Cink ready for a fresh start

By Associated PressJanuary 12, 2012, 8:44 am

HONOLULU (AP)—Two dozen PGA Tour rookies start their season Thursday atthe Sony Open.

In some respects, Stewart Cink feels like one of them.

“This is a fresh start,” he said Wednesday, walking down the 15th fairwayat Waialae Country Club during the best part of the day as the warm sun startedto drop toward the Pacific horizon.

Cink is 38 and about to embark on his 15th season. He is still saluted asthe guy who spoiled an epic moment in sports by taking down Tom Watson atTurnberry to win the 2009 British Open. His home life has never been better. Hisoldest son, Connor, is a senior in high school who was recently made captain ofhis high school hockey team in Atlanta. Reagan will turn 15 on Sunday at theMasters.

His golf game? That’s another story.

Cink moved up to No. 9 in the world when he won at Turnberry. He starts thisyear at No. 147.

“I don’t feel like I belong there,” Cink said, conceding that he stoppedpaying attention after he slipped out of the top 100. “It’s very disappointing,but I’ve played about that kind of golf. I’ll never be one to argue about theranking. I think the ranking tells you how you’re playing. You can’t hide fromthem.”

It seems as though Cink has been in hiding.

He had sinus surgery in November and the medication he was on kept him awakeat night. He wound up watching the Presidents Cup, another reminder of how farhe had fallen. Cink had played on the previous seven U.S. teams in the Ryder Cupand Presidents Cup. He had to sit this one out.

He played in 23 consecutive World Golf Championships until last year atDoral. He starts this year not eligible for any of them. He still gets into themajors based on his win at the Open.

“I feel like I belong in World Golf Championships, playing late on Sunday.That’s where I’ve been my whole career,” he said. “It’s a little bitembarrassing. It’s a pride thing, almost shameful. Like it or not, golf—whenyou’ve done it as long as I’ve done it—becomes part of you. If you’ve got badgolf, that means something is bad inside of you. It hurts. When you play wellfor a long time, it’s frustrating.”

This is not a British Open hangover.

On paper, it would look as though Cink spent a year celebrating his majorchampionship, then never got back on track. In fact, he says he had been playingbadly and had an extraordinary week at the right time one week in July on theAyrshire coast of Scotland.

He traces the problem to his attempt at hitting a draw. Over the last fiveyears, the path of his swing became more pronounced from the inside, to thepoint where he had to rely more on his timing. The result was a two-way miss,the worst feeling for any golfer on the tee, and an inadequate short game madeit feel even worse.

Cink went from missing the Tour Championship in 2010 to missing the last twoplayoff events a year ago, finishing 98th in the standings. He was No. 101 onthe money list, finishing outside the top 100 for the first time in his career.

Even so, his optimism level is right up there with the rookies.

Cink began working last summer with Chris O’Donnell, who also teaches MattKuchar , trying to get the club more square at impact. When he had himselfvideotaped in 3-D, he said his swing was coming from the inside at 7 degrees.

“This year is a test,” he said. “I want to see how I can respond to thesechanges.”

The biggest change might be his desire. Cink asked himself some seriousquestions during the offseason, one of them being what he wants to accomplishthe rest of his career. He even questioned his own will, wondering if it mightbe better to simply ride out that five-year exemption he received from theBritish Open and just walk away.

He’s not ready for that, not at his age.

“It’s easy to lose drive and focus when you’re having a bad stretch,” hesaid. “Everything in my life, other than golf, has grown up. My kids have grownup. My relationship with (wife) Lisa has grown up. It’s easy to want to focus onother stuff when you’re struggling, and I battled through that a little bit.”

And he found a role model in Steve Stricker , who won last week at Kapaluafor his eighth PGA Tour win in the last three years, the most of any player.

Stricker was in his mid-30s when his game started to go south. He wasterrified off the tee, not sure where the ball was going. He lost his PGA Tourcard. But through dedication and hard work, he pulled himself out the slump andnow is arguably the best American player.

“That’s how I’d like to be,” Cink said.

It all starts Thursday in the first full-field event of the season, whereMark Wilson is the defending champion and Stricker is the star based on hisperformance last week on Maui.

Two dozen rookies get started, 11 of whom have never competed in a PGA Tourevent. Optimism is never higher than it is on the shores of Waikiki Beach at thestart of a new season. And yes, that includes Cink.

“I don’t call him Stewart,” caddie Frank Williams said. “I call him`comeback player of the year.”’

Cink isn’t ready to go that far, at least not yet. He has four tournaments—Honolulu, San Diego, Phoenix and L.A.—to see if he can get his world rankinghigh enough go to the Match Play Championship at the end of February. This is aRyder Cup year, and the last time Cink was not part of the U.S. team was atBrookline in 1999.

“Now it’s time to come out here and work,” he said. “And I’m reallylooking forward to seeing how I do.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

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Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm