By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Corey Pavin had to decide: Play one of his favorite courses or chase after his first major win on the Champions Tour.
The decision-making process was not a lengthy one. He'll be teeing it up for the 30th consecutive year at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial this week. The Senior PGA Championship will have to wait.
"I would rather be here than there," Pavin said. "It's as simple as that."
The 53-year-old Pavin is a Champions Tour regular and would love to win one of its majors, but he's won twice at Colonial and it continues to be one of the few courses on the PGA TOUR in which he feels he has a chance to win.
Pavin tied for 31st last year and three years ago, after turning 50, he tied for seventh, shooting 67 or lower in each round. In his 29 previous appearances at Colonial, he's missed the cut just four times.
"I feel like I can compete on this golf course," he said. "... I know it pretty well."
Short hitters can thrive at Colonial -- witness defending champ Zach Johnson, like Pavin a two-time Crowne Plaza winner.
When Pavin won for the first time in 1985, the course measured 7,096 yards. When he won again in 1996, the course was actually shorter -- 7,010 yards.
Even though Colonial was lengthened in 2009 to 7,204 yards, Pavin still feels confident in his chances. There isn't much that he doesn't know about the 18-hole layout.
"For the most part, it's the same golf course it's always been," Pavin said. "It's a fabulous testament to this golf course that it's held up over time with all of the equipment changes and things like that. It still can be quite a tough test out here.
"You don't have to build a course 7,600 yards to make it hard."
Have a question for Corey Pavin? 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 Pavin, a 15-time PGA TOUR winner.
Pavin is in Scottdale, Ariz. this week for the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. He is 15th in the standings.
If you want to ask Pavin 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 Pavin interview.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
A new golf ball got into the winner’s circle when Phil Mickelson won for the 40th time in his career Sunday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The Callaway HEX Black Tour is the company’s newest weapon in the battle for market share in the premium-ball category, long the domain of Titleist’s ProV1 line.
The ball has hexagon-shaped dimples, similar to previous Callaway balls, but with a new dual-core construction where the outer core has a higher compression and the inner core a much softer compression, allowing for lower spin off longer clubs and higher spin off scoring clubs like wedges and short irons.
A dual mantle and proprietary urethane cover complete the package, which will go on sale March 2.
"I had a big advantage this week, I felt, because when the winds started coming up, when the rain started coming up, I felt like I had an advantage by the way my ball was flying and being controlled through that wind,” Mickelson said after his win. “We've got a new ball this year, HEX Black (Tour), and it just flew so good and penetrated through the air so much better that in this thick, cold air I felt like I had a big advantage."
Mickelson also touted the company’s RAZR Fit driver, which was moved into sale a week earlier after the win.
”I don't know how the physics of this work, but usually when I hit ‑‑ I'm able to hit a high, long ball off the tee and I'm also able to hit a low, controlled cut shot off the tee to get to the fairway, usually it's one or the other. Usually a driver is not able to hit both. I don't know what they did with the physics of it, but it allows me to hit every shot I'm trying to hit off the tee.”
PUTTER ANGST: The long putter argument rages on, and among PGA TOUR players the spectrum of opinion keeps growing. There are players like Tiger Woods who are strictly against it and have even lobbied for a solution, and young stars like Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson who are users and huge supporters.
Then there’s Ernie Els, who uses a belly putter and is completely in favor of its disappearance.
“Although I've used it for, what, six months now, I feel the same as most of the traditionalists. I feel that no club should be anchored to your body,” Els said Tuesday at the Northern Trust Open. “I don't know how they're going to go around it, maybe use a putter as long as you want as long as it's not anchored to your body in any way, even up your arm. You see a lot of the guys use it in their armpits now.
“Nothing should be anchored to your body, and I still believe that. I was in such a state that I felt that I needed to change something, which I did. I went to the belly. It hasn't really helped me that much, but it has helped me. But I'm for it. Ban it. It's fine.”
OLD SCHOOL: Corey Pavin won the Champions Tour’s Allianz Championship last weekend, his first win in 35 starts on the 50-and-over circuit. As usual, he excelled with one of golf’s best short games, whether it was saving par from a ridiculously hard tree-root depression or making clutch putts.
For the latter, he uses a 28-year-old Bulls Eye putter (pictured). In an era of putters of all sizes, shapes and lengths, the Bulls Eye is as old school as it gets. And Pavin’s doesn’t have any fancy paintfills or initials, just his full name stamped on the back.
NEW SCHOOL: One antithesis of the Bulls Eye is Odyssey’s new Flip-Face putters, which have two faces containing different inserts (Odyssey’s Metal-X or White Ice). Depending on the kind of a feel a player is looking for on slower or faster greens, the face can be flipped with a special tool included with the club. Stuart Appleby put a No. 5 model (pictured) in play at AT&T.
CASH PLAY: Not every PGA TOUR player has a bag full of free clubs. Golf World Monday reported that Matt Bettencourt bought a TaylorMade RBZ driver at a golf store when it was released on Feb. 3, not waiting for the company to bring the drivers to TOUR pros at the AT&T.
WINNER’S BAG: Mickelson at the AT&T
Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:
Driver: Callaway RAZR Fit, 9.5 degrees
3-wood: Callaway Big Bertha Diablo
Irons: Callaway X-Forged 4-iron, X-Prototype 5-iron, RAZR X muscle-back 6-PW
Wedges: Callaway X-Series JAWS 52, 60, 64 degrees
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG PT82 Blade
Ball: Callaway HEX Black Tour
BETHESDA, Md. -- The USGA announced Wednesday that Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., has been selected as the site of the 2018 U.S. Open Championship.
The dates of the championship are June 14-17, 2018. It will be the fifth U.S. Open to be hosted by the club, which is the only venue to host the championship in three centuries.
Shinnecock Hills hosted the second U.S. Open in 1896, and James Foulis won the championship by three strokes over Horace Rawlins. In 1986, Raymond Floyd shot a final-round 66 to break out of a tightly bunched field and win by two strokes over Chip Beck and Lanny Wadkins. Nine years later, Corey Pavin clinched his two-stroke victory over Greg Norman with a memorable 4-wood approach to the final green. Retief Goosen outlasted Phil Mickelson by two strokes to claim his second U.S. Open title in 2004.
“We are thrilled that our national championship will return to one of our country’s most-storied venues,” said USGA President Jim Hyler. “We are confident that Shinnecock Hills will provide a true challenge for the world’s premier players, as it has for more than a century.”
Shinnecock Hills opened in 1891, and the present course was designed by William Flynn and opened in 1931. The 2018 championship will mark the 19th time the U.S. Open will have been played in the state of New York and the 10th time on Long Island. As of the 2011 season, New York has hosted 66 USGA championships, which ranks third among all states.
Shinnecock Hills was one of the founding clubs of the USGA in 1894 along with The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., Newport (R.I.) Country Club, Chicago (Ill.) Golf Club and Saint Andrew's Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Shinnecock Hills had America's first golf clubhouse (complete with locker room, showers and grill room), which was designed by Stanford White. It was also the first 18-hole golf course on the East Coast.
By Michael Curet, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Kenny Perry won bragging rights to the 50-and-over competitors at TPC Sawgrass in the 2011 PLAYERS Championship, finishing 4 under after a a 73 on Sunday.
Perry, who has played in THE PLAYERS 23 straight years, owns two
top-10 finishes at TPC Sawgrass, tying for third in 1996 and fourth
Corey Pavin, 51, made his 26th start at THE PLAYERS, including 24 straight until missing 2008 and again in 2010, fired a 71 Sunday to finish 2 under for the week.
The oldest player in the field, 54-year-old Mark O'Meara, who was near the top of the leaderboard after a 66 in Round 1, never regained that form in the next three rounds and finished 8 over. This was his first PLAYERS since 2003, having qualified via his victory in the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship.
By Ward Clayton, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Here’s one for the old(er) guys. Early in their first rounds on Thursday, Champions Tour players Corey Pavin and Mark O’Meara are under par.
Pavin, 51, earned his spot in this year’s field by finishing 115 th on the 2010 PGA TOUR Money List. He birdied his first hole of the day, the par-4 10 th, and is 1 under through three holes.
O’Meara, the oldest player in the field at age 54, earned his spot by winning the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship last year. He made the turn in 2-under 34 with birdies on the par-3 eighth and par-5 ninth and parred the 10 th. It is his first PLAYERS start since 2003.
The oldest player to make the cut in a PLAYERS was Julius Boros at age 55 years, 174 days in 1975. The oldest winner was Fred Funk, at age 48, in 2005.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- If someone had offered Corey Pavin a round of 69 before he teed off Thursday at the Northern Trust Open, he might have taken it.
"Maybe," Pavin acknowledged. "… I'm not sure."
But considering he owned sole possession of the lead at 5 under after he made a 6-footer for birdie on his 12th hole of the day, the score Pavin finished with left a little to be desired. He just couldn't get it to the house, making three bogeys in his last four holes.
"It was a good round, just didn't finish the way I wanted to," Pavin said. "Had it going nicely, scoring well, and could have finished better, but that's the way it goes. 2 under is still a real good round out there today."
Pavin, who won back-to-back at Riviera in 1994 and '95, said it was fun to see his name at the top of the leaderboard again on Thursday. He started on the back nine and made his move with birdie putts of 13 and 3 feet at Nos. 16 and 17, respectively.
The momentum continued on the front nine when Pavin chipped in for eagle from 31 feet at the par-5 first hole. He made a clutch 21-footer at No. 2 to save par, then seized the lead briefly at No. 3.
"I pretty much always know where I stand in the tournament," Pavin said. "Those are the good things that happened. I chipped in on 1 and made a 20 , 22 footer, whatever it was, on 2 for par. I hit a real nice shot in on 3 and was able to capitalize on that. Those are the things you look back on and say, that was good and some fortunate stuff. But 2 under is a good score."
The round began to unravel at the sixth hole, though, when Pavin missed the green at the par 3, barely chipped on and missed a 24-footer for par. He hit his approach over the green at the eighth hole and ended up missing a 6-footer for par there, then left himself a brutal, uphill 89-footer to try to two-putt at the ninth hole.
"I hit a good drive and a really good 5-wood in there and it just didn't get up over the hill," Pavin said. "It must have been close. I was surprised where it was. ... I hit two good putts actually. The second putt I hit real good from six, seven feet and it just lipped out. Those things happen."
The Northern Trust Open is the first of four PGA TOUR events Pavin plans to play this year. The 51-year-old will spend the rest of his year on the Champions Tour. On Thursday, though, he got the best of two of his 2010 Ryder Cup players -- Jeff Overton, who shot 73, and Rickie Fowler, who had a 74.
"It was cool to play with them," Pavin said. "Obviously we had a lot of fun over there and got to know them really well over there. We had a fun day. I'm sure that both of them would have wanted to shoot better scores, but it was nice. Good company out there." – Helen Ross
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – The two Champions Tour players in the field for the Northern Trust Open are teaching the young guys a thing or two on Thursday.
Corey Pavin, who won back-to-back at Riviera in 1994 and ‘95, just eagled the first hole – his 10th of the day – and has moved into a tie for the lead at 4 under. Pavin, who captained last year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team, played his first PGA TOUR event at Riviera and is making his 29th start.
Fred Couples, who will captain the U.S. Team at the Presidents Cup in November, had a bit of up-and-down start with two bogeys and a birdie in his first four holes. He birdied three straight as he made the turn, though, and is now 2 under through 15 hole.
Couples, also a former champ making his 29th start, is playing with two prospective members of his Presidents Cup team and beating both soundly. Anthony Kim is 2 over and Bubba Watson is 4 over.