Shag Bag Blog Week 22


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Welcome to the Shag Bag, where the team and Golf Channel talent will regularly file thoughts and opinions from around the world of golf.


Haney and Woods courtside at a NBA playoff game

We spotted Tiger Woods and swing coach Hank Haney in the crowd at Saturdays Orlando Magic game, perhaps finally ending the blog-driven rumors that Haney would be fired.
Per Woods standard pre-tournament MO, he has been working with Haney at Isleworth before heading up to Ohio for next weeks Memorial.
As the two cheered on the Magics Game 6 victory they smiled and talked freely. Seems all those rumors of Haneys demise were greatly exaggerated.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 31, 9:38 a.m. ET


Who's the best PGA Tour member without a victory?
Tim Clark, 33, is aiming to take his name out of the running as the answer to that question at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Clark is making his 184th PGA Tour start. He has finished runner-up six times, including last year's Colonial and the '06 Masters. Clark, a three-time European Tour winner, seems to be warming up to something big. He won the Australian Open in December and knocked off Tiger Woods in the Accenture Match Play Championship in February.
If Clark isn't the best PGA Tour member without a victory, who is?
' Randall Mell
Posted May 30, 9:53 a.m. ET


Good to see Ryan Palmer in the hunt at Colonial, but we cant say its a surprise.
Palmer has struggled since last fall with a shoulder injury, having missed his last three cuts and finishing no better than 19th in 2009. Colonial, however, is familiar ground for the Texas native and Hogans Alley is the home course for his caddie Big Game James Edmondson.
Edmondson is a regular in the venerable clubs weekly games when hes at home and hes a former mini-tour player. According to caddie code, Edmondson is adept at showing up and keeping up, but Palmer may want him to speak up this week.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 30, 9:07 a.m. ET


John Daly shot 76 Friday and missed the cut by two shots at the European Open in England.
There's good news even in that. It marks just his second missed cut of 2009. He had made three of four cuts since heading over to play the European Tour last month. The last time Daly had a good run of making it to the weekend? Back in 2005, when he went four straight weeks without missing a cut. At one point last season he went eight consecutive PGA Tour events without making a cut.
Daly, however, wasn't alone among big names missing the cut at the European Open. Shane Lowry, who won the 3 Irish Open as an amateur, missed the cut in his professional debut. Retief Goosen, Henrik Stenson and Angel Cabrera also didn't make the weekend.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 29, 3:22 p.m. ET


Steve Stricker seems determined to put himself in position to fail again with his quick start Friday at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Yeah, that sounds so negative, so pessimistic compared to saying he's trying to put himself into position to win again, but the truth is that tournaments are lost more than they're won. At week's end, one player will walk away with the trophy and a half dozen or so will be recounting how they could have won it, or just plain lost it.
Stricker, a four-time PGA Tour winner, knows this hard truth as the winner and loser of events. He squandered a chance to win The 50th Bob Hope Classic earlier this year, shedding his final round lead with a couple wild shots in on the way to a 77. He had a another chance at the end of the Northern Trust but couldn't finish off a strong final-round run, making bogey at the last hole to miss out on a playoff by a shot.
But when it comes to rebounding, Stricker is an expert. He's a two-time PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year. That's a remarkable distinction, being able to rebound from significant adversity from one season to the next. If he's able to win this week, he'll have engineered a comeback within a season. Stricker's shown he isn't afraid to give himself a chance to fail. He has finished second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh already this season. He may get knocked down, but he keeps getting up, and he keeps coming.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 29, 12:02 p.m. ET


Joe Ogilvie suffered through his worst year on the PGA Tour in 2008 not because of a particular swing flaw or inefficiency in his game, but because of a global economic crisis that didnt square with Ogilvies structured view of the world.
I probably spent too much time reading and thinking about everything that is going on, said Ogilvie, who is among the early leaders at Colonial Country Club after an opening 67.
Weve never had that problem. In fact, sports psychologist Dr. Gio Valiante recently introduced us to a phase that resonated with the Shag Bag staff ' dumb focus.
Of course Ogilvies mind has not slowed that much, as evidenced by an XM Radio interview he gave on Wednesday. Ogilvie said he was going to suggest to the Players Advisory Council this week a plan that would require players participate in the traditional 15-event minimum and earn a certain number of points to maintain their Tour cards.
Under Ogilvies plan, players would need 30 points to keep their cards, with starts at bigger events, like majors and World Golf Championships, worth one point while lesser events, like stops in New Orleans and Memphis, worth five or 10 points.
Ogilvies plan would promote more starts from top players, while not violating the independent contractors independence.
Not bad for a guy who committed to less thinking, more swinging in 2009.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 28, 3:47 p.m. ET



The PGA Tour inserted basketball legend Jerry West as the face of the Northern Trust Open on Thursday, but the real news may be who the former NBA great will be working with.
The Tours Championship Management division has stepped in to run the event along with the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce. Championship Management runs 12 Tour and Champions Tour events ' including the World Golf Championships, two FedEx Cup playoff events, The Players and Presidents Cup 'but the L.A. stop will be the first off the shelf event that Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., will run directly.
West, an icon in L.A. who spent his entire Hall of Fame career with the Lakers, was named executive director and will undoubtedly raise the profile of the event, but expect most of the shots to be called from Tour HQ.
In fact, considering the events high-profile run in with Congress this year over corporate entertainment and a three-year hole in the tee sheet where Tiger Woods name is supposed to be, officials may want to woo Lakers coach Phil Jackson over to try and mix things up as well.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 28, 12:47 p.m. ET


Laura Davies has accepted an offer from the USGA to extend her streak to 24 consecutive appearances in the U.S. Women's Open.
The championship is scheduled July 9-12 at Saucon Valley Country Club's Old Course in Bethlehem, Pa. Davies won the 1987 U.S. Women's Open, defeating JoAnne Carner and Ayako Okamoto in an 18-hole playoff at Plainfield (N.J.) Country Club. It's one of her four major championship triumphs. She also won two McDonald's LPGA titles (1994, '96) and a du Maurier Classic ('96).
In case you're wondering, the record for most consecutive U.S. Women's Open appearances is 31. Hollis Stacy set the mark between 1970 and 2000.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 27, 4:57 p.m. ET


Charles Howell III continued his solid play last week, finishing tied for 45th at the Byron Nelson after a wayward 73 on Sunday.
Howell cracked the head on his driver during last Wednesdays pro-am and struggled on the weekend with a replacement gamer, hitting just 11 of 28 fairways. The good news: he found a driver closer to the original this week at Colonial. The better news: his putting ' a soft spot in an otherwise on-form game ' continues to improve.
CH3 needed just 27 putts on Thursday and 28 on Saturday. If he continues that at Colonial, officials should start looking for a tartan champions jacket in his size. Were guessing something along the lines of a 33 slim.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 27, 4:47 p.m. ET


Amanda Blumenherst, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion and three-time NCAA Player of the Year, announced Wednesday that she has turned pro and will make her debut June 11-14 at the Michelob Ultra Duramed Futures Players Championship.
She'll also play the Wegman's LPGA June 25-28, where she tied for 17th as an amateur three years ago. In five LPGA appearances, her best finish is a tie for 10th at the 2006 U.S. Women's Open at the Newport (R.I.) Country Club.
Blumenherst, 22, graduated magna cum laude from Duke earlier this month with a degree in history. She has signed with IMG and will be managed by Matt Iofredo.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 27, 1:07 p.m. ET


The LPGA Tour Championship has a home, plans for television, a finalized format but still no title sponsor in the wake of news of Stanford Financials legal problems.









The LPGA announced Tuesday that its season-ending championship will be played at The Houstonian Golf & Country Club in Richmond, Texas, just outside Houston Nov. 19-22 and will be televised by the Golf Channel.
Originally designated the Stanford Financial Tour Championship, the LPGA has yet to announce a new title sponsor. Stanford Financials backing became an issue after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission raided the offices of R. Allen Stanford in February and froze the assets of three companies he controls as part of a fraud investigation.
The LPGA Tour Championship, which replaces the ADT Championship playoff finale as the tours last event, will feature a $1.5 million purse, down from the $2 million originally planned. A 120-player field will be cut to the low 70 players and ties after 36 holes and the low 30 and ties after 54 holes.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 26, 5:50 p.m. ET



The 2007 Rookie of the Year will remain on the disabled list, at least for one more week according to Brandt Snedekers trainer Randy Myers.
Snedeker, who strained a rib on his right side during the Masters and hasnt played since missing the cut at Hilton Head, will probably not play this weeks Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, opting instead to rest the injury at least one more week.
Hes 95 percent (for Memorial), said Myers, the director of instruction at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort. Theres some pain right now when he swings.
Rib injuries are golfs version of the ubiquitous groin injury in the NFL ' never career threatening, but painful and slow to heal.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 26, 4:10 p.m. ET


Whos the best American woman in the world?
Paula Creamer didnt wait long to grab back that distinction, based on the Rolex Womens World Golf Rankings. She leaped back over Cristie Kerr in this weeks rankings.
If youre into this debate, the argument has been between Creamer and Kerr for two seasons now with Angela Stanford deserving strong mention. Creamer, 21, was the highest ranked American woman in the world for 72 consecutive weeks until Kerr, 31, won the Michelob Ultra Open two weeks ago. With a second-place finish at the LPGA Corning Classic on Sunday, Creamer climbed back up to No. 3 in the world rankings with Kerr No. 4 and Stanford No. 7.
Creamer has yet to win this year, but shes zeroing in. In her last three starts, she has finished second (Japans Salonpas Cup), tied for third (Sybase Classic) and tied for second (Corning).
' Randall Mell
Posted May 26, 2:02 p.m. ET


Brian Davis is one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour following top-5 finishes at The Players, Texas Open and last week at the Byron Nelson. So why would an on-form Englishman who has posted eight consecutive rounds in the 60s skip qualifying for the British Open to play in a Monday pro-am?
Seems Davis bypassed a shot at his national championship for all the right reasons.
Earlier this year Davis approached Colonial officials for a sponsor exemption. In exchange Davis offered to play in the events Monday pro-am. When he qualified for this weeks Fort Worth, Texas, stop with his play at TPC Sawgrass and San Antonio he gave back the exemption and could have skipped the pro-am and played in Mondays 36-hole qualifier for Turnberry.
Instead, Davis honored his commitment to Colonial officials and played the pro-am. We thought it was a really standup-ish thing to do, one Colonial official said.
So do we.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 26, 11:19 a.m. ET


'Hey, Foltzy, Let me ask you a question about TV coverage,' my longtime friend said as I passed him last fall on the practice green at Turning Stone. 'My kids wanted to know when I changed my first name to '49-year-old' Michael Allen?' He was joking, of course, but it did seem that we all referred to him that way during coverage ' as if it were some type of badge of honor or that it made his competitive play more impressive.
So it was ironic yesterday to hear the new Senior PGA champion referred to as young, by Bruce Fleisher, and a long hitter by Gary Koch. Perhaps the most ironic thing about his impressive win in Cleveland is the fact that the long-time Q-School stallwart, who's currently exempt on the PGA Tour, and as of two days ago had absolutely no status on the Champions Tour, is now exempt and won't have to go through Champions Tour Q-School should he opt to play full time out there.
Ain't golf grand? It is now for the man who has never had an enemy on earth. It took a while, a very long while, but sometimes really nice guys do indeed finish first.
' Jerry Foltz
Posted May 25, 12:30 p.m. ET


Late last year during the PGA Tours playoff stop in New Jersey we were talking with Michael Allen when he mentioned that a Champions Tour Q-School application had just arrived at his house. What am I going to do with that? he smiled.
On Sunday one of the games most endearing journeyman got his answer, a victory in his first start on the 50-and-over circuit and a major championship for good measure. There are no shortage of reasons to like Allen, but his post-round interview says it best.
  • After being introduced as the Senior PGA champion, a title that was also won by Arnold Palmer: If you refer to me and Arnie, the only thing we had in common before was we liked to drink wine.
  • On his first victory in a Tour-sanctioned event in 334 attempts: Three hundred and thirty-four? Seems like just yesterday.
  • On his pre-final round meal Saturday night in Ohio: Went over to Flemings and I drank some nice pinot noir. I figured red wine is good for your nerves. White wine is not good; I drank that Wednesday night, so you can see what happens.
  • On leaving the Cleveland/Orlando NBA playoff game Friday night, which was won by a buzzer beater, with one second remaining: It was one second. What could happen?
  • Finally, when a scribe asked what he would do with his prize money Allen smiled: I could buy you all champagne is what I would like to do.
    Tony Lema would be proud.
    ' Rex Hoggard
    Posted May 25, 9:37 a.m. ET


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