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Jan 20, 1:33 PM EST

Golf Channel hires English host for morning show


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HONOLULU (AP) -- Golf Channel is adding a familiar face to golf worldwide, but new to America.

Cara Robinson, an English sports television host, has been hired as a co-host for Morning Drive and is expected to start her new role in late February as the PGA Tour begins its Florida swing.

Robinson most recently was host of Golfing World, a weekly television program on Sky Sports that was available to 20 million viewers in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria. She traveled extensively to the biggest events for player profiles and features.

She also played a lead role in "Open Live," a digital telecast at the British Open. Robinson hosted Sky Sports' tennis coverage during the 2012 Olympics in London, and she has contributed as a studio host and reporter for productions involving Wimbledon, rugby and the World's Strongest Man competition.

She is Golf Channel's first new addition since Holly Sonders left for Fox Sports last year.

"Cara's passion for golf and experience working in sports television are a welcome addition to our Morning Drive team," Golf Channel executive producer Molly Solomon said. "Viewers will immediately connect with her engaging personality and strong rapport with many of the top European players in the game."

She will continue to contribute to Golfing World.

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LEFTY OUT WEST: It was easy for Phil Mickelson to skip the Match Play Championship in Arizona when his kids had spring break because he never cared for the golf courses at Dove Mountain or the fickle, one-and-done format of the tournament.

This year he is sacrificing two tournaments that he loves, and where he has won a combined six times.

Mickelson, who makes his debut this week in the Humana Challenge, said on his website he will skip the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Northern Trust Open at Riviera because of spring break.

"Those are two of my favorite events, two of my favorite courses," Mickelson said. "But with the kids in two schools with different spring breaks, I'll take that time off. They've accommodated my schedule enough over the years. It's time for me to accommodate theirs."

Mickelson is a four-time winner at Pebble Beach. He won at Riviera in 2008 and 2009, and lost in a playoff in 2007 and 2012. He has not missed Pebble Beach since 1997.

After the Humana Challenge, Mickelson will play the Phoenix Open and at Torrey Pines. He has won every tournament on the West Coast Swing, except for the Match Play, which moves to Harding Park in San Francisco the first week of May and has changed the format.

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QUICK PUTT: If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Brandt Snedeker should take a bow.

And it came from Russell Henley, already regarded as a good putter. He was told at Kapalua that the way he goes through his pre-shot routine on the green looked like Snedeker. Turns out looks were not deceiving.

"I take it as a compliment," Henley said. "I remember the week after Brandt won the Tour Championship, I was in Charlotte and I struggled. I missed the cut the week before in Midland on the Web.com Tour. I remember watching how he didn't take a lot of time and he just kind of got over the putt and he reacted. That's how I've always done everything."

Henley changed his routine. Instead of looking at the ball during his practice strokes, he looks at the hole before he gives it a rap.

"I remember trying to emulate that just because I was searching for something because I needed to play well," he said. "I don't think our strokes are necessarily the same. I think he has a little bit shorter stroke than I do. I think growing up, people always told me I looked just like him."

It seems to have worked. Henley already has won twice in his first two years on the PGA Tour, including the Honda Classic in a playoff that included Rory McIlroy.

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PLAYER ADVISORY COUNCIL: The PGA Tour has never had a foreign-born player on its policy board, a streak that will continue.

The tour announced its 16-member Player Advisory Council, which advises and consults with the board on competition issues. Three of those players on the council were selected to run for PAC chairman, and the winner will serve a three-year term on the board.

The candidates are Davis Love III, Webb Simpson and Kevin Streelman. Voting ends on Feb. 17.

Of the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list last year, 38 percent of the players were born overseas. The PAC has only three foreign-born players (19 percent) this year - Freddie Jacobson of Sweden, Geoff Ogilvy of Australia and John Senden of Australia.

The other members of the PAC: Tom Gillis, Jason Gore, Charley Hoffman, Billy Hurley III, Matt Kuchar, Scott Langley, Will MacKenzie, Heath Slocum, Brendon Todd and David Toms.

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SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING HEAVIER: Jimmy Walker went back to his favorite putter for two weeks in Hawaii, and he couldn't miss on Sunday at the Sony Open. He one-putted 16 of the 18 greens on the back nine at Waialae on the weekend.

Why didn't he use it earlier? It wasn't heavy enough.

Walker won twice on the Nationwide Tour and captured the money title in 2004 using a Scotty Cameron model. He sent the 11-year-old putter to the studios last fall to have it refurbished, and asked if there was a way to add the weight he felt he needed. Tungsten was added to the sole, and Walker fell in love with it again.

"I had won a couple of times with the putter in 2004, but switched to a little heavier putter as my stroke changed over the years and kind of put that one away for a while," he said. "I've always loved the look of it. I got it back last month and put it back in the bag as soon as I saw it. I don't foresee taking it out any time soon."

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DIVOTS: In a sponsorship that seemed obvious, LPGA player Brooke Pancake has signed a deal with Waffle House. ... The Latin America Amateur will be held next year at Teeth of the Dog, the Pete Dye design at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. The tournament is for amateurs from South America, Central America and the Caribbean. ... Jimmy Walker says being a professional athlete makes him less prone to criticize when he watches other sports (especially the Dallas Cowboys). "I don't say anything bad about any other athletes anymore," he said. "I'm not hard on them. It's easy for people to sit back and criticize. We put our (heart) out there every week, and they put their (heart) out there every game."

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STAT OF THE WEEK: Jimmy Walker is 55-under par in his last three tournaments in Hawaii, a scoring average of 65.9.

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FINAL WORD: "I'm 20 years older." - Golf Channel co-founder Arnold Palmer on the best part of the network celebrating a 20-year anniversary.

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