What We Learned: The Hyundai TOC in Maui

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 10, 2012, 1:30 am

Each week, the GolfChannel.com team will offer up thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent PGA Tour event. This week, the team ponders the aftermath of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where Steve Stricker held onto his substantial lead in Monday's final round to top Martin Laird and the other 25 players in the field for his first Maui victory.

I learned that a change in the calendar doesn’t determine a change in skill level or talent. At the beginning of every year, we try to prognosticate which golfers will enjoy a massive dose of success and which will see a major drop-off in results.

Steve Stricker seemed to fit the latter category. He turns 45 next month and owns a game predicated on putting – a skill that often starts eluding top players later in their careers. Maybe that will gradually be the case, but this week Stricker looked very much like the same player who won twice last season.

Just because the calendar has changed doesn’t mean everything will change with it. So much for that predicted drop-off. Stricker isn’t going anywhere for a while.  Jason Sobel


If the PGA Tour insists on starting the season this soon in the new year, I believe starting in Maui is the perfect place to set the tone for the year. The limited field, the breathtaking vistas from Kapalua's Plantation Course, and of course, the humpback whales frolicking in and around the Hawaiian waters.  Golf Guy


The season’s first turn proved for the umpteenth time that, like Savile Row, the London street known for its tailoring timelessness, good putting never goes out of fashion. At Kapalua, where statistics like greens in regulation and fairways hit are relatively meaningless, Steve Stricker cruised to victory on a 28.5 putts per round average.

We also learned that cortisone, although not considered a “performance-enhancing drug,” can work miracles. At East Lake in September Stricker sounded like a man on the brink of career-threatening neck surgery, two cortisone shots and four months later he’s halfway home to becoming the only player to record multiple PGA Tour victories in four consecutive seasons.  Rex Hoggard


I learned that Steve Stricker was faking a neck injury during the latter part of 2011. He just wanted our sympathy right? If his neck was that seriously injured, no way he'd have rebounded so shortly after with a dominating victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

It was only three-plus months ago when Stricker withdrew from the BMW Championship. He didn't play well at the Tour Championship, failed to rekindle the Presidents Cup magic with Tiger Woods in November then played poorly again at the Chevron World Challenge, finishing 16th in an 18-man field. He was a walking question mark.

What I really learned is that Stricker is good, damn good. Can't wait to see how he follows it up this week at the Sony Open.   Jay Coffin


Apparently, that’s not lava spitting from those Hawaiian volcanoes.

It’s bubbling cheese.

Wisconsin’s Steve Stricker won the Hyundai Championship Monday on the island of Maui, and now fellow cheesehead Mark Wilson takes center stage on Oahu. Wilson is the defending champion at the Sony Open this week.

Who knew Hawaii was a dairy state? It isn’t, of course. In fact, there are only three dairy farms in the state of Hawaii. Still, Wisconsin looks like it owns the state this week.

And at 44, Stricker looks like he won’t easily give up his perch as the highest ranked American in the Official World Golf Ranking.  Randall Mell


I learned that it’s never too early in the year for controversy, and the 2012 season-opener delivered.

After Nick Watney’s opening round at Kapalua, his caddie Chad Reynolds was brought in for questioning by PGA Tour rules official Slugger White. Reynolds was believed to have tested the surface of the green on the seventh hole, where he bent down behind Watney and moved his hand back and forth in a swiping motion on the green.

It was decided – Reynolds said he didn’t touch the surface, Watney stood by his caddie’s word and White concurred with the gentlemen – that there was no breach of the rules and Watney did not receive a penalty.

What’s a little golf without some drama and what’s a season opener without some controversy? – Bailey Mosier

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Pepperell likely sews up Masters invite via OWGR

By Will GrayOctober 15, 2018, 2:13 pm

Eddie Pepperell received a trophy for his win Sunday at the British Masters, but another prize will be coming in the mail at the end of the year.

Pepperell held on to win by two shots at rainy Walton Heath, giving him his second win of the year to go along with a pair of runner-ups. The Englishman started the year ranked No. 133 in the world and was as low as 513th in May 2017. But with the win, Pepperell jumped 17 spots to a career-best 33rd in the latest world rankings.

It means that Pepperell, who finished T-6 at The Open while fighting a hangover in the final round, is in line to make his Masters debut next spring, as the top 50 in the world rankings at the end of the calendar year become exempt into the season's first major.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


Another player now in the mix for that top-50 exemption is Emiliano Grillo, who went from 62nd to 49th with a T-2 finish at the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic. Grillo has played in two Masters but missed this year's event. Marc Leishman moved up eight spots to No. 16 with his win in Malaysia, while T-2s result moved Chesson Hadley from 75th to 60th and Bronson Burgoon from 162nd to 102nd.

There were no changes among the top 10 in the latest rankings, with Dustin Johnson still ahead of Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. Francesco Molinari remains in sixth, with Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth rounding out the top 10.

Both Koepka and Thomas are in the field at this week's CJ Cup in South Korea, where they will have an opportunity to overtake Johnson for world No. 1.

With his next competitive start unknown, Tiger Woods stayed at No. 13 for another week.

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USGA, R&A unveil new limits on green books

By Rex HoggardOctober 15, 2018, 1:53 pm

Following a six-week feedback period, the USGA and R&A unveiled a new interpretation of the Rules of Golf and the use of green-reading materials on Monday.

The interpretation limits the size and scale of putting green books and any electronic or digital materials that a player may use to assist with green reading.

“We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance.

Players will be allowed to continue to use green-reading books beginning in 2019, but the new interpretation will limit images of greens to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480), and books can be no larger than 4 1/4 inches by 7 inches (pocket-sized). The interpretation also bans the use of magnification devices beyond normal prescription glasses.

The USGA and R&A will allow for hand-drawn notes in green books as long as those notes are written by the player or their caddie. The rule makers also dropped a proposal that would have limited the minimum slope to four percent in green-reading material.

“These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” Pagel said.

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CIMB purse payout: Leishman earns $1.26 million

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 1:34 pm

Marc Leishman never let off the gas pedal and cruised to a five-stroke victory at the CIMB Classic. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

1 Marc Leishman -26 $1,260,000
T2 Emiliano Grillo -21 $522,667
T2 Chesson Hadley -21 $522,667
T2 Bronson Burgoon -21 $522,667
T5 Justin Thomas -20 $237,300
T5 Abraham Ancer -20 $237,300
T5 Charles Howell III -20 $237,300
T5 Louis Oosthuizen -20 $237,300
T5 Gary Woodland -20 $237,300
T10 Kevin Chappell -19 $175,000
T10 Si Woo Kim -19 $175,000
T10 Shubhankar Sharma -19 $175,000
T13 Kyle Stanley -18 $122,640
T13 Byeong Hun An -18 $122,640
T13 Paul Casey -18 $122,640
T13 J.B. Holmes -18 $122,640
T13 Stewart Cink -18 $122,640
T13 Austin Cook -18 $122,640
T19 Keegan Bradley -17 $89,320
T19 Kevin Na -17 $89,320
T19 Nick Watney -17 $89,320
T22 Keith Mitchell -16 $71,120
T22 John Catlin -16 $71,120
T22 Cameron Smith -16 $71,120
25 Xander Schauffele -15 $59,920
26 Joel Dahmen -14 $54,320
T27 Kevin Tway -13 $50,120
T27 Gaganjeet Bhullar -13 $50,120
T27 Scott Piercy -13 $50,120
T30 C.T. Pan -12 $43,820
T30 Thomas Pieters -12 $43,820
T30 Beau Hossler -12 $43,820
T33 Billy Horschel -11 $35,303
T33 Ryan Palmer -11 $35,303
T33 Ryan Armour -11 $35,303
T33 Kiradech Aphibarnrat -11 $35,303
T33 Danny Lee -11 $35,303
T33 Kelly Kraft -11 $35,303
T39 Brice Garnett -10 $27,720
T39 Jamie Lovemark -10 $27,720
T39 Brian Stuard -10 $27,720
T39 Jimmy Walker -10 $27,720
T43 Jason Dufner -9 $20,160
T43 Satoshi Kodaira -9 $20,160
T43 Chez Reavie -9 $20,160
T43 Justin Harding -9 $20,160
T43 Ernie Els -9 $20,160
T43 Jason Kokrak -9 $20,160
T43 Sam Ryder -9 $20,160
T50 Branden Grace -8 $15,365
T50 Sanghyun Park -8 $15,365
T50 Andrew Putnam -8 $15,365
T50 Rafael Cabrera Bello -8 $15,365
T54 Ted Potter Jr. -7 $14,280
T54 Ben Leong -7 $14,280
T54 Brendan Steele -7 $14,280
T54 Sihwan Kim -7 $14,280
T54 Troy Merritt -7 $14,280
T59 Whee Kim -6 $13,720
T59 Davis Love III -6 $13,720
T59 James Hahn -6 $13,720
62 Michael Kim -5 $13,440
T63 Pat Perez -4 $13,160
T63 Tom Hoge -4 $13,160
T63 Anirban Lahiri -4 $13,160
T66 Scott Vincent -3 $12,740
T66 Brandt Snedeker -3 $12,740
T66 Ryan Moore -3 $12,740
T69 Peter Uihlein -2 $12,390
T69 Brian Gay -2 $12,390
71 Minchel Choi -1 $12,180
T72 J.J. Spaun E $11,970
T72 Berry Henson E $11,970
74 Ollie Schniederjans 3 $11,760
T75 Scott Stallings 5 $11,480
T75 Jon Curran 5 $11,480
T75 Rahil Gangjee 5 $11,480
78 Leun-Kwang Kim 13 $11,200
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Congressional cited for improper tree removal

By Will GrayOctober 15, 2018, 1:30 pm

With preparations underway for a significant renovation, future Ryder Cup host Congressional Country Club has been cited by Montgomery County (Md.) officials for improper tree removal.

According to a report from the Washington Post, the club near the nation's capital has cut down more than 20,000 square feet of tree canopy in recent months. That's more than four times the maximum removal allowed without obtaining a "sediment control permit," which the club did not procure.

The county's department of permitting services reportedly e-mailed the violation to the club on Sept. 26, and a Congressional spokesperson indicated the paperwork for the permit is "in process."

"Congressional has selectively removed trees for the conditioning of our golf courses," wrote general manager Jeffrey Kreafle. "We have not received a stop work order from Montgomery County. Rather, they notified the club that we need to obtain a sediment control permit for work being done on the golf course."

In an interesting twist, the investigation reportedly started when an anonymous Congressional member tipped off a local environmental group over the removal of what they estimated to be 1,000 trees.

"I am (upset) because they're ruining my club," the member said.

Congressional's Blue Course, which has hosted three U.S. Opens and most recently held a PGA Tour event in 2016, is scheduled for a renovation in 2019. Last month the PGA of America announced that it would be bringing several marquee tournaments to Congressional over the next two decades, including the 2031 PGA Championship and the 2036 Ryder Cup.