Woods Mickelson or Stricker

By Kraig KannFebruary 25, 2005, 5:00 pm
This just inPGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has announced a new corporate deal with a hydroplane manufacturer to replace PGA Tour courtesy carsWest Coast only!
Lets face it ' Mother Nature has done its best to dampen the spirit of the West Coast Swing. The weather weve seen the last two weeks has been dreadful ' at best. And Ill be the first to say that my enthusiasm for the PGA Tour has been hurt of late. In fact, I cant think of the skids being put on momentum to a greater degree.
The Nissan Open was a huge disappointment. Thirty-six holes seemed like a waste of time. And one hole to settle things seemed strange. Actually, it seemed like a slap in the face given a year thats already given us Appleby, Singh, Woods, Leonard, and Mickelson as official trophy holders.
Just think of the excitement had Adam Scott won the Nissan in 72 holes over the likes of Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke and Chad Campbell. Wed really have something to talk about.
I hardly believe I was alone in thinking bad thoughts. After all, I really get revved up for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. But when the L.A. rains didnt let go and word leaked (pun intended) that the next tour stop La Costa had turned into La Lake-aId had enough. And youd be hard pressed to convince me that Finchem himself might have considered drowning his West Coast sorrows as well.
I needed a few days awaybut now, weather permitting, Im back. All four of the top seeds at La Costa have survived the first days play and the leaderboard at the Chrysler Classic of Tucson is equally as intriguing.
So heremy glass is now half full and we have some great possibilities this weekend:
  • To the few who enjoy passing opinion that Tiger Woods is overkill, Im sorry. The PGA Tour could really use a Woods vs. Mickelson semi-final. The winner wouldnt be all that important to the story. The story would be the match-up we never seem to get.
  • Fred Couples and John Daly provide great potential stories too. If youre looking for ratings and a chance to forget about last weekend ' either would fit the bill.
  • Lets hope Vijay Singh returns to form. Last year was too good to forget. His continued great play only strengthens the run of hype for the Masters.
  • Beware any of the following: Stewart Cink, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Stuart Appleby or David Toms. Each is more than capable of a run to the finals.
  • Davis Love III is in need of a big week. Really in need. Hes far too good to be forgotten. And his passion for a Green Jacket runs very deep. If hes going to give himself a chance this year ' hed better get going soon.
    Enough on the Match Play. My real rooting interest this weekend takes me to Tucson for the Chrysler Classic of Tucson. For those who think two tournaments in one week on the PGA Tour is too much, perhaps the name Steve Stricker will change your thinking.
    Steve Stricker
    Steve Stricker's last PGA Tour win came at the 2001 Match Play.
    Strickers disappointing 2004 caused him to fall outside of not only the Top 125, but also the Top 150. Meaning his starts on the PGA Tour this year would come only with status as a Past Champion or via the sponsors exemption.
    Steve Stricker opened with a terrific round. If youve spent any time with or around Stricker youd know him as a tournament directors dream. Hes as clean as they come. Hes as good with the amateur as they come and when hes on his game, his opportunity to win would provide as good a defending champion as could be found.
    Admittedly, Strickers odds at contending, let alone winning, are an Ill believe it when I see it situation. Hes struggled mightily the last few years. But the fact that hes found himself with more status on the Nationwide Tour than he has this year on the PGA Tour might just be the motivating factor he needs.
    And if he needs a few more, he can look at the name thats also near the top of the leaderboard in Tucson after Round 1. Mario Tiziani is a PGA Tour rookie and Strickers brother-in-law!
    The fact that Strickers contention in Tucson comes during the same week as the WGC Accenture Match Play is also interesting.
    Strickers last PGA Tour win came at the Match Play in Australia back in 2001. Regaining his status for the PGA Tour during the week of the event he last won would be sweet. It would also give proof to the importance of a PGA Tour stop in Tucson opposite a WGC event.
    Good stories are all around us in golf. The PGA Tour is full of them. Yes, plenty of you feel like network coverage and media coverage is geared toward the likes of Woods and Mickelson.
    And if Woods or Mickelson were to win this week at La Costa, Id say its a mighty big story. But if Stricker were to win in Tucson, Id argue that his victory story would actually be a better one.
    Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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    Watch: Rory finds trouble, and more trouble, and more ...

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 4:33 pm

    Rory McIlroy was in a must-win situation against Brian Harman in order to have a chance to advance to the one-and-done portion of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

    And, as you can see, McIlroy did not get off to an ideal start on Friday.

    McIlroy lost the third, fifth and ninth holes at Austin Country Club. Harman led, 3 up, at the turn.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Stefani makes hole-in-one, has no clue

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 3:18 pm

    Shawn Stefani made a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th in the second round of the Corales Puntacana Resorts and Club Championship.

    However, he never saw it go in.

    Stefani knew he hit a great shot, and this isn't shown in the video below, but he just questioned everyone around him if they saw the ball go into the hole.

    A Golf Channel cameraman finally gave him the news and Stefani responded with an enthusiastic thumbs up.

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    Trio lead Kia Classic; Davies shoots 82

    By Associated PressMarch 23, 2018, 3:01 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Laura Davies had a nightmare round days after contending for a title at age 54, and Caroline Hedwall, Jackie Stoelting and Hee Young Park topped the Kia Classic leaderboard.

    Davies shot a 10-over 82 on Thursday at rainy Aviara Golf Club - four days after tying for second behind Inbee Park in the Founders Cup, and five days after shooting a 9-under 63 in the Phoenix event.

    Fighting Achilles tendon and calf problems in her left leg, Davies opened double bogey-bogey-par-bogey. She bogeyed Nos. 9, 10 and 12, had another double on 15 and bogeyed 16. The 82 was the World Golf Hall of Famer's highest score on tour since also shooting 82 in the 2013 Marathon Classic. On Monday, she jumped 208 spots to No. 155 in the world.

    Hedwall, Stoelting and Park shot 66 in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills. Ariya Jutanugarn, also coming off a second-place tie in Phoenix, was a stroke back with 2015 champion Cristie Kerr, In-Kyung Kim and Nicole Broch Larsen.

    Hedwall closed her bogey-free round with birdies on the par-5 eighth and par-4 ninth. The Swede played her final 10 holes in 6 under. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways because of the damp conditions.

    ''I hit it really well and started making a couple putts in my back nine,'' Hedwall said. ''I'm really happy with how I'm playing and looking forward to the rest of the days.''

    Stoelting finished with a birdie on the par-4 18th. She had seven birdies and a bogey.

    ''I hit a lot of fairways,'' Stoelting said. ''I don't necessarily hit if far, but keeping it in the fairway is super key this week. The rough is much thicker this year than last year.''

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Hee Young Park birdied the final three holes, finishing on No. 9.

    ''The greens are really soft,'' Park said. ''So, easier on the second shot.''

    The 40-year-old Kerr had a bogey-free round.

    ''I like this golf course,'' Kerr said. ''I think it's a tough golf course and you can't fall asleep on any shot. I mean, it's just a really great course. The layout. The rough is high. You got to pay attention. I think that's maybe why I play a little better here than some other places.''

    Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 31 on the front nine.

    ''It's rain today and a little bit windy, but my irons help me a lot,'' Jutanugarn said. ''Just start to make some putts. ... It's pretty tough for me. I always feel like the course here is really hard because the greens really bumpy, and you're not going to hit far here.''

    Lydia Ko and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu topped the group at 68.

    Ko also played her final nine in 31. She missed the cut last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix.

    ''I holed some really good putts on my back nine,'' Ko said. ''I didn't hit the ball fantastic, but just being able to hole some good birdie putts was key.''

    She won the 2016 event at Aviara.

    ''This is a pretty tough golf course,'' Ko said. ''Putting is a huge key around this course where if you do miss a green, making those clutch par putts and then making those birdie opportunities that you get.''

    Jennifer Song and Jeong Eun Lee also shot 68. Brooke Henderson had a 69, and Lexi Thompson a 70.

    Inbee Park was at 71 with Singapore champion Michelle Wie and 2014 Kia winner Anna Nordqvist. Top-ranked Shanshan Feng had a 72, playing alongside Park. Defending champion Mirim Lee shot 74.

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    With old clubs returned, Kim (and new clubs) starts strong at Kia

    By Randall MellMarch 23, 2018, 1:53 am

    Almost two months after her golf clubs went missing, the same clubs she used to win last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, In-Kyung Kim was happily reunited with them this week.

    She fetched them and her golf bag two days ago at the Carlsbad, Calif., police department.

    A man bought them as a used set from a sporting goods store in the area, with Kim’s LPGA I.D. still in the golf bag.

    Notably, Kim celebrated with a return to the leaderboard Thursday in the first round of the Kia Classic.

    Kim opened with a 5-under-par 67, though she didn’t use her newly rediscovered clubs. She stayed with the replacement set that she put together after her clubs went missing. Her Women’s British Open clubs never showed up after she got off a plane in Southern California upon her return home from the season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

    “It was really difficult at first,” Kim said of getting used to her new set of clubs. “I really worked hard, like worked a lot, went to the factory like a dozen times.”

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Kim said she made several visits to the factory folks, trying to get the loft and lies of her new clubs just the way she wanted, close to the configuration that helped her win the Women’s British Open.

    “They were like, `I.K., are you ever happy?’” Kim said.

    Actually, only five of Kim’s “lost” clubs turned up with her golf bag at that sporting goods store. Still, Kim was happy to get three wedges, two hybrids and her golf bag back.

    “It’s kind of good to have a conclusion,” Kim said.

    Kim can thank a “What’s in the bag?” segment with Ladies European Tour TV analyst Alison Whitaker for leading to the retrieval of her clubs. Kim explained to Whitaker how her clubs went missing during the telecast of the HSBC Women’s World Championship three weeks ago.

    A golf fan in the San Diego area saw Golf Channel’s telecast of that segment.

    “One of his friends bought the tour bag,” Kim said. “The other friend knew about my story, and he was like, `No, dude, that's not for selling. It's stolen.’”

    Kim was delighted to meet the men who returned her clubs when she picked them up at the Carlsbad Police Department.

    “Just good for me,” Kim said.