Winsday Hot List: Quail, gators and fried donuts

By Win McMurryMay 2, 2012, 5:26 pm

We’ve traded out Bourbon Street for a Southern favorite this week as the PGA Tour hits the Queen City, Charlotte, N.C. The tournament is heralded annually as one of (if not THE) best regular Tour stops outside of the majors. As a born and bred Tar Heel, I readily agree.

The Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow is definitely HOT! The fans show en masse, but are always quick with a “sir” or “ma’am.” The girls – the finest you’ll find – accent the course in their best spring sundresses (yet practical footwear). And of course, there’s the course. From the welcoming grand clubhouse to the challenging test Quail Hollow affords one of the top fields in golf, it’s among the best – and tops this week’s Hot List.

Wells Fargo Championship:

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. They’re all here. And as I write this I’m wondering why I’m not as well, but I have a reason (see final list entry).


The Big Miss

The (not so) Big Miss:

Believe it or not, Hank Haney’s book reached No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list last month for combined print and e-books. For hardcover nonfiction it sat at No. 2 on the list for two weeks. This week it’s ranked No. 5 with 228,000 copies now in print. Think Tiger still wishes he and agent Mark Steinberg had made such a ruckus about the book?


Ernie Els at the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Ernie Els:

No special exemption needed, thank you! After his playoff loss at the Zurich Classic, Els moved to No. 40 in the world rankings. The top 60 as of May 21 are in for the U.S. Open at Olympic Club this June, meaning the Big Easy is now a lock.


Patrick Cantlay

Amateurs:

The top-two ranked amateurs will tee it up in the Travelers Championship. Patrick Cantlay (above) and Patrick Rodgers were granted exemptions. Strategic move by tournament director Nathan Grube, who hopes these young guns will return the favor one day when they strike it big.


Rex Hoggard

Golf Media:

Tiger’s move to field questions from fans by video on his website (in lieu of a formal news conference at Quail Hollow) certainly boiled the blood in many a golf reporter. While some may be hot on this issue, fans and other players, including Dustin Johnson, aren’t critical of the move. Johnson tweeted, “People love or hate Mr. @TigerWoods – I like that he’s taking to the internet to reach his fans!! Not every time, but it’s OK!! #ItsTheFuture”


Jason Dufner and Amanda

Jason Dufner:

If Dufner EVER gets pumped up, I’m pretty sure this has to be the week. The guy captures his first PGA Tour win and follows it up by saying “I do” during the span of a week. If you measure hot by a sweaty forehead, there is no better week for Dufner to make the list.


Fried Donut

Fried Donuts:

I haven't tried them, but I’m jumping out of my skin to get a taste! Served in the men’s locker room at the Quail Hollow Club, Paul Goydos raved about them on “Morning Drive” and Robert Allenby tweeted about them. From beignets to fried donuts … you can’t go wrong. 


Donald Trump 

The Donald:

Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. will be awarded the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open. The formal announcement is to be made Thursday; however, it’s hardly been a secret (recall presser at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral).


Alligator

The Alligator:

The gator strikes again, this time at Lake Ashton Golf & Country Club in Lake Wales, Fla. A 75-year-old golfer went to retrieve his ball from shallow water at the 15th hole … and chomp! He grabbed the man’s knee and tried to drag him into the water. Luckily, the golfer was saved by friends and is OK.


Bandon Dunes

Bandon Dunes:

The golf resort opens its 13-hole par-3 this week. The goal, according to Bandon Dunes creator Mike Keiser, is to “attempt to elevate everyone’s concept of what a par 3 is.” I’m sold! That’s my kind of golf.


Baker

Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club:

Last, but top-of-mind for me this week, is this Discovery Land hot spot with an 18-hole course located on the Sea of Abaco in the Bahamas. This week, BillionairesBunker.com voted it “favorite golfing destination” and this weekend the Tom Fazio design will contest its member-guest, “The Buccaneer,” in which I’m pumped to be invited to participate. There’s not much hotter than packing a bikini in your golf bag!

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. 

Getty Images

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.