Curran co-leads soggy Nelson; Spieth moves up

By Associated PressMay 30, 2015, 12:41 am

IRVING, Texas - Jordan Spieth wasn't sure what par was at his hometown AT&T Byron Nelson and thinks it actually might have helped him through some frustrating early holes.

There's a reason the Masters champion was uncertain - overnight rain turned one of the signature par 4s at the saturated TPC Four Seasons into a pitch-and-putt par 3 at 105 yards for the second round Friday.

Spieth had a birdie 2 along with most players within three shots of second-round leaders Steven Bowditch, Jon Curran and Texan Jimmy Walker. Gary Woodland had a hole-in-one when it was still possible that the easy wedge over a pond would play as a par 4, before tour officials made the switch.

''I was able to fire at more pins, not really worry about anybody else,'' said Spieth, who shot 64 - 5 under because par became 69 to put him at 6 under for the tournament. ''Really actually helped because I didn't know what score I was at when it's a par 4, 4 par, par 3, don't really know what it's at.''

Walker, who won the Texas Open not far from home in San Antonio in March, finished with a par at 18 just before play was halted by darkness. He had a 66 to reach 9 under.


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There were 33 players on the course after the start was delayed three hours.

''I got little kids,'' said Walker, a five-time winner who is second to Spieth in FedEx Cup points. ''We didn't want to have to get up earlier again and go do that.''

Bowditch, the first-round leader, shot 68 with seven birdies and six bogeys. Curran matched the day's low round at 63. All three were at 130 with the two-round par total at 139 instead of 140. Cameron Percy was a shot back after an eagle at the par-5 seventh for a 64.

Defending champion Brendon Todd shot 68 and was 1 over for the tournament with the projected cut at 1-under 138.

The fairway at the normally 406-yard 14th was deemed unplayable in the landing area after 5 inches of rain fell starting about midnight, pushing the total to about 17 inches in less than three weeks at the Four Seasons course. Texas officials have declared May the wettest month in the state's history.

Muddy footprints marked the area where a dip in the fairway funneled down to a rain-swollen canal off to the right. Standing water covered the ground under some trees, about the same spot where Spieth chipped out in Thursday's first round and ended up with a bogey.

The temporary tee box was on the fairway side of a pond that wraps around the left side of the green. Tour officials believe it was the first such alteration since the 2005 WGC-Match Play Championship, when flooding at La Costa in Carlsbad, California, temporarily turned a 467-yard par 4 into a 162-yard par 3.

''It was really tricky,'' said the 21-year-old Spieth, who birdied his final three holes at Nos. 7-9. ''We get up there and it's 105 yards, but it's off a steep upslope and really muddy. I don't think we'll see that, if ever, again, something like that.''

Curran, a 28-year-old rookie looking for his first PGA Tour win, shot 29 starting on the back nine, with the same boost as others on the 300-yard head start at 14. He had bogeys on the first and sixth holes to prevent a serious run at a 59 - with an asterisk of course.

Percy, a fellow Australian with Bowditch, played the 14th while going 5 under through his first 10 holes. He shared fourth with Dallas resident Ryan Palmer (66).

''I quite enjoy it. I love that tee shot,'' said Percy, who turned 41 this month and has never won on the PGA Tour. ''Happy to get out there and drop it at 105 yards. I got up and down, so that was nice.''

Nick Watney had a bogey-free 65 and was in a group at 7 under that included 48-year-old Jerry Kelly, who also shot 29 while starting on the back nine. Yes, he had a 2 on 14.

''I would have counted those as 1-under par 4,'' said Kelly, who had the last of his three tour wins in 2009. ''That's all I got to say.''

There's another strong chance of overnight storms into Saturday, but the forecast improves considerably later in the day and into Sunday. Workers spent about six hours getting the course ready starting around 4 a.m. Friday and might have to do it again.

''They've probably not really enjoyed each night for the last month or two months,'' said Spieth, who finished 16th in his first pro tournament as a 16-year-old amateur at the Nelson five years ago. ''But hats off to them and hopefully they can catch a break now.''

And the players can know what par is.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.