Test article: Monday Scramble with graphics

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 13, 2013, 8:17 pm

Patrick Reed rescued the PGA Tour from a worst-case scenario by delivering a knockout punch on the first playoff hole to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. With the Kapalua finale headed into overtime, and the college football championship already underway, Reed’s fourth victory in the past 17 months kept some of the national focus on golf – at least temporarily. 

More on Reed’s brilliance, Walker’s close call and the rest of the week’s happenings in this beat-the-midnight-deadline edition of the Monday Scramble: 


There’s little room left on the Patrick Reed bandwagon after the 24-year-old’s comeback victory Monday at Kapalua. Ridiculed for months for having the gall to express his inner belief, he’s now viewed as a megastar in this era of parity. He’s aggressive. He’s a closer. He relishes the big moment. That’s the total package. Just a year removed from duking it out in Monday qualifiers, he became a multiple-time winner before rankling some members of the Tour fraternity with his “top-five” comment at Doral. That boast will follow him until he reaches that elite status, but he’s getting closer, rising to No. 14 in the world after his fourth title since August 2013. Perhaps it is Reed – not Jordan Spieth, not Rickie Fowler – who will pose the greatest threat to Rory McIlroy. 


1. In the past 20 years, there are only four players who earned four or more PGA Tour wins before their 25th birthday:

  • Tiger Woods
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Rory McIlroy 
  • And Patrick Reed, who is 24 years, 5 months. 

2. Jimmy Walker may exude self-confidence and calm on the course, but his last two appearances with a chance to win tell a different story. Last February at Pebble, he had a six-shot lead before closing with 74, making three bogeys in his last seven holes. He hung on to win by one. Here, he had a three-shot lead before playing his last eight holes in 1 over, failing to make birdie on any of the remaining three par 5s (including in the playoff). Walker is among the most consistent players in the game – his 12 top 10s are tied for the most since the start of the 2013-14 season – but it’s apparent the late bloomer is still learning how to win. 

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3. Rory McIlroy had a rare swing-and-miss last weekend when he supported Marshawn Lynch’s stiff arm of the media and added that the running back is “paid to play not answer questions.” That was troubling, because the exercise of athletes talking to reporters is part of the job description. Players receive those lofty paychecks because of fan interest, and the media acts as the fans’ representative, offering insights through access. There’s a reason the NFL slapped Lynch with a hefty $100,000 fine – to ensure that he’s not an example for athletes everywhere.

4. No one’s New Year’s Resolution is to pack on pounds, so thankfully Natalie Gulbis is here to help with all of your workout needs:

5. Two of the most fascinating nuggets from Golf Digest writer Jaime Diaz’s deep dive on the Gleneagles Ryder Cup:

• a.) Phil Mickelson found out that Tom Watson had told his fellow playing competitors at the 2013 Greenbrier Classic, “I won’t be afraid to bench one of these prima donnas.” As it turned out, Tiger wasn’t healthy enough to qualify and Phil sat all day Saturday for the first time in his career. Maybe Lefty shouldn’t have been so surprised.  

• b.) After Mickelson informed Watson that he had missed only three fairways in his last five foursomes matches in the Ryder and Presidents Cups – an assertion that seems very unlikely – the captain opted for Phil and partner Keegan Bradley instead of the red-hot Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed on Friday afternoon. When the U.S. team was on the eighth tee, Watson reportedly approached Mickelson and Bradley and woofed, “When are one of you (expletive) going to hit a fairway?”

6. Never again should fans complain that the Rules of Golf is too complicated. Just crack open the NFL rulebook.

7. The Year of Rejoicing was sooo 2014. Here’s Bubba Watson, backing off a shot and snapping at a cellphone-wielding fan at Kapalua: “You got it? Good picture? Got it? Thanks. Hope it looked good.”

8. How does a player with a swing as pure and a short game as sharp as Charl Schwartzel's have only three wins since the 2011 Masters – two in his native South Africa, the other in a limited-field event in Thailand? He seemed a lock for another one Sunday at the South African Open but blew a four-shot lead on the final five holes. Yes, there are plenty of underachievers in golf – Sergio and DJ come to mind – but clearly this is not how we thought Schwartzel’s career would unfold, post-Masters.

9. For years Woods has talked about needing “reps” while rarely deviating from a predictable schedule of favorite Tour stops. Adding Phoenix was a welcome sight, but he needs to go even further in 2015. After a year of injury, inactivity and ineffectiveness, he’d be wise to play as much as possible and get himself back in competitive shape – especially if he’s healthy.

10. Ousted PGA president Ted Bishop tried to make amends by tweeting at Ian Poulter – the target of his infamous “lil girl” remarks – that he selected him in the fourth round of his fantasy draft. Nice try, but everyone knows Poults is a seventh-rounder, at best.  

11. Speaking of fantasy, here are a few guys I’ll have in my lineup this week at the Sony Open: Sang-Moon Bae (four top-six finishes in his last five worldwide starts), Chris Kirk (back-to-back top-five finishes at Waialae), Charles Howell III (top 10s in five of the past six years) and Tim Clark (T-2s in two of his past three starts there). 


This tan line is VERY disturbing:


Shag Bag

Chris Kirk made all 16 putts he faced inside 15 feet during a course-record-tying 62 on Monday. Jason Day, who also fired a 62, was 16 of 17 from that range. What a slouch. … A sponsorship with Vineyard Vines. A slimmed-down physique. Apparently Jason Dufner isn’t too old to join Auburn’s Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. … The Kordas might rival the Mannings for top athletic family. Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova were professional tennis players, with Petr even rising to No. 2 in the world following his 1998 Australian Open title. One of Petr’s daughters, Jessica, is a 21-year-old stud who has already won three LPGA titles. His other daughter, 16-year-old Nelly, captured the prestigious Harder Hall Invitational amateur tournament last week. A pro career seems likely. No surprise there. … Construction on the Olympic Golf Course is finally complete, after a few years of lawsuits, setbacks and headaches. Poor Gil Hanse probably can’t wait until Aug. 22, 2016 – when the Olympics are over.  


The #AskLav Mailbag

Knew that one was coming. Reed’s victory at Kapalua should be further proof that it’s harder than ever to win on the PGA Tour. There were only two top-10 players in the field in Maui, and yet it took a late hole-out (and some help) to seal the W. Consistency has still been an issue in Reed’s young career, but it’s easy to see him factoring in at least a few Big Ones. 

Nerves, mostly. Over the past two rounds, he played his first 28 holes in 11 under par, with no bogeys and 14 one-putts. In his last eight, he was 1 over, with zero birdies and no one-putts. There are some beastly holes coming down the stretch, of course, but there are also some easy birdie opportunities that Walker couldn’t take capitalize on.  

The dangers of drinking and tweeting.  

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.