By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When he was a student at a local community college, Robert Garrigus volunteered at what is now known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
He worked the practice range at TPC Scottsdale that year. Garrigus remembers Hal Sutton letting him swing a driver -- and the 20-year-old out-driving the pro. Fuzzy Zoeller let him hit a few, too.
"Just stuff like that you remember for the rest of your life, and this is kind of where it started," Garrigus said.
Oh, and don't forget the ace Tiger Woods made at the 16th hole that year. Garrigus was in the gallery, chanting for Woods' playing partner, Omar Uresti, who had hit his tee shot at the famous par 3 to about 4 feet. And then Tiger's ball found the cup and set the arena on its ear.
"It was unbelievable," Garrigus recalled. "I told Tiger about that. He's like, oh, you were there for that, huh? I'm like, yeah, the freaking windows in the clubhouse were shaking. They could feel the roar from the clubhouse.
"That was pretty cool. That made me -- if I didn't want to be a professional golfer right there, I wasn't going to be one."
Garrigus, who turned pro later that year, is making more memories at TPC Scottsdale this year. He fired his second-straight 66 on Friday and moved to 10 under par, which was one shot off the lead when he finished and two behind Keegan Bradley as the morning wave finished.
Garrigus, who now lives in Ahwatukee, which is about 25 miles from Scottsdale, is playing in the Waste Management Phoenix Open for the fifth time. He tied for 11th in his 2007 debut but had missed the last three cuts.
The veteran came into this week playing the best golf of his career, though. He finished second four times on the PGA TOUR last year and added a fifth in Malaysia in October. A week ago, Garrigus tied for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open after closing with a 67.
"It's been a fun run, and I'm keeping it going," Garrigus said. "I feel really strong, very healthy. My swing is not breaking down, I'm not getting nervous, and it's been a lot of fun the past six, seven months."
Garrigus, who has one PGA TOUR victory, actually traces the upturn to his tie for third at the 2011 U.S. Open. That's when he finally began to feel like he had the game to compete with anyone and that "even when I wasn't playing good I could still finish in the top 10 like last week," he said.
Friday's 66, which included six birdies and a lone bogey, was his 14th straight at par or better dating back to late last year. He ranks fifth in driving distance in 2013 with an average of 308 yards but he's also third in greens in regulation finding 79.17 percent in regulation.
Garrigus has dialed back a little this week, hitting the occasional 3-wood -- which also travels in excess of 300 yards in then desert air -- to make sure he finds fairways instead of cacti. He also has tried to limit the distractions from family and friends in hopes of being able to celebrate with them come Sunday.
"To win in your hometown and always being able to play here regardless of your status, and doing it in front of the crazies out there, that would mean a lot," Garrigus said. "And that would give me a lot of confidence because it's like a major on the last four holes."
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Is TPC Scottsdale ripe for another run at a 59 on Friday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open?
Bo Van Pelt got things rolling when he shot the magic number in the pro-am, then Phil Mickelson thrilled the crowd on Thursday when he had chances on the final two holes to post the sixth 59 in PGA TOUR history.
Watching to see if history is made for a third straight day is probably too much to ask. But Keegan Bradley had visions dancing in our heads when he played his first seven holes in 5 under with an eagle and three birdies.
Bradley, who started on the back nine, ended up making the turn in 31. He's moved to 9 under and is tied with Robert Garrigus, two strokes off the current lead held by Mickelson, who tees off at 2:16 p.m. ET.
Robero Castro, who is also making a move on the back, is one stroke behind Mickelson after playing his first seven holes in 4 under. Jeff Maggert, Angel Cabrera Ryan Moore and John Rollins are all on the course at 8 under, as well.
TPC Scottsdale played to an average of 69.015 -- nearly two strokes under par in the first round.
Davis Love III withdrew prior to his second round with a nagging neck injury. He shot a first-round 72.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Don't look now but Robert Garrigus is cllmbing the leaderboard at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Garrigus, you might remember, tied for second at last year's tournament in the desert -- one of four runner-up finishes he had in PGA TOUR events last year. He also tied for second in Malaysia.
Garrigus, who is making his 2013 debut at the Humana Challange, started on the back nine at La Quinta on Friday and has gone birdie-eagle-birdie to move to 10 under. He's tied with overnight co-leader, Jason Kokrak, and the two are one shot off the lead.
Roberto Castro and James Hahn, who were the other two first-round pacesetters, have played five and four holes, respectively, and are both 2 under for the day and 11 under for the tournament. Castro is playing the Palmer Course at PGA West while Hahn is at La Quinta.
Russell Henley, last week's stunning rookie winner at the Sony Open in Hawaii, continues to play well. He's 1 under through four holes at the Palmer Course and tied with Ryan Palmer and Greg Chalmers at 9 under.
Phil Mickelson, who struggled with his putter and shot even par on Thursday, is giving himself a shot at playing the entire weekend. He's on the Nicklaus Course and has birdied four of his first seven holes to move to 4 under, which is currently tied for 62nd. The cut will be made on Saturday after everyone has played each of the three courses in the rotation.
By Jonathan Wall, Equipment Insider
Adams Golf added another former PGA TOUR winner to its staff on Tuesday in 2010 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic champion Robert Garrigus.
Garrigus was with TaylorMade before switching. He’ll wear the Adams Golf logo on his bag and headwear and carry a 22-degree SUPER S hybrid.
“With the distance I’m able to generate, plus the launch characteristics from the Velocity Slot Technology in the new SUPER clubs, my approach shots into longer holes will land exceptionally soft,” Garrigus said.
Garrigus will open his 2013 season this week at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, where he tied for second last year.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Robert Garrigus did everything but win last year as he posted four runner-up finishes on TOUR (and another at the unofficial CIMB Classic) on the way to career-highs in earnings and FedExCup points. Already one of the biggest hitters on TOUR, Garrigus improved from 72nd to seventh in GIR and 105th to 23rd in scoring average. If he can continue putting himself in position, that second win will come.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Those five runner-up finishes were impressive, particularly the one at the RBC Canadian Open where Garrigus held a one-stroke lead entering the final round and had a birdie putt on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff with Scott Piercy. But let's go with the tie for fourth at the BMW Championship that moved Garrigus from 31st to 20th in the FedExCup and sent him to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Robert is honest to a fault. He is very blunt in assessing his game. Garrigus was tough on himself after losing the RBC Canadian Open. I admire his willingness to experiment -- going from a short putter, to long putter to conventional length. Garrigus is such a hard worker he will find the answer. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Five times a runner-up in 2012, including the unofficial CIMB Classic. Shattered career highs across the board, exceeding the expectations sculpted by his firepower. He adds so much character to the fantasy game beyond his impressive splits, go ahead and invest in him with equal parts head and heart. However, at $3.2 million, salary gamers should shop elsewhere. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||2nd||Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation
RBC Canadian Open
Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 19
Rounds played: 89
Top-10 finishes: 8
Money List rank: 20th
Driving distance: 3rd
Driving accuracy: 157th
Greens in regulation: 7th
Strokes gained-putting: 146th
Scoring average: 23rd
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Robert Garrigus in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – By all accounts, Tom Lehman has had a fine season on the Champions Tour. One win, three seconds, 11 top 10s in 18 starts, and a puncher’s chance at winning a second consecutive Schwab Cup title this week at the season finale, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
But on Tuesday at Desert Mountain, he echoed the lament of many amateur players – the year could have been even better had he been more dialed in with his wedges.
“I haven’t been super sharp inside of 100 yards. I really haven’t,” said Lehman, who trails Bernhard Langer by 211 in the season-long points race. “My wedge game has been off all year. It seems like you kind of get in these streaks where you seem to have all of these in-between yardages. Every big shot you have that you really need to hit it close is just right in between.
“I don't remember a year where I've ever had so many shots that were like 108 yards, or 102 yards or 123 yards into the wind. Where the sand wedge is not quite enough, the pitching wedge is too much. I don't carry a gap wedge. I'm falling into that crack.”
Consequently, Lehman said he’s considering putting a gap wedge into his bag for the first time.
“I'm really good at hitting a 112-yard pitching wedge into the breeze, but I'm not good at hitting 102 pitching wedge into a breeze,” he said. “The sand wedge full into a breeze always spins back 40 feet, so it's like you have this gap where I've just been tortured all year long.”
Of course, to put a gap wedge in requires taking something out. For pros, that means taking a look at fairway woods or hybrids.
“If I took out the rescue (hybrid) and put in the gap, the next week I would be needing that rescue club 27 times,” said Lehman, who plays TaylorMades. “Now I have this gap between my 3-iron and my 3-wood, which is about 50 yards wide versus the gap between a sand wedge and a pitching wedge, which is 20. So there you have the secret.
“To me you have to figure out your bag, bend a couple of clubs a little bit stronger, maybe get a new rescue, which is a little bit weaker. Who knows what? But you got to drop something. Some guys take that out, maybe take the 3-iron out and strengthen the 4-iron. There is all kind of ways to do it. But that means relearning yardages.
“I can tell you, the average golfer, what happens is you get these in between yardages, and you try to hit it so easy you decelerate. You decelerate on a wedge like you decelerate on a putt, and you end up hitting bad shots.”
Have you put an extra wedge in the bag this year? If so, what came out to accommodate it? Tell us in the comments below.
HOT STICK: Robert Garrigus switched to an Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball V-Line putter two months ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship. In four tournaments since then he has finished T4, T10, T22 and, at the CIMB Classic, T2. This putter is 32.5 inches, a mainstream length for a guy who has putted with a 28.5-inch junior-sizied putter and a 46-inch long flatstick.
NEW NIKES: Nike Golf is expanding its Method line of putters with the Method Core Weighted putters, which use fixed weights on the heel and sole to provide optimal weighting for different lengths of putter. The weights lower the center of gravity of the putter and move the center away from the face.
“Most people don’t realize that they are about three-tenths of an inch above the ground at impact,” Nike clubmaker David Franklin said. “You need to keep the center of gravity of the putter as low as you can so that it never gets higher than the CG of the ball. This stops the putter from driving the ball down and creating backspin on the ball.”
WINNER’S BAG: Nick Watney at the CIMB
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (Mitsubishi Diamana White Board, 10.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 910F (15, 19 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP2 (3-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (50, 60 degrees)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron GSS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
After a fourth-place FedExCup finish and a tie for 10th in Vegas, Nick Watney took his momentum overseas, winning the CIMB Classic by one shot over Robert Garrigus and Bo Van Pelt. Watney racked up 11 birdies Sunday at The MINES Resort & Golf Club, putting himself on 59 watch late in the round.
The 31-year-old needed a birdie on the final hole to join the sub-60 club but took a bogey that took 59 out of play and put victory in doubt. In the final pairing, Garrigus closed birdie-birdie to get close while an identical finish would have put Van Pelt into a playoff. Instead, the Hoosier bridied the 17th but found a greenside bunker with his approach on No. 18. Tiger Woods rebounded from Saturday's back-nine 39 with a Sunday 63 that left him in a fourth-place tie with Brendon de Jonge and Chris Kirk at 19 under.
Robert Garrigus makes an 18-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 8th hole.
Robert Garrigus hits his second shot to four feet on the par-4 10th hole and sinks the birdie putt.
Robert Garrigus hits his second shot to 18-feet on the par-4 12th hole and sinks the putt for birdie.
Check out the top five shots from the JT Shriners Hospitals and SAS Championship featuring Russ Cochran, Robert Garrigus, Ryan Moore, and Jimmy Walker.