try again next week.”

GREAT(S) DEBATES: Chris Como may not be Tiger Woods’ teacher anymore, but he was recently appointed director of instruction at Dallas National, one of the plush practice environments in golf. He is also architect of an interesting forum on the mental game and the philosophy of instruction Tuesday at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., which features Claude Harmon III, David Leadbetter, Jim McLean, Mike Adams, Fran Pirozzolo, Hal Sutton, Brad Faxon and Brandel Chamblee.

“It’s an event that invited open dialog and debate about all the topics of golf instruction,” Como said in a text message. “The goal is to put a bunch of smart people in the same room together to move our industry forward in a positive direction.”

This should be entertaining dialog, especially coming two days before Tiger makes his comeback at the Farmers.

Stacy Lewis at the 2017 LPGA Cambia Portland Classic

STACY'S SPARK: On the week when she was named winner of the Ben Hogan Award for overcoming scoliosis, Stacy Lewis did what Hogan epitomized – she doggedly continued to work on her game.

Heading into her 10th season on the LPGA tour and facing her 33rd birthday on Feb. 16, Lewis flew from Houston to Florida, on her way to the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, for checkups with instructor Joe Hallett and performance coach Dave Donatucci.

After workouts and an evaluation at his gym, Donatucci noted the veteran’s vertical leap was 2 inches higher than she’s ever jumped before. “Physically, she’s in a great place,” Donatucci said. Mentally, she is in a great place as well, breaking a 39-month winless streak in September with a victory in the Cambia Portland Classic. After playing lessons at Old Palm and The Floridian, Hallet told me, “There’s an energy there that she’s always had.”

Other than Cristie Kerr, who is 40, the top 10 players in the Race to the CME Globe were all in their 20s. Lewis, who was 13th, told the Houston Chronicle she played some of her best golf the last six to seven tournaments of 2017. “Honestly it doesn’t feel like that start to a new year,” she said. “It just feels like a little bit of a break and I’m starting up again.”

KOEPKA'S HEALING TIME: Claude Harmon III had an interesting take on the torn wrist tendon that will sidelineU.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka until the Masters. “To be honest, the time off for the injury part of it doesn’t worry me,” Harmon said, using last year as his point of reference.

Looking back to the start of 2017, Koepka missed cuts at the Farmers Insurance Open, was T-42 as defending champion of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, missed cuts at the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic, finished T-48 in the no-cut WGC Mexico Championship, and didn’t play on the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Three months later, Koepka overpowered Erin Hills and tied Rory McIlroy’s U.S. Open scoring record of 16 under par. Harmon used McIlroy’s third-place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in his return “as something to look at and emulate.”

The hard part is that Koepka closed out the 2017 season with a second-place finish in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and a nine-stroke win over Xander Schauffele in the Dunlop Phoenix, rising to a career high seventh in the world. But between cardio at Joey D’s gym and putting practice (once he gets doctor’s clearance), Harmon doesn’t think Koepka will look at the next three months as down time.

BIG-TIME PERFORMER: Thomas Pieters was back in the top-five of a premier tournament again, finishing T-5 in Abu Dhabi after a run of nine events at the end of 2017 that did not match the first eight months of his rookie year.

Coming off a Ryder Cup performance in 2016 that set European records for most points (4) and wins (4) by a rookie, Pieters was T-2 at the Genesis Open, T-5 at the WGC-Mexico Championship, T-4 at the Masters and solo fourth at the Bridgestone Invitational.

In a news conference after his opening-round 67, Pieters admitted it was nice having fun again and attributed the lack of enjoyment to some struggles he was having off the golf course.

“With a lot of players these days, it’s more off the course than on the course; life in general sometimes causes problems,” swing instructor Pete Cowen told me Monday morning from Dubai, without getting into specifics. “Pieters is looking a lot better. I think he’s now in a great frame of mind.”

After winning the NCAA Championship as a sophomore for Illinois in 2012, the now 25-year-old Belgian is 34th in the world, 33 spots behind his goal.

“Tom Pieters doesn’t want to be a superstar, he just wants to be the best player,” Cowen said. “That’s what drives him … what I like about him. He wants to be the best, and will do whatever it takes to be the best.”

GIFT OF LOVE: What do you give a man that has everything for his 78th birthday? For Barbara Nicklaus it was classified in a text message with a smiley face emoji as a “Very boring!!!!!” gift of two pairs of pants and a shirt.

As you can see from the above photo, just being together with his family and bride of 57 years at The Bears Club was enough.

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Golf Channel to Deliver Worldwide Coverage of the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show, "The Major of Golf Business," Tueday-Friday, Jan. 23-26

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 22, 2018, 2:45 pm

Morning Drive, Golf Central to Give Viewers Insider Access to the PGA Show with Nearly 20 Hours of Live Coverage; Golf Channel’s School of Golf Instruction Program to Originate From On-Site

Golf Channel’s Portfolio of Lifestyle Brands – GolfNow, Golf Channel Academy, Revolution Golf and World Long Drive On-Site at the PGA Show Contributing to the Network’s Comprehensive Coverage


ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2018) – Golf Channel announced plans for its comprehensive coverage of the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show – the largest golf convention and business gathering in the world – with nearly 20 hours of news and instruction coverage Tuesday, Jan. 23 – Friday, Jan. 26. Golf Channel’s coverage will span across the four days, beginning Tuesday with the “PGA Show Demo Day” from the Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge driving range in Winter Garden, Fla., and continuing Wednesday-Friday at the PGA Merchandise Show from the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

With an insider look at the PGA Merchandise Show – a golf industry event that is not open to the public – Golf Channel’s coverage via Morning Drive and Golf Central will be delivered to a worldwide audience in more than 36 countries. Coverage will provide viewers live interviews with industry leaders, professional golfers from the world’s major tours, PGA of America members and a comprehensive overview of the latest products and trends for 2018 from some of the nearly 1,100 golf brands exhibiting on-site.

PGA Merchandise Show Week Programming Schedule: Jan. 23-26 (All Times Eastern)


Morning Drive

7-11 a.m. (Live)



Golf Central

5-6 p.m. (Live)



School of Golf

8-9 p.m.



Morning Drive

7-11:30 a.m. (Live)



Golf Central

5-6 p.m. (Live)



Morning Drive

8:30-11:30 a.m. (Live)



Golf Central

7-8 p.m. (Live)



Morning Drive

8:30-11:30 a.m. (Live)



Golf Central

7-8 p.m. (Live)




Golf Channel’s expansive coverage of the PGA Merchandise Show will utilize several on-air personalities from the network’s news division, beginning with Charlie Rymer and Lauren Thompson offering coverage of the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day on Tuesday. In addition to Rymer and Thompson, Wednesday-Friday coverage from the PGA Show Floor will include Matt Adams, Cara Banks, Lisa Cornwell, Matt Ginella, Damon Hack, Bailey Mosier and Gary Williams.


Golf Channel’s PGA Merchandise Show on-air coverage will be available to stream via Golf Channel Digital Tuesday-Friday. Comprehensive online editorial coverage also will be available throughout the week, with contributions from writers Jay Coffin and Will Gray. Golf Channel’s social media platforms will keep viewers engaged in the conversation about what’s generating buzz at the #PGASHOW throughout the week via the network’s social media channels – @GolfChannel and @GCMorningDrive on Twitter, @GolfChannel and @GCMorningDrive on Instagram and GolfChannel and GCMorningDrive on Facebook. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will host Golf Channel’s digital and social media coverage throughout the week.


Golf Channel’s coverage of “Demo Day” will begin Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 7 a.m. ET with Morning Drive airing live and on-site to highlight the latest in golf equipment from the expansive driving range at Orange County National. Rymer and Thompson will host Morning Drive on-site, featuring interviews and product demonstrations.


Coverage of the PGA Show will transition indoors to the Orange County Convention Center, Wednesday-Friday, Jan. 24-26 to give viewers an all-access tour of the PGA Show. Morning Drive and Golf Central will provide on-site reports throughout the week, with featured interviews and segments originating from the PGA Show Floor. Coverage from the Convention Center will originate from a large, multi-purpose space elevated above the PGA Show Floor, with three set configurations for interviews, along with a putting green and a golf simulator for product demonstrations. Golf Channel also will feature a “Fly Cam,” a unique camera technology made popular in televising football and other sports. Suspended above the PGA Show Floor, the Fly Cam will span more than 700 feet, giving viewers an aerial viewpoint of the vast floor and the exhibitors. New for 2018 will be a “Jib Cart,” a mobile cart with a camera jib affixed allowing high shots of the booths throughout the Show Floor.


School of Golf, Golf Channel’s signature instruction program that airs on Tuesday nights, will kick off its eighth season with a one-hour special at Demo Day on Tuesday, Jan. 23, airing in primetime from 8-9 p.m. ET. Originating from the Cleveland Golf/Srixon/XXIO booth on the Orange County National driving range and hosted by Martin Hall and Blair O’Neal, the show will include special guests and interactions with a live audience.


In addition to Golf Channel’s on-air and digital coverage, the network’s lifestyle brands – GolfNow, World Long Drive, Golf Channel Academy and Revolution Golf will showcase their services at the PGA Show with special clinics, product demonstrations and on-site activations.


GolfNow, the industry’s leader in golf-related technology and services, will be exhibiting Wednesday-Friday from Booth #2173. In addition to showcasing advanced technologies that have created the largest tee-time marketplace in golf, GolfNow also will be educating course owners and operators about innovations and services designed to help them run their businesses more efficiently and successfully. GolfNow Business experts will be on hand at GolfNow’s 2,400-square-foot booth, offering its course partners technology demonstrations, as well as consultation on any of the GolfNow Services: Plus, a top-line focused consultative performance system for golf courses, including marketing, sales and automated pricing; Answers, a call center for golf courses, answering customer calls day and night; and Ride, a no-cost purchasing program that saves course operators from 6-35 percent on items they buy day-to-day, such as food, office supplies and agricultural products.


Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, World Long Drive competitors will be at the PGA Show to compete in a World Long Drive Bracket Challenge. Hosted by Golf Channel’s social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin and airing live via Golf Channel’s Facebook Live, the competition will take place at Golf Channel’s simulator on the Show Floor featuring eight men and four women, including World No. 2 Ryan Reisbeck, No. 3 Maurice Allen, No. 5 Trent Scruggs and 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Women’s Champion Sandra Carlborg.


Wednesday-Friday, Golf Channel Academy coaches will provide on-site instruction clinics at Golf Channel’s simulator set on the Show Floor. Wednesday’s clinics will feature driving, full swing, wedge play and putting clinics. Thursday’s clinic will include the full swing and Friday’s clinic will feature the short game, all streamed live via Golf Channel Academy’s Facebook page.


Revolution Golf, the industry’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform delivering high-quality video-based instruction, travel content and integrated e-commerce will have a significant presence at the PGA Show. Golf Channel’s newest digital acquisition, Revolution Golf will be shooting digital segments at Demo Day and throughout the PGA Show Floor, including segments with its team of instructors.

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974