BAD LIES & GOOD SHOTS

With winds ex­pected to be down, play­ers can ex­pect low scores in Las Ve­gas ... Sloan feel­ing good about his game ... Had­win and wife stay­ing off the strip

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS - JON MCCARTHY’S news and notes from Las Va­gas jm­c­[email protected] Twit­ter: @jon­m­c­carthysun

LAS VE­GAS, Nev. — It was 25C and sunny with barely a cloud in the sky on Tues­day. My Uber driver said he is head­ing to Mex­ico in two weeks to es­cape the cold. Wel­come to Las Ve­gas. The Shriners Hos­pi­tals for Chil­dren Open be­gins Thurs­day at TPC Sum­mer­lin fea­tur­ing a bet­ter-than-av­er­age field for a fall PGA Tour event. We’ve even got a hand­ful of one-name golfers in at­ten­dance. Brooks and Phil are here, and so are Bryson, Bubba and Hideki.

Young guns Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa are tee­ing it up too even though only one of them is old enough to gam­ble.

With per­fect con­di­tions, very lit­tle wind ex­pected, and a softer golf course than you might ex­pect in the desert, it’s shap­ing up to be a shootout. That suits Cana­dian Roger Sloan just fine. He’s been known to live up to his ‘Sloan Ranger’ nick­name when it comes to shootouts on tour.

“I love this golf course,” he told Postmedia on Tues­day. “A lot of risk re­ward, so it’s ex­cit­ing for the spec­ta­tors and on TV. When the wind is down like it’s sup­posed to be this week there will be a lot of birdies. It should be an ex­cit­ing week, the course is in tremen­dous con­di­tion and ob­vi­ously we’re in Las Ve­gas so there is a lot of fun to be had out here.”

You might even have shot a low round at TPC Sum­mer­lin be­fore. The course was fea­tured for years in the Tiger Woods Golf video game. It’s also the site of Woods’ first PGA Tour vic­tory. Win No. 1 of 81 came at the 1996 Las Ve­gas In­vi­ta­tional, a five-round tour­na­ment played over three golf cour­ses: TPC Sum­mer­lin, Las Ve­gas Na­tional Golf and the Desert Inn Golf Club. Tiger won in a play­off over Davis Love III at 27-un­der par.

Cana­dian Adam Had­win, fresh off a run­ner-up fin­ish at last week’s Safe­way Open, played a nine-hole prac­tice round on Tues­day. He will play 18 on Wed­nes­day in the pro-am be­fore tee­ing off on Thurs­day.

“It’s pretty soft right now, it seems like it will be a bit of a shootout,” Had­win said. “Hope­fully it gets a lit­tle bit firmer. It’s a good golf course, I’ve played well in the past here. It’s a lit­tle bit of a Palm Springs feel to it.”

ROGER THAT!

Sloan is be­gin­ning the new PGA Tour sea­son much like he fin­ished the old one, play­ing good golf.

The 32-year-old might fly un­der the radar to many golf fans, but he fin­ished 92nd in the Fedex Cup last sea­son, be­hind only Had­win and Corey Con­ners when it comes to Cana­di­ans. Last week at the Safe­way Open, he fin­ished at 10-un­der par and tied for 13th. Sloan said he didn’t have his A-game but was still able to have a good fin­ish.

“Last week was just a tes­ta­ment to all the men­tal work I’ve been do­ing with Paul Dew­land,” Sloan said. “Just be­ing able to ac­cess those skills al­lowed me to scram­ble so well all week. In year’s past I likely would have pressed be­cause I didn’t have my best stuff.”

Sloan first earned his PGA Tour card in 2015 but lost it af­ter his rookie year. It took a few years for him to re­gain his card, but he seems poised to make the most of this se­cond chance. Sloan says he’s been on the right path for a while now and the fa­mil­iar­ity he has with the cour­ses on tour is valu­able.

“It’s nice to go back to these golf cour­ses fresh the next year,” he said. “You know how they are go­ing to play, and where the pin po­si­tions might be. Us­ing some of that ex­pe­ri­ence def­i­nitely helped me.”

Sloan is full of con­fi­dence and ready to roll the dice in Ve­gas.

“I’m ex­cited be­cause one of these weeks it’s all go­ing to come to­gether and hope­fully we’ll have an­other Cana­dian flag at the top of the leader­board.”

VIVA LAS VE­GAS, OR NOT?

Young, rich and in

Las Ve­gas. Sounds like a recipe for a wild week. Or maybe not.

Turns out, some of Canada’s top golfers aren’t go­ing to be hit­ting the casino much.

“My wife and I might go down and see a show or go down to the strip for din­ner,” Had­win said on Tues­day. “But we’re stay­ing off the strip. Even on non-work weeks I’m not a huge Las Ve­gas guy. The feel­ing I get from win­ning when I’m gam­bling does not even come close to what I feel when I lose, so I just stay away.”

What about the Sloan Ranger? With a nick­name like that…

“I’ve never been a Ve­gas guy,” Sloan said. “But any­time I do come here it’s al­ways neat to peo­ple watch. It’s prob­a­bly the best peo­ple watch­ing place in the world. It’s nice to go down to the strip and spec­tate.” Well that’s that. Sounds like a plan.

I’m with them. No casi­nos for me this week. Early to bed. Make sure my boss reads this.

It should be an ex­cit­ing week, the course is in tremen­dous con­di­tion and ob­vi­ously we’re in Las Ve­gas so there is a lot of fun to be had out here.

roger sloan

GETTY IM­AGES

Cana­dian Roger Sloan didn’t have his best stuff last week but still man­aged a T13 at the Safe­way Open.

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