Davis Takes Lead to the Weekend in Florida

By Associated PressFebruary 29, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Dudley Hart spent some of Friday afternoon poised to turn The Honda Classic into a runaway. Later in the day, it was Brian Davis turn to take what seemed like a huge lead.
 
But PGA National eventually caught up with them.
 
And by nightfall, the Honda leaderboard was muddled again.
 
Davis shot a 3-under 67 to finish the day at 8 under, one shot better than Matt Jones (67) and two shots ahead of Hart'a former South Florida resident whose last victory was at the 2000 Honda, and who peeled off six straight birdies in a 66.
 
Around this course, I think youd need about a 20-shot lead with one round to go, Davis said. You know around here, its going to come down to the last nine holes, just the way the course is set up. I cant see anybody getting a six-shot lead out there tomorrow.
 
He almost had one Friday.
 
After a bogey-free opening round, Davis started his second round just as precisely, getting to 10 under at one point and four shots clear of the field.
 
Then this diabolical course'as it typically does'began to fight back.
 
Davis made a double bogey at the par-3 7th, his 16th of the day, then missed the green to the right and slid a 10-foot par try just past the cup on his final hole.
 
Im sure every players got a few hiccups around here, Davis said.
 
Some fewer than others, though.
 
John Mallinger (67) and Ben Crane (66) were tied for fourth, three shots off the lead. Ernie Els shot a 70 and was in a group of six players, including Mark Calcavecchia and Robert Allenby, five shots back of Davis.
 
First-round leader Luke Donald shot a 74, including a quadruple bogey on the 14th, to fall six shots back.
 
Hart played in the afternoon, when the wind picked up and the course, theorhetically, was significantly harder than in the morning session. But he went out in 29, and only a double bogey at the par-3 17th kept him from finishing the day with a share of the lead.
 
You dont birdie six in a row very often, Hart said. You know, everybody out here has gone through stretches where they have done that. Its just hard to describe, really. Just things are clicking right, and the putts are falling, and good things are happening.
 
Most players at PGA National didnt have the same sentiment.
 
Defending champion Mark Wilson shot his second straight 73 and missed the cut, along with other notables Mike Weir, Chris DiMarco. Rich Beem and Fred Funk. Tadd Fujikawa, the 17-year-old from Honolulu, still hasnt made the cut as a pro after missing by 10 shots, and David Duval missed by six.
 
The cut was 4-over 144, and 77 players made it'meaning the tours new second cut policy wont come into play after Saturdays round. If more than 78 advanced Friday, the tour would have trimmed again to the low 70 and ties following the third round, under an amended plan newly installed this week.
 
Duval, like Hart, has a major medical exemption this year because of health problems endured by his wife in 2007. Hart'whose wife fell seriously ill last year but is now healthy'is only about $150,000 shy of what he needed to make this year, yet says he isnt spending much time thinking about it.
 
I came out this year and I just said, you know, Im going to try to work hard, play well and if I make the money and do it, then great, said Hart, who made more than $300,000 with a third-place finish at Pebble Beach. But if I dont, its not going to kill me. I have three kids, a healthy wife at home and a lot of good things going on there.
 
Duval hasnt bounced back so well.
 
He was over par on eight of his 18 holes Friday, including three double bogeys. Duval hasnt earned a penny this year in five starts, meaning he has 15 chances left to make the $713,235 he needs to reach what would have been 125th on last years money list.
 
Davis is on pace to make that, and plenty more, this weekend.
 
With seven first-time champions in the past 12 years, the Honda'which pays $990,000 to the winner'is a haven for those seeking a breakthrough victory, a fact not lost on Davis.
 
Hes 0-for-98 on tour. Hes never had such a good chance to change that, either.
 
Its a welcome return to form, Davis said. And its where you want to be.
 
Notes
 
Scott Hoch, who entered the Honda after two straight wins on the Champions Tour, made the cut on the number. Tim Petrovic withdrew because of a neck injury after completing eight holes, the last two resulting in double bogeys. Carl Petterson holed a 30-yarder for eagle at the par-5 third hole, highlighting his round of 66 that got him within six shots of the lead. Tag Ridings, who didnt have a bogey in his first 22 holes, finished with seven Friday'but still squeaked into the weekend on the cut line.
 
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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:







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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."

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    The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

    By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

    Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

    All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

    Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

    Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

    But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

    So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

    Speaking of greatness …

    There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

    The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

    When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

    So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

    Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

    Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

    Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

    This, according to Curtis Strange.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

    This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

    Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

    By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

    Tony's gonna stand on an egg

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    Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

    Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

    Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

    But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

    Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

    A post shared by Under Armour Golf (@uagolf) on

    The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

    Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

    Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

    That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

    Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

    Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

    The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

    Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause: