Press Pass Can Monty Contend at Carnoustie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
With his win in Europe this past week, can Colin Montgomerie be a serious contender for the Open Championship at Carnoustie?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
The win means Monty is on form and that's always important. But his record at Open Championships is spotty at best. I can think of 20 guys I would immediately pick ahead of Montgomerie for Carnoustie. I don't see a win at a major for Monty now or ever. His best chances, most notably U.S. Opens in 1992 and 1994, and PGA 1995, are behind him.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Yes, Colin can make a run at Carnoustie. As straight as he drives the ball, Colin, when he has confidence, which he should have after his win at the K Club, should be able to contend for that ever-elusive first major championship next week in his home country. What a story that would be!
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
I've always been surprised at Monty's relatively poor results in this particular major. His best chance to win at Carnoustie will be to hang around relatively quietly for three rounds, shoot a great number on Sunday, and watch as others fade to hand him the title.
Hot Topic
This week is the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. Should the European Tour use a more links-style venue as a British Open lead-in to attract an even greater field?
This is an interesting question and to answer it you have to begin by pointing out how few true links courses there are on the European Tour schedule. It's probably more important to a lot of players that Loch Lomond, being in Scotland, is always a conveneient commute to any course in the Open rota. Tiger, by the way, never plays Loch Lomond. He has chosen, on several occasions, to spend the week prior to the Open Championship playing links golf in Ireland.
I think it'd be great if links golf was used the week before the British Open. But like the PGA TOUR, money and sponsors dictate things on the European Tour and I would imagine Loch Lomond is the venue because of both factors. I do not think it matters what style the course is as far getting more Americans. Players from here are either going to go over or they're not. It's seems to me that it's a personal choice made for scheduling reasons around a major and not the style of course.
Americans just don't like to travel outside of their country to play golf unless they have to. It's sad, really. I'd love to see a links-style venue host the precursor to the Open. And I'd love to see more Americans flock over to play it. But that's not likely to happen. Many just prefer to come over a couple of days before the Open, acclimate, and then get ready for the championship on their own schedule.
Hot Topic
With the Presidents Cup in Montreal, should Mike Weir be selected for the International Presidents Cup team regardless of his form or standing?
This is a special situation. Weir is a special player. And Canada is a special venue because of the avidness of its golf fans. Memo to International captain Gary Player: Throw past performance out the window. Pick Weir. Look what happened when the Europeans made a sentimental pick of Darren Clarke at last year's Ryder Cup in Ireland. It was an inspiration.
Mike Weir should absolutely be on the Presidents Cup team. He is the face of Canadian golf and is a national hero there. End of story.
Without question. All Gary Player -- and Jack Nicklaus -- talks about is how the Presidents Cup is NOT the Ryder Cup. That this competition is one of sportsmanship and building the game, not gamesmanship and winning at any cost. If he really believes that, he'll select Weir regardless of his form. Weir is a national icon and his presence will definitely be a boost to the competition.
This past weeks U.S. Senior Open was held at Whistling Straits. Would you like to see more majors awarded to newer venues or stick with the older, more renowned courses?
I'd like to see a mixture. Would love to see the Senior Open at Pacific Dunes in Oregon. Also, I don't think the USGA needs to hold the feet of the over-50 guys to the fire so much in terms of course set-up. Remember, a lot of those feet are tired.
If the new golf courses chosen are worthy, like Whistling Straits is, I love seeing new courses host the biggest events. I also love the tradition of the old courses. As long as majors are held at great courses I like the mix between young and old.
I'd love to see some newer courses used to host major championships, especially on the Champions and LPGA tours. These two tours need a little extra publicity during their majors, and the use of an oft-talked about, but rarely/never played venue can add some interest.
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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

    ''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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    DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

    Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

    “He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

    The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

    It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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    Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

    BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

    ''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

    He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    ''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

    Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

    ''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

    Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

    ''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

    Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

    Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

    Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.