Golf Channel to Devote 25 Hours of News Coverage to the Final Stage of PGA TOUR Q-School

By Golf Channel Public RelationsNovember 19, 2012, 4:09 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 19, 2012 – Golf Channel will present an unprecedented number of hours of news coverage of the 2012 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament Final Stage (PGA TOUR Q-School) – one of the most grueling and emotional tests in tournament golf – on-site from PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., Nov. 27-Dec. 2.  Golf Channel will delve into the back-stories and the emotional journeys these players endure as they pursue their dreams of competing on – or returning to – the PGA TOUR in 2013. 

“I’m one of the guys you hear about that missed earning a PGA TOUR Card by a shot at Q-School,” said Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer, who will be a part of Golf Channel’s news coverage throughout the week.  “I found out two hours after I had finished that I missed by one shot. That tournament is the most pressure I ever felt in my career.  To this day, it is still painful for me to watch.  I’m still emotionally scarred.”

“Q-School is the ultimate test of players’ skills, both physically and mentally, said Golf Channel analyst Curt Byrum, who will be covering PGA TOUR Q-School on-site at PGA West.  “We see the pressure bring out some great performances as well as the collapses every year. This year I’m sure will be no exception.”

Golf Channel will surround Q-School’s heart-pounding action throughout the week with comprehensive news coverage, original themed programming and nightly specials that will feature live news reports, highlights, inside analysis, compelling features and player interviews.  Viewers will get to know the history of Q-School, the tournament’s future and the storylines of the players who are competing for the opportunity to join the game’s elite in 2013.  The 2012 Q-School finals marks the last opportunity for golfers to earn PGA TOUR status.

The final stage of PGA TOUR Q-School is a six-round, no-cut event taking place on the TPC Stadium and Nicklaus Tournament Courses at PGA West.  The top-25 finishers, plus ties, will earn their PGA TOUR cards for 2013.  The next group of players nearest to 50 will have full exempt status on the Tour and the remainder of the field will have conditional status on the Tour.  Golf Channel will introduce viewers to the next wave of players who will compete on the PGA TOUR and Tours in 2013.

GOLF CENTRAL Q-SCHOOL SPECIALS WEDNESDAY-MONDAY – All of the action at the PGA TOUR Q-School Finals will be covered in nightly Golf Central Specials Wednesday-Monday (Nov. 28-Dec. 2) at 8 p.m. ET, with extended highlights, live interviews from PGA West and special features.  Wednesday’s two-hour Golf Central (8-10 p.m. ET) – hosted by Whit Watson and Jimmy Roberts – will feature a roundtable panel discussion with several Q-School alums, including Jerry Foltz, Dicky Pride and Tripp Isenhour.  Monday’s live show will be a two-hour recap capturing all of the action from the final day of Q-School and featuring live interviews with players who secured their PGA TOUR cards for 2013.  The network’s team of correspondents will report live and on-site from PGA West, including Curt Byrum, Matt Gogel, Billy Ray Brown and Phil Blackmar.  The special also will incorporate the PGA TOUR card ceremony, when the PGA TOUR’s newest members will receive their PGA TOUR cards.

• The future of Q-School – Golf Channel will examine the new process of earning a PGA TOUR Card during Golf Central’s Q-School coverage.
 Looking back at Q-School’s beginnings – PGA TOUR Q-School dates back to 1965.  Golf Channel will take a look back to the first PGA TOUR Q-School, speaking with players who competed in the first edition and the pressure they felt.
• Q-School’s new rules and how it applies to college graduates – Golf Channel sits down with several of the top collegiate golfers to find out if the new process of earning PGA TOUR Cards in 2013 will change their approaches in turning professional.

GOLF CENTRAL BROADCAST TEAM: PGA TOUR Q-School graduate Dicky Pride will join Golf Channel as a contributing analyst for the network’s Q-School news coverage on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from Orlando, where he will join the network’s broadcast team reporting throughout the week, including Whit Watson, Jimmy Roberts, Jerry Foltz, Tripp Isenhour, Charlie Rymer, John Feinstein and Tim Rosaforte.  Todd Lewis will report on-site from PGA West throughout the week.  Monday’s two-hour Golf Central Special (Dec. 3) will feature Golf Channel’s Curt Byrum, Matt Gogel and Billy Ray Brown joining Lewis and Roberts to recap all of the action from the final day with live interviews with the PGA TOUR’s newest members for 2013.

MORNING DRIVE EXPANDS COVERAGE DURING Q-SCHOOL WEEK: Morning Drive will expand its news coverage during PGA TOUR Q-School week to include a special Saturday (Dec. 1) episode, keeping viewers up-to-date on the action.

SPECIAL THEMED PROGRAMMING DURING Q-SCHOOL FINALS WEEK: Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 27-28), Golf Channel’s Top 10 host Lauren Thompson will count down the top-10 heartbreaks that have taken place during the final stage at PGA TOUR Q-School (Tuesday, Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m. ET) and the top-10 breakthroughs (Wednesday, Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m. ET).

EXPANDED DIGITAL AND EDITORIAL COVERAGE: Golf features expanded editorial content surrounding PGA TOUR Q-School Finals, including:

John Feinstein Weekly Q-School Column
John Feinstein, author of the best-seller Tales From Q-School, Inside Golf’s Fifth Major, is posting a weekly column on the top stories in Q-School history – including this week’s story on George McNeill’s journey to the PGA TOUR – as players endure the highs and lows of attempting to advance to the final stage and earn their PGA TOUR cards. Feinstein’s columns will run through the first week of December.  The following is Feinstein’s most recent column: One Man's Long Journey to the PGA TOUR.

Results From Q-School Sites During First and Second Stages
Golf will feature results from all of the sites hosting first and second stages of PGA Tour Q-School, including reports throughout the qualifying process leading up to the final stage at PGA West.

Q-School Finals Comprehensive Editorial Coverage
Golf’s team of writers will contribute to the web site’s editorial coverage of the final stage of Q-School with daily columns, news articles, breaking news and special features, including the history of Q-School and the tournament’s future. also will introduce readers to many of the top stories and interesting names who qualified for the final stage.  Rex Hoggard will report on-site from PGA West throughout the week.

Social Media
Golf Channel will engage fans with content via Facebook and Twitter, and also will integrate social media into by grouping golf-relevant Twitter handles together, including Golf Channel personalities on-site at PGA West.

Golf Channel / PGA TOUR Q-School Finals Television Schedule (Nov. 27-Dec. 3)
Morning Drive: Tuesday 7-9 a.m.
Golf Central: Tuesday 6-6:30 p.m.
Top 10: PGA TOUR Q-School Heartbreaks: Tuesday 7:30-8 p.m.
Morning Drive: Wednesday 7-9 a.m.
Golf Central: Wednesday 6-6:30 p.m.
Top 10: PGA TOUR Q-School Breakthroughs: Wednesday 6-6:30 p.m.
Golf Central: PGA TOUR Q-School: Wednesday 8-10 p.m.
Morning Drive: Thursday 7-9:30 a.m.
Golf Central: Thursday 6-6:30 p.m.
Golf Central: PGA TOUR Q-School: Thursday 8-8:30 p.m.
Morning Drive: Friday 7-9:30 a.m.
Golf Central: Friday 6-6:30 p.m.
Golf Central: PGA TOUR Q-School: Friday 8-8:30 p.m.
Morning Drive: Saturday 7-9 a.m.
Golf Central: Saturday 6-6:30 p.m.
Golf Central: PGA TOUR Q-School: Saturday 8-8:30 p.m.
Golf Central: Sunday 6-6:30 p.m.
Golf Central: PGA TOUR Q-School: Sunday 8-8:30 p.m.
Morning Drive: Monday 7-9 a.m.
Golf Central: PGA TOUR Q-School: Monday 8-10 p.m.

-NBC Sports Group-

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Recovering Thomas thinks Match Play could help cause

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 10:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – It’s been a tough couple of days for Justin Thomas, and he hasn’t played an event in three weeks.

The world’s second-ranked player had his wisdom teeth removed on March 7 following the WGC-Mexico Championship and has been recovering ever since.

“I'm feeling OK. As funny as it is, as soon as I got over my wisdom teeth, I got a little strep throat,” Thomas said on Tuesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. “I was pretty worried yesterday, to be honest, how I was going to be doing, but I feel a lot better today and just keep taking medicine and hopefully it will be good.”

Thomas, who is listed in the Tour media guide as 5-foot-10, 145 pounds, said he lost about 6 pounds when he had his wisdom teeth removed and has struggled to put that weight back on because of his bout with strep throat.

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As a result, his energy levels are low, which is a particular concern considering the marathon nature of the Match Play, which could include as many as seven rounds if he were to advance to Sunday’s championship match. Thomas, however, said the format could actually make things easier this week.

“I told my dad, I only have to beat one person each day. I don't have to beat the whole field,” said Thomas, who has won just one match in two starts at the Match Play. “If it was stroke play then I may have a little harder time. But hopefully each day I'll get better and better. Who knows, maybe that will help me win a match in this golf tournament, because I've had a pretty hard time in the past.”

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Spieth thought Mickelson blew him off as a kid

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:50 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Phil Mickelson is widely recognized as one of the PGA Tour’s most accommodating players when it comes to the fans and signing autographs.

Lefty will famously spend hours after rounds signing autographs, but sometimes perception can deviate from reality, as evidenced by Jordan Spieth’s encounter with Mickelson years ago when he was a junior golfer.

“I think I was at the [AT&T] Byron Nelson with my dad and Phil Mickelson and Davis Love were on the putting green. I was yelling at them, as I now get annoyed while I'm practicing when I'm getting yelled at, and they were talking,” Spieth recalled. “When they finished, Phil was pulled off in a different direction and Davis came and signed for me. And I thought for the longest time that Phil just blew me off. And Davis was like the nicest guy. And Phil, I didn't care for as much for a little while because of that.”

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Entering his sixth full season on Tour, Spieth now has a drastically different perspective on that day.

“[Mickelson] could have been late for media. He could have been having a sponsor obligation. He could have been going over to sign for a kid’s area where there was a hundred of them,” Spieth said. “There's certainly been kids that probably think I've blown them off, too, which was never my intention. It would have never been Phil's intention either.”

Spieth said he has spoken with Mickelson about the incident since joining the Tour.

“He probably responded with a Phil-like, ‘Yeah, I knew who you were, and I didn't want to go over there and sign it,’ something like that,” Spieth laughed. “I’ve gotten to see him in person and really see how genuine he is with everybody he comes in contact with. Doesn't matter who it is. And he's a tremendous role model and I just wasn't aware back then.”

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This week, let the games(manship) begin

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:47 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – The gentleman’s game is almost entirely devoid of anything even approaching trash talk or gamesmanship.

What’s considered the norm in other sports is strictly taboo in golf - at least that’s the standard for 51 weeks out of the year. That anomaly, however, can be wildly entertaining.

During Monday’s blind draw to determine this week’s 16 pods, Pat Perez was the first to suggest that this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is the exception to the stoic rule on the PGA Tour.

“Me and Branden [Grace] played a nine-hole match today and were chirping at each other the entire time,” Perez laughed. “Stuff like, ‘go in the trees.’ We were laughing about it, I didn’t get mad, I hit it in the trees.”

Although Perez and Grace may have been on the extreme end of the trash-talk spectrum, it’s widely understood that unlike the steady diet of stroke-play stops in professional golf, the Match Play and the Ryder Cup are both chances to test some of the game’s boundaries.

“There’s been a couple of different instances, both in the Ryder Cup. I can't share them with you, I'm sorry,” laughed Jordan Spieth, before adding. “I think they [the comments] were indifferent to me and helped [U.S. partner Patrick Reed].

Often the gamesmanship is subtle, so much so an opponent probably doesn’t even realize what’s happening.

Jason Day, for example, is a two-time winner of this event and although he was reluctant to go into details about all of his “tricks,” he did explain his mindset if he finds himself trailing in a match.

“Always walk forward in front of the person that you're playing against, just so you're letting them know that you're pushing forward and you're also letting them know that you're still hanging around,” Day explained. “People feed off body language. If I'm looking across and the guy's got his shoulders slumped and his head is down, you can tell he's getting frustrated, that's when you push a little bit harder.”

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Some moments are not so innocent, as evidenced by a story from Paul Casey from a match during his junior days growing up in England.

“I remember a player’s ball was very close to my line, as his coin was very close to my line and we were still both about 10 feet away and he kind of looked at me,” Casey recalled. “I assumed he looked at me to confirm whether his marker was in my line and it needed to be moved. I said, ‘That's OK there.’ So he picked [his coin] up. And then of course he lost his ability to understand English all of a sudden.”

While the exploits this week won’t be nearly as egregious, there have been a handful of heated encounters at the Match Play. In 2015 when this event was played at Harding Park in San Francisco, Keegan Bradley and Miguel Angel Jimenez went nose to nose when the Spaniard attempted to intervene in a ruling that Bradley was taking and the incident even spilled over into the locker room after the match.

But if those types of encounters are rare, there’s no shortage of mind games that will take place over the next few days at Austin Country Club.

“It's part of it. It should be fun,” Spieth said. “There should be some gamesmanship. That's the way it is in every other sport, we just never play one-on-one or team versus team like other sports do. That's why at times it might seem way out of the ordinary. If every tournament were match play, I don't think that would be unusual.”

It also helps heat things up if opponents have some history together. On Tuesday, Rory McIlroy was asked if he’s run across any gamesmanship at the Match Play. While the Northern Irishman didn’t think there would be much trash talking going on this week, he did add with a wry smile, “Patrick Reed isn’t in my bracket.”

McIlroy and Reed went head-to-head in an epic singles duel at the 2016 Ryder Cup, which the American won 1 up. The duo traded plenty of clutch shots during the match, with Reed wagging his finger at McIlroy following a particularly lengthy birdie putt and McIlroy spurring the crowd with roars of, “I can’t hear you.”

It was an example of how chippy things can get at the Match Play that when McIlroy was asked if he had any advice for Spieth, who drew Reed in his pod this week, his answer had a bit of a sharp edge.

“Don't ask for any drops,” laughed McIlroy, a not-so-subtle reference to Reed’s comment last week at Bay Hill after being denied free relief by a rules official, “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said on Sunday.

Put another way, this is not your grandfather’s game. This is the Match Play where trash talking and gamesmanship are not only acceptable, but can also be extremely entertaining.

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Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.