It was nice to see Jack Nicklaus get misty-eyed Wednesday when introducing Tom Watson as the special honoree at this year's Memorial Tournament.
Watson, in return, got a little choked up in his acceptance speech.
And it got me wondering if Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will feel similarly about each other when their playing careers wind down.
But time changes people.
Maybe it will change Tiger.
The Nicklaus-Watson rivalry didn't have the personality of the Nicklaus-Arnold Palmer rivalry because Palmer was the most popular player the game has ever had. He still is.
Nicklaus came along, usurped Arnie's throne and went about building the greatest record in the game's history. Part of what makes Nicklaus's record so spectacular is the players he beat -- and sometimes didn't beat. He got Palmer at the end of his career but he got Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino, Tom Weiskopf and Watson in their primes.
Watson got the best of Nicklaus four times in major championships, most famously in the British Open at Turnberry and the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach where Watson chipped in at the 17th hole to win. Watson counter-punched against Nicklaus as well as anyone ever did.
They became friends and Nicklaus referred to them as competitors rather than rivals. Both of them have aged gracefully and remained relevant in the game. Nicklaus has embraced Watson, Trevino and Palmer, among others.
The Tiger-Phil rivalry hasn't had the defining major championship moments like Nicklaus and Watson had against each other. They've gone head to head at times in regular tour events and they had their unfortunate day together at the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills.
But when you think about Tiger versus Phil, what comes to mind? Personalities, for sure. Different styles, no doubt. But they've not had their Turnberry moment.
It's easy to see Mickelson reminiscing about the glory days years from now, eyes twinkling at the memories. It's not so easy to see Woods that way.
He may feel some of it but he's rarely been one to show his emotions, other than crying on Steve Williams' shoulder when he won the British Open after his father's death.
Like it or not, both Woods and Mickelson have helped define the other and will for years to come.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
We're in the midst of a revolution around Charlotte.
Bentgrass greens are going away.
You know what happens to bent greens in the summer around here. They're soft and mushy and slow because superintendents have to devote their lives to keeping them alive from June through early September.
And when bent greens should be their best -- spring and fall -- they're getting aerated.
This summer, several Charlotte-area courses including The Peninsula Club, River Run, Verdict Ridge and River Hills among them, are converting from bentgrass to the more popular and heat-tolerant bermuda grass. It takes about two months to make the switch and you're playing again.
The Golf Club at Ballantyne and Springfield Golf Club in Fort Mill, S.C., were among the first to do it a couple of years ago. Soon, virtually every course in the Charlotte area -- public and private -- will have bermuda greens. Quail Hollow Club has already announced it'll change to bermuda prior to the 2017 PGA Championship.
I'm writing a bigger story about what's involved and why it's so popular. It's not a trend. The USGA Green Section representative for this area says we'll hardly see any bentgrass around here in 10 years.
Welcome to the future.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Officials at Pinehurst Resort were so pleased by the restoration work done by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore on course No. 2, they've asked them to design the resort's ninth golf course.
It's not likely to be built for at least two years but the project is already underway with routing plans being finalized.
"We're not anywhere close to building it but (owner) Bob Dedman (Jr.) wanted Bill to go ahead with the routing," Don Padgett II, president of Pinehurst said.
"We wanted Bill to have the land he wanted and he carved out what he'd need for 18 holes."
A portion of the new course will be built on property where The Pit golf course is located. Pinehurst bought The Pit last year after it closed due to financial difficulties. Resort officials decided not to reopen The Pit but will use a piece of the land near Aberdeen for its new layout.
Pinehurst is preparing to host the men's and women's U.S. Opens in consecutive weeks in 2014, the first time the Opens have been played back to back at the same site.
"I don't think we'll kick this off before now and the Open," Padgett said, "and it will probably take two years to build."
Monday, May 21, 2012
More than belly putters and bad pants, slow play is the bane of professional golf.
It fits with the shanks and 'carts on path' as the worst things in the game.
So when the LPGA took the shocking step of penalizing Morgan Pressel in the Sybase Match Play Championship Sunday it sent a message across the tour that, at least for one day, the tour is intent on doing something to speed the pace of play. Good for the LPGA Tour. Others talk about it but that's all they do.
It long ago became apparent that fining PGA Tour players doesn't change the pace of play. It's going to take adding shots to players' scores -- and doing it regularly -- to have an impact. Some of the players will fight the idea but others would endorse it. Wouldn't it be nice if the PGA Tour could change its slogan to 'These Guys Are Fast?"
The problem with what the LPGA did was the timing of it.
With all the stroke-play tournaments, it seems strange that the tour chose Sunday when there were only four players on the course to drop a bomb on Pressel, who doesn't have the rep for being slow. The penalty had a huge impact, costing her a hole she thought she'd won, turning a what would have been a 3-up advantage through 12 holes to a 1-up advantage that eventually went away.
Pressel suggested she was penalized for opponent Azahara Munoz's slow play, though Pressel admittedly took a long time on the 12th hole, trying to figure out which club to hit in the gusting wind.
Slow-play penalties should be part of the game and they should be administered fairly.
The LPGA made a point Sunday.
Let's hope it's not a one-time, one-tour thing.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
With the HP Byron Nelson Championship being played this week, it naturally brings to mind Lord Byron's remarkable 1945 season in which he won 11 consecutive tournaments and 18 for the year.
And it got me thinking - is Nelson's run of 11 straight victories (the second of which came at Myers Park Country Club in a playoff with Sam Snead) the greatest achievement in golf history?
It's the most unreachable record, for certain. Tiger Woods won seven in a row once and six in a row another time while Ben Hogan won six in a row once. Otherwise, no one has gotten half as far as Nelson went.
Here's my list of the 10 greatest achievements in golf history:
10. Tiger's cut streak
Woods made the cut in a remarkable 142 consecutive PGA Tour events, breaking Nelson's record of 113. Granted, Woods played in multiple no-cut events that counted in the streak (Nelson's streak also included some no-cut events) but it remains a 7 year stretch of sustained excellence.
It's worth noting that the last event in the streak was the 2005 Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
9. Mr. 59
When Al Geiberger shot 59 at Colonial Country Club in the second round of the Danny Thomas Memphis Open, he broke golf's four-minute mile.
There was nothing flukey about it. Geiberger did it on a hot day on a 7,000-yard golf course using a persimmon-headed driver.
Five other PGA Tour players have posted 59 since but Geiberger is golf's Roger Bannister.
8. Arnie at Cherry Hills
You know the story by now. After the morning round of the U.S. Open's then-traditional Saturday finish, Arnold Palmer was seven strokes behind leader Mike Souchak.
At lunch, Palmer asked his sports writer friend Bob Drum what would happen if he shot 65 in the afternoon.
Nothing, Drum told him.
"It would give me 280," Palmer told Drum. "Doesn't 280 always win the Open?"
"Only when Hogan shoots it," Drum said.
Palmer went out, drove the green on the 346-yard par-4 first hole, made a birdie at shot 65 to win his only U.S. Open when Ben Hogan finished bogey, triple-bogey.
7. Jack in '86
Like Palmer in '60, Nicklaus seemed too far behind when the final round of the 1986 Masters began and was a virtual afterthought until he birdied the ninth hole.
And the 10th and the 11th.
A bogey at 12, another birdie at 13, an eagle at 15, a near-ace at 16 and the 'yes, sir!' birdie at 17.
30 on the back. 65 on Sunday. A sixth green jacket.
The coolest day ever at Augusta.
6. Tiger conquers Augusta
Woods' victory in the 1997 Masters reached beyond golf. It was a socially important achievement, the first man of color to win the Masters.
I remember being in the crowd near the first tee when he teed off in the final round, his victory essentially secure with a nine-shot lead, and seeing Lee Elder, the first African-American to play in the Masters. I remember seeing African-American staff members coming out of the clubhouse to watch.
Woods won by 12 strokes at 18-under par, both tournament records. Golf changed.
5. Francis Ouimet wins the U.S. Open
When the 20-year old Ouimet, an amateur, beat Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff to win the 1913 U.S. Open near his home at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., it was a massive upset.
Ouimet's success - Vardon and Ray were considered the two best players in the world -- brought golf into the consciousness of the American public and the game's popularity soon boomed.
4. Hogan's great season
In 1953, four years after a nearly fateful auto accident, Ben Hogan played in just seven tournaments.
He won five of them.
Three of his victories were major championships - the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open - by a combined 15 strokes.
Because qualifying for the PGA Championship overlapped with the British Open, Hogan couldn't play in the year's fourth major championship but he became the first player to win three professional majors in the same year.
3. The Tiger Slam
Jack Nicklaus may still be considered golf's greatest champion but no one has played golf better than Tiger Woods in 2000 and 2001.
Just look at his victory in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. At 12-under par, he became the first player in the 106-year history of the U.S. Open to finish double-digits under par and he won by a remarkable 15 strokes despite a third-round triple bogey.
He went on to win the Open Championship at St. Andrews, beat Bob May in a playoff for the PGA at Valhalla and finished it off at the 2001 Masters. Only the calendar kept it from being the true grand slam of golf.
2. Nelson's streak
Think about it - he won 11 consecutive tournaments.
You'd think somewhere along the line, he'd hit it someplace bad and make a triple-bogey that cost him. Or the putts wouldn't fall or someone got silly hot. Nothing stopped Nelson.
The rap against it, if there is one, is it was a war year (1945) and the fields weren't as deep as they might have been. But Ben Hogan and Sam Snead won were playing and, between them, won 11 events in '45.
The streak started in Miami then ran through Charlotte, Greensboro and Durham then on down the line.
1. Bobby Jones grand slam
It's the achievement against which all others in golf are judged.
What Jones accomplished in 1930 - winning the U.S. and British Amateurs and the U.S. and British Opens - has never been equaled, though Woods came very close.
He played under enormous expectations - he even placed a bet with British oddsmakers on himself at 50-1 that paid off $80,000 - that he could win golf's four majors in the same year.
Jones retired after the achievement to start Augusta National and what became the Masters. Not a bad second act.
Monday, May 14, 2012
And somehow I wound up pulling for him at The Players Championship.
That's not to say I wasn't happy to see smiling Matt Kuchar finally bag a big one. It was time for Kuchar to knock down a big title and his story -- wife, kids, parents all right there -- was perfectly sweet for Mother's Day.
And I really like the part where Kuchar said it took him all of five swipes for the swing change that altered his career to kick in. Five swings. Kevin Na has more waggles before a shot.
Sort of puts a dent in that "needing millions of reps" theory that's going around.
He was already the leader in the clubhouse on tour but at the TPC Stadium Course the viewing public got a full serving of Na's idiosyncrasies when he's over the ball. Watching Na fidget is like being unable to reach that spot on your back that really itches.
To his credit, Na has admitted his issues and talked about how he struggles with hitting a shot. If you play golf, you know the screaming that can go on inside your head before a swing. Na looks like he has a Metallica concert going on in his noggin.
Na said he's not intentionally slow and he spends part of each round apologizing for being so, uh, methodical. It's embarassing and to have his game break down Sunday when he pushed himself to play faster with the chance to win one of the biggest championships in the game was a reminder of what the game can do to even the best players.
Golf is best played in a rhythm, not fast but quicker rather than slower. Most slow golfers don't realize they're slow. But they're the ones who treat every shot like it's a tax audit. There's no reason a casual round of golf should take more than four hours to play. I repeat, no reason.
Na doesn't want sympathy. He wants to play at a reasonable pace and says he's trying. It didn't work Sunday when he was quicker than he was on Saturday.
What Na didn't deserve was getting heckled by the jerks who thought they were being funny by barking at him to hit it. I'm just guessing here but at least some of the hecklers are the same guys who yell "get in the hole" immediately after a shot is struck and wear those tacky trousers John Daly gets paid to wear. Have another beer.
The PGA Tour talks a good game about dealing with slow play but until it starts adding strokes to scores -- and doing it regularly -- it's not going to change.
Na says he's trying to change and he seems sincere. Good for him.
But don't expect it to happen in a hurry.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, never one to hold back his opinion, took a big swing at Tiger Woods Wednesday in a teleconference preceding The Players Championship and Woods swung back.
On a call with Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller, Chamblee said Woods' extended struggles which included a missed cut at the Wells Fargo Championship last week in Charlotte, could be solved by a return to his former instructor Butch Harmon rather than his continuing to work with Sean Foley.
"Simply, he needs to fire Sean, call Butch. I think that would get it done right there. Fire Sean, call Butch," Chamblee said.
"And I know he'll never do that because he's letting his ego get in the way of common sense. He wants to prove to people he's right. He would rather prove to people he's right than be right.
"He's going to ride this thing as long as he can and it's just sad to see."
It's not the first time Chamblee has leveled criticism at Woods and his work with Foley but this time it earned a reaction from Tiger.
"Well, I can understand that everyone has an opinion, and he's entitled to his. But he's no longer playing anymore, so, so be it," Woods said when asked specifically about Chamblee's comments at The Players Championship.
Harmon now works with, among others, Phil Mickelson, long considered Woods' top rival. It's unlikely Harmon would consider working with Woods again given his allegiance to Mickelson, even if Woods were to approach him. Harmon pointed out to Mickelson some of the little things Woods had used to disrupt or distract Mickelson in their competitive rounds together and since then, Woods has not beaten Mickelson head to head.
Woods said the process of changing his swing under Foley's tutelage is similar to what he went through when he hired Harmon in 1997 after his record-setting Masters victory and again when he hired Hank Haney nearly a decade ago. Woods said his progress has been slowed this time by injuries but he remains committed to Foley's direction.
Chamblee believes Woods is making a great mistake.
"The frustration that we've seen from Tiger Woods, I've never seen one
person try to incorporate the swing thoughts of the golf machine (theory), and that's essentially maybe a little
bit sort of an annexed version of the golf machine, is what he's trying to incorporate. I've never seen
one person try to incorporate those thoughts into their golf swing without getting frustrated, without
getting confused, without getting lost, because it's science.
"He's literally lost the art of the game, and I think Butch could help him, one, have more fun; two, he would find the art in the game; three, he would find the rhythm in the game; and four, he would be back to playing the type of golf that we know he can play."
If you saw Woods at Quail Hollow, you saw a very different player from the one who won here in 2007. Chamblee isn't the only one who wonders if we'll ever see that player again.
Sunday, May 06, 2012
It's easy to take for granted how good in every way the Wells Fargo Championship is.
That's part of its beauty.
All the little things, the details from getting people in and out to having a frozen yogurt machine for players and their families, add up to creating an event that's as special as the feeling it gives off.
The tournament did it again this year.
If you were on the 18th hole at Quail Hollow Sunday afternoon when the championship was being decided, you saw a spectacular scene. The golf course was as good as it has ever been and the gallery around the finishing hole as large as I can remember seeing.
Having Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy in a playoff with D.A. Points gave it just the right amount of star power at the end. Being the scene of Fowler's first PGA Tour victory adds another impressive chapter to a 10-year champions' story that's as good as you'll find. Woods. Singh. Furyk. McIlroy. And now Fowler.
It's 10 years old. Hard to believe. But it keeps getting better.
Friday, May 04, 2012
Five things we learned at the Wells Fargo Championship Friday:
1. It's possible for Tiger Woods' golf ball to disappear in front hundreds of spectators
2. Phil Mickelson couldn't will a birdie putt into the hole.
3. Rory McIlroy has hit just 10 fairways in two rounds but has kept leaders in sight.
4. The guys who played Friday afternoon got, by far, the toughest playing conditions.
5. Stewart Cink's swing changes may be kicking in at just the right time.
Five things to watch Saturday: 1. Who will make the big move early and play themselves into contention?
2. How tough will Quail Hollow play after surrendering so many low scores?
3. Will thunderstorms get in the way of third-round action?
4. Wonder what Tiger Woods is doing today?
5. How many spectators will be watching golf and how many will be socializing today at Quail?
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Five things we learned from the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship:
1. Membership has its advantages as Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson showed.
2. Tiger Woods is still chasing his swing and consistency
3. When No. 17 plays only 167 yards with little wind, it's not so scary.
4. Golf has a heart -- struggling Stewart Cink shot 65
5. J.B. Holmes still has it as his 368-yard drive at No. 7 proved.
Five questions entering Friday's second round:
1. Will the scoring be as low or will the greens firm up and be more difficult?
2. Can Woods, Mickelson or Westwood post a low number to get in contention?
3. Is Patrick Reed a one-day wonder or will he stay in the mix?
4. What will it take to make the 36-hole cut?
5. Is this Rickie Fowler's breakthrough week on the PGA Tour?
Were there a Mt. Rushmore of golf instructors, Butch Harmon would be there.
Greg Norman. Tiger Woods. Ernie Els. Phil Mickelson.
He's worked with them all and made each of them better.
Harmon is 69 and still active, working the range with his clients at Quail Hollow this week. He still loves the people and the process, chasing perfection in an imperfect game.
He invited a group of writers to dinner Wednesday night where he shared a glass or two of wine and a collection of stories that sounded like a first-person history of golf. The session was off the record, Harmon offering his unfiltered thoughts on people he's known and worked with.
It could have lasted all night. Harmon, who is on the record saying Hank Haney's tell-all book about his time working with Tiger Woods violated an unspoken player-coach code, has a rare understanding of the game and what it does to the people who play it.
The stories are funny. The insights telling.
Harmon has a four-hour video -- 'Butch Harmon About Golf' -- that shares his teaching principles and, perhaps more importantly, includes his former students talking about their time with Harmon and what he did for them. It includes Woods, who sat down two years ago to talk about his relationship with Harmon, which included the Tiger Slam.
The video, Harmon said, is his last big project. He can see retirement approaching and he wanted to share what's learned and the people he's known through the video.
It doesn't come with dinner but it's the next best thing.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Phil Mickelson walked, well, actually he stumbled up a step, into his pre-tournament press conference Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Championship and seeing the media waiting for him, tossed a little dart.
"You guys didn't see my video?" Mickelson asked, an obvious jab at Tiger Woods' decision to bypass a pre-tournament media session this week in favor of answering questions from fans on his website.
Mickelson then spent 15 minutes talking about the state of his game, the triple-bogey he made on No. 4 in the final round of the Masters, his impending Hall of Fame induction and other matters. He was engaged, enthusiastic and fully Phil.
Asked if he's ever been guilty of playing not to lose, he smiled and said, "If anything, I might go a little bit overboard the other way, which we can all attest."
On his Masters disappointment: "On the weekend I felt I played about as well as I ever have. I didn't make a single bogey other than the mishap on 4...If (the tee shot) is a yard short or a yard long, I probably make par because what shot do I practice there? I practice the chip from the drop area...because it's straight uphill."
On entering the Hall of Fame: "I'm very appreciative of being inducted this year. I wouldn't be opposed to moving the age to 50 because with fitness being a bigger part of the tour, guys' careers are going longer."
On his future: "I feel like these next five years could be the best of my career."
With a weather forecast that looks more like July than early May, Quail Hollow may play as firm and fast as ever in this Wells Fargo Championship.
The course is in excellent shape, as good as it has been, and with the heat, sun and breeze, the greens will only firm up, adding to the difficulty of putting the heavily contoured surfaces. With the fairways running, it brings the rough more into play and there's enough thick stuff to make a difference to players who spray their tee shots.
Most interesting may be how they set up the par-3 17th hole with the switch to the left-side tees this year. It brings a front left hole location into play -- just 15 feet from the water -- but if the wind is behind the players, tour officials may opt for a more forgiving location.
Players like the change at 17 away from the brutally difficult right tee. One player was overheard saying it went from one the worst par-3s on tour to one of the best just by moving the tee markers. It's an overdue change at Quail Hollow and it won't be the last change.
After this year's event, the par-4 eighth hole will be revamped, creating a new green left of where the existing green is. There won't be many tears shed by players when the existing hole goes.
Also, the par-4 fourth hole will get a new tee, significantly left of where the tee is now and there are plans to soften the controversial 12th green.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Thursday tee times at the Wells Fargo Championship:
7:00 a.m.: Pat Perez, Dickie Pride, Josh Teater
7:10: Steve Flesch, Rickie Fowler, Ken Duke
7:20: Chez Reavie, Chad Campbell, Jeff Maggert
7:30: Bill Lunde, Bo Van Pelt, John Senden
7:40: Stuart Appleby, Retief Goosen, Robert Allenby
7:50: Jonathan Byrd, Trevor Immelman, Charles Howell III
8:00: Ben Curtis, Johnson Wagner, Zach Johnson
8:10: John Huh, Kevin Na, Robert Garrigus
8:20: Joe Ogilvie, Tom Pernice Jr., Kris Blank
8:30: Nathan Green, Ryuji Imada, Kevin Chappell
8:40: Martin Flores, Steve Wheatcroft, William McGirt
8:50: Jamie Lovemark, Charlie Beljan, Patrick Reed
9:00: Jonas Blixt, Jason Kokrak, Nick Flanagan
7:00: David Duval, Tommy Gainey, David Mathis
7:10: Chris DiMarco, Charlie Wi, Blake Adams
7:20: Chris Stroud, Kevin Stadler, J.J. Killeen
7:30: Rory Sabbatini, Aaron Baddeley, D.A. Points
7:40: Tim Clark, Derek Lamely, Stephen Ames
7:50: Scott Stallings, Brendan Steele, Gary Woodland
8:00: Bill Haas, Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley
8:10: Kyle Stanley, Lucas Glover, Lee Westwood
8:20: Brian Davis, Jimmy Walker, Tom Gillis
8:30: Billy Mayfair, Brendon de Jonge, Sang-Moon Bae
8:40: Seung-Yul Noh, Colt Knost, Garth Mulroy
8:50: Danny Lee, Miguel Angel Carbello, Gary Christian
9:00: Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Frank Adams
12:25 p.m.: Chris Couch, James Driscoll, Hank Kuehne
12:35: J.B. Holmes, Robert Karlsson, Hunter Haas
12:45: J.J. Henry, Cameron Tringale, Michael Thompson
12:55: Chris Kirk, Jhonattan Vegas, Arjun Atwal
1:05: Matt Bettencourt, Camilo Villegas, Cameron Beckman
1:15: George McNeill, Henrik Stenson, Mike Weir
1:25: Tiger Woods, Webb Simpson, Geoff Ogilvy
1:35: Rory McIlroy, David Toms, Jim Furyk
1:45: Vaughn Taylor, Marc Leishman, John Merrick
1:55: Troy Matteson, D.J. Trahan, Patrick Sheehan
2:05: Stephen Gangluff, Ted Potter Jr., Richard Lee
2:15: Brendon Todd, Will Claxton, Troy Kelly
2:25: Kyle Reifers, Tommy Biershenk, Rick Lewallen
12:25: Jeff Overton, Nick O'Hern, Gavin Coles
12:35: Ryan Moore, Spencer Levin, Sunghoon Kang
12:45: Andres Romero, Brandt Jobe, David Hearn
12:55: Mark Wilson, Heath Slocum, Vijay Singh
1:05: Sean O'Hair, Stewart Cink, Angel Cabrera
1:15: Rocco Mediate, Jason Bohn, Anthony Kim
1:25: Carl Pettersson, Nick Watney, Jason Day
1:35: Hunter Mahan, Ben Crane, Martin Laird
1:45: Mathew Goggin, Greg Owen, Marco Dawson
1:55: Matt Every, Scott Brown, Edward Loar
2:05: Bobby Gates, Daniel Summerhays, Harris English
2:15: Erick Compton, Roberto Castro, Mark Anderson
2:25: Kyle Thompson, Billy Hurley III, Bryan Bigley
Bryan Bigley knows what to expect this year. The groundskeeper/mini-tour golfer Monday qualified into the Wells Fargo Championship for the second straight year, shooting 64 at Carolina Golf Club to play his way in and avoid a 10-man playoff for the final two spots (Frank Adams III and Nick Flanagan survived the nine extra holes). Bigley has been playing eGolf Professional Tour events this year and felt good going into the qualifier. Back at Quail Hollow, he feels more at home than last year when he shot 78-76 to miss the 36-hole cut. "Last year, I was still trying to find the range and find the locker room," Bigley said. "Having been here before, I know more what to expect." Last year, Bigley's goal was to make the cut. This year, he wants more. "My goal is to compete," Bigley said. "Making the cut would be huge because it would make me some money and get me through some pre-qualifying (events) but I really want to compete."