Monty Needs Big Year to Stop Downward Spiral

By Associated PressDecember 13, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Target World Challenge pres. by CountrywideTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Colin Montgomerie is back in the same precarious position.
Montgomerie came to the Target World Challenge two years ago believing his worst days were behind him. Having started the season at No. 81 in the world, he challenged Tiger Woods at St. Andrews and at a World Golf Championship, building blocks that helps him turn around his fortunes and finish 2005 at No. 9 in the world.
His plan was to stay in the top 10, if not move even higher.
But when he arrived at Sherwood Country Club as a substitute for the injured Davis Love III, the 44-year-old Scot was No. 56 in the world and in dire need of another comeback.
He is not eligible for the Masters. Of greater importance, this is a Ryder Cup year.
'I've got a big year ahead,' he said Wednesday. 'Obviously, there's a marriage in April -- trying that again. And obviously, I've got to get my act together in playing terms to get back into the Ryder Cup scene. I'd like to participate again. I've played in the last eight, and I'd like to make that nine.
'The standard is improving all the time, and I'm getting older.'
The year hasn't been a total loss. He won the European Open in Ireland for his first victory in 18 months and the 31st of his European Tour career, giving him one more than Nick Faldo. And he finally helped deliver a World Cup to Scotland, teaming with Marc Warren to hold off the Americans last month in China.
Montgomerie came close to winning the Target in 2004, taking a two-shot lead into the final round and finishing three behind the tournament host. He is part of a 16-man field that includes Woods, the defending champion, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington and the ever-present Fred Couples.
It is a holiday for most, especially with a $5.75 million purse and $1.35 million going to the winner.
But he knows the real test starts next year.
Montgomerie made his Ryder Cup debut in 1991 and has become Europe's best player over the years. The putts that he can't seem to make in the majors never seem to miss when he puts on a team uniform.
He has earned 23 1/2 points in the Ryder Cup, second only to Faldo and Bernhard Langer. Montgomerie has never lost in singles, and one more singles victory would break the Ryder Cup record he shares with players such as Faldo, Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead.
But that kind of history won't guarantee a spot on the team at Valhalla in September. Of the eight times he has played in the Ryder Cup, he has been a captain's pick only once, in 2004 by Langer.
'Even if I get to 12 or 13 on the list, or whatever the case may be, I might get picked again,' he said. 'Nick knows the situation, and he's aware of it. And so am I.'
Faldo didn't show much love earlier this fall at the Seve Trophy, where he told British reporters that Montgomerie didn't appear to be a team player because he didn't go to the meetings.
Montgomerie said he has spoken to Faldo and everything is fine. He's more concerned about his game.
What happened?
'I've putted particularly poorly those last two years,' Montgomerie said. 'I won the Order of Merit in 2005 and I was eighth in the world. Now I'm 50-something, and it's far too low. I've missed far too many putts that the competition are holing, and I've got to get back to putting. It's just a couple of putts a round, but that's eight shots a tournament. If you take eight shots off of every tournament I play, I'm winning four or five a year, at least.'
Montgomerie has never been known as a great putter, except one week every two years in the Ryder Cup. He could get by as a decent putter because his swing has been so sound for so long. Now, that's no longer the case.
'I could get away with putting average,' he said. 'But not now. The standards have improved. I've got to putt well to win.'
And this tournament, even that might not be enough.
'I've done OK here,' Monty said. 'I was two shots ahead one year, but I don't know. Some fellow beat me. I don't know his name. He's quite good, has potential. So he won. He'll probably win again.'
Woods is playing for the first time in 10 weeks, not since Sept. 30 at the Presidents Cup. He was on the putting green after his pro-am round, hitting putts with one hand, the blade positioned between two tees. He made most of them.
Small wonder that Woods has won his tournament three times.
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    Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

    After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

    Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    “The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

    Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

    Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

    His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

    “When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

    Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

    Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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    Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

    By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

    The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

    Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

    Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

    He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

    There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

    In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

    So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

    The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

    Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

    When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

    Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

    Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

    Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

    “The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

    This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

    The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

    It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

    “The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

    Pay per view does that.

    “You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

    If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

    Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

    Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

    Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

    By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

    AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

    District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

    Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

    Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

    Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

    LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

    LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

    View this post on Instagram

    Finally got it down lol

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

    Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

    View this post on Instagram

    How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.