British Open awaits Woods entry

By Associated PressApril 27, 2010, 4:15 pm

135th Open Championship

LONDON – Organizers of the British Open are still waiting for an entry from Tiger Woods but expect him to try and become the first player to win the title three times at St. Andrews on the tournament’s 150th anniversary.

Woods is one of five players to have won the Open twice at the Old Course – taking the last two majors played there in 2000 and 2005 – and returned to competitive golf recently at the Masters after a long layoff following a sex scandal.

“Tiger Woods has not yet entered, but in a normal year he would not have done that anyway, so I am absolutely certain he will be with us,” Royal and Ancient Club chief executive Peter Dawson said in a briefing on Tuesday.

The deadline to enter is May 27.

Dawson also downplayed concerns that Woods’ appearance after his highly publicized extramarital affairs might create security difficulties at St. Andrews.

“By the time the Open comes around, Tiger’s return to the game will be well established,” Dawson said. “He’s got quite a playing schedule in front of him and so the novelty factor of Tiger being back will have worn off to some degree. The Masters had a major problem in really having no idea what to expect, but we will have the benefit of several Tiger events behind us prior to the Open. I am very pleased that we are not the guinea pigs in this.

“We will be watching what happens with Tiger and other players between now and July and will be discussing the whole security position as we always do with the police. We always act on police advice in these matters.”

Assuming he decides to play, Woods has also been invited to participate in a special four-hole event on the day before the championship, open to all surviving Open champions to mark its 150th anniversary.

That includes Seve Ballesteros, who has accepted an invitation even though he is still recovering from brain surgery, and Jack Nicklaus, another three-time winner who has not yet confirmed he will attend. Neither has Greg Norman, who recently had shoulder surgery.

The R&A also explained why it was making a change to the 17th hole, the famous Road Hole which has lost much of its danger in recent years because of advances in club technology.

Dawson said Tuesday that taking the tee back 40 yards to make the hole 490 yards should force the players to take longer irons for their second shots into the green and risk their balls finishing in the deep greenside bunker or on the gravel road, which makes a third to the green very difficult.

Dawson also said that the introduction of doping tests – a mandatory requirement with the World Anti-Doping Agency for golf to become an Olympic sport in 2016 – had shown that it was an almost drug-free sport with only one or two minor cases showing up. He said he doesn’t expect golfers at the British Open to be subjected to blood tests, which is the only way to catch those who take human growth hormone (HGH).

“That’s certainly an issue that’s coming at us at the moment,” Dawson said. “The testing that golf does meet WADA’s requirements, and the International Golf Federation’s anti-doping policy is WADA complaint without the taking of blood and it’s something we will keep an eye on.

“I think it’s a way away in golf. But we bow to the experts on this and, if WADA say it’s necessary, then it’s necessary.”

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Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

“It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

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Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

“I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”

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U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:12 pm

Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.

Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.

According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.

"They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."

Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.

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Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.

In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.

“It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”

Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.

Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.