Duval Still Around Angry Bear Milk Shake Anyone

By Associated PressMay 31, 2003, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- As David Duval waited to clean up a par on the 18th hole, he looked up at a private jet soaring over Muirfield Village. That's usually where he's been Friday afternoons this year on the PGA Tour -- on his way home.
 
Not this time.
 
David DuvalDuval shot a 72 on Friday and was at 1-over 145, easily making the cut. It was the first time he made the cut since the Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club three months ago.
 
'My goal is not to make cuts,' Duval said. 'Considering how I've been playing, certainly this is a positive step. I'm more pleased with how I played.'
 
The Memorial Tournament will be only his third check of the year. In 11 previous tournaments, he made the cut at Riviera and tied for 33rd at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, the equivalent of getting beat in the first round.
 
'It's hard to continually improve if you don't play on the weekend,' he said.
 
Duval has been working with David Leadbetter, and he says his game is turning around. It might be time to believe him.
 
NICKLAUS NOT HAPPY
 
For the second straight day, John Daly threw caution to the wind and drove a ball over the green at the 363-yard 14th hole at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
 
Then Jack Nicklaus threw a fit.
 
Told that Daly had gunned for the green and flown it in both rounds, Nicklaus expressed anger at ball technology which he said is making many courses obsolete.
 
Jack Nicklaus'Now is that absurd?' the course designer and tournament host said Friday. 'It's not Daly; it's the golf ball. To have a golf ball that will do that is just ruining the game of golf. It's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. I know John can hit it, and more power to John. You take advantage of what equipment you've got. If you don't, you're crazy.
 
'But how do you make a golf course defend that? You don't. It takes all the strategy out of play. It takes everything you've done to prepare out of play. I just don't think that's right for the game of the golf.'
 
The par-4 14th has a vast landing area in front of a creek that bisects the hole about 230 yards from the tee. The prevailing wisdom is to hit a safe shot off the tee, then hit a mid to short iron into the narrow green that is guarded on the left by bunkers and the right by the creek.
 
Daly birdied the hole in the first round after driving into the back bunker -- near where reigning Masters winner Mike Weir was contemplating a shot.
 
In Friday's second round, Daly again hit driver off the tee. His ball came to rest 352 yards away, again in the back bunker, just 38 feet from the pin.
 
From there, however, things unraveled.
 
Daly blasted out past the hole, the ball running into the fringe. He chipped 3 1/2 feet past and missed his par putt coming back. The bogey was one of four he had on the back nine while shooting a 1-over 73 that left him at 3-under 141.
 
'I'm driving the ball very well, real straight and long,' Daly said. 'My putting has been really bad.'
 
Nicklaus made it clear he wasn't angry at Daly, but rather advanced ball technology that has turned 160-pounders into bombers off the tee.
 
'It's the biggest issue I've seen in golf,' said Nicklaus, who has designed almost 300 courses on every continent. 'It's discouraging to do golf courses all over the world like I do and have them be obsolete the week after you open them -- only because of the golf ball.'
 
WOOSIE OUT
 
Ian Woosnam of Wales withdrew from U.S. Open qualifying next week, replaced by someone who is willing to travel even farther.
 
Woosnam faced the prospect of flying over the Atlantic to play 36 holes on Tuesday in Maryland, then return to Europe if he missed the cut.
 
The first alternate at Woodmont Country Club is Masao Nakajima of Tokyo, who is playing in Japan this week. He must leave immediately after the tournament to make it to Woodmont for the final stage of qualifying.
 
DIVOTS
 
Paul Azinger followed an opening 69 with a 79 and missed the cut.
 
Asked what he would do after missing the cut, Nicklaus said, 'You know a good place to fish around here?'
 
After making the cut in his first appearance at the Memorial, Lee Westwood said, 'I'd heard about the milkshakes as much as I'd heard about the course.'
 
Leader Kenny Perry has the same 36-hole score (11-under 133) as when he won the Memorial in 1991.
 
Chris Smith was paired with Tiger Woods each of the first two rounds, but took credit for the huge galleries. 'A lot of people came out to watch me this week,' he said with a laugh.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Memorial Tournament
  • Full coverage of the Memorial Tournament
  • Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

    Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

    By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

    Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

    The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

    "The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

    He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).


    Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


    Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

    “Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

    Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

    Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

    Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

    The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.