PGA Tour Confidential: Sony Open

Zach Johnson, 2009 Sony Open, final round
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Zach Johnson returned to form with his Sony victory.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: At last season's Players Championship I spoke with Howell about his equipment changes. He parted ways with Callaway after 2007 and signed on with Bridgestone. However, he used drivers last season from four different companies — TaylorMade, Bridgestone, Nickent and Adams. So, he's been tinkering with his gear as well as his swing.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: If Howell isn't the most underachieving Tour player, who is?

Herre: I don't view Howell as an underachiever. He is what he is, and he was probably overrated coming out of college. We saw how far he could hit a sand wedge and how long he had worked with David Leadbetter, and we came to the mistaken conclusion that he was a great player.

Van Sickle: Howell hasn't been a financial underachiever. He's near the $8 million mark in career earnings. I'd like to underachieve like that. But yes, Charles would be first to agree that he has yet to accomplish anything close to what he hopes to accomplish on tour.

Shipnuck: I agree Howell is robotic to a fault. He played nicely Sunday, but he needs a win more than anybody else on Tour. Even he's labeled himself an "underachiever." That's the kind of insight and self-analysis that make him popular with scribes, and it probably holds him back, too. He's definitely one of the top-5 quotes on Tour.

Bamberger: Charlie's really very funny. Last year at the Masters, I was looking at the tee times in the players' locker room. CH3 comes up and says, "Lemme see here, who am I going to rip today?"

Van Sickle: Howell had a good week, but that was a bad three-putt on the 18th on Sunday. He was so busy with his theatrics after missing the birdie putt that he didn't watch his ball run past the hole. Then it looked as if he misread his par putt completely. Therein lies a lesson for all you players our there: Always watch a missed putt finish. But enough about him. Let's talk Tadd.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Well, he limped in with a three-over 73 after Saturday's 62. Isn't that the first law of pro golf? A player who goes obscenely low one day almost always struggles to break par the next.

Shipnuck: I was sorry to see Tadd go backward. He's definitely the sweetest person in professional sports, and it's been a tough road for him, even before his dad's legal entanglements. A victory was always a longshot, but I was hoping he'd stay in the top 10 and earn a spot in the field in Phoenix. He's got plenty of heart and game, but he's never been able to play enough tournaments to generate any kind of momentum. But that 62 was a thrill and should at least get him a few needed sponsors' exemptions.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I just hope smilin' Tadd is the next Justin Rose and not the next Ty Tryon. Fujikawa is good theater. Or, he could just be a sophisticated hologram produced annually by Sony Pictures, which keeps giving its quaint little Hawaiian golf event charming stories of teen precocity.

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