My Game Career and Schedule

By Kelly TilghmanMarch 2, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: Each month, GOLF CHANNEL'S Kelly Tilghman will be answering reader and viewer questions. Kelly is the first female in golf television history to be a lead play-by-play commentator.
I have heard some snippets of your golfing resume and background, but I thought a lot of your viewers would like a little synopsis of your college/amateur career and your touring years. And I really think you are doing a great job in the (booth) ' keep it up! ' Ross Cullins
Kelly Tilghman
Kelly Tilghman played professionally in Australia, Europe and Asia from 1992-96. (WireImage)
Thanks for the compliment. I love the game of golf and I've been playing it since I was around 11 or 12. I had a strong junior career, winning a lot of local events around the Carolinas. As a teenager, I competed in the a U.S. Junior Girls' Championship and a Junior World at Torrey Pines at the same time that Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were playing in the event. I had no idea who Eldrick Woods was at the time, but Phil's reputation was already on the rise. I spent my collegiate career at Duke and captured one individual title during my four years; it came at the Furman Invitational. A few years later, I was trying my hand on the mini tours and overseas, where I competed against Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb on a regular basis. Even though my professional career only lasted a few years, I enjoyed every minute of it. Through it, I was able to see the world and compete against two of the greatest players the women's game has ever known. Now, I draw from a lot of those experiences to help my broadcasting career.
Thanks for asking!
What is your current handicap? And how often do you get to play in a year? ' Brett Cale, Tampa, Fla.
Hi Brett,
Currently I don't have an official USGA handicap. I never bothered to reinstate my amateur status once I stopped playing regularly but I would assume it has automatically returned to me by now. If I had to guess, I'd say it's about a 6 or 7. I can still go a little low from time to time, but I get most of my satisfaction these days out of hitting solid golf shots. It's such a great feeling. There was a stretch of about five years when I only played about six times a year. I was milking a well deserved break from years of competition. Lately, I've been teeing it up a lot more. This year, I've already had the pleasure of playing with my on-air partner, Nick Faldo; Rocco Mediate; and I actually played Bel Air Country Club last week for the first time with Hall of Fame member Amy Alcott. We had a blast. This job affords me fantastic opportunities and I try not to let them pass me by.
All the best,
What is your favorite course that you have played and where are you just dying to play that you havent? ' Sarah from Manitoba
Hi Sarah,
I think my favorite golf course to play in all of the world is one that I lived on for the majority of my youth. It's called the Surf Club in my hometown of North Myrtle Beach, SC. I love it for so many reasons. It's loaded with southern charm, as it is nestled just a few hundred yards from the Atlantic Ocean. Every night when I was a teenager, I would sneak out to play 'the loop,' which was a three-hole stretch that started and ended right in my backyard. My two brothers liked to join me for a little late-evening competition. Nothing beats those South Carolina summer sunsets. The one course that I still look forward to playing is Augusta National. I've always been a huge fan of the Masters Tournament, but I have yet to tackle this venue that I've reported on for years. I have a few friends who are members so I can't wait to take them up on their invitations!
Best wishes,
I have noticed that you are a LEFTY. Being left-handed did it effect (sic) you adversely in your college golf game or did it positively effect (sic) your game. Lastly, I have a teenage daughter of whom I would (like) to take up the wonderful game of GOLF. Any tips or suggestions to get her involved and LOVING the game like myself? ' Rodney C
I've always embraced the fact that I'm a lefty and, for the most part, I'm a true southpaw! I've always been amazed at just how many people notice that, too! I eat, write and throw a ball left-handed, but I do play golf and a few other sports right-handed. I think being a left-handed person who plays golf right-handed has been an asset for me. With my strong hand leading the golf club, I could come through with a little more power at impact. Phil Mickelson is a mirror image of that. He's a righty who plays golf lefty and it hasn't hurt him one bit. As far as your teenaged daughter is concerned, if she loves the game I would recommend letting her pursue it at her own pace. Anytime you force a child into something, they tend to resent it. You should also understand that golf is a game that requires patience and maturity. If your daughter only shows a little interest, then that's probably a good sign because that's usually all today's teenagers can muster! Good luck, Rodney, and thanks for the support!
I noticed that you and Nick didnt do the FBR Open. Where were you guys? Youre not allowed to take a week off (kidding). What is your schedule like? ' Kay from Virginia.
Hi Kay,
I liked your comment. You are right. I'm on a torrid run right now, but that won't always be the case. I will be taking a much needed break in March and April, but for now I'm keeping my nose to the grindstone. Part of the reason I'm working so much is because Nick and I are slated to work a lot with CBS this year. They carried the majority of the west coast events and they'll be back in full force this summer. When all is said and done, I will probably have worked around 20 to 25 live tournaments for the GOLF CHANNEL and that's about the norm for most play-by-plays.
Thanks for the interest!
Do you have any words of wisdom on how to eat properly while always on the road living on restaurant and hotel food? ' Charles from Caramel, CA
I'll be honest with you: I'm actually eating something that's bad for me as I answer this question! You can't be a robot out here, can you?! But in reality, I've really worked hard to watch what I eat over the years because my job and my lifestyle in general require so much energy. My diet is mostly high protein and low carb, but notice that I didn't say 'no carb'. I love to sneak in a cookie or a few chips from time to time. One of the reasons I work so hard is so that I can enjoy some of the treats in life. One of the keys to eating well on the road is avoiding late dinners. For breakfast, you try to throw in a little oatmeal and fruit. Lunch usually consists of a balanced mix of protein and carbs and then I dive into a nice piece of fish or white meat for dinner, all the while, making sure I eat my veggies! Good luck with your diet. I truly believe that a good plan will improve your quality of living.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen any of your coverage this year because I've been deployed for the last 6 months to Iraq. Fortunately, I will be home in about a month and change. Just in-time to be in the delivery room for the birth of my first Son. I was wondering how you would recommend getting back into the game when I get back after a 7-month hiatus. I left a 10 handicap and this is the longest that I've gone without swinging a stick. Should I take a lesson first to check my basics? Hit the course and see how it goes? Or get a few range sessions in and then work my way back onto the course? I've been working out plenty, lots of core workouts (wearing battle gear), lots of arms (carrying weapons), but I haven't hit a ball since I've been here. I wish you and The Golf Channel the best of luck. I will be watching once I get home. ' Captain Matt Gomes; Beaufort, S.C.
Captain Gomes,
First of all, welcome home! Secondly, thank you for bravely serving our country. Finally, congratulations on once being a 10 handicap and I'm sure you'll get back to that point in no time. There is no doubt in my mind that you are a person who understands the art of disciplined workouts and I would strongly recommend getting back to the basics with a fundamentals session on the range. I would also say that spending time on the putting green; working on your short game could really help you rediscover your touch. Instead of using drills, play a few games from around the edges of the green to keep it fun. You deserve a good time. Also, try to avoid using the golf course as a means of working on your technique. Let the golf course serve as a well deserved walk in the park for you in place of your dutiful trudge through the desert terrain of Iraq. Enjoy your time at home and on the links!
Thanks for the questions,
Email Kelly with your questions for next month's Q&A
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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  

Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.

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Vogel Monday qualifies for eighth time this season

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:27 pm

The PGA Tour's regular season ended with another tally for the Monday King.

While Monday qualifiers are a notoriously difficult puzzle to solve, with dozens of decorated professionals vying for no more than four spots in a given tournament field, T.J. Vogel has turned them into his personal playground this season. That trend continued this week when he earned a spot into the season-ending Wyndham Championship, shooting a 5-under 66 and surviving a 4-for-3 playoff for the final spots.

It marks Vogel's eighth successful Monday qualification this season, extending the unofficial record he set when he earned start No. 7 last month at The Greenbrier. Patrick Reed earned the nickname "Mr. Monday" when he successfully qualified six different times during the 2012 season before securing full-time status.

There have been 24 different Monday qualifiers throughout the season, with Vogel impressively turning 19 qualifier starts into eight tournament appearances.

Vogel started the year with only conditional Tour status, and explained at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May that he devised his summer schedule based on his belief that it's easier to Monday qualify for a PGA Tour event than a tournament.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"The courses that the PGA Tour sets the qualifiers up, they're more difficult and sometimes they're not a full field whereas the Web, since there's no pre-qualifier, you have two full fields for six spots each and the courses aren't as tough," Vogel said. "So I feel like if you take a look at the numbers, a lot of the Web qualifiers you have to shoot 8-under."

Vogel has made three cuts in his previous seven starts this year, topping out with a T-16 finish at the Valspar Championship in March. The 27-year-old also played the weekend at the Nelson and the Wells Fargo Championship, missing the cut at The Greenbrier in addition to the RSM Classic, Honda Classic and FedEx St. Jude Classic.

While Vogel won't have another Monday qualifier opportunity until October, he has a chance to secure some 2019 status this week in Greensboro. His 51 non-member FedExCup points would currently slot him 205th in the season-long race, 13 points behind Rod Pampling at No. 200. If Vogel earns enough points to reach the equivalent of No. 200 after this week, he'd clinch a spot in the upcoming Tour Finals where he would have a chance to compete for a full PGA Tour card for the 2018-19 season.