Par Has No Hope in the Desert

By Sports NetworkJanuary 30, 2003, 5:00 pm
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Jay Haas shot an 11-under 61 on the Palmer Course at PGA West Thursday to take the outright lead at the Bob Hope Classic. Haas' 36-hole total of 16-under-par 128 puts him one shot clear of Harrison Frazar.
Pat Perez torched Bermuda Dunes with 10 birdies over his first 11 holes en route to a 61 of his own. Perez was joined by Stephen Ames and Joe Durant at 14-under-par 130.
Haas, a veteran of the PGA Tour who captured this event in 1988, shot his career best at the age of 49.
'It was a magical day for me,' said Haas. 'I played extremely well. I felt good coming in. I played well last week and felt good yesterday finishing up, and felt like it was going to carry over today.'
He started with birdies on each of the first four holes and added another at the par-4 eighth to make the turn at 10-under.
Haas two-putted for birdie at the par-5 11th and drained a 35-footer at the par-3 12th to make it two in a row. Haas then hit a sand-wedge inside six feet for a birdie at the 14th.
At the par-4 16th, Haas hit a wedge to eight feet for the first of three consecutive birdies to close out his round.
'I guess when a golfer plays well, we think we can do that every day,' said Haas. 'We hit a bad shot or something and we can't believe it. I'm not shocked, but I'm certainly very ecstatic and just extremely pleased that I was able to do it.'
After 26 years on tour and nine career victories, Haas showed no signs of moving on to other things.
'I feel like this is the Major Leagues right here and this is what I want to do for as long as I can do it,' he said. 'I mean, this is one of the thrills of my career today, just to shoot a great round like this in a field like this.'
Frazar, who held the lead after three rounds of the Phoenix Open last week, played Indian Wells and picked up his first birdie at the par-4 second. He faltered with a bogey at the fourth but recovered with three straight birdies from the fifth and knocked a 5-wood to 12 feet for eagle at the par-5 eighth.
The 31-year-old hit his approach to six feet for birdie at the 10th for the first of three consecutive birdies on the back nine. He birdied the 14th but found trouble with a bogey at the very next hole.
At the par-5 18th, Frazar reached the green in two and drained the putt for his second eagle of the day and a round of 62.
'The golf courses are relatively easy, but playing out here is like playing in a dome because they are so good, the greens are perfect,' said Frazar. 'Unless the Santa Anas start blowing, guys are going to keep on going low.'
Davis Love III had nine birdies and one bogey for a round of 64. Love finished alongside Mike Weir and Rod Pampling at 13-under-par 131.
J.L. Lewis, John Huston, Chris DiMarco, Cliff Kresge, Mark Calcavecchia and Scott McCarron were one shot further back at 12-under-par 132.
Bob Tway, who shared the opening-round lead with Ames, carded a 2-under 70 to finish five shots off the lead. Tway was joined by Glen Hnatiuk, Justin Leonard, Jeff Brehaut, Doug Barron, Tim Herron and Shaun Micheel.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson posted a 4-under 68 to finish in a group at 6-under-par 138.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.