There has been talk for years about the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour playing their first event of the calendar year in a winners-only format in Hawaii.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said he’s not ruling out that possibility.
“I think that’s something we’re still interested in,” Monahan told the Associated Press. “That’s something that we’ll continue to talk about as we go down the road. And we’ll continue to talk to the LPGA about it … if not here [at Kapalua, where the PGA Tour opens its calendar year] how to we accomplish this at one of our tournaments?”
Monahan says he has spoken with LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and said “I would like to think that we’ll get there at some point.”
The only mixed events have been the Three-Tour Challenge in Las Vegas (PGA, LPGA, PGA Tour Champions), the Diamond Resorts Invitational (LPGA, PGA Tour Champions, celebrities) and the now-defunct J.C. Penney Classic, a mixed-team event back when there was a full plate of unofficial events in the offseason. Monahan said a mixed event for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo was discussed but didn’t work out.
“We talked about the J.C. Penney format. That was a great event,” Monahan said. “I think the reason discussions along those lines haven’t progressed is because we’ve been focused on either this event [Kapalua] or different opportunities over that one. But that might be something that we do pursue.”
There were 22 winners on the LPGA Tour last year, and 34 of the 37 PGA Tour winners played at Kapalua. Getting less than 60 golfers around for four rounds in a not-cut event wouldn’t be difficult.
Tiger on the Twist Face
Tiger Woods was skeptical when he first took a look at Taylor Made’s new M3 and M4 drivers with the “Twist Face.”
“It was like, ‘this is crazy,’” Woods told pgatour.com in a recent interview on his club testing process. “It looks like a [Ruffles] potato chip, you know? It looked awful.”
Taylor Made claims the Twist Face enables players to hit driver shots off the toe or heel, and still keep the ball on the planet. Woods tends to agree at this point.
“In the playing position, you don’t even see it, it’s so subtle,” he said. “I would try and hit a couple shots off the heel because that’s where I always miss it. I like the Twist Face because I’m hitting that spot, that shot with a little bit more ‘oomph’ to it. It doesn’t quite bleed out like it used to do. So that to me is already promising, but I’ve still got to do a lot of testing on the range and then obviously bring it to the golf course and put a lot of work in on it.”
Juniors hit with the pros
The European PGA Tour has launched an interactive feature to some of its events this season: junior players are being allowed to hit tee shots along with the professionals – in competition.
One junior didn’t seem awed by his surroundings. Oscar Murphy, a 13-year-old from Northern Ireland, played the par-3 15th hole of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the first round of last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week with countryman Rory McIlroy, world No. 1-ranked Dustin Johnson, and eventual tournament winner Tommy Fleetwood.
Playing from the same spot as the pros (177 yards) Murphy knocked his shot onto the green with a 3-wood with a smooth, polished swing. The ball stopped about 20 feet from the hole — inside the tee shots of Johnson and Fleetwood.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut by four shots at La Quinta last week in his first start of 2018.
The last time he missed the cut in his first start was in 2009 at the Waste Management Open. He then went on to match his career high in victories with four.
Event: Farmers Insurance Open, Thursday-Sunday, Torrey Pines Golf Club, La Jolla, Calif.
At stake: $6.9 million purse ($1,242,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Jon Rahm.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 3-7 p.m.; Saturday, 2-3:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m.); CBS (Saturday, 4-7 p.m.; Sunday, 3-6:30 p.m.).
Area players entered: Jonas Blixt, Jonathan Byrd, Bud Cauley, Roberto Diaz, Harris English, Matt Every, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Russell Knox, David Lingmerth, Cameron Smith, Julian Suri, Steve Wheatcroft.
Notable: Rahm shot 65 in the final round and defeated Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan by three shots. … Tiger Woods plays his first PGA Tour event in a year. He missed the cut at Torrey Pines last year. … Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day are also playing. … Woods’ scoring average at Torrey Pines is 69.09. … Rose has finished among the top-10 in 10 of his last 11 starts on both the PGA Tour and European PGA Tour.
Event: Pure Silk Bahamas Classic, Thursday-Sunday, Ocean Club Golf Course.
At stake: $1.4 million purse ($210,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Brittany Lincicome.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Saturday, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; Sunday, 3-5 p.m.).
Area players entered: Marina Alex, Katie Burnett, Chella Choi, Amelia Lewis.
Notable: Leading the field are Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, Lydia Ko and So Yeon Park. … Lincicome shot 64-65 to open the tournament but Thompson tied her in regulation. Lincicome then birdied the first playoff hole to win.