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.