March 4, 2014 in Breakfast Ball
To see all four major champons in the same field for the first time in 2014 all you needed to do was be a member at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla. or one of the best players on the planet. That’s it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Member-Pro event down at Seminole, the annual event draws quite the field that aside from defending major champions Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Justin Rose and Adam Scott (right), also lured the likes of Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Arnold Palmer, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson, among others.
To understand the aura that surrounds the event Geoff Shackelford elegantly sets the scene:
The Seminole Member-Pro–think Tavistock Cup without the helicopters but with no shortage of Tanqueray and a surprising number of grown men with names that sound like 19th Century book publishers wearing pastel shorts and loafers with no socks–was played Monday at the Donald Ross masterpiece and it marked the first and only gathering of 2013′s four major champs: Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Jason Dufner.
Prior to this week’s WGC Cadillac Championship, no event has featured more than two of the major champions in a field so far in 2013-14, so it was a nice occurrence. As is the case with all of those prestigious clubs down there where PGA Tour players call home, GolfWorld senior writer and Golf Channel contributor Tim Rosaforte is the preeminent source of information for us plebeians.
In the northeast corner of the Seminole locker room is a piece of mahogany with names that date to 1937. Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret and Arnold Palmer won this event, as did Bing Crosby, with Gardner Dickinson as his partner. As Lee Westwood said hitting putts before the third round of the Honda, “Everybody wants their name on the board for the Seminole Pro-Member. It’s a Who’s Who.”
The name on the wall is just part of what this is all about. “The tradition, the history, the people there — it’s such a good vibe,” said Graeme McDowell. “The first year I played there, I don’t think could conceive the magnitude of it, when you see Nicklaus, and Palmer and all these legends of the game, plus having the mystique of Hogan kind of just there. There are just so many good people, obviously powerful people, but that’s [secondary]. It’s just such a phenomenal golf course.”
This is not for charity or a corporate sponsor. This is about playing a Donald Ross masterpiece along the Atlantic, and as McDowell alluded, having the Seminole experience.
As for yesterday’s results, Rex Hoggard reports that everyone’s favorite Rory (؟Sabatini؟) won the gross division along with partner Hugh Kenworthy in a scorecard playoff over Roberto Castro and playing partner Russell Ball.
As for the major champs, Mickelson was the low man with a 67, Dufner shot 68 and Rose and AScott put up matching 71s.
Speaking of Adam Scott, the defending Masters champion is teeing it up this week for the second consecutive tournament. However, there’s more at stake this week than the $1.62 million pay day, namely the world rankings’ top spot. GolfChannel.com’s Ryan Lavner explains the math:
Adam Scott likely would move to world No. 1 for the first time in his career if he wins this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship and Woods finishes outside the top 5-7, according to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robison. An official projection will be released later this week.
Scott would need a minimum of 60 points to pass Woods in the rankings; last week’s Honda Classic awarded 60 points for the winner, and this week’s WGC field is stronger. Last year, Woods earned 74 points for the Doral win, while Justin Rose received 78 in 2012.
If Scott won, he would have 10.16 average points. Woods, currently at 10.04, would need to earn 14 world-ranking points to overtake that number. Last year, a top-6 finish earned 14 points.
Picking a winner at Doral this week is a crapshoot with the new renovations being unveiled for the first time (we’ll get into the changes a bit more tomorrow), but long and straight is always a good bet. Add into the mix that Tiger still isn’t sure whether he can play or not because of that strained back and Woods could find himself back in the pack in the OWGR for the first time since winning Bay Hill last year.
So, does Adam do it this week? It’s definitely hard to say, but he could do it. Scott, like Woods and McIlroy before him, sticks to the script that winning takes care of everything. World rankings are a result of stellar play, so there’s no point to putting too much stock into the number next to your name. Still, I find it hard to believe that it’s not a little bit of an incentive.
Like Woods, Scott is trying to play himself into shape heading into Augusta, but unlike Woods, Scott seems a little more consistent with everything he’s doing.
Piggybacking off of Tiger possibly losing his top ranking comes the question about his health. Again.
Of course, Tiger gets a rash of criticism for walking off the course with five holes to play, despite being in obvious pain stemming from an injury that has hampered him before. On the bright side, if history holds up, Tiger is done WDing this season. In the past five years, he’s withdrawn four times, which is not uncommon for 38-year-old professional golfers.
People like to call Tiger “an old 38,” “a tired 38,” or my personal favorite, “a hard 38,” but that fact is that golf is not a natural movement. Sure, neither is football, but it takes a special kind of crazy to play that game. Bad backs are the price people pay to play golf.
Will Woods have chronic problems with his back for the rest of his career? That’s impossible to say, but it shouldn’t be surprising if it flares up again. There was a lot of social media chatter yesterday opining on how to best work out for golf and avoid injuries. Yoga got a lot of love, as did core building and cross fit. Tiger’s thing is weight training and that’s a practice known to cause problems. Will he succumb to pressure to back off the weights? Again, impossible to say, but the visual of Tiger doing yoga fascinates me and takes my mind to this place.
Anyway, we should find out tomorrow if he’s actually going to give it a go this week. I find it hard to believe it would be worth the risk on a new golf course that he hasn’t seen. The Masters is just over a month away. We know what he’s aiming towards and how important it is to him, so why press the issue? Bay Hill is in two weeks. Why not rest, rehab and try to regain his top ranking then? You know, because AScott is going to win this week.
I’m having a pretty productive day so far, so we’ll cut it here and move onwards and upwards, as Rory would say.
Find something to read by yourself. In the aftermath of the Oscars, here’s the Best Actor in a Leading Role, Matthew McConaughey, talking about his obsession with golf.