What we learned: Couples, Gulbis back?

By Mercer BaggsJuly 29, 2012, 11:56 pm

Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events and news developments. This week we learned that Fred Couples isn't done winning tournaments and that the Olympic Games' opening ceremonies have golfers fired up for the inclusion of their game in four years. 

Fred Couples has a shot at breaking a couple of long-standing PGA Tour records. After watching him win the Senior Open Championship, I could envision him winning another Tour event and even a major championship. A second career major would have to come at Augusta, and a 16th Tour title likely in Houston or at Riviera, but the possibilities remain. Couples turns 53 in October, which would make him the oldest player to win on Tour (Sam Snead – 52 years, 10 months, 8 days) and to win a major (Julius Boros, 48). Both are long shots, but I didn't think he could win an event in the U.K., so I'm not counting him out. – Mercer Baggs

Natalie Gulbis is back. By finishing T-4 at the Evian Masters, Gulbis logged her best LPGA finish since the 2007 ADT Championship. 

One high finish a season does not complete a comeback, but this is Gulbis' third top-10 effort in 2012. She had three combined from 2008-2011 and none in the last two seasons. Now healthy and not having to fight a chronic back injury as she has since 2010, she seems poised to become a household name – for golf. – Ryan Ballengee

News of golf being included in the 2016 Olympic Games and all of the subsequent talk about it likely didn’t get the world’s elite golfers as fired up about the possibility of competing in four years as anything that happened this week. Until now, the thought of golf in the Olympics has been more theory and less reality. This week was the first time since the IOC decided to include the sport that professional golfers could watch the opening ceremonies and actually picture themselves walking into the host stadium representing their country. There’s no doubt that some who were previously agnostic about the idea witnessed the scene and got goosebumps thinking about being in Rio de Janeiro four years from now. That scene helped turn the theory of competing into a stark reality. – Jason Sobel

For all the long- and belly-putter bluster we’ve heard the last few days it was still a player wielding a standard-length model (Scott Piercy) who emerged from the pack at the Canadian Open. In fact, of the half-dozen players with a chance to win on Sunday at Hamilton Golf & Country Club only Robert Garrigus (T-2) was using a long putter. The long putter may be destined for extinction, but it is not the ultimate fix some have tried to make it out to be. – Rex Hoggard

Dominant becomes vulnerable almost overnight in this crazy game.

It literally occurred overnight in the case of Tiger Woods, who is making his way back to the top of the game with sure-footed steps of late after that sharp detour into a neighbor’s yard three years ago. So maybe this is just re-learning that lesson with Yani Tseng amid her first real struggles since she gained the Rolex No. 1 ranking 76 weeks ago. In the case of Tseng, it only seems like her struggles have come overnight. They actually have stretched for six or seven weeks now. Back in the spring, Tseng was rolling with three victories in her first five LPGA starts of the year. Going into April, she had racked up 15 worldwide titles in 15 months.

When Tseng missed the cut at the Evian Masters this week, it was her second MC in three starts. That doesn’t seem like much, but missed cuts sting more in the women’s game. It’s just not as deep as the men’s game. Paula Creamer’s missed one cut in the past two seasons; same with Na Yeon Choi. Karrie Webb has missed one cut in the last three seasons; same with Suzann Pettersen.

Tseng is 36 over par in her last 13 LPGA rounds. She's off her normal game, and it may very well prove a minor blip in her run at the LPGA record books, but it's there, hovering as a growing storyline over this LPGA summer. Tseng’s record the past two seasons remains dominant, even as her form makes her look vulnerable. – Randall Mell

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Furyk: Not a 'good idea' to team Tiger, Phil at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 1:12 pm

Those hoping for another Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson partnership at the Ryder Cup might be sorely disappointed.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk all but slammed the door on the reboot Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” Speaking at the CVS Health Charity Classic, Furyk laughed off the idea and said that it wouldn’t be a “good idea” for him to team them again.

“It worked out so well the first time,” he said, chuckling, referring to the 2004 matches, where captain Hal Sutton paired the sport’s two biggest stars and watched them go 0-2 en route to a lopsided team defeat at home.

Colin Montgomerie, who was also on the set and a member of that ’04 European squad, chimed in: “It was a great decision for Europe!”

Woods and Mickelson’s relationship has improved in recent years, since they were part of the task force that morphed into the Ryder Cup committee. They even played a practice round together this year at the Masters. But Furyk seemed to suggest even that wouldn’t be enough to put them together again in Paris.

“I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” Furyk said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

Both Mickelson and Woods are outside the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Mickelson is currently ranked 10th, while Woods is now 39th.

Woods has already been named a vice captain for this year’s matches, though Furyk said that Woods had broached the topic of being a playing vice captain as early as January. Furyk added that he hasn’t discussed what Woods would need to show him over the course of the year to be considered for a captain’s pick.

“He hasn’t played as big of a schedule as everybody else,” Furyk said, “but when he has played, he’s played pretty well. Definitely an eye-opener for everyone.”

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Grandma hopes sick JT has some 's***-kicking antibiotics'

By Grill Room TeamJune 25, 2018, 1:08 pm

Justin Thomas tied for 56th at the Travelers Championship, still recovering from a brutal test at the U.S. Open and, apparently, battling an illness.

Thomas is next competing at this week's French Open, along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and a host of potential Ryder Cup foes.

Count his grandmother as one who is pulling – really, really pulling – for his physical recovery.

Grandmothers are the best. And as you can make out from the top of the text exchange, she finally figured out what was on JT’s pants in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills.

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What's in the bag: Travelers champion Watson

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:22 pm

Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship for a third time in his career. Here's a look inside his bag:

Driver: Ping G400 LST (7.6 degrees), with Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Prototype X shaft

Fairway wood:  Ping G (13.2 degrees), with Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft

Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52 degrees, 55 degrees, 63 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Putter: Ping PLD Anser

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Travelers purse payout: Bubba, Cink close low, earn big

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:06 pm

Bubba Watson shot 63 on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship. He took home the trophy, but he wasn't the only player to earn a big payday. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC River Highlands:

1 Bubba Watson -17 $1,260,000
T2 Stewart Cink -14 $462,000
T2 Beau Hossler -14 $462,000
T2 J.B. Holmes -14 $462,000
T2 Paul Casey -14 $462,000
T6 Kevin Tway -13 $234,500
T6 Brian Harman -13 $234,500
T6 Russell Henley -13 $234,500
T9 Chase Seiffert -12 $189,000
T9 Bryson DeChambeau -12 $189,000
T9 Anirban Lahiri -12 $189,000
T12 Rory McIlroy -11 $147,000
T12 Ryan Blaum -11 $147,000
T12 Jason Day -11 $147,000
T15 Charley Hoffman -10 $115,500
T15 Patrick Cantlay -10 $115,500
T15 Danny Lee -10 $115,500
T15 Kyle Stanley -10 $115,500
T19 Brooks Koepka -9 $79,000
T19 Fabian Gomez -9 $79,000
T19 David Lingmerth -9 $79,000
T19 Zach Johnson -9 $79,000
T19 Emiliano Grillo -9 $79,000
T19 Matt Jones -9 $79,000
T19 Jamie Lovemark -9 $79,000
T26 Sam Ryder -8 $49,700
T26 Si Woo Kim -8 $49,700
T26 Richy Werenski -8 $49,700
T26 Blayne Barber -8 $49,700
T26 Steve Marino -8 $49,700
T26 Peter Malnati -8 $49,700
T26 Patrick Rodgers -8 $49,700
T33 Alex Cejka -7 $39,550
T33 Tyler Duncan -7 $39,550
T33 Kevin Streelman -7 $39,550
T36 Seamus Power -6 $35,175
T36 James Hahn -6 $35,175
T38 Scott Stallings -5 $30,800
T38 Russell Knox -5 $30,800
T38 Brandon Harkins -5 $30,800
T38 Lanto Griffin -5 $30,800
T42 Adam Hadwin -4 $24,500
T42 J.J. Henry -4 $24,500
T42 Jordan Spieth -4 $24,500
T42 Mackenzie Hughes -4 $24,500
T42 Brett Stegmaier -4 $24,500
T47 Billy Hurley III -3 $17,578
T47 Vaughn Taylor -3 $17,578
T47 Sam Saunders -3 $17,578
T47 Kelly Kraft -3 $17,578
T47 Keegan Bradley -3 $17,578
T47 J.J. Spaun -3 $17,578
T47 Wesley Bryan -3 $17,578
T47 Denny McCarthy -3 $17,578
T47 Scott Brown -3 $17,578
T56 Ryan Armour -2 $15,680
T56 Keith Mitchell -2 $15,680
T56 Ken Duke -2 $15,680
T56 Justin Thomas -2 $15,680
T56 Hunter Mahan -2 $15,680
T61 John Huh -1 $14,910
T61 Martin Laird -1 $14,910
T61 Steve Wheatcroft -1 $14,910
T61 James Driscoll -1 $14,910
T61 Tom Lovelady -1 $14,910
T61 Nick Hardy -1 $14,910
T67 Daniel Berger E $14,350
T67 Trey Mullinax E $14,350
T69 Cameron Tringale 1 $14,000
T69 Kyle Thompson 1 $14,000
T69 Ethan Tracy 1 $14,000
T72 Dominic Bozzelli 2 $13,650
T72 Martin Flores 2 $13,650
74 Padraig Harrington 4 $13,440