House and I discuss the 2018 Arnold Palmer invitational just minutes after the round concluded and cover the gravity of Rory McIlroy's win, his comments on fan behavior, Tiger's strong week and House's Knock off the Rust tour where two winners are announced (and I need to hear from you guys!).
“I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t really thought that much about it, especially this week. I’ve been grinding and focusing on this week, trying to win this thing and now the tournament’s over, I’ll start to make some changes for Augusta, what kind of equipment setup I’m going to go with, some things I want to do with my swing. As crazy as this may sound I haven’t putted on bent grass in two years.”
Rory McIlroy entered the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard 124th in Strokes Gained Putting. He left Bay Hill 23rd in the category and also takes home a new red cardigan, a pile of cash and loads of confidence just two weeks from the Masters.
Big words gets my vote, though if there was any question about former U.S. Amateur Champion Bryson DeChambeau's ability to play with the big boys, he settled that by hanging in with a -15 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational performance, as Will Gray reports for GolfChannel.com.
"Well it was the QL and that really got inflamed for me. It was because my quadratus lumborum wasn’t working, my iliacus, longissimus thoracis, they were all kind of over working, if you want to get technical on that. But they weren’t working very well and I overworked them. Pretty much my lower right back was hurting and I rested it. How about that?"
Oh to have seen the looks on press room faces!
BTW, the back looks to be just fine in this shot posted by his friends at Cobra:
Rich Lerner helmed this swell Golf Central feature on Arnold Palmer'slegacy of autograph signing and eye contact. The footage of Deacon's tractor is fun, as is the bigger point conveyed makes this one a good story for young players to absorb.
Rory McIlroy offered a constructive solution to the loud-loser issue that has crept up in recent weeks (well, and years at the Ryder Cup): limit alcohol sales.
I've suggested a cut off hour is badly overdue at tournaments featuring loud and abusive fans. But since most of golf's leaders would give their grandmothers the Heisman for the chance to belly-flop on a loose penny, we've yet to see a golfing equivalent of the 7th-inning cutoff.
Bob Harigof ESPN.com reports on McIlroy's comments following a round where one fan kept yelling out his wife's name.
"There was one guy out there who kept yelling my wife's name," said McIlroy, who shot 67 on Saturday to pull within two shots of leader Henrik Stenson. "I was going to go over and have a chat with him. I don't know, I think it's gotten a little much, to be honest. I think that they need to limit alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something because every week, it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more."
This sounds like more than a simple meeting and given the looming Masters, the desperate times did call for something...
One immediate change McIlroy made this week after seeing Faxon was in the length of his putter. He is back to using a 34.25-inch model, the same as he used in winning his four majors. Kenyon had McIlroy using a 33-inch putter.
The Forecaddiewith details of theMark Rolfing reunion with Coore and Crenshaw to liven up and restore elements to the Kapalua they created in hopes of recapturing its glory years. Even some of the original shapers are expected back. They're on a mission from God!
From a design standpoint, Coore is "most fascinated" by the addition of a new tee box at the par-4 4th, close to the 3rd green. "We actually had it roughed in there from Day 1, but it was never put into use. Back in the days when many of the guys were hitting persimmon drivers, that tee was considered too demanding. Today, the guys are hitting it so far, well past the existing bunkers, that reviving that tee would be perfect. It's been sitting there all these years. We will just add some irrigation and cut back the native grasses."
Restoring a tee never built for the modern game. Wrap your head around that one.
Jay Coffinof GolfChannel.com on the drive hit out of bounds that annoyed Tiger because of the shot quality and not having hit a provisional while at the tee. A side note: the second shot after his provisional tee shot was particularly stout and one of the more impressive I’ve seen in his comeback bid. He had to cut it around a tree from the rough, with water left and already lying three. A slight double-cross and he makes seven or eight.
The reality is that this week is just another staging post on Woods’ climb back to the top, not the destination. And nor is it an omen for what might follow three weeks from now in Georgia. Woods has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational four times since he last slipped on the green jacket in 2005.
Form here does not beget form there.
None of which detracts from the excitement Woods’ strong play has brought to the sport. “It doesn’t say much for the world of golf. We were all saying how healthy things were when he was gone, and now he’s back beating us all up again. Maybe we’re not as good as we thought we were,” McDowell says, laughing. “It’s pretty impressive. And it’s good for us all.”
However, Jeff Sherman at Westgate Las Vegas has installed Tiger at 8-1 following his continued strong opening round play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational,reports Golfweek's Kevin Casey.
Typically, Tiger's Masters odds have been wildly inflated by curiosity bettors and while most futures numbers are fairly silly, I can't come up with a strong reason to argue against his placement is out of line.
After all, his health seems great, his mental state is fantastic, the putting sensational and the power is back. Other than having not won at Augusta National since 2005 or a tournament since 2013, it seems a matter of time.
The 8/1 is silly given how many players are on their game as they approach a place where track records matter, but favorite status seems perfect legitimate. And so surreal.
After winning the Valspar Championship with a final round 65 and moving to 12th in the world, Paul Casey boarded a flight to England for a sad goodbye instead of a planned API appearance.
The Daily Mail's Derek Lawrensontalks to him after the Valspar win sunk in for a player who has top six finishes in the last three Masters but who played with a heavy heart after learning of Mary Colclough's passing. Her husband Ian was one of Casey's early supporters from his days at Burhill Golf Club.
Lawrenson writes in his weekly golf roundup:
Once he received the sad news of Mary’s passing, there was never any question of that. And so he spent the long flight home reflecting on his conflicting emotions, and life’s fateful concoction of magic and loss.
‘I played with a heavy heart, and maybe that helped,’ said Casey, who had tossed away plenty of chances to win in America during a nine-year victory drought. ‘Ian was one of my best friends when I joined Burhill. He always looked after me and still does to this day, and Mary would always tag along for the ride.
‘One of those sad stories, and we all know one. Cancer sucks.’
The Bay Hill greens are firm and fast after several dry, cool days, a characteristic Tiger and other tough-course types love. A birdie shootout will not happen.
Crowds are expected to be huge and Woods round 1/2 playing partner Jason Day believes, contrary to the view of other young players, that Tiger feeds off the energy to his benefit. Kevin Casey reports for Golfweek.com.
As much as Tiger would love to win his 9th API, as Bob Harigwrites for ESPN.com, the target remains the Masters.
As always, I urge you to read the entire piece for context and to understand his premise, but I think it's well worth you time. But a sampling:
All of these things I believe have huge potential in dealing with chronic illnesses, whether that be physical or mental. I would imagine golf as a form of healing from depression could be enormous due to what I’ve outlined above. Plus, why change a sport to simply ‘conform’ to what we believe society ‘wants.’ Conformity is boring, each sport is different in its nature and we should celebrate that, not the opposite.
When it comes to the changes we can make as professional golfers to ensure the viewing experience is better, I do believe like many others that there are things that can be done. We should be making an example of players taking way too long to hit simple shots. We shouldn’t be advocating pre shot routines where you close your eyes, breathe slowly and pretend to be a Power Ranger. Golf can be played faster at tournament level, as well as club level. But it can never be played in 2 hours. And I don’t want golf to change itself in such a way to make that possible. I think it would ultimately be a bad move for the game and risk dilution, the same way Cricket has done.
Chief Executive Keith Pelley will not be calling on Pepperell to helm any of his cutting edge initiatives anytime soon.
We may currently have an ‘image problem’ in golf, but we don’t need to add schizophrenia to that. 40 second shot clocks may reduce a round of golf to 4 hours from 4 hours 30 minutes in a 3-Ball, but that’s still 4 hours, and in my opinion that’s not enough of a change to direct attention away from our sport being ‘too slow.’
The "USGA Championship Season On Fox Presented By Rolex" does have a certain ring to it, actually, more like a tongue-tying migraine-inducing, announcers-worst-nightmare-ring.
“You will see Rolex’s brand and ideally you’ll see sponsored features from other corporate partners and things of that nature,” Hirshland said. “What you will not see is any traditional 30-second-style commercial advertising inventory.”
The U.S. Open will be the only USGA championship with traditional advertising, which Hirshland said will be “consistent with what you would have seen in past years.” Rolex, however, will present the final hour of the Open with no commercial interruption.
“For the viewer, this is a great thing,” Mark Loomis, executive producer of Fox’s live golf coverage, said of the initiative.
It's hard to fathom Fox would give up the advertising revenue if there were plenty of ad buyers, but whether they make or lose money matters not to viewers. Unless, of course this new structure leads to cut backs in production values.
A rules official approached Mickelson, Hatton and the third member of their three-ball, Shubhankar Sharma, after they had hit their tee shots at the 15th hole. Hatton and Sharma were informed by the official that they were on the clock – but Mickelson was not.
Hatton explained: “Sharma wasn’t that slow, to be honest. He was fine. But I feel like Phil was taking quite a lot of time on certain things. We’d had a warning earlier on in the round to speed up and we kind of did but not massively.
“I’d just birdied 14 to tie with Phil and, you know, you’ve got four holes to go and it’s kind of crunch time. We had all hit good tee shots up 15 when one of the officials charged over and said, ‘Phil, you’re exempt but Tyrrell and Sharma, I’m going to start timing you.’
“Phil goes, ‘Oh, he obviously likes me’. I was raging.