Westwood in Form Hottest Female in Golf

By Tom AbbottMay 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editors Note: Tom Abbott is the host of Golf Central UK. He will be filing a bi-weekly column on thegolfchannel.com with news, opinions and his inside knowledge of the European Tour.
 
Westwood Ready to Head West
Lee Westwood is a rarity among English professional golfers; he joins only three others since 1970 to win both the European Tour Order of Merit and at least one PGA TOUR event. The other three: Tony Jacklin, Peter Oosterhuis and Nick Faldo. Westwood joined the group following his 2000 season, validating the 1998 Zurich Classic of New Orleans title. But with so much promise in the late '90s and his five-win season in Europe in 2000, Westwood began to vanish at the beginning of this decade. Dropping to 52nd in 2001 and 75th in 2002 on the Order of Merit, and failing to obtain starts in majors, he bounced back in 2003 with a couple of wins and then went on another victory drought until last weekend. With so much attention focused on a group of British players which didnt seem to include Westwood -- names like Poulter, Rose, Donald, Howell -- perhaps the 34-year-old from Worksop can now begin to claw his way back towards winning in the States, preferably a major. He began the week at the Valle Romano Open de Andaluca ranked 63rd in the world. His victory moved him to 48th and a place at Oakmont beckons -- not to mention his confidence will be sky high approaching the Irish Open and the flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
 
Garrett the Hottest Player in Womens Golf?
Forget Lorena Ochoa or recently crowned major champion Morgan Pressel, the hottest player in womens golf right now is Australian Nikki Garrett. The 23-year-old, 2006 rookie of the year on the LET added her second consecutive victory last week in Spain. Two weeks ago in Tenerife she captured the first title of her career at the Tenerife Ladies Open and then finished with 70 on Sunday to add the Spanish Open title to her collection. The field is obviously not as a strong as the more lucrative LPGA Tour, but a win is a win surely? Sadly, though, it looks as if Garrett will not be joining the field of the years second major in June. The McDonalds LPGA Championship doesnt include a category for international winners and despite her two victories, she wont be high enough on the rankings to obtain a spot in that way. Her only chance it seems would be through a special exemption.
 
Challenge Tour Beginning to Take Shape
Joost Luiten from Holland collected the AGF Allianz Golf Open de Toulouse in France last week. The 21-year-old rookie carded a final-round 64 to surprise the third-round leaders and take the win. Last weeks tournament was the eighth event on this seasons schedule and the rankings are beginning to take shape with two-time winner Eduardo Molinari at the head of the pack. Molinari, a former U.S. Amateur champion is now on the battlefield promotion watch-list; he only needs one more win to obtain an automatic card for the European Tour. Luiten moved to third with his win.
 
Tom Abbott will host live coverage of the Sybase Classic beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. on GOLF CHANNEL (Sky Digital Channel 423)
 
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.