Calc Looks to Turn Good Year to Great

By Associated PressOctober 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
  PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mark Calcavecchia decided to play the final four weeks of the PGA TOUR season for one simple reason.
 
'Sheer boredom,' he said.
 
Really, there isn't much else for him to worry about these days.
 
He's one of the headliners this week in the Ginn sur Mer Classic, the Fall Series event that opens Thursday on the Arnold Palmer Course at Tesoro Club. Only a quarter of the top 100 earners on TOUR this season are in the field, which is mostly bade up of players trying to find their way into the top 125 on that money list -- and earn exempt status for 2008 along with it.
 
So there's no Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk or Vijay Singh this week.
 
Instead, here comes Tripp Isenhour, Paul Gow, John Huston, and Jaco Van Zyl.
 
'It's nice not to see Tiger and Phil and Furyk and Vijay and all the same guys every week, actually,' Calcavecchia said. 'Kind of exciting showing up knowing that if you play well you don't have to dust off the top 10 in the world to have a chance.'
 
This year, he's had a chance just about every time out, no matter who else is playing.
 
The 47-year-old Calcavecchia already has a victory this season (the PODS Championship) along with five other top-10 finishes, has earned nearly $3 million in 2007 and tied for second at the TOUR Championship last month.
 
Yet, he isn't ready to see 2007 end, evidenced by this being his third straight start on the Fall Series schedule. He plans to play in the season finale at the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Lake Buena Vista next week as well.
 
'When I said I was going to play the last four, I wanted to win another one of them and turn a great year into a really great year,' Calcavecchia said. 'So I've got two left. I'm going to play next week at Disney and I'm looking forward to a couple big weeks -- I hope.'
 
This year was a turnaround of sorts for Calcavecchia, who was 120th on the money list last season and had only one top-10 finish in 27 events.
 
The Fall Series has been a turnaround for Justin Leonard, too.
 
Leonard won for the first time since 2005 earlier this month at the Texas Open, beating Jesper Parnevik in a playoff. He's finished at least 13th in each of his last three starts, making nearly $1.1 million -- or about as much as he'd made in nearly his last 50 starts combined.
 
'We can't measure our success by results too often,' Leonard said. 'There's a few players that can, but, you know, sometimes it's going to be in just progress. When you can win a golf tournament out here, it kind of validates things to everybody.'
 
Winning would do more than validate things to most in this field -- it'd get them tour cards for 2008.
 
The top 125 on the money list after next week's event earn full playing privileges for next year. Brett Quigley is 126th with $717,411; he's not here this week. But everyone else from No. 111 (Cliff Kresge, $858,349) to No. 134 (Kent Jones, $574,040) is entered in the field.
 
Or, for the likes of Ken Duke (No. 44, $1,754,478), a spot in the Masters is there for the taking.
 
'If you finish top 30 on the money list you get into an Augusta and maybe the U.S. Open, too,' Duke said. 'That's what I'm shooting for. If I win, I think it would take care of it, no question.'
 
Tesoro's unique par-73 layout measures nearly 7,400 yards, not including some fairly long distances between many greens and tees that will necessitate players to be shuttled several times during the round.
 
This is a first-time event; the tournament was originally scheduled to be in Fresno, Calif. until construction and financial problems with that site forced the tour to seek another venue earlier this year.
 
Most players in the field hadn't played Tesoro until this week, some not before Wednesday.
 
'Other than the obvious distance between the greens and tees, I thought most of the holes were nice holes,' Calcavecchia said. 'I thought it was a pretty nice course.'
 

Ben Curtis shot an 8-under 65 in Wednesday's pro-am. He withdrew after eight holes of last week's Fry's Electronics Open because of illness. ... Identical twins Derek and Daryl Fathauer, seniors at Louisville who grew up not far from the Tesoro Club, are in the field on sponsor exemptions. They're the first twins in a PGA Tour event since Curtis and Allen Strange in 1981. ... The course has played wet this week and there's a good chance of rain Thursday.
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro
  • Getty Images

    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

    @kharms27 on Instagram

    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

    @radiosarks on Twitter

    Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

    A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

    Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

    Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

    And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”