Torrey Pines Paging Dr Wie

By Brian HewittJanuary 23, 2008, 5:00 pm
The USGA, which already has said the first cut of rough will probably be less penal at its Torrey Pines South U.S. Open this June than it was at its Oakmont U.S. Open last June, has more good news for the players.
 
And before you get the idea that the USGA has gone all soft on us, heres a reminder from course set-up guy Mike Davis: This years U.S. Open will be able to play close to 400 yards longer (7,600 plus) than any previous U.S. Open. And we think, Davis said, that weather conditions will allow us to dial in the firmness pretty close to the way we want.
 
Its just that Davis still remembers the 1998 U.S. Senior Open staged at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles In July. At that championship the kikuyu grass greenside roughs were allowed to grow virtually unchecked. Hale Irwins winning score of 285 was the only over par winning score in the Senior Open in the last 16 years.
 
Kikuyu grass is very grabby. And as a result, said Davis who was at Riviera in 1998, it made the players, at times, look almost stupid around the greens. That blade of grass at that time of year is just too strong.
 
The greenside roughs at Torrey Pines are also primarily kikuyu. But Davis says the plan is to overseed and create a friendlier blend of ryegrass and kikuyu to give the players a fighting chance around the greens.
 
Greenside kikuyu at the Buick Invitational, played at Torrey Pines this week and at the Northern Trust Open, played at Riviera next month, isnt healthy enough in winter to present the kinds of problems it does later in the year.
 
ROLE REVERSAL:
The LPGA season begins Feb. 14-16 with the SBS Open followed by the Fields Open, both of which will be played in Hawaii.
 
Heres the twist:
 
Former World No. 1 Annika Sorenstam will probably play in both events, for the first time in her career. Current World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa will play in neither, for the first time in her career.
 
Sources say Ochoa wants to pay more attention to gearing her schedule around the four womens majors in 2008. Her first event of 2008 will be the HSBC Womens Championship in Singapore Feb. 28-Mar. 2.
 
The first LPGA major is the Kraft Nabisco Championship April 3-6.
 
Sorenstam is engaged to be married to Mike McGee. The wedding date is scheduled for some time in 2009. Word out of her camp is that she is healthy again and champing at the bit for the 2008 LPGA season to begin.
 
BACK TO SCHOOL:
The latest domino to fall in the scheduling game that faces the Wie family has to do with Michelles father, B.J. Wie.
 
Thats Dr. Wie to you.
 
It is not widely known that B.J. Wie holds a PhD and is a faculty member of the University of Hawaiis School of Travel Industry Management. It is even less widely known that B.J. Wie is currently on what a school official recently termed unpaid personal leave.
 
The elder Wie, reported the school official, is expected to return to his teaching assignments by the beginning of fall semester, 2008.
 
That means, among other things, if Michelle returns to Stanford for the fall quarter later this year, she will be free from the watchful eye of both parents. Michelle Wies parents drew criticism from at least one Stanford official late last year when it was learned that her parents were living in off-campus quarters during the first term of her freshman year. One school employee referred to B.J. and Bo (Michelles mother) as helicopter parents because they were perceived to be hovering over their daughter.
 
Meanwhile, officials of the SBS Open are expected to announce, within days, what players will get sponsors exemptions to that tournament. A Wie representative did not immediately respond to a request on whether Michelle had applied for one of those exemptions.
 
BUBBLE BATTLE:
Its not too early to start examining the years first bubble. The WGC-Accenture Match Play is just a month away and the scramble for invitations at the moment is a wild one.
 
The top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking get bids. Ernie Els, currently No. 5, already has said he will skip the event. So, barring other dropouts, that leaves anybody near No. 65 on the list hustling for his spot.
 
At the moment Colin Montgomerie is languishing at No. 65. Jonathan Byrd, Carl Pettersson and Sean OHair'all prominent players--are Nos. 67-69, respectively. Anthony Kim ranks 64th, Camilo Villegas 63rd and Daniel Chopra, who won earlier this month at Kapalua, is No. 61.
 
Invitations become official after the release of the world rankings on Monday Feb. 11.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Buick Invitational
  • Getty Images

    Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

    The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

    To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

    “You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

    For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

    Getty Images

    Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

    “I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

    “Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

    That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

    “You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

    Getty Images

    "Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

    Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

    Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

    To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

    “It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

    Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

    • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
    • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
    • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

     

    “This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

    that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

     

    “I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

     

    Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

    Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.