Punch Shot: What's your one wish for 2013?

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 1, 2013, 3:30 pm

Forget New Year's resolutions. How about one wish for 2013? In this Punch Shot, GolfChannel.com writers weigh in with what they want most - golf related - in the new year.


Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods in a final-round, head-to-head duel in a major.

That's my one wish for tournament golf in 2013.

Should a full-fledged rivalry emerge between these two talents this year, the game's electrified in a fresh way. I asked Jack Nicklaus at the Father-Son Challenge a couple weeks ago if he thought this kind of rivalry would be good or bad for Tiger, if it would give Tiger a boost, or if it would make Tiger's path harder. Nicklaus was emphatic that it would be good for Tiger, that it would give him helpful motivation beyond breaking Nicklaus' record for major championship triumphs.

We've learned that what's good for Tiger is usually good for the overall health of the game. A meaningful rivalry will be good for the game.


Like most diets and resolutions of all sorts this New Year’s wish will likely lose some steam before the big payoff, but for sheer parity we’d like to see an International victory at October’s Presidents Cup.

If not a triumph then at least a shootout at Muirfield Village, a close bout to help wrest the event out of the lopsided doldrums it has drifted into since the last outright victory for the Rest of the World squad.

The International side is now 15 years removed from its last victory and has lost five of the last six biennial matches by an average of 5 ½ points. You may enjoy the event, the camaraderie and Fred Couples, but without a little parity the Presidents Cup is in danger of lapsing into irrelevancy.

Every two years the Presidents Cup begins with plenty of promise. In 2011 it was International captain Greg Norman leading a group on home soil at Royal Melbourne that was, at least according to the world golf ranking arithmetic, the favored side.

The International squad fell behind on Day 1, dropping four of the first six foursomes matches, and never recovered. The slow start drained the energy from the home crowd, if not the 12 internationals.

Our 2013 wish would be for a close match, regardless of outcome, or maybe just a fast start for the International team. 


My one golf wish for 2013 is the ability to bomb 330-yard drives, hit towering iron shots that land softly on the green and roll in putts from everywhere – even one-handed and behind my back, Ty Webb style.

OK, so maybe that’s three wishes. But I need 'em all.

As far as the professional ranks are concerned, give me the same thing I always wish for: rivalries.

Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson – two green jacket-clad lefties – going head-to-head at Augusta. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods facing off at Merion. Adam Scott trying to avenge last year’s loss to Ernie Els at Muirfield. A bevy of potential first-time major winners – let’s say Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose – at Oak Hill.

Is that too much to ask?

Hey, I won’t be too greedy. I’ll settle for just a few of those. Or feel free to mix and match. Phil against Ernie? Sign me up. Rory and Lee? Love it. Tiger and Bubba? Awesome.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a Cinderella story outta nowhere as much as anybody, but in a superstar-driven game, the big names bring more eyeballs to events and get more of us talking around the proverbial watercooler. With more parity at the elite level in recent years, traditional rivals are becoming more obsolete than ever. Let’s hope we see a few more blossom in 2013.


My wish: for the PGA Tour to enact its own rule and ban the anchored stroke in October, at the start of the 2013-14 season.

There is no place in our game for what happened at the World Challenge, where Keegan Bradley was jeered by a numbskull fan for anchoring a putter in his belly. Legally. 

Sadly, we could see more of the same if the proposed rule is not enforced until 2016, when the next edition of the Rules of Golf is published.

The governing bodies may say differently, but this new rule puts players such as Bradley and Webb Simpson in professional limbo, their accomplishments viewed with an asterisk because they used a technique that will soon be illegal.

The PGA Tour should bypass the potential headache and create its own rule: No anchoring, beginning in October 2013.

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."