By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Kenny Perry turned pro the year Sean O'Hair was born.
That age difference means nothing on the golf course, though, and the two men proved it last year when they teammed to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
"I think it was probably my best memory of last year," O'Hair said. "We ham-and-egged it pretty good. Kenny was just rock solid and I was hitting it pretty long at the time."
"You're still hitting it long, aren't you?" Perry was quick to ask.
The difference in Sunday's scramble format last year? Well, Perry remembers the 13th hole at Tiburon, in particular. Had they used his drive on the par 5, they'd be hitting 3-woods to the green. Instead, O'Hair's drive left a 5-iron approach.
"So to me it's awesome because I'm a pretty straight driver and if I can just get it in the fairway and turn him loose, we're going to have a great week no matter what," Perry said. "Win, lose, whatever, it doesn't matter. We both like old cars, we talk hot rods and we just have a great time. We compliment each other very well and it's just fun, whatever.
"We're going to stick the needle in all these other young teams and smile at them and hopefully we can beat them."
The field for this year's Franklin Templeton Shootout features six major champions among the 24 participants. Combined, the field has won 140 PGA TOUR events, including 14 by Perry -- the recently named Champions Tour Player of the Year -- and four by O'Hair.
"I'm going to ride the stallion here," O'Hair said. "He's obviously playing pretty well and just see how it goes. I'm just looking forward to having a fun week."
While O'Hair has been dodging snowstorms at home in Philadelphia, Perry has been in Vero Beach working on his game at Bent Pine Golf Club, where he worked for five years before getting on the PGA TOUR in 1986.
"I came in last Monday and I was playing 36 a day with all the boys and put a lot of rounds in and lost a lot of money," Perry said. "I had to give way too many shots down there. But I played a lot of competition so I liked it. I was hoping to put the pressure on me to try to see if it will carry over and get me better and sharper for this week."
As might be expected, Greg Norman has assembled a strong field for the 25th anniversary of the Franklin Templeton Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club this weekend. Here are some interesting facts about the 24 players assembled for the popular event.
Seven of the players in the field have won in the 2013 calendar year: Jonas Blixt, Jason Dufner, Harris English, Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Kenny Perry. Under the TOUR’s new schedule, English and Johnson are also 2014 champions with victories last month at OHL Classic at Mayakoba and the World Golf Championships-HSBC Championship, respectively.
Major champions: Six players have won major championship titles during their careers -- Mark Calcavecchia, Jason Dufner, Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard, Greg Norman and Mike Weir.
Total PGA TOUR victories: As a group, the 24 players in the field have accumulated 140 PGA TOUR victories during their respective careers. Greg Norman leads in individual titles with 20. Kenny Perry follows with 14 while Mark Calcavecchia has 13 and both Steve Stricker and Justin Leonard have accumulated 12 each.
First-time Shootout participants: Six individuals will be competing in their first Shootout: Blixt, Graham DeLaet, English, Retief Goosen, Horschel and Lee Westwood.
New teammates: Ten of the 12 teams in this year’s Shootout will be together for the first time. Only Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker, the 2009 champs who are playing together for the sixth straight year, and defending champions Sean O’Hair and Kenny Perry return.
Margin of victory: Historically, the Franklin Templeton Shootout has always been a close competition. In the past 24 years, there have been four playoffs, eight victories by one stroke and six wins by two strokes. In fact, since the tournament moved to Naples, the margin of victory has only been greater than two strokes twice -- in 2011 when Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele won by three and when Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry won by four in 2008.
By PGATOUR.COM Staff
Brandt Snedeker, the 2012 FedExCup champion, has withdrawn from the Franklin Templeton Shootout due to injury and will be replaced by two-time PGA TOUR winner Harris English.
English will team with Matt Kuchar on Dec. 13-15 at Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. Snedeker bruised his left tibia and strained the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee after jumping off a Segway on Nov. 4 in China. The injury already has forced him to withdraw from the Australian PGA Championship and next week's Northwestern Mututal World Challenge.
“I have been pain-free for the last five or so days. However, based on advice from my doctor, I feel it would be best to not push a return so that I will be at full strength and ready for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions (on Jan. 3-6 in Kapalua, Hawaii),” Snedeker said in a statement on the Franklin Templeton Shootout website. “The Franklin Templeton Shootout is such a fun event and I regret not being there this year. I want to thank Greg Norman for understanding my situation and I know they will have a great 25th anniversary competition in Naples.”
English, who recently won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, and Rory McIlroy are the only current players under the age of 25 with multiple TOUR victories. English won the FedEx St. Jude Classic earlier this year.
Sean O’Hair and Charles Schwab Cup champion Kenny Perry are the defending Franklin Templeton Shootout champions.
In the final round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout from Tiburon Golf Club, Kenny Perry and Sean O'Hair are victorious, reaching 31 under, and winning by one stroke.
Over the course of his World Golf Hall of Fame career, Greg Norman has made adjustments in his swing, even during major championships. But he's never undertaken a complete overhaul of his swing ala Nick Faldo or Tiger Woods.
Changes that significant take time to integrate, Norman said on the eve of the Franklin Templeton Shootout he hosts this weekend. Woods, for example, finally ended a 30-month victory drought with three wins earlier this year, bringing his total to 74, which ranks second all-time on the PGA TOUR.
"That's their choice and decision to do it," Norman said.
“If you're changing coaches, obviously the coach is going to
inject his belief on how the golf club should be swung during the
motion and the player is gonna listen. Obviously he wouldn't change
coaches if he wasn't going to listen to that coach.
"So you expect it, and you have to work together. It takes time, two to three months to really make a change, just one change. So if you're making three or four changes, it may take a year. It's a big effort. You can pretty much write off a year if you're going to make a significant change and build into the future."
Woods has restructured his swing with three different coaches, most recently Sean Foley. Norman, though, thinks Woods's swing, circa 2000, when he was embarking on what came to be called the Tiger Slam was the "purest I've ever seen him swing a golf club technically."
Norman said he isn't sure exactly why Woods decided to make the various changes. "Maybe injury is a significant reason," the former world No. 1 suggested, adding that he and Butch Harmon engineered changes in Norman's swing from time to time to alleviate stress on his back and spine.
"Like I say, I like the way he swung the golf club in 2000 at
any stage of his career," Norman said. "He was technically correct.
To me, he was a better middle iron player and controlled his
distance better then than he was or is today.
"Right now, from what I read -- and that's all I can say, is what I read -- is he's just trying to take one side of the golf course out of play, which is hitting the ball left. I think he's worked pretty hard on doing that."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
He was undoubtedly in the zone. But Ian Poulter had a much simpler way to describe the five straight birdies he made on Saturday at the Ryder Cup that most people point to as the turning point in Europe's victory.
"It was a good five birdies is what it was," Poulter said in understatement during a press conference in advance of the Franklin Templeton Shootout..
The surge enabled Poulter and Rory McIlroy to beat Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner, helping turn what appeared to be a U.S. rout in the Four-ball session into a 2-2 split. The momentum gained by the Brit's brilliant burst fueled Sunday's historic rally as Europe overcame a 4-0 deficit to win the Cup.
Some people wonder why Poulter, who won the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions earlier this year, doesn't bring the same kind of emotion with him every time he tees it up on the PGA TOUR.
"You can't do it," Poulter said. "I'm not going to stand on the
first hole having my eye bulging out, fist-pumping going crazy,
because they're going to go, ‘What is this idiot
doing?’ In Ryder Cup you're going to do it.
"You can't do that on the first hole of a 72-hole stroke-play event. Doesn't happen, but it happened in Ryder Cup. It just does. It's the only event in the world that is ever going to create that drama, that intensity, that pressure. But it's right. It's fitting. Stroke play is just not going to be there.
"Trust me, I've tried."