Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pray FORE! Grace (Part 2)

Last week, I posted about Grace Shin, a golfer here at UCO recently diagnosed with ALL Leukemia.

She has seen such great support through social media posts and constant encouragement through text messages.

Now, it's time for us to help her family out too.

If you've ever been to the hospital for stitches, or taken a ride in an ambulance, you know how expensive medical bills can be.

Imagine receiving 24 hour treatment, and living in that hospital bed for weeks. That's what the Shin family is going through as we speak.

Of course they don't mind. They will do whatever it takes to get Grace the best treatment possible!

So my question is, why shouldn't we?

Someone way more creative than me designed these t-shirts, which are $20, and go directly to the Shin family to help offset medical costs.

Our golf team was sent the link a couple of days ago, and we already have a few guys wanting to buy the shirt. I've also seen other people post on social media about it, and it has generated a lot of interest.

As the post says, you contact Michael Bond, the women's golf coach, to buy a shirt. You can also reach out to anyone on the women's golf team, many of whom have already tweeted out the same picture.

You can either spend $20 on yourself, or you can spend $20 to help save a life.

Your choice.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Prayers for Grace

This is a blog meant for golf news and updates, but sometimes, there are more important things in life.

This post won't contain a bunch of pictures, or cool stats, or fancy predictions.

This...this is close to home

Grace Shin, a sophomore from Union High School in Tulsa, and a member of the women's golf team, was diagnosed with acute leukemia over the weekend, and began a 24-week chemotherapy treatment yesterday.

We have guys on the golf team who are close to her, and give us daily updates on the treatment, and each day will be a battle.

I don't know Grace very well, but from what I've seen and what I've been told, she is a fighter, and she will not stop fighting until she wins.

And from what I've seen on social media, and throughout the athletic department at UCO, she has a big team fighting right along side her. #PrayersForGrace

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Tradition Unlike any Other

Ladies and gentlemen...it's time.

It's time for pimento cheese sandwiches.

It's time for green jackets.

It's time for Amen Corner.

It's time...for the Masters.

It's the best week of the year, therefore, I apologize in advance for the length of this post. Sorry, I'm just excited! Golf's premier tournament, and 1st major, begins Thursday at Augusta National in Georgia.

Well, Masters week technically began on Sunday, with the annual Drive, Chip and Putt competition, featuring boys and girls from 7-15 from all across the country competing in golf's version of Punt, Pass and Kick.

Tonight is the annual Champions Dinner, a dinner exclusively for prior Masters champions. The dinner is hosted by the defending champion, who in this case is England's Danny Willett. Willett has the difficult task of putting together the menu for the night, although it looks like he did a pretty good job.

The festivities continue Wednesday in the annual Par 3 competition, a chance for players to bring their families onto the 9-hole par 3 course and relax before the biggest week of their season. Be careful though, no player who has won the Par 3 event has gone on to win the Masters.

The real fun begins Thursday morning.

The ceremonial opening tee shot from "The Big 3" will be one short this year, as Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will be without The King, Arnold Palmer. This will be the 1st Masters since Palmer passed away last year.

After those tee shots, the tournament officially begins. Here's your look at the course, the contenders, and who I think will put on that famous jacket Sunday evening.

The Course

I don't think my words can effectively describe the beauty that is Augusta National, so see for yourself.


Just in case you're wondering, there are SEVERAL famous holes at Augusta. So here's a brief dialogue on those.

Amen Corner: The most famous 3-hole stretch in the world, the long par-4 11th, dangerous short par-3 12th (ask Jordan Spieth,) and famous risk reward par-5 13th, were famously dubbed Amen Corner because if you made it out at even par, you have to say "Amen!"

15 and 16: Another risk-reward par-5 at 15, and the picturesque par-3 16th, each have their fair share of thrilling moments, including Jack Nicklaus's famous iron shot in the '86 Masters, and Tiger Woods infamous chip that hung on the lip for what seemed like hours, then fell.

The Contenders

Defending Champion: Danny Willett

Talk about a Cinderella story.

Willett literally came "out of nowhere...to lead the pack...at Augusta," (gotta love Caddyshack.) Of course, everyone remembers Jordan Spieth's collapse on the dangerous par 3 12th. However, Willett played fantastic on Sunday, firing a 5-under 67. Willett hasn't made much noise since that win, but it's hard to forget about the defending champ.

Jordan Spieth

The aformentioned Spieth certainly gave the Masters to Willett last year, but let's not forget how much success he's had there the past 2 years. Aside from the 12th on Sunday, Spieth has been far and away the best player on the course each year, and that likely won't change this year. Spieth is the best putter in the world, so you better believe he will be in contention again on Sunday.

Dustin Johnson

The #1 player in the world, Johnson can't be touched if he is making ANY putts. His length, and his new dedication to his wedge game makes him an impossible force. However, the course doesn't necessarily fit his game. Johnson loves playing a high cut off the tee, but Augusta is set up for a draw on the majority of holes. That's not to say Johnson can't do it, because he has proved this year he can win multiple ways, but that's something to keep an eye on.

Rory McIlroy

Another young gun who hits it a mile, Rory has had success at Augusta, and could've had a green jacket if not for a second-9 collapse on Sunday back in 2011. Rory hits it a long way, and has the touch around the greens to be in contention just about anywhere, including the Masters. McIlroy lacks the green jacket to complete the career grand slam.


Phil Mickelson

Hard to consider a 3-time Masters champion a sleeper, but Phil has struggled a bit as of late, and missed the cut last year. His ball striking has been an issue, but Phil is the best short game player on the planet, and if he can find a groove with his irons, he has a chance.

Jon Rahm

He is everyone's favorite sleeper pick, and there's a reason for it. Rahm has burst onto the scene this year, already having a win under his belt, and multiple events has been in contention. He has the firepower to win at Augusta, but this being his first Masters, can he handle the nerves?

My Winner: Rory McIlroy

There's a formula for success at the Masters. That's why the same guys are in contention each and every year.

1. You need to be long off the tee. Not astronomically long, but longer than average.
2. Big high draws are a plus off the tee(fades for lefties.)
3. High approach shots make things much easier, as the Augusta greens are hard and fast.
4. Speaking of greens, you MUST be able to putt well to have a chance. The best putters in the world are generally the ones in contention.
5. Finally, it is absolutely imperative that you take advantage of the 4 par-5's. They aren't overly long, and are generally birdie holes. Take advantage, because there aren't many other opportunities out there.

Factoring all of these keys in, my winner this year is Rory McIlroy. The defending FedEx Cup champion has played well thus far, with 3 top-10s in 4 events, and he has a solid track record at Augusta. He's a long high ball hitter, and if his putter gets hot, he's the best player in the field. I like Rory to complete the career grand slam this week.

Have fun watching, and feel free to comment on who you think will put on the green jacket this year!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

In a League of His Own

When you do something in golf that Tiger Woods hasn't done, you're doing something right.

Over the weekend, Dustin Johnson rolled through the golf version of March Madness, culminating with a 1UP victory over Jon Rahm to claim the Dell Match Play down in Austin. I say it's March Madness because the PGA Tour goes through a 64-player bracket, much like the NCAA Tournament.

It may as well been a one man event.

Johnson, already the #1 player in the world, proved that ranking by earning his 3rd win in as many starts, and in the process becoming the 1st player to win all 4 World Golf Championships (Match Play, HSBC, Bridgestone, and Mexico Championships) in a career. Tiger has the most, but he never won the HSBC.

And he knocked off golf's hottest rookie to do it.

Rahm, already a winner on TOUR earlier in the year, dominated through the early portion of the bracket, with his closest match coming in a 3 and 2 (meaning up by 3 holes with 2 to play) win over Bill Haas in the semis.

Johnson had the gas pedal flat on the floor early, starting 5UP thru 8 holes, in what looked like a blowout.

But in a match-up with this much firepower, anything can happen.

  Rahm cut into the deficit early on the back, then won 3 of 4 holes from 13-17, getting back to 1DN heading to 18. But Johnson, being the top player in the world, shut the door on 18 to seal the deal.

The TOUR heads south to Houston for the the Shell Houston Open for the final tune-up before the best week of the year...Masters week.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

From the Range to the Round

Let the Big Dog Eat

I think the biggest thing I've learned about this golf blog is that you have to be interesting to be seen. I started out writing generic tournament previews and recaps, which are fine, and I will continue doing that. But in order to gain followers and popularity, you have to be unique. Golf can be viewed as boring by some people, so you have to constantly find ways to make it interesting, even to people who don't care much for it.

Equipment Malfunction

I kind of mentioned it in my first answer, but instead of focusing strictly on the PGA Tour, I've started to implement articles on college golf, both men's and women's. I think that makes my blog a little more unique, especially since I play on the team. It kind of gives an inside perspective into college athletics.

The Back 9

I'm going into sports broadcasting, so having a blog on sports gives me a certain level of "expertise" in the subject (even if my golf game says otherwise.) I also think it's unique, as it isn't a popular sport(football, basketball) and it isn't a popular local team that would otherwise get lost in the clutter. The blog is something I can attach to my resume to show that I have more than just basic knowledge.

"Competitive Golf is Played Mainly on a Five-and-a-Half Inch Course, the Space Between your Ears"

I would say it has caused me to think more creatively. Early on, I was pretty dry and boring, which matched people's opinion of the sport. That isn't fun to read. So I have done my best to think a little more outside the box when I write, because I know there are people out there who couldn't care less about golf. So my writing is what will keep them interested.

The Next 18

I think the biggest things are to be original, and be creative. Original meaning don't just do what everyone else is doing. I could've very easily written a blog on the Thunder, or OU athletics. But I felt like there were so many of those, mine would just be white noise. Next, being creative means making something boring something fun. Golf doesn't have big collisions, or heart-stopping drama. Not to everyone. To me, there is nothing like a guy coming down the 18th fairway, knowing he needs a birdie to tie, and attacking a dangerous pin dangling behind a lake. That is drama, and that is how I latch readers to my writing.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

UCO Women's Golf Needs Attention

We've focused a lot on the PGA Tour here, and for good reason.

The casual golf fan likely doesn't care about the Web.com Tour, or the European Tour, or the Adams Tour, or unfortunately, the LPGA Tour.

I bet these girls care about it though.

The UCO women's golf team works just as hard as the men's team, plays some of the same courses, and works out just like any other golf team, yet they don't get the recognition they deserve.

Well let's change that.

The girls took part in the Diffee Ford Lincoln Invitational at Kickingbird Golf Club, beginning on Monday. Here was their lineup for the event.

1. Marla Souvannasing
2. Makena Mucciaccio
3. Grace Shin
4. Sydney Roberts
5. Anna Pool

If you were outside on Monday, you knew how HORRIBLE the wind was. Only 13 of the 86 players in the field shot in the 70s, and UCO had three of them.

Freshman Sydney Roberts led the way, shooting 76 to put her in a tie for 5th in the individual standings. Marla Souvannasing and Makena Mucciaccio both shot 79. As a team, the Bronchos were in 2nd place, six shots behind Southwestern Oklahoma.

The real fireworks happened on the back 9 on Tuesday.

Roberts, who came into the final round seven shots back, fired a 4-under 31 on the back 9, pulling off a huge comeback to win the individual crown by a shot. Roberts had an eagle and two birdies on her final 9 en route to a 2-under 68.

Roberts big back 9 rallied the rest of the Bronchos, and they too came back to win the team title, beating 1st-round leader SWOSU by three shots.

Mucciaccio shot a 2-over 72 to finish T-7th, while Souvannasing shot 75 to finish 13th.

THESE GIRLS ARE GOOD. And for how well they perform, I think they should get the publicity they deserve. Congrats girls!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Equipment Blogs and Purchasing

Back in the old days, golf was played with wooden clubs, made by a handful of manufacturers, and used by everyone. Today, there are so many brands and styles to choose from that it can get a little overwhelming. 

That’s where golf equipment blogs come in handy. People begin these blogs to provide club reviews, suggestions, and information on what the professionals use. However, these blogs can provide a slanted look on what clubs are best for each individual.

Even though golf blogs provide great insight into equipment, they also make the buying process more difficult.

People have become so obsessed with what professional players use that they just buy it for that reason alone. Websites like Golf WRX, The Sand Trap, and My GolfSpy were created to give golfers a look into professional equipment, while also providing “expert reviews” on the biggest name in the club industry. 
Golfers will go out and spend hundreds of dollars on clubs just because their favorite pro uses them, instead of buying the clubs best fit to them. That is my biggest problem with golf blogs, is that most of the reviews are tailored to the person using them. While they can be great for information, I’m not sure they work well for purchasing decisions.

The ability to use the Internet has both helped and hurt the golf industry, in that it allows amateur golfers to find out information on clubs, but it also doesn’t provide them with the perfect club for them. Golf blogs are great for chunks of facts, but if you want the best clubs for you, go get fitted by a golf pro.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Former Cowboy Corrals Honda Classic

Orange power indeed.

Former Oklahoma State Cowboy Rickie Fowler, well-known for his lack of success in finishing off golf tournaments, finally proved the critics wrong over the weekend in Florida, winning The Honda Classic by 4.

Fowler was previously 0-4 in closing out tournaments in which he held the 54-hole lead, and it looked like we were heading that way early in the final round on Sunday.

Rickie had a four-shot lead coming into the final round, but a tee shot into the water on 6 and into the trees on 9 trimmed his lead to 1 heading into the back 9.

Fowler responded with some timely putting, and this dart on the tough 16th.
That all but sealed the deal for Fowler's 4th professional victory.
Speaking of orange power, former Poke Morgan Hoffman finished T-2nd, 4 shots behind Fowler. Florida Gator Billy Horschel and Martin Kaymer finished T-4th, and defending champion Adam Scott finished T-14th.

Rickie's win continued a trend of a youth movement on TOUR. 11 of the 15 winners this season are in their 20s. Players like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, and Hideki Matsuyama are consistently topping leaderboards, removing any worry about the state of golf post-Tiger Woods.

This week, the TOUR heads to Mexico City for the World Golf Championships- Mexico Championship. The tournament relocated form Trump National in Doral.

A typical WGC field is on-hand this week, as you have to be in the top 50 in the world rankings, or high up in the FedEx Cup rankings to qualify. All of the top 50 have committed to the event, including new #1 Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, defending champion Adam Scott, and Rory McIlroy in his first event back from injury.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Broncho Golf Update

Let's take a break from the big boys and talk a little college golf.

As my bio states, I played quarterback on the UCO football team for 5 years. We won a lot of games, made a lot of memories, and formed relationships that will last a lifetime.

This past fall was my last season, and before it started, I saw an opportunity when it was over.

I played a lot of competitive golf over the past few summers, and wanted to try playing on our school team. We had graduated quite a few guys, and got a new coach at a time that didn't allow him to go out and recruit.

We were hurting for players, and I wanted to help.

I went and talked to Coach Fosdick before fall camp, and told him my intentions. I told him about my competitive golf, my situation with football, and my drive to get better in the sport. Lucky for me, he liked the idea!

So after my final college football game in early November, I hopped in with the guys in workouts and practice, and now it's like I've been there all along!
A post shared by T.j. Eckert (@tj.eckert) on

Okay, enough about me. Who really cares about that stuff anyway?

Earlier this week, we had our first tournament of the spring season down in San Antonio. I unfortunately didn't play well enough to qualify for this event, so I stayed home and supported through my cell phone. The guys that did make it were:

1. Eli Armstrong
2. Zander Hughes
3. Nick Pierce
4. Wesley Jackson
5. Alberto Ruiz Nava

The guys stopped outside of Austin first to visit the headquarters for Edel Golf, which is home to custom-made putters and the unique single-length irons that are becoming the hot new item in golf. They also said hi to our incoming recruit, Nico Edel, who committed to UCO a while back.

After getting fit for putters and single-length irons, it was time to get down to business. The guys played a practice round at The Dominion Country Club on Sunday to get ready for what was supposed to be 54 holes over the next 2 days. Record rainfall cut the event to 36.

We finished the 1st round in a tie for 4th in the 16-team field. Berto led the way, shooting +1 73, with Nick shooting +2 74, Eli and Wes +3 75, and Zander +4 76. Bert ended the day T-11.

The next day didn't go quite as well.

The tough Bermuda greens made it hard for anyone to have confidence in their stroke, and a brutal back 9 caused scores to balloon.

Berto and Eli found a way to push through, shooting solid even par 72s, and Bert finished in T-4 in the individual standings. As a team, we finished T-5, which would be a good tournament for most teams, but not so good for a team with the expectations we have for ourselves.

It's early, and this is the 1st tournament of the spring, but we are going to work even harder now to get to where we know we can be.

Monday, February 20, 2017

DJ Dominates LA

It looks like prior history is rather important this season.

Last week, we talked about how Jordan Spieth had great success at the AT&T Pro-Am in previous years. He went on to dominate the field in his first win of the season.

This week, everyone talked about how successful Dustin Johnson has been at Riviera, even though he has never won.

We can forget about that last part now.

In a 36-hole Sunday finish, DJ lapped the field, nearly broke the tournament scoring record, and climbed to the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Pretty nice Sunday.

Johnson started his day with a 3rd round -7 64, to enter his 2nd 18 of the day with a 5-shot lead. He would widen that margin to 9 at one point, until settling for an easy 5-shot victory with a closing even-par 71.
Image result for dustin johnson genesis open

DJ also became the 20th player to become the #1 player in the world, taking over for Jason Day, who held the spot for almost 50 weeks.

Other notable finishes include Justin Rose T-4, Adam Scott T-11, Jordan Spieth T-22, and Phil Mickelson T-34.

The TOUR heads across the country this week for The Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Adam Scott is the defending champion, and will look to become just the second player to defend their title in the event, along with the great Jack Nicklaus.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Guess Who's Back...

I could use this as an opportunity to gloat, but I won't.

In fact, just a few weeks ago, I predicted that Tiger Woods could crack the top 10 at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he played poorly and missed the cut.

So I'm not going to sit here and act like I'm some sort of Golfstradomus.

However, I did nail this one, and I'm pretty excited about it.

Jordan Spieth FINALLY returned to the national golf spotlight at Pebble Beach, where he secured a 4-shot victory over Kelly Kraft for his 1st win of the season.

Image result for spieth at&t pro amSpieth played defensive golf all day, knowing pars were going to get him a victory. He finished the tournament with a bogey-free final round of -2 70.

And he did it with the formula I mentioned in my predictions.

Spieth wasn't hitting it near as far as some of the other guys on top of the leaderboard. And with the soggy conditions of the California coast, he got little to no rollout on his tee shots.

But he was in the fairway frequently, taking advantage of the preferred lies and lift, clean and place. He was 3rd in greens in regulation, hitting nearly 80%. And to top it all off, he tied for the lead in both birdies made and fewest bogeys. 

That is a winning formula. Hit fairways, hit greens, make birdies, and prevent bogey's.

Golf isn't THAT hard.

Some other good weeks came from guys who seem to always have success in the event. 

Dustin Johnson finished 5 back in solo 3rd, Brandt Sneaker finished another shot behind in solo 4th, and Jason Day and rookie-phenom Jon Rahm finished T-5th 7 back. Gary Woodland shot a Sunday-best -7 65 to also finish T-5th.

The best in the world head south to Los Angeles for the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The event is put on by the Tiger Woods Foundation, but Woods just withdrew from the event last week.

He has a press conference scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Many people believe he could be retiring from golf, but let's not jump to conclusions just yet. Be sure to check back in tomorrow to hear everything he had to say.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Golf with a View

Being a professional golfer certainly has its perks.

Last week, the world's best played in front of record crowds in the Arizona desert, and across the globe in the wealthy land of Dubai.

This week, they play at the course known as "The greatest meeting between land and sea."

That distinction belongs to Pebble Beach Golf Links, situated perfectly off the coast of the Pacific on Carmel Bay.

Welcome to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The PGA Tour is yet again blessed with a star-studded lineup, featuring the likes of Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, and many others.

And, as the name suggests, this is a Pro-Am, which gives fans a chance to check out some of their favorite celebrities, including Bill Murray, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and fellow Okie Toby Keith. Here is a full list of the celebrities in the field.

Pebble Beach gets the most attention during tournament week, but there are actually three courses the players will take on over the four day event. Each will play Pebble, Spyglass Hill, and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula the first three days, then return to Pebble for the final round.


An interesting statistic from the PGA Tour website: 3 of the 4 shortest courses on the Tour schedule are in this tournament. Also interesting is that Spyglass Hill generally plays as the toughest course, which goes against the natural belief that Pebble is the toughest.

I say all that to say this. In order to win here, you don't have to bomb it like at most events, but that doesn't mean it doesn't help. Dustin Johnson has played historically well here at the event, which means you can win this tournament in multiple ways.

The weather is supposed to be miserable all week, with temps in the 50s, and chances of rain early in the tournament. That could play a factor in the outcome as well.

Guys like Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Phil Mickelson have all won the tourney multiple times, so they are likely going to be in contention late on Sunday.

However, my pick is a guy who has gone almost forgotten thus far. Jordan Spieth has been overshadowed by the early-season dominance of his buddy Justin Thomas, but Spieth has played solid to open his year. In his three starts, he has three top-10s, and two top 3s. In his past three appearances in the event, Spieth has finished T-21, T-7, and T-4.

He doesn't hit it as long as everyone else, but he's still one of the premier putters on Tour, and he has the short game to save himself when he gets in trouble. Plus, his Pro-Am partner is country star Jake Owen, a relaxing pairing with a solid amateur that shouldn't distract him. I think this is the week Spieth steals the spotlight back.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Japanese Giant and the Old Conquistador

Two events, two marquee champions.

Two beautiful venues, both very different.

The PGA Tour and European Tour both hosted star-studded fields this week in their respective tournaments. The Waste Management Phoenix Open on TOUR broke the record for highest attendance, and the Dubai Desert Classic had the biggest star of all in their field.

Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?

Just before kick-off, the focus of the sports world was on TPC Scottsdale, and just like the game in Houston later that night, this one went into "overtime."

Hideki Matsuyama and Webb Simpson couldn't settle the tournament in 72 holes, so they played a few extra.

Hideki had a chance to win on the final hole in regulation,
and Webb had a chance to win on the 3rd playoff hole,
but FINALLY, Matsuyama finished Simpson off with a birdie on the 4th extra hole.
With the win, Matsuyama has 5.....FIVE wins in NINE starts worldwide, becoming the winningest Japanese-born player in PGA Tour history.

OSU product Rickie Fowler finished T-4th, Jordan Spieth finished T-9th, and rookie Spaniard sensation Jon Rahm finished T-16th.

Dubai Desert Classic

Speaking of Spain, didn't I mention there was a new conquistador in town?

Maybe I spoke too soon.

Old dog Sergio Garcia went wire-to-wire in the desert to claim his 12th European title.

The top headline coming into the week was Tiger Woods playing in the event, but he withdrew before the 2nd round, leaving Serg in the spotlight.

Garcia opened the final round with a three-shot lead, and finished with that margin over Swede Henrik Stenson.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Here We Go Again...

This is not good...

I mean come on...he committed to three events in four weeks on two different continents.

Surely this is a joke right?

He told us he was pain-free.

He told us he wouldn't come back until he felt he could win.

Now this?

After opening with a birdie-less +5 77 in Dubai on Thursday (or late Wednesday night our time,)
Tiger Woods withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic, just a few hours before he was scheduled to tee off.

Golf Twitter blew up during Tiger's opening round after it appeared he may have winced on his very first swing.

And it sounds like they weren't wrong.
Agent Mark Steinberg was optimistic, however.
So, what does this mean for Tiger's future? Steinberg did say that he thinks Woods will still play at Riviera in two weeks, but who knows for sure anymore? Only Tiger does, and according to his past quotes, who knows if we can trust what he tells us?

A few posts ago, I predicted that TW would finish top 10 at Torrey, but threw in the fact that I was just happy to see him back and playing. Who would've thought that just a week later, we may be talking about not seeing him again for some time.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The New Conquistador?

Well that was a hell of a prediction TJ...

For those who may have missed it, Tiger Woods did not in fact make the top 10 this week at Torrey Pines. But he was soooooo close...


Woods struggled to find the fairway in his first round, and failed to take advantage of finding the fairway in the second, shooting a +4 76-72 to miss the cut by 4.

Before you jump all over me, all 3 players in this primetime grouping (including Dustin Johnson and Jason Day) missed the cut.

Woods actually did a good job of avoiding the big number, only making one double-bogey. His problem was his lack of birdies, just 5 in 36 holes.

Tiger heads to Asia this week for the for the Dubai Desert Classic, an event he has won twice. We will see if he can get his season going there.

I sure hope he does.

One guy who got his season and his young career going this weekend was Spaniard Jon Rahm. Just 22-years-old out of Arizona State, the second-year pro separated himself from the field on the back 9 at Torrey Pines South, going -6 in his last 8. That included 2 birdies and 2 eagles, including this bomb that all but sealed the deal on 18.

Rahm shot a final round -7 65 to win the loaded tournament by 3 shots over the likes of former champion Brandt Snedeker, OSU-grad Charles Howell III, Justin Rose, and idol and former Sun Devil Phil Mickelson.

Many people are already calling Rahm the next big name in golf after one win. Only time will tell, but I think we need to be a little patient with a 22-year-old kid that just won his first tourney.

Rahm tees it up this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he finished T-5th as an amateur two years ago. I'll have that preview, along with a Dubai Desert Classic preview, coming up soon.

That's all for now. Please Tiger, keep it in the short grass.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


What did I tell you? Only the biggest and most current stories here on Tee Times with TJ, and I can't think of a bigger story than the biggest name in the sport.

As was announced weeks ago, Tiger Woods will be making his much anticipated official return to the TOUR, and he isn't just dipping his toe in the water. No, this would be classified as a full-blown golf cannon ball. TW will be playing four tournaments in the next five weeks after not playing an official event in 17 months.

Woods will open his season Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a course he has won at eight times as a professional, including the site of his last major win, that historic U.S. Open he won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate with a torn up knee.

Tiger will tee it up with two of the top three players in the world for his first two rounds back. 

And they have even more in common now than they did before. 

Jason Day and Dustin Johnson are both key faces for the Taylormade equipment family, but after today's announcement that Woods would be joining the team, they may have to take a backseat.

Woods announced he would be agreeing to an eventual 13-clubTaylormade bag. The one club that will go untouched is the famous Scotty Cameron Putter Woods used to win 13 of his 14 majors. He put the flat stick back into his bag at the Hero World Challenge.

Woods will deploy a Taylormade M2 Driver and 3-Wood, while using an M1 for his 5-Wood. And while Woods said that he and Taylormade will be working closely to make custom irons and wedges, he is sticking with his old Nike irons and wedges for the time being.

Woods Prediction
So what can we expect from Tiger in his first tournament back?

I think it's quite simple.

Torrey Pines is historically tough off the tee. The rough is long and thick, and hasn't been cut much due to record rainfall numbers. If Woods wants to have any success, he needs to find the fairway consistently off the tee. Nobody in the field will be scoring well from the rough, especially not a man playing his first official tournament in almost a year and a half.

If Tiger can keep the ball in the fairway, he can putt well enough to keep himself in it. The good holes shouldn't be an issue for TW, as he led the HWC field in birdies made. Birdies will be at a premium at Torrey, and I don't think the winner will be in double-digits.

If Tiger can avoid the blow-up hole, I think he will make the cut and could potentially sneak into the top-10. Either way, it's just great having golf's most exciting player back in action.

A Look Back (Continued)

That was fun wasn't it?

So much fun, in fact, that we are going to finish off this look back right now.

Hero World Challenge
December 1-4
Image result for matsuyama hero world challengeWinner: Hideki Matsuyama

The big story this week was the return of Tiger Woods to professional golf. Though not recognized as an official PGA Tour event, the field in the Hero is world class, making it a great way for the former world #1 to see where his game stood.

Woods played well early, staying on the first page of the leader board for most of the first three days before fading late, settling for a 15th place finish in the 17 man field, even though he led the tournament in birdies.

The extra eyes on Woods turned attention away from the rising Japanese star, who won his fourth tournament in five starts. A final round 73 still gave him a two shot victory over Sweden's Henrik Stenson.

Image result for justin thomas tournament of championsSBS Tournament of Champions
January 5-8
Winner: Justin Thomas

There's that name again. Justin Thomas put on quite the show in Maui, and it wasn't all that close. Thomas faltered a bit early in the back nine on Sunday, but pulled away late en route to a final round 69, giving him a three shot win over the red-hot Hideki Matsuyama.

Thomas fired four straight rounds in the 60s, and although he couldn't match his buddy Jordan Spieth's tourney record of -30, he still played solid, and would continue that fantastic play in the next event.

Image result for justin thomas sony openSony Open in Hawaii
January 12-15
Winner: Justin Thomas

Again? Geez, go ahead young fella. JT completed the Hawaii sweep, first time since Ernie Els did it back in 2003, and did so in record-setting fashion.

He didn't wait long to get started, Thomas opened the tournament with the magic number 59, a score only a select few have ever reached(Adam Hadwin would do it the next week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.)

JT didn't stop there. A five-under 65 on Sunday gave him a total score of -27(253), which is the new 72-hole scoring record. In doing so, Thomas won the tournament by an astonishing SEVEN shots.

There it is. You're all caught up on the big story lines thus far in the PGA Tour season. From this point forward, it will be all about the present. Keep hitting it in the fairway!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Look Back

Nothing like a little professional golf in the cold weather months.

Since the PGA Tour went to a wrap-around schedule, viewers are able to see the world's best play almost year-round. So for those who missed anything, here's a look at a few of the key headlines thus far.

Ryder Cup
September 29-October 3
Winner: United States of America (17-11)

The United States defended home soil, thanks in large part to the heroic play of Patrick Reed, winning the bi-annual Ryder Cup over the European squad for the first time since 2008. Reed went toe-to-toe with European star Rory McIlroy, and it ended as one of the greatest Ryder Cup matches of all-time.

Reed eventually won 1-up, and that opening victory sparked the American side, and their fan base, to a historic victory in one of golf's most anticipated events.

Safeway Open
October 13-16
Winner: Brendan Steele(-18)

The headline pre-tourney was the potential return of Tiger Woods. He eventually withdrew, and Brendan Steele stole the show, firing a final round 65, erasing a four-shot deficit. It was Steele's first win since his rookie season.

CIMB Classic (Malaysia)
October 20-23
Winner: Justin Thomas(-23)

Get used to seeing this name showing up. JT defended his title in Malaysia, starting the final round four back, and finishing it with a three shot win, shooting a bogey-free 8-under 64.

World Golf Championships (WGC) HSBC Champions
October 27-30
Winner: Hideki Matsuyama(-23)

Matsuyama never gave the field a chance, opening the final round with a three shot lead, and finishing with a final round 6-under 66, extended his winning margin to seven shots. The Japanese product defeated one of the more difficult fields of the season en route to his 10th career victory.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Let's Tee it Up

Hey everyone!

Thanks for tagging along with me. Tee Times with TJ is here to provide an outlet for golf news, previews, predictions, reviews, pictures, and anything else golf related to anyone who is interested.

Even though this is for a college class, I plan on keeping this going throughout my professional career. Golf is one of my biggest passions, and hopefully I can relay that through this blog. Enjoy, and as always, keep it in the fairway.