Press Pass PLAYERS Move Golf Fashion

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 21, 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. You can also give your take on our questions. Just click on the link and e-mail your responses to all four questions to us. We'll publish select answers each Friday in our Press Pass: Readers' Forum.
Hot Topic
This week is normally the spot for THE PLAYERS Championship. Do you like having the fifth major between the Masters and the U.S. Open or as a lead-in to the seasons first major?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
I was never really comfortable with THE PLAYERS Championship being two weeks ahead of the Masters. Too much of the media focus was (necessarily) on the upcoming Masters and the value of THE PLAYERS as a stand alone event was unfairly diminished. Plus, the grasses and the golf course at Sawgrass never seemed to synch up with what the players could expect at Augusta National. THE PLAYERS needed a move on the schedule. Now it has.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
I like the new PLAYERS Championship May date because the Masters was always the topic of discussion at Bay Hill. Now with the new date, THE PLAYERS will become one of the five most important events on the PGA TOUR.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
I'm a fan of the move. The TOUR doesn't really lose anything by having the Doral event, now under the WGC umbrella, in its place. The move should keep things interesting when there is often a lull the two months in between the Masters and U.S. Open.
Hot Topic
Should the PGA TOUR do more to make the WGC events contested on a more global level?
For starters, I find it a tad hypocritical for the 'International' players to complain that too many WGC events are in the U.S. when so many of them own homes in this country. That having been said, it wouldn't upset me to see more WGC events abroad, especially at some of the great old courses in the British Isles.
WGC events need to be contested in countries other than the United States.
Of course it would be nice; but TV, money and player malaise on traveling abroad are reasons it won't be happening for the next four years. The new schedule makes it tough to do as well. The TOUR risks a healthy amout of withdrawals if it moves the Accenture Match Play overseas. The new event at Doral isn't likely to chagne venues since it folded into an existing -- and very popular -- event. Really, the only current tournament that would be feasible to play overseas is the Bridgestone, but that is contested at Firestone, one of the more respected and well-like venues on TOUR. Translation: get used to seeing the same U.S. courses year-in and year-out in the WGC events.
Hot Topic
Vijay Singh won this past week by using a belly putter. Should belly and/or long putters be made illegal?
Hogan said there was golf and there was putting. The two, he maintained, were different games. With that in mind, I have no problem allowing any kind of implement on the greens. Nor do I have a problem with different putting styles.
No, belly and/or long putters should not be made illegal.
I wouldn't mind seeing a ban, at least for professionals. You can say that this is just another form of technology that has made the game a bit easier for players, like titanium or solid core, multi-layered balls, but, with belly/long putters, you have fundementally changed the way the club is used. Drivers, irons, wedges and balls may be more advanced, but they are still used, in essence, just as they were long before we were born. That is not the case with belly/long putters.
Hot Topic
Who are the best and worst dressed golfers, on any tour, today?
As my grandmother used to say, 'There's no accounting for taste.' I think Retief Goosen looks as comfortable, fit and sharp in golf clothes as any male player. Tiger is not far behind. And my wife, who pays much more attention to this sort of thing, agrees. Worst dressed? Asking a sportswriter to answer this question is a bit like asking a sinner to name his least favorite commandmant. I will say that Calc's Sunday outfit at Honda earlier this month wasn't exactly GQ. Not that he cares what I think. On the women's side, I think Natalie Gulbis dresses smartly. I'm not a big fan of Paula Creamer's look, particularly the occasional high socks. Would love to see Marty Hackel's best and worst dressed top 10 on the men's and women's side.
Best: Tiger Woods. Worst: Any golfer that wears a tight shirt.
Tiger is probably the best dressed on the men's side in a classic sense. Adam Scott has his moments. So, too, does Darren Clarke; though, he can go a bit overboard. Ian Poulter's among the worst; he's beyond daring with his fashion, taking it to a purely tacky level. Most of his clothes should be cast aside with every Tabasco shirt ever made. But Sergio Garcia, in his horrendous matching outfits, takes the cake in regards to awful attire. Ironically, the same company who outfits Garcia does so for Paula Creamer. She's the first female player that comes to mind when I think 'best dressed' (love the high socks, too).
Click here to e-mail us your take on all of the above four questions. We'll publish select reader responses on Friday.
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    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.  

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    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?’”

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    Rory looking for that carefree inner-child

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eleven years later, Rory McIlroy cringes at the photo: the yellow sweater with the deep V-neck, the chubby cheeks and the messy mop that curled under his cap.

    “You live and you learn,” he said Wednesday, offering a wry smile.

    The last time McIlroy played at a Carnoustie Open, in 2007, he earned the Silver Medal as the low amateur. He tied for 42nd, but the final result had mattered little. Grateful just to have a spot in the field, courtesy of his European Amateur title, he bounced along the fairways, soaking up every moment, and lingered behind the 18th green as one of his local heroes, Padraig Harrington, battled one of his favorite players, Sergio Garcia. Waiting for the trophy presentation, he passed the time playing with Padraig’s young son, Paddy. On Wednesday, McIlroy spotted Paddy, now 15, walking around Carnoustie with his three-time-major-winning father.

    “He’s massive now – he towers over me,” he said. “It’s so funny thinking back on that day.”

    But it’s also instructive. If there’s a lesson to be learned from ’07, it’s how carefree McIlroy approached and played that week. He was reminded again of that untroubled attitude while playing a practice round here with 23-year-old Jon Rahm, who stepped onto each tee, unsheathed his driver and bombed away with little regard for the wind or the bounce or the fescue. McIlroy smiled, because he remembers a time, not too long ago, that he’d attack a course with similar reckless abandon.

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I just think, as you get older, you get a little more cautious in life,” said McIlroy, 29. “I think it’s only natural. There’s something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff. The more I can get into that mindset, the better I’ll play golf.”

    And so on the eve of this Open, as he approaches the four-year anniversary of his last major title, McIlroy finds himself searching for a way to channel that happy-go-lucky 18-year-old who was about to take the world by storm, to tap into the easygoing excellence that once defined his dominance.

    It’s been a year since he first hinted at what he’s been missing. Last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale was the final event of his long run with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald. The chief reason for the split, he said, had nothing to do with some of the questionable on-course decisions, but rather a desire to take ownership of him game, to be freed up alongside one of his best friends, Harry Diamond.

    That partnership has produced only one victory so far, and over the past few months, McIlroy has at times looked unsettled between the ropes. It’s difficult to compute, how someone with seemingly so much – a résumé with four majors, a robust bank account, a beautiful wife – can also appear disinterested and unmotivated.

    “I think sometimes I need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and just happy to be here,” he said. “A golf tournament is where I feel the most comfortable. It’s where I feel like I can 100 percent be myself and express myself. Sometimes the pressure that’s put on the top guys to perform at such a level every week, it starts to weigh on you a little bit. The more I can be like that kid, the better.”

    It’s a decidedly different landscape from when the erstwhile Boy Wonder last won a major, in summer 2014. Jordan Spieth had won just a single Tour event, not three majors. Dustin Johnson wasn’t world No. 1 but merely a tantalizing tease, a long-hitting, fast-living physical freak who was just beginning a six-month break to address "personal challenges." Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka hadn’t even started playing in the States.  

    McIlroy’s greatest asset, both then and now, was his driving – he put on clinics at Congressional and Kiawah, Hoylake and Valhalla. He was a mainstay at or near the top of the strokes gained: tee to green rankings, but over the past few years, because of better technology, fitness and coaching, the gap between him and the rest of the field has shrunk.

    “I think at this stage players have caught up,” Harrington said. “There’s many players who drive the ball comparable and have certainly eaten into that advantage. Rory is well on pace to get into double digits with majors, but it has got harder. There’s no doubt there’s more players out there who are capable of having a big week and a big game for a major. It makes it tough.”

    It’s not as though McIlroy hasn’t had opportunities to add to his major haul; they’ve just been less frequent and against stronger competition. In the 13 majors since he last won, he’s either finished in the top 10 or missed the cut in 11 of them. This year, he played in the final group at the Masters, and was on the verge of completing the career Grand Slam, before a soul-crushing 74 on the last day. His U.S. Open bid was over after nine holes, after an opening 80 and a missed cut during which he declined to speak to reporters after both frustrating rounds.

    “I’m trying,” he said Wednesday. “I’m trying my best every time I tee it up, and it just hasn’t happened.”

    A year after saying that majors are the only events that will define the rest of his career, he recently shrugged off the doom and gloom surrounding his Grand Slam drought: “It doesn’t keep me up at night, thinking, If I never won another major, I can’t live with myself.”

    Eleven years ago, McIlroy never would have troubled himself with such trivial questions about his legacy. But perhaps a return to Carnoustie, to where his major career started, is just what he needs to unlock his greatness once again.


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    Own history, grow the game with Open memorabilia auction

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Get a piece of history and help grow the game, that's what The Open is offering with its memorabilia auction.

    The official Open Memorabilia site features unique Open assets from famous venues and Champion Golfers of the Year. All net proceeds received by The R&A from this project will be invested to support the game for future generations, including encouraging women’s, junior and family golf, on the promotion and progression of the sport in emerging golf nations and on coaching and development.

    Items for auction include limited edition prints of Champion Golfers of the Year, signed championship pin flags and limited edition historical program covers. Memorable scorecard reproductions and caddie bibs are also available to bid for on the website, with all items featuring branded, serialized holograms for authenticity.

    Click here to own your piece of history and to get more information on the auction.