Notes A Return to Oak Tree Gilder Recovers

By Sports NetworkMay 28, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Senior PGA ChampionshipEDMOND, Okla. -- PGA of America officials said Sunday they will consider future bids by Oak Tree Golf Club to host major championships, something the club hopes to do on a regular basis.
Oak Tree's first major in 18 years, the Senior PGA Championship, ended Sunday, with Jay Haas the winner. Final attendance figures won't be available for a few days, but PGA chief executive officer Joe Steranka said that it looked to him as though the tournament set records for both fan and corporate support.
That bodes well for future Oak Tree bids to host major PGA events, he said.
'What we look for for major championships, first and foremost, is a course to test the greatest players, and Oak Tree certainly does that,' Steranka said. 'You also look at the infrastructure in a community ... and you look at what sort of support you'll get from the entire community.
'The way this [club] has performed, we would certainly take another look at events' at Oak Tree, Steranka said.
PGA President Roger Warren also praised Oak Tree, saying the tournament 'has definitely exceeded our expectations,' but stopped short of promising a future major for the club.
'It would be unfair for me to speculate about future sites, other than to say that we look at the partnerships we have with venues when we come there and how they perform ... Oak Tree has demonstrated that they can do that [well],' Warren said.
'We will continue to look, as we go forward, to great venues, and I think that Oak Tree will be under consideration.'
Oak Tree owner Don Mathis said the club isn't interested in a yearly PGA tour stop but would like to host a tournament _ preferably a major -- every three to six years. The club's vice president, A.G. Meyers, is even more direct: 'My job here is to bring major championships to the golf club.'
The soonest Oak Tree could realistically host another major on either the PGA Tour or Champions Tour would be 2010. That's the first open date on the U.S. Golf Association's calendar for the U.S. Senior Open, which will be played this year at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
When Bob Gilder said he would've been happy just being able to play Sunday, believe him.
The 55-year-old Gilder ended up in a hospital Saturday night to undergo what he called 'a kidney stone operation' during which he said a stent was put in. So naturally, he went out the next day and matched the tournament's best round with a 5-under 66 -- 12 shots better than his Saturday round.
His score Sunday could have been better but he bogeyed the par-4 18th.
'It was just pretty much a battle out there,' said Gilder, who tied for 11th at 5 over. 'I was just trying not to over swing and I hit some really good shots out there, and I only had a chance for bogey a couple of times.
'I don't know how to understand it. I mean, you know, you play great one day and nothing goes right the other day and it's just one of those days that went right. I needed it.'
The only other player to shoot a 66 in the tournament was Gil Morgan, who did so in the first round.
Brad Bryant wanted to maintain his composure during the tournament's final round and he said doing that was easier while playing with a group including Morgan.
'One of the things I do when I play with Gil is I watch Gil,' said Bryant, who finished second after losing a three-hole playoff with Jay Haas. 'I try to mimic his composure. He stays so level. He's just wonderful to watch on the golf course and a great man to know off the golf course.'
Coming off consecutive bogeys, Morgan 'skied a 3-wood' on the fifth hole, Bryant said.
'He hit that shot and he went, 'Goodness gracious!' That was his reaction. And I thought, you know, I haven't heard that in a long time, but that was really good. He walked up there and knocked it down the fairway, on the green and made a birdie, and I said, 'That's what I want to be.' I want to be like that guy. I want to be like Gil, because he really had it going badly and just turned it around.'
After a bogey-bogey-double bogey stretch on holes 5-7 dropped Bryant to 2 under for the tournament, he rebounded with a birdie on No. 8 and eventually worked his way into the playoff with Haas.
'Along about the 7th hole,' Bryant said, 'I said, 'You know, Gil's done it, maybe I can do it.' It worked out OK.'
Asked what the headlines should read Monday morning, Bryant started his answer not talking about golf.
'The first headline ought to be, 'Thank You,' with tomorrow being Memorial Day,' he said. 'Let's not forget that. A lot of people died and fought and a lot of people are walking around with one arm and one leg so that we can go out there today and we can play golf.
'We do not want to forget those men and women who have given us our freedom and fought for it. So if there's a headline, that ought to be the first one. It ought to be, 'Thank You.''
Of the four golfers in the tournament who play out of Oak Tree, three finished in the top 15.
Morgan led after the first and third rounds and ended up third at 3-under 281, one of only five golfers to shoot under par for the tournament. Meanwhile, Doug Tewell -- who's struggling with a balky elbow -- closed with a 1-under 70 and finished at 3-over, in ninth place.
'I would have rather [the course] been a little bit tamer and where we could tuck the pins a little bit more,' Tewell said. 'But I'm pleased. This is the best I've gotten out of myself in a year. So maybe we can build on this now and ... if I can play some shorter courses, maybe I can contend.'
Of the other Oak Tree Gang members, David Edwards finished tied for 14th at 290 and Mark Hayes did not make the cut.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Senior PGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - Senior PGA Championship
  • Getty Images

    McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

    McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

    McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

    Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

    Getty Images

    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?''

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.