Daly Prepared For Less Aggressive Masters

By Associated PressApril 5, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The buzz around Augusta National is about the Big Three, the Big Four and even the Big Five.
Nobody talks much about the big guy.
With good reason, perhaps, because John Daly hasnt done much at the Masters since his stunning 1991 win at the PGA Championship first got him in the tournament. He tied for third in 1993, but is a total of 66 over par for his last eight appearances since.
Huffing and puffing his way up the hill to the 18th green Monday, though, Daly was the choice of the fans'if not a tournament favorite. He got the biggest roar of the day a short time earlier when he knocked a 9-iron into the cup on the par-3 16th hole, and Daly was feeling pretty good about himself.
John Daly
John Daly's best finish in 10 Masters starts is a T3 in 1993.
It was a great practice day today, he said. I will be prepared, which is nice.
Monday was a day of preparation for almost the entire 92-player field with one big exception. Defending champion Phil Mickelson was two hours away in Duluth, where he tuned up for the first major of the year by winning a playoff at the rain-delayed BellSouth Classic.
The rest of the Big Four'Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh'were at Augusta for the first official practice day, getting a taste of what they can expect when the tournament starts Thursday.
Before some 40,000 practice-round fans and under perfect weather conditions, they found Augusta National playing long and fast, with greens so slick that it was sometimes hard to keep the ball on the putting surface.
Today was pretty much as fast as Ive ever seen greens in my life, said Swedens Joakim Haeggman, playing in his first Masters.
You were hitting putts up to the hole, and they were coming back to you, Jesper Parnevik said. Ive never seen greens this fast this early in the week.
Daly came here knowing the greens would be fast. He spent last week at home practicing on a green cut down to speeds he claimed were even faster than the slick surfaces hell confront this week.
The quick greens made him shorten his stroke, something hell need here. But Daly also is coming in with a new attitude for a course that will be playing longer than ever.
Ive always played Augusta too aggressive, he said. Back when you had sand wedge or lob wedge to greens you had to be aggressive. Now its 7-irons or 8-irons and you have to back off a bit.
Daly, of course, has made a career out of being aggressive. Hes the original grip it and rip it player, and that has led to some huge scores that have taken him out of tournaments.
Just two weeks ago, Daly took four swings at a ball in the rocks on the 18th hole at the Bay Hill Invitational and made an 11. He also has shot two 81s and an 80 over the years in the Masters.
He knows he has the length to play Augusta National. Better yet, he believes that he can compete if his irons and putter cooperate.
If that happens, the keepers of Augusta National probably will cringe at the site of the potbellied player coming down the back nine wearing a shirt adorned with more logos than a NASCAR driver. If not, hes always got the merchandise trailer he parks at the nearby Hooters during Masters week to sell souvenirs.
We sell good stuff, Daly said. Were not ripping the consumer off.
The focus the first day of practice was on the course, which last underwent any significant renovations in 2002. Though Augusta National looked the same, new grass put on the 15th green to make room for a new pin position left that green difficult to hold. The other greens were playing even faster than usual.
That might be because rain is forecast for Thursday, and the guardians of the green jacket think the course will soften up. If it doesnt rain, this Masters might turn into a test of survival.
I dont even want to guess how fast the greens are, Augusta native Charles Howell III said. Its scary.
This years Masters will be hard-pressed to live up to last years drama, when Mickelson sank an 18-footer to win his first major. It also was Arnold Palmers last Masters after 50 years, though Palmer will be back for the champions dinner Tuesday.
For players and fans, though, just being back at Augusta National for another year is something magical.
Once you get to Augusta, everything thats happened so far this year goes away, Howell said. I love the place and I get to play another Masters. It could be a lot worse than that.
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  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''

    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: