Swinging into Action

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 27, 2007, 5:00 pm
The streak is over and so is the West Coast Swing.
As it does each and every year after the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the PGA TOUR packs its bags and heads east of the Mississippi River, where four of the next five events will be contested leading up to the Masters Tournament.
This year, however, there has been a change in the Southern Swing line-up. The rotation used to be as follows: Doral; Honda; Bay Hill; Players Championship; BellSouth; Masters.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods will defend his title at Doral, now a WGC event. (WireImage).
The Players and BellSouth are now out; Tampa and Houston are in.
The Honda Classic will hit leadoff as players begin the final stretch to Augusta. It will be followed by the Pods Championship, formerly the Chrysler Championship, which had been contested in previous years in the fall.
Bay Hill will go third, but will do so under a new identity: the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Doral not only has a new name, but a new position in the order ' as well as an increased significance. Now the WGC-CA Championship, the old Ford Championship will bat clean-up. It will fill in for The Players as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the Masters. The Players has been moved to May, between Augusta and the U.S. Open ' to take on more of a starring role.
Due up fifth is the Shell Houston Open. It will take the place of the BellSouth as the final tune-up before the seasons first major.
The dance card has changed, the contents jumbled. It might appear just a matter of cosmetics, but the alterations could be significant for all tournaments involved.
Obviously, The Players absence creates a bit of a void during this run, but that will only add a little more excitement later in the year when there is a two-month gap between majors.
The Honda, which had only one top-10 player a year ago, has two this year, as well as a host of other notable names like Love and Toms. The event will also be contested on the Champion Course at PGA National, which hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup matches and the 87 PGA Championship. After years of bouncing around from one non-descript course to another, this can only be of benefit for the future.
Despite being the final full-field event last season, the Pods Championship had one of the strongest fields among non-major tournaments. It should still draw well with its earlier time slot, and, if anything, it should attract a greater amount of interest since it no longer has to battle college and professional football for attention.
Bay Hill might not see much a change in relation to the quality of players in the field either, as it always draws top names, but with host Palmers name in the tournament title that will make the event feel all-the-more special. One notable addition this year is Phil Mickelson, who is expected to make his first appearance at Arnies event since 2002.
Doral had nine of the top 10 players in the world in its field last year. This year, it will only get stronger with its WGC affiliation. That, in turn, can only help the Shell Houston, as some of the foreign players might want to stick around for an extra week instead of heading back home before the Masters.
Even the BellSouth, which is now being contested the week after The Players in mid-May, probably wont suffer too much. It should still draw headliners like Mickelson and Retief Goosen, who are past champions of the event.
One thing that hasnt changed this time of year is the reshuffle.
As the TOUR heads to Florida, all of the Nationwide Tour and Q-school graduates are re-ordered based on their position on the money list. At the beginning of the year, all of these players are lumped into one category in relation to where they finished on the previous years Nationwide money list and at the Qualifying Tournament. The higher a player is positioned, the better chance he has to get into a tournament, as players in this category are usually the last to round out a field.
For instance, George McNeil, the Q-school medalist, was first in this priority category at the start of the season. That helped get him into six tournaments, but he only earned $162,367 and was reshuffled to the 16th position.
Meanwhile, Jeff Quinney is now at the top of the list. He made $941,300 in five starts and stands in 12th place on the overall money list.
The biggest moves in a positive direction were made by John Mallinger and Mark Wilson. Both players jumped up 24 spots in the priority ranking. Mallinger is now third on the list; Wilson 25th.
The biggest tumbles went to Rich Barcelo and Craig Bowden. The two started the season in the fifth and sixth positions, respectively. They now stand 37th and 44th, respectively.
Six players failed to make a cut while making at least three starts, including Chris Stroud, who used to be 31st on the ranking. Three others, for various reasons, failed to make a single start.
The next reshuffle is after the Masters. The best chances for players in this group to see action, and improve their standing, before then are at the two new stops on this swing: Tampa and Houston ' as well as this week at The Honda.
Just one more thing to keep an eye on as we begin the final leg of our trip to Magnolia Lane.
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Related Links:
  • 2007 PGA TOUR Schedule
  • Full Coverage - The Honda Classic
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    Watch: Na punctuates caddie tiff with hole-out

    Microphones captured a fascinating and testy exchange between Kevin Na and his caddie, Kenny Harms, on Na's final hole, No. 9.

    Na was in the right rough, 185 yards from the green, which was guarded by water. He vacillated between a hybrid and an iron, but with either club he would have to hit "a 40-yard cut," as Harms termed it.

    "Over the green's dead," Harms warned.

    "It's not gonna go over the green, Kenny," Na replied.

    Na finally settled on an iron and said to Harms, "As long as you're OK with this club."

    "I'm not," harms replied. "I'm not OK with either one of them."

    "I'm going with this," Na ended the discussion.

    He missed the green with his approach shot, but avoided the water. After taking a free drop away from some TV cables, he had 92 feet 3 inches to the cup and of course, holed the pitch shot for a birdie-3, a 62 and a one-shot lead at the end of the first round.

    Getty Images

    Na (62) leads Hoffman by one at Colonial

    By Nick MentaMay 24, 2018, 10:38 pm

    Kevin Na leads the Fort Worth Invitational by one over Charley Hoffman following a first-round 8-under 62. Here's where things stand through 18 holes at Colonial.

    Leaderboard: Na (-8), Hoffman (-7), Emiliano Grillo (-6), Jhonattan Vegas (-6), Andrew Putnam (-6), Beau Hossler (-6)

    What it means: The veteran Na is in search of just his second PGA Tour victory in 367 events played. The 34-year-old's lone victory came at the 2011 Shriners to go along with nine runner-ups, the most recent of which was a tie for second at this year's Genesis Open. Na missed three straight cuts in April but has rallied back with a weekend stay at The Players and a T-6 at last week's Byron Nelson. Ranked 75th in the world, he is not currently qualified for the U.S. Open or the Open Championship. 

    Round of the day: Na turned in a clean card Thursday with six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 first, his 10th hole of the day. He closed with a chip-in birdie at No. 9 following a friendly disagreement with his caddie (more on that below). 

    Best of the rest: Hoffman was likewise bogey-free, drawing seven circles. The four-time Tour winner and typically steady performer has yet to register a top-10 finish this season.

    Biggest disappointment: Not that a round of 1 under is tragically disappointing, but Jordan Spieth has a pretty solid history of going low at this event and contending for the title. He's seven back through Round 1.

    Shot of the day: Satoshi Kodaira recorded the second albatross in tournament history when he holed a 3-iron from 234 yards at the first.

    Honorable mention: Na got into a pretty good back-and-forth with his caddie about whether to lay up or try to clear the water from the right rough at No. 9. Na went for it, avoided hazard, and holed this chip for birdie. 

    Quote of the day: "I told you." - Na, after his chip-in

    Golf Channel's NCAA Golf Coverage Continues Mon-Wed., May 28-30 With the NCAA Men's Golf Championships

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsMay 24, 2018, 10:24 pm

    Two National Championships to be Decided Over a Three-Day Span – Individual (Mon., May 28) and Team (Wed., May 30)

     Eight of the Top-10 Ranked Programs in the Country Set to Compete; Reigning NCAA Men’s National Champions Oklahoma and Current Top-Ranked Oklahoma State Paired Together Starting Friday

     Buick and Stifel Co-Presenting Sponsors of Golf Channel’s Coverage of the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships

    ORLANDO, Fla., May 24, 2018 – Coming on the heels of Wednesday’s dramatic championship match where Arizona defeated Alabama in a playoff to claim their third women’s golf team national championship, Golf Channel returns to Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. next week for the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf National Championships. Taking place Monday-Wednesday, May 28-30, Golf Channel’s coverage will feature nearly 30 hours of live tournament and on-site wraparound news coverage, showcasing the top men’s college golf programs in the country.

    NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage: Coverage begins on Monday, May 28 to crown the individual national champion and to track the teams attempting to qualify for the eight-team match play championship. Golf Channel’s coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29-30 will include all three rounds of the team match play, ultimately crowning a team national champion.

    In addition, Golf Central will surround live tournament action with pre-and post-event news coverage produced on-site at Karsten Creek Golf Club, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and online via Golf Channel Digital. News and tournament coverage also will be live streamed on Golf Channel Digital. College Central, Golf Channel’s online home for college golf, will provide comprehensive editorial coverage throughout the championships.

    Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

    Monday, May   28

    Individual   National Championship

    4-8 p.m.   (Live)

    Tuesday, May   29

    Quarterfinals,   Team Match Play

    11   a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

    Tuesday,   May 29

    Semifinals,   Team Match Play

    4-8 p.m.   (Live)

    Wednesday, May   30

    Team Match   Play National Championship

    4-8 p.m.   (Live)

    Stifel and Buick Sign on as Co-Presenting Sponsors for Golf Channel’s NCAA Golf Championships Tournament Coverage: New for 2018, Stifel Financial Corp. and Buick have signed on as co-presenting sponsors for Golf Channel’s tournament coverage of the 2018 NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships. In addition, Stifel has extended its partnership with the Fred Haskins Commission, Golf Channel and Golfweek as presenting sponsor of the Fred Haskins Award, given annually to nation’s outstanding male collegiate golfer.Golf Channel will announce the Fred Haskins Award presented by Stifel following the conclusion of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, on a live edition of Golf Central, Wednesday, June 6 at 6 p.m. ET. The show will include profiles on the top candidates for the award and a live interview with the winner, who also will receive an exemption to compete in the 2018 Greenbrier Classic on the PGA TOUR. The Haskins Award honors the nation’s most outstanding male Division I collegiate golfer as selected by his peers, coaches and the golf media.

    Semifinal Teams in Match Play to Receive Invitations to Compete in East Lake Cup: The East Lake Cup, taking place in late October at historic East Lake Golf Club, will feature the top-performing teams from the 2018 NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships. Invitations for the field have been extended to Arizona, Alabama, Southern California and Stanford – semifinalists in the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships, and also will be extended to the semifinalists in the Men’s Championships. Modeled after the NCAA Golf Championships, the format for the East Lake Cup consists of an opening round of stroke play to crown an individual male and female champion and determine seeding for the following two days of match play competition. Golf Channel will air live coverage of the East Lake Cup Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-31.

    College Central – Golf Channel Digital Coverage: Golf Channel will provide comprehensive coverage via College Central,Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, and Ryan Lavner, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

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    Country singer Owen shoots 86 in Web.com debut

    By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:51 pm

    Country music star Jake Owen struggled in his Web.com Tour debut, shooting a 14-over 86 in the opening round of the Nashville Golf Open.

    Owen, who played as a 1 handicap earlier this year while teaming with Jordan Spieth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, put three balls out of bounds over his first nine holes, including two en route to a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 18th hole. After making the turn in 46, Owen came home in 40 without making a single birdie.

    Owen is playing as an amateur on an unrestricted sponsor exemption, the same type used by NBA superstar Steph Curry on the Web.com Tour last year and by former NFL quarterback Tony Romo this year on the PGA Tour. Curry missed the cut after rounds of 74-74 at the Ellie Mae Classic, while Romo shot 77-82 at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship.

    Full-field scores from the Nashville Golf Open

    Owen tallied nine pars, six bogeys, two doubles and a quad in his opener and was the only player from the morning wave who failed to break 80. The closest player to him in the standings was two-time major champ Angel Cabrera, who opened with a 79.

    While Owen struggled against a field full of professionals, he took the setback in stride and even took to Twitter in the middle of his round to fire back at some of his online critics: