Prior to the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Gary Christian meets with the media to discuss his attitude before play begins at the final PGA TOUR event of 2012.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Not everyone is feeling the numbers crunch at this week’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
“If all goes horribly wrong and I get five starts next year, I've got five starts to make a million dollars each week,” said Gary Christian. “I've really got nothing to lose.”
Actually, he does -- a TOUR card. Christian is 127th on the money list entering the season-ending event and two spots out of securing full playing privileges for next season.
But for the 41-year-old rookie from England, he’s enjoying every minute of the ride. Given a journey that included more than a dozen years split between mini tours and the Web.com Tour, it’s understandable.
“I think when you're 41 and a rookie you have a bit of perspective on life that you know how fortunate you are to be doing what you're doing,” he said. “You know how hard it is to make $500. It can take a week to make $500 and make three times that playing in the Monday pro-am. I think more people probably need a slight dose of reality to realize how lucky we truly are out here.”
That said, Christian, who was among last year’s graduating class from the Web.com Tour, still has his sights set on the magical top 125 number.
“It's kind of nice to get to that stage now where you have to perform,” Christian said. “This is it. You've got one more chance, and do good or you go home.”
Despite that pressure, Christian says he feels “relaxed.” His family will arrive Wednesday night, and the lowest moment of the year he said was watching his favorite soccer team, Liverpool, struggle.
Christian has endured his share of struggles, too, which is why he’s on the outside looking in. He has just one top 10 and has missed the cut in a third of his starts.
Still, there were plenty of highlights.
In June and July, he had four finishes in the top 20 in a five-start stretch. He also got to play a practice round with a childhood hero, Tom Watson, and was paired with Tiger Woods during the third round of The Barclays, where Christian was in contention until shooting 77-72 on the weekend.
Christian’s favorite courses included Bethpage Black and Pebble Beach -- he filled his camera with pictures of the latter -- and he added that all the courses on TOUR weren’t quite as firm as he expected.
Complaints? He just didn’t have any, other than the temptation of the buffet line week to week.
“You can make it a matter of life and death and if it all goes wrong, it's probably going to affect you more than if you don't treat it as a matter of life and death,” Christian said. “I’m sure there are a couple people here who will have a few more gray hairs and ulcers this week. Hopefully I’m not one of them.”
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012
1 p.m. ET: Jonas Blixt
1:30 p.m. ET: Jeff Maggert
Wed., Nov. 7, 2012
12:30 p.m. ET: Gary Christian
12:45 p.m. ET: Tommy Gainey
1 p.m. ET: Erik Compton
Have a question for Gary Christian? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats with Christian, a 41-year-old rookie who has a half-dozen top 25s this season.
If you want to ask Christian a question, now is your opportunity. Just fill out the form below.
Also, we are now taking video submissions of questions. If you would like to send a video of you asking your question, please email the video to email@example.com. Please keep video to 20 seconds or less, shoot landscape style, and include your name and where you’re from in the text of your email.
Direct Connect video is posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM, so please check back then for the Christian interview.
FORT WORTH, Texas – Stewart Cink withdrew from the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial for personal reasons.
Alternate Gary Christian is now in the field.
Cink was scheduled to make his 15th start at Colonial this week. His best finish was a tie for second in 2000. He also tied for fourth in 2006.
Christian, the 40-year-old PGA TOUR rookie from England, is making his first start in this event.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Eight PGA TOUR rookies have stepped off of the golf course and into the world of high-end fashion for the new issue of ForbesLife magazine .
Tommy Biershenk, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, Gary Christian, Harris English, J.J. Killeen, Danny Lee and Jamie Lovemark had the opportunity to demonstrate their modeling ability in designs by some of the world’s most renowned fashion manufacturers -- including Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Rolex and Audemars Piguet, among others.
The photo shoot took place at the Fairmont Princess Hotel, adjacent to TPC Scottsdale during the week of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, with acclaimed French photographer Antoine Verglas capturing the images that were styled by Joseph DeAcetis, the magazine’s style editor.
The 10-page spread, entitled Clubhouse Confidential ( click here for more ), coincides with the relaunch of ForbesLife , which for the first time will be offered on newsstands across the nation and also be available in replica-form for nooks, kindles and iPads.
Verglas, who is based in New York, is recognized for introducing the “Verglas Signature” to glamour photography in the 1990s, an intimate style of capturing a personality of his subjects. His work has appeared in all the leading fashion magazines.
“I think it's fun,” Verglas said of the rookie photo shoot. “They could be models, you know. They did great. They have good looking personalities and are great looking guys and the pictures were really good.”
DeAcetis noted that ForbesLife was going under a redesign and that the idea behind the photo shoot was to reach a new, younger audience. “These athletes transcend any economic level,” he said. “They're great players, and this is what men are interested in. We have a high standard here at ForbesLife that we have to convey and I think that these guys did an amazing job.”
DeAcetis said they worked extensively on matching colors and sizes, and then matching them to ideal locations at the Fairmont Princess. “The shoot is shorter jackets and tighter pants; it's more modern, the cut,” he said. “And that's what these guys are, 21st century men. So it has a little more life to it than a traditional suit or traditional jacket. And that's what these guys embody … the next expectations, they're the next big players.”
Cauley said he had a lot of fun participating in the shoot. “It definitely was my first experience with something like that,” he said. “They dressed me up in really nice clothes and did my hair a little bit differently. We’ll see how it turns out, but I trust what they were doing and I’m sure it will all look great.”
English agreed. "It was crazy, I've never done the modeling experience before,” he said. “It was cool. These are pretty sweet clothes and it was fun. I could definitely do it again; it wasn't bad at all."
Christian, the oldest among the participants at age 40, added, “I enjoyed the experience and would definitely do it again. It was interesting to me as an arty guy how the photographer set up shots and how much of a perfectionist the stylist was.”
PGA TOUR Entertainment was on hand to film the photo shoot and will feature it on an upcoming edition of Inside the PGA TOUR on Golf Channel in early April.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Seems inconceivable that a PGA TOUR player’s aim on the greens could be off by entire inches, but Hunter Mahan found that to be the case last week before the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Mahan had a session Monday with Ping Tour rep Matt Rollins at Dove Mountain’s putting green, and a laser device put in front of Mahan’s putterface found his alignment to be left of the hole by a couple inches.
Rollins handed Mahan the company’s new Nome putter, a mallet made with high-grade aluminum and tungsten sole plates which increase MOI. It has a black alignment bar with white sight lines, and Mahan immediately corrected his left-aiming issue.
“This one has a little less offset and it's helping me aim better, so basically I'm aiming where I think I'm supposed to be aiming. Before I was aiming a little more left than I thought, so I was kind of pushing my putts. I wasn't just getting like a true roll and a true read,” Mahan said Friday after advancing to the quarterfinals. “I have just a lot of confidence where I'm starting the ball. I think I'm starting it there and I'm hitting it right there.
“Last week (T24 at the Northern Trust Open) I had no sense of the greens and missed everything. But for some reason this week I feel confident. I feel confident whenever I get on the green I'm going to make it. It's a good feeling to have right now.”
Two days later, Mahan won the Accenture. From a couple inches left to the top of one of the season’s most prestigious events in six days.
The Ping Nome will arrive at golf shops in the first week of April.
STRONG SHOWING: Ping made out big at Accenture with three staff players among the last four players standing – Mahan, Mark Wilson and Lee Westwood. The company’s players went a collective 19-6 for the event, including 6-0 on day one (Ping players Miguel Angel Jimenez, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson also were in the field).
SEEING YELLOW: Skip Kendall used a yellow Srixon Z-Star XV Tour to weeks ago in winning the Nationwide Tour season opener, the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship, then put it in play last week at the Mayakoba Golf Classic on the PGA TOUR. Gary Christian and Robert Gamez also used the yellow ball, while Charlie Beljan used a yellow Z-Star Tour.
SIZING UP: Sang-moon Bae made a surprising run to the quarterfinals at Accenture before losing to eventual runner-up Rory McIlroy. He used a Callaway Diablo Octane Tour 3-wood after auditioning both the Octane Tour and Razr X Black 3-woods on the range and the course before the matches. He had the 3-woods set up identically to 14.5 degrees for his test.
TIGER TALK: Tiger Woods met the media Wednesday at The Honda Classic and talked about putting, including how he has stayed loyal to Nike putters. Despite his struggles on the greens, Woods hasn’t gone back to the Titleist Scotty Cameron model he used during his decade-plus of dominance.
“I had to find a putter that comes off at the same pace as my Cameron did. We had to work on the grooves to make sure that it came off the same speed. Once we got that dialed in and the ball was coming off the same speed, then we are set,” Woods said. “And that's the mallet … or the one with the plumber neck, they are coming off the same speed as my Cameron, and that's the beauty of it, because I don't have to make any adjustments for speed.”
Woods has made one return to the old days – putting a Ping grip back in play, which he says provides more swing in his stroke.
A GOOD FIT: Callaway, the PGA TOUR and Birdies for the Brave are teaming up this season to custom-fit three veterans for new clubs at a dozen TOUR events.
The first fitting was Tuesday on the range at The Honda Classic, with Sgt. Kyle Evans (a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient who served two tours of duty in Iraq), Daniel Robinson (who served in Kuwait), and Ben Baar, a 20-year veteran of the Army who was injured in the Middle East.