What We Learned: Tom, Tom

By Damon HackDecember 10, 2012, 12:41 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from recent tournaments and news developments. This week, our writers weigh in with their thoughts on Tom Watson's recent pronouncements on the Olympics and the Ryder Cup; the European Tour's 'forward' thinking; the growing field of contenders for the No. 1 spot in women's golf; the end of PGA Tour Q-School as we know it and a classy performance by Edward Loar.

There are few bigger voices in the game than Tom Watson's, and lately he's been using it. Several days ago, he became one of the rare people to speak out against golf returning to the Olympics in 2016, citing how the explosion of big golf events beyond the majors has hurt the regular PGA Tour stop. It was a reasoned opinion, though unpopular in many circles (including likely the hallways of PGA Tour headquarters, where the Olympic push has been strongest). Either way, Watson felt he was looking out for the game. It's what he so often does.

On Sunday, though, he spoke out again, this time offering his services to the PGA of America as the 2014 Ryder Cup captain, 21 years after his victorious captaincy in 1993. 'That would be cool,' he said of a second go around.

I cringed a bit when I read his comments, what with his peer and fellow Hall of Famer, Larry Nelson, left out in the cold all these years. Hale Irwin, too. I wish Watson had used his lofty perch to shine a light on those who have been passed over for the job. Watson doesn't need a second captaincy any more than Jack Nicklaus needs a 19th major. Theirs are the safest of legacies. Watson usually hits it dead solid perfect. This was a rare skull job. – Damon Hack

So maybe this is what the PGA of America had in mind when it launched its 'Tee it Forward' initiative. Because of torrential rains that left Royal Durban Golf Club under water, the first two rounds of the European Tour's season-opening Nelson Mandela Championship were canceled and the weekend rounds were played on a makeshift 5,594-yard, par-65 track. That's not just short – it's short from the red tees. The result? We found that unlike Sammy Hagar, pro golfers can drive 55 (hundo), as Scott Jamieson and Jaco Van Zyl each shot a 57 that won't count toward the official record books. Moral of the story: Golf is easier when you tee it forward. But you probably knew that already. Jason Sobel

There will be no shortage of challengers to Yani Tseng’s No. 1 ranking when the LPGA’s 2013 season begins. Shanshan Feng’s victory Saturday at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour was her sixth worldwide title this year. Stacy Lewis is looking to get better after claiming the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year award this season. Inbee Park had 10 consecutive top-10 finishes in ’12 while winning the LPGA money title and Vare Trophy for low scoring average. Suzann Pettersen won back-to-back titles in October. Na Yeon Choi followed up her U.S. Women’s Open victory this summer by winning the season-ending CME Group Titleholders. Former No. 1 Jiyai Shin showed she’s rounding back into form with back-to-back titles in September, and Cristie Kerr sent a message by winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last month.

Tseng showed with a pair of third-place finishes and a fourth in the fall Asian swing that she may be readying for another surge in ’13. It all makes for some tough handicapping going into the new season. – Randall Mell

The PGA Tour’s Q-School, which ended on Monday in California, may be rife with intriguing stories – rookies Eric Meierdierks and Si Woo Kim would lead this year’s class in inspiring tales – but other than the storytellers, few will miss it. Six days of unrelenting pressure and the Groundhog Day nature of the event made it the game’s ultimate grind. Rex Hoggard

Edward Loar is a player worth rooting for. Guy finished double bogey, bogey to miss out on his PGA Tour card last Monday and still talked to the media afterward. Take your dream, imagine it is within your grasp, and then you blow it. It's no one else's fault; you turned your dream into a nightmare. How would you react? Hard to imagine anyone could handle it with more class than did Loar. – Mercer Baggs

Getty Images

Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 3:00 pm

After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.

"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."

Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.

Getty Images

Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 1:58 pm

More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.

Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.

The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:

Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

Getty Images

New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 12:48 am

AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.

But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.

“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”

The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.

“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”