What we learned: McIlroy runs away with 2nd major

By Jay CoffinAugust 13, 2012, 1:40 am

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the week. This time it's an easy task for the team at the PGA Championship; we focus on another major-less season by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy's second major win at age 23.

I need to trust what players say a little more. Journalists by nature are bred to be skeptical. We're not necessarily supposed to believe everything we're told. Sometimes it's the truth, sometimes it's less than the truth. When Rory McIlroy played terribly at the Masters then went on a stretch where he missed four of five cuts – including the U.S. Open – I didn't believe him when he said he wasn't concerned, that he thought good play was just around the corner. I bought into some of the talk that he was more interested in chasing his tennis girlfriend all over the world. Won't make that mistake again with Rory. When he talks, I'll listen. And I'll believe him. – Jay Coffin


That Rory McIlroy may not be a once-in-a-lifetime player, like Tiger Woods, but he is swiftly becoming a once-in-a-generation player.

We also discovered that Kiawah may be an idyllic slice of Atlantic Coast faux linksland, but if the PGA of America plans to bring its marquee tournament back to this corner of the Low Country may we suggest another bridge or perhaps flying shuttle buses. – Rex Hoggard


I learned that Tiger Woods is desperate, really desperate, to win a 15th major. How else to explain his bizarre decision to change the way he approached the weekend at the PGA Championship? The pressure to win a major was intensifying, and he was pressing, plain and simple. Thus, he decided that he wanted to “enjoy the process” of attempting to win a major, even trying to be “a little bit happy out there.” Some have suggested that this was just a convenient excuse, a way to bypass the larger issue of his weekend woes in majors. Even Woods was quick to admit that the Happy Experiment flopped, miserably, so expect to see the usual ruthless competitor come April 2013. – Ryan Lavner


I learned that we should have seen this coming. Three years ago, I sat in the clubhouse at Doral shooting the breeze with Ian Poulter on a number of topics. When Rory McIlroy’s name was broached, Poulter sat forward in his seat and stared right at me. “He hits it a long way. He hits it straight. He owns good distance control with his irons. He’s a solid putter. And he has the right mental resolve to succeed in this game,” he said. He then threw his arms up in the air and rhetorically asked, “That’s golf. What else is there?” In the history of the game, there have been very few players of whom we could list such natural talents at such a young age. Rarely did any flame out. McIlroy is right in line to be the next superstar, if he’s not there already. We can hold off on handing out legendary status until he’s accomplished more, but I’m confident greater successes are on the horizon. After all, he’s got all the tools. That’s golf. What else is there?  Jason Sobel


Rory McIlroy is complicating the most compelling question in golf. Can Tiger Woods surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record for major championship titles? That’s the question that captivates the golf world, but McIlroy seems intent on amending it. With McIlroy winning his second major Sunday, another dominating performance in a record eight-shot rout, the compelling question now may be: Can Woods get through McIlroy to claim Nicklaus’ record? McIlroy’s second major championship triumph is validation that his heart is every bit the rival of his talent. He’s a large presence in the game’s largest events now, and he may be a Tiger roadblock, too. If Woods keeps coming on, and he seems determined to find his best form again, he may have to beat McIlroy to beat Nicklaus. Randall Mell

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Like father like son: Bring Your Child to Work Day

By Jay CoffinApril 26, 2018, 7:51 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today is Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day at Golf Channel, where everything is fun and games until your child promptly says something that embarrasses you beyond belief. It’s only happened six times today. So far.

My daughter, 12, is in middle school and feels like she’s too big for this sort of shindig. But my son Brady, 11, was all in. The deal was that he could spend the day with me, I’d take him to McDonald’s for lunch, but he had to write a golf story of some sort for GolfChannel.com.

Here is his unedited work, in all its glory:

By BRADY COFFIN

My name is Brady Coffin and I play golf. I started at the age of 4 years old. My two favorite golfers are Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods. They are really good golfers and every time I watch them they always give me tips.

My dad Jay Coffin is the best editor of Golf Channel and always gave me tips when I first put the golf club in my hand. I had my very first par in Hilton Head when I was 7 years old. I am on the Drive, Chip and Putt commercial and I was in a movie where I played a young Ben Hogan. My favorite golf course is Royal Blue in the Bahamas.

I have won many golf tournaments and I am going to play in another tournament next month. I have made a couple of birdies. I am going to play in the PGA Junior League this summer.

At the Golf Channel I get to meet new people and play many games. One of the amazing people I met was Mr. Damon Hack. He is on the Morning Drive show and was very nice to me. Damon has been playing golf for 25 years and his favorite golfer growing up was Tiger Woods.

He loves working at Golf Channel.

“It gives me the opportunity to talk and write about the sport that I love. It’s a sport that I can play with my boys. It’s a sport that I can watch on television. It’s a sport that teaches great life lessons. I couldn’t ask for a better job,” Damon said to me.

(P.S. I will be better than Jordan Spieth.)

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Not the 'prettiest' 65, but Duval, Furyk will take it

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 7:44 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Wearing a polo instead of a dress shirt, working with a caddie and not a producer, David Duval exited the scoring tent, walked toward the group of reporters waiting for him after their 65 and grumbled to teammate Jim Furyk, “The damn media.”

Duval was joking – we think – since he now is one of us on the dark side, a successful and respected TV analyst, after an injury-shortened career in which he battled Tiger Woods, rose to world No. 1, won a major and then experienced such a miserable slump that it drove him into an entirely new line of work.

Now 46, Duval doesn’t play much anymore, only 11 events in the past four years. His last made cut was in July 2015. Earlier this year, he teed it up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but only because he and his wife, Susie, enjoy the vibe there. Competitively, he knew he didn’t stand a chance. He had moved back to Colorado, worked two out of the three weeks, and then couldn’t practice the other week because the weather didn’t cooperate. Not surprisingly, he shot three consecutive rounds of 76 or worse.

And that could have been the extent of his season (save for his annual appearance at The Open), but he was drawn to the idea of the team format at the Zurich, to the idea of playing with Jim Furyk, with whom he’s been friends for the past 32 years, dating to their days in junior golf. So Duval reached out, asking the U.S. Ryder Cup captain if he wanted to team up, for old times’ sake.

“This was about being with a friend, reuniting, having our wives together for a few days,” said Duval, who estimated that he’s played more than 100 practice rounds with Furyk over the years. “Expectation-wise, I don’t know what they are for me. I don’t get to participate out here and compete.”


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But Duval took this start seriously. He almost never travels with his clubs, but he brought them to the Masters, working with his old coach, Puggy Blackmon, between TV appearances and bouncing between Augusta Country Club and Augusta University’s practice facility.

Without any on-camera work since then, he’s spent the past two weeks grinding, even bringing Blackmon to New Orleans for a range session, just like most of the other pros in the field.

“It’s like a normal preparation,” he said. “Maybe not as much as it would be for a typical player, but a lot more than I’ve been able to do in the past.”

Duval has no intentions of diving back into competitive golf full-time, but working as an analyst has given him a new perspective on the game he loves.

“When you don’t play a lot and you don’t have that opportunity, you feel like you have to play perfectly,” he said. “Being on the other side of the desk, you see how many crappy golf shots really, truly get hit, and it’s like, look, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to hit more good ones than bad ones and go from there.”

That also sums up his and Furyk’s opening round here at the Zurich.

Furyk joked before the event that they’re the rustiest team in the field, but playing best ball, they remained steady in a driving rainstorm, then ran off seven birdies to shoot 65 and sit in the top 10 when they finished their round.

“It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest,” Duval said, “but it was solid. It wasn’t like we had 36 looks at birdie.”

“We ham-and-egged it really good today,” Furyk added. “We got pretty much one of the best scores we could have out of the round.”

The second round could be a different story, of course, with alternate shot. It’s a more nerve-wracking format – especially for two aging warriors without many competitive reps this year – and they figure to find some unusual parts of TPC Louisiana.

But that’s a worry for Friday, because Duval was in the mood to savor his four birdies, his team score of 65 and his ideal start to a work week with his longtime friend.

“I think it was good,” he said, breaking into a wry smile, “especially for me.”

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Finau lifts team to opening 62 on improving ankle

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 6:24 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Tony Finau continues to thrive on his injured ankle.

Playing for the first time since the Masters, where he tied for 10th despite a high-ankle sprain, Finau matched partner Daniel Summerhays with six birdies to shoot a combined 10-under 62 in fourballs Thursday at the Zurich Classic.

Finau still isn’t 100 percent – he said he's closer to 70 percent – even after two weeks of rest and physical therapy. During that time he worked with doctors at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center and also the training staff with the Utah Jazz. Before the Zurich, he had played only nine holes.


Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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“Sometimes simplicity is huge in this game,” he said. “There is not a lot of thoughts in my swing in the first place, so there can’t be that many thoughts when you don’t practice. It served me well today.”

Partnering with Summerhays, his fellow Utah resident and a friend for more than a decade, they combined to make 12 birdies during an opening round that left them only two shots back of the early lead.

Asked afterward how his ankle felt, Finau said: “Feeling a lot better after that 62. A great remedy for something hurting is some good golf.”  

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Woods commits to Wells Fargo and The Players

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 6:07 pm

Tiger Woods will tee it up each of the next two weeks, having officially committed to both the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

Woods' commitment to next week's event in Charlotte was confirmed by multiple Golf Channel sources and first reported during Thursday's "Golf Central."

The 42-year-old later took to Twitter to formally announce that he is ready for another back-to-back stretch:

Woods has not played since a T-32 finish earlier this month at the Masters. A winner at Quail Hollow in 2007, Woods has not made the cut there since a fourth-place showing in 2009 and has not played Wells Fargo since 2012. He missed last year's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow because of injury.

Woods' return to The Players will mark his first trip to TPC Sawgrass since 2015. He won on the Stadium Course in both 2001 and 2013. This will be Woods' second back-to-back of the season, having missed the cut at the Genesis Open before finishing 12th the following week at the Honda Classic.

After starting the year ranked No. 656 in the world, Woods is up to No. 91 in the latest world rankings. He recorded three straight top-12 finishes during the Florida swing, including a runner-up finish alongside Patrick Reed at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.