PGA Tour Class is in Session
Look, Im no different than you. Ive got my issues with certain things in this game. And Ive got my feelings about a certain few players whove treated fans and media members like a miniscule speed bump in an empty parking lot ' with regularity!
But Im taking the high road on this one. Not gonna do it. In fact, given what Ive seen and heard over the last 10 days, Im gonna flat out praise some people!
Im starting with Mike Weir. No, Im not trying to butter him up like I would a dry pancake. And no, my column last week involved no motive to create or enhance a professional relationship the next time we take our show on the road. But guess what happened? Weir called me personally at work the other day. Not knowing I wasnt working, he left me a message to thank me for the article I wrote and the comments I made regarding him as a player and as a class person. Maybe we can do something later on down the road, he said. Just let me know.
Class? Hes the one with the class. That call from a Masters champion is something Ill not soon forget. In fact, I havent yet deleted it because Im still soaking it all in.
Last week, we took the Sprint Pre and Post Game Shows on the road to Doral for the Ford Championship. Speaking of class heres a sampling of what it was like to recruit guests. And maybe this will give you a sense of what goes on with the show (for more, archive a recent column I wrote The Sprint Days are a Marathon).
We arrived on Tuesday, walked into our compound, looked outside the window at the practice putting and chipping green only to see Harrison Frazar doing his office work for the day. I opened the window, and said something like Hey, Superman! Want to join us on the show this week? His answer? Sure, what night do you want me? The conversation continued and I proceeded out to talk to him some more. We settled on Thursday after his round and heres the catchregardless of what he shoots that day!
Wednesday, as you probably know if you watch the show, is our big preview night. Given that there are always issues about events, rulings and controversy our producers, Brian Hewitt and I pow-wowed about guests. How about David Toms whos just back from injury and Scott McCarron? was the quip that got the most attention. Both are player representatives on the tour policy board.
Word got to them about our interest and their availability. Both asked Where and what time? They also agreed to stay on the show for more than the normal one segment. They were terrific. The next day I see Toms and say thank you. He responds, I enjoyed it. Anytime I can help ' you know that. I never saw McCarron, but hes also never turned us down.
I caught Bernhard Langer on the patio one night just before show time and asked about his availability for the week. You know, Ryder Cup captain and all ' we work around him. I said, You tell me ' Im figuring youll be around for the weekend. His reply? I would hope so. Im commuting home at night, so how about Friday? Ill just stay that night. That would be fun.
I caught Craig Perks on the practice putting green on Saturday afternoon after his round. He was in the hunt and hes always been a good get given his quick rise at the Players Championship. We would prefer you join us live, but well tape it if need be, I said. Ill do it live, Perks fired back. Ill just shower, relax in my room and come back. What time?
Joe Durant is another of the tours best men. I called his hotel room at Doral. He never wavered a bit. Id love to, Durant said. He joined us on Friday.
Jesper Parnevik? Similar story. We reeled him in after his round. Like Langer, he, too, is a bit of a local. Plenty of friends and family around. He held us off for a minute while he checked with his wife and we set a tape time for one hour later. He was there early!
I could go on and on. And yes, there are times when players say no. But you know what? Those who say no seemingly always follow up with, Sorry, it just doesnt work today, can we do it later in the week?
I need you to know that these guests are not paid. They give of their time and sure, they get some exposure and the like. But this is a business filled with plenty of class. And while a small few dont make The Golf Channel a priority ' the great majority do and that is a major reason why were alive and well, growing by leaps and bounds and setting our sights for even greater days ahead.
By the way, Jeff Sluman, a Rochester, N.Y., native who has laid down big roots in suburban Chicago, seems really excited about joining me and Hewitt (two other native Chi-towners) for a night on the town during Western Open week. Just call me, Sluman said.
Is this a great job or what? Now you know where the thanks goes.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.
Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.
The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:
The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.
For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.
But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.
Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":
Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.
Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.
The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.
“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.
In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.
“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”
Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.
“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.