Howell Defends Title Reputation

By Associated PressFebruary 13, 2008, 5:00 pm
Northern Trust OpenPACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- With two years left in his 20s, Sergio Garcia already has won 16 times around the world and seriously contended in the majors, including runner-up finishes to Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington.
 
'Sergio Garcia, he's a failure. Really,' Charles Howell III said in a voice hoarse from a commercial shoot and dripping with sarcasm. 'The guy has had a hell of a career, but in a lot of people's eyes, he hasn't won a major, so he needs to hang it up and quit.'
 
Majors aren't the only problem, and maybe not even the biggest.
 
It's Tiger Woods.
 
Howell knows from experience, part of a growing list of young players who arrive on the PGA TOUR with high expectations and get buried under an avalanche of comparisons with Woods.
 
Howell, 28, won at Riviera last year by closing with a 65, getting into a playoff thanks to a late mistake by Phil Mickelson, and making three clutch pars to outlast Lefty on the third extra hole.
 
It was only the second victory of Howell's career, feeding the perception that he's an underachiever.
 
Take Woods out of the picture, and Howell's career might not look that bad. He earned his card without going to Q-school, was voted rookie of the year, has made the Presidents Cup team twice and is a regular at the Tour Championship.
 
Howell is the defending champion at a tournament now called the Northern Trust Open, a strong field that includes eight of the top 10 players in the world, minus only Woods and Ernie Els.
 
Riviera is loaded with talented young players, all of them held to a higher standard because of Woods.
 
'Tiger has skewed the bar to an extent where a lot of times, the young players are judged on a little different scale, as opposed to being patient, knowing that in the peak of many careers, guys are in their mid to late 30s,' Howell said.
 
When he turned 30, Woods already had won 54 times worldwide and 10 majors, including the career Grand Slam twice over. No one before or after Woods came along has won so much so soon.
 
'At some point in time, it's going to be unfair to compare Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods,' Paul Goydos said earlier this year. 'What he's accomplished is nuts. It's nuts. To even mention Tiger in the same conversation with young players and what they're going to accomplish is blatantly unfair.'
 
Adam Scott took the trophy home from Riviera in 2005, although it wasn't an unofficial victory because rain allowed for only 36 holes, and Scott beat Chad Campbell in a one-hole playoff Monday. Scott, 27, has five other PGA TOUR victories in reputable places, such as THE PLAYERS Championship, Tour Championship and the Deutsche Bank Championship.
 
He has climbed as high as No. 3 in the world, yet getting to No. 1 can look next to impossible at times.
 
'For me, all my life as a kid dreamt of being No. 1 in the world,' Scott once said. 'How am I going to live up to that dream? I've got to somehow figure a way to play better than this guy over a pretty long period of time.'
 
Garcia is making his PGA TOUR debut this year at Riviera, trying to put behind him a season in which he was on the cusp of his first major until a bogey on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie, then losing the British Open in a playoff.
 
Also at Riviera is Justin Rose, 27, who captured the Order of Merit on the European tour last year. Luke Donald is now 30, and while he has played on the last two Ryder Cup teams for Europe, he only has two victories on the PGA TOUR.
 
Donald joked Tuesday that his U.S. schedule has him playing many of the same tournaments Woods enters.
 
'Whether that's why I've only won two tournaments on the PGA TOUR, I'm not sure,' he said.
 
The spotlight seems to shine on one newcomer every year, from Garcia to Howell, from Scott to Geoff Ogilvy, and others such as J.B. Holmes, Anthony Kim and now Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Jason Day of Australia.
 
Scott said this would be an important year for the 20-year-old Day, a rookie on the PGA TOUR, as long as the bar was set moderately.
 
'Just to get himself steady out here,' Scott said. 'Not saying that he can't come out and win tournaments, because he certainly has the ability, but a good, solid year out here would be great for Jason.'
 
Even now, that's what Howell is trying to achieve.
 
Scott made great strides in 2006 when he was consistently in contention, and that's where Howell was headed last year. He finished one shot behind Goydos at the Sony Open, and was playing well enough to win at Torrey Pines except that he was going up against Woods, who played a little better and won by two.
 
When he beat Mickelson in a playoff at Riviera, he was quickly rising up the ranking. And then it stopped. Howell was never a serious threat the rest of the year.
 
'I really squandered away a really good start to the year,' Howell said. 'But in saying that, I did learn that I needed to improve my driving ... and then my scoring, the short game. If you go back to the guys that are at the very, very, very top -- Tiger, Phil, whoever -- they always find a way with their short game.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Northern Trust Open
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Chamblee: Like Tiger in '13, Mickelson should've DQ'd self

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 2:46 pm

    Two days after Brooks Koepka left Long Island with the U.S. Open trophy, the third-round antics of Phil Mickelson are still garnering plenty of discussion.

    Mickelson became a lightning rod of opinion after he intentionally hit a moving ball on the 13th green Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, incurring a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification. In the aftermath, he explained that he made a conscious choice to take the penalty to avoid playing back and forth across the crispy putting surface, and he tied for 48th after a final-round 66.

    Speaking Tuesday on "Morning Drive," Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee shared his view that Mickelson would have been well-served to disqualify himself ahead of the final round. He also compared it to Tiger Woods' incident at the 2013 Masters, when he took an incorrect drop and, like Mickelson, received a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.



    "I think Tiger, at least it's my opinion that his year would have been less distracting if he had done so," Chamblee said. "And I think the same of Phil Mickelson. If he had withdrawn from the championship and said, 'Look. This is a little sketchy. It didn't play out the way I thought. I've given it some thought and it's in the best interest of the championship that I withdraw.'"

    Chamblee added that Mickelson's antics were "really distracting" on a day filled with drama as the USGA lost control of course conditions, noting that Mickelson and playing partner Andrew "Beef" Johnston were the only tee time where both players failed to break 80 despite the difficult conditions.

    But having had time to review the situation and having surveyed a number of peers, Chamblee is as convinced as ever that Mickelson made a mistake by showing up for his final-round tee time.

    "What Phil did, I haven't run into a single person that hasn't said he deserved to be disqualified," Chamblee said. "Under any interpretation, a serious breach - if gaining an advantage is not a serious breach, I don't know what is. And he clearly said he was gaining an advantage and doing it for strategic reasons."

    Getty Images

    Norman to pose in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

    By Grill Room TeamJune 19, 2018, 2:05 pm

    Professional golfers have, from time to time, appeared in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features athletes strategically posed in the nude. The list includes: Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Gary Player, Camilo Villegas, Sandra Gal, Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien, Suzann Pettersen and Sadena Parks.

    And now, Greg Norman.

    Modesty has never been an issue for Norman, who has an affinity for posing without a shirt (and sometimes without pants) on his Instagram account.

    He joins a list of athletes, in this year's edition, ranging from professional wrestlers (Charlotte Flair) to Olympians (Adam Rippon) to WNBA stars (Sue Bird). Click here for a full list of the athletes to appear.

     

    Getty Images

    DJ listed as betting favorite for The Open

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

    With the U.S. Open officially in the books, oddsmakers quickly turned their attention to the season's third major.

    Minutes after Brooks Koepka holed the winning putt to successfully defend his title at Shinnecock Hills, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published its first set of odds for The Open. Jordan Spieth, who opened at 14/1, will defend his title as the tournament shifts to Carnoustie in Scotland for the first time since 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

    Joining Spieth at 14/1 is 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but they're both listed behind world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Johnson, who was a runner-up at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George's and just finished third at the U.S. Open, opened as a 12/1 betting favorite. Koepka, now a two-time major winner, is listed at 20/1 alongside U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

    Here's a look at the first edition of odds, with The Open just five weeks away:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy

    16/1: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas

    20/1: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    80/1: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry

    100/1: Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker

    Getty Images

    Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

    Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

    Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

    “We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

    “The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

    The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

    (All Times Local)

    Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

    Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

    Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

    Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

    Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

    Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

    NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.