Duval Will Be Rusty at Buick Invitational

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO - David Duval gets a new start this year, and no one is sure what to expect.
Least of all, him.
Formerly No. 1 in the world, Duval took a seven-month break from golf last year before returning to the U.S. Open. He was refreshed, happier than ever with his new wife and family, and showed promise toward the end of the season when he made the cut in three of his last six events.
But his offseason golf consisted of only 15 holes.
Not rounds ' holes.
And 10 of those came Tuesday at Torrey Pines, a course he has not seen in seven years.
Its been cold, and theres a lot of snow on the ground, said Duval, who now lives in Denver. I had planned on practicing a bit, but it just didnt work out.
The rust level is high.
Expectations are low when the Buick Invitational begins Thursday.
I guess my biggest goal would be just to work on the things Ive been working on and feel that much more comfortable with it, Duval said, referring to a change to a weaker grip. Im not as far along as I would have liked to have been. I just have to continue to work on it.
Indeed, he remains a work in progress.
After a 20-minute session with the media, Duval headed for the range. After going through some wedges, middle and long irons, he pulled his driver from the bag and hit the first one onto Torrey Pines Boulevard. The next one was pure, some 300 yards to the back end of the range. The third was a snap hook.
Chris Perry stood behind him, making a few observations. Before long, most of his shots were relatively straight. But when he showed up Wednesday morning for his pro-am round, Duval walked stiffly.
Im sore, he said. I havent hit that many balls in a while.
How long did he stay on the range?
About an hour, he said.
OK, so hes no Vijay Singh.
And by the sound of it, Duval has no plans to be Singh ' at least in terms of trying to take away his No. 1 ranking.
He has long believed ' even before winning 11-of-34 starts to ascend to No. 1 in the world in 1999, and later winning the 2001 British Open ' that there is more to golf than simply winning.
In fact, it was that claret jug he won at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that made him wonder, Is that all there is?
Duval will measure success by his own standards. For now, it means feeling comfortable with his swing, getting the sensation of a clean shot and most of all, enjoying his time on the PGA Tour.
He isnt one who believes confidence comes only through winning.
Ill never forget many years back, I went to dinner with (NFL coach) Marty Schottenheimer, and that was one of the big discussions we had, Duval said. Which comes first, success or confidence? You can kind of argue both sides. Do I have a lot of confidence? I dont know if I do or not. Do I need to have some success to do it? Youve got to go both ways with it.
I dont even remember what side I was arguing that night.
A forgotten man last year, it wont be hard for him to disappear at Torrey Pines ' and not just because heavy rains have made the rough thicker than usual.
The attention is at the top of the rankings ' Duval is No. 526, one spot ahead of Jay Delsing, whos caddying for Corey Pavin this week.
Singh is starting to entrench himself at No. 1 in the world, coming off a victory last week in the Sony Open for his 10th title in 28 starts.
Tiger Woods is starting to find his groove, and only a dozen putts he missed inside 8 feet kept him from winning the Mercedes Championships at Kapalua. Ernie Els might have played the best of anyone this week, finishing one shot behind Singh at the Sony Open, and two shots back at Kapalua after hitting a tee shot out-of-bounds on the last hole.
Mickelson is the only player in the top five who hasnt played this year, skipping the winners-only Mercedes Championships to make his 05 debut in his hometown.
The guys ahead of him in the rankings all have a head start on him.
But Lefty is coming off a great year ' his first major at the Masters, and a 59 to end the season in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf ' and hes eager to get going.
I think what makes it so exciting is that we have so many guys now that are playing well, and so many guys that are challenging to win tournaments, Mickelson said. It makes the journey and the challenge of winning tournaments tougher, but its more rewarding if you can accomplish it.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Buick Invitational
  • White: Duval Has Found His Hapiness
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

    Getty Images

    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

    Getty Images

    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''

    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.