Faxon Regrets Not Having Surgery
Any regrets about surgery?
Every day, Faxon said candidly.
A recent MRI showed the ACL is completely torn with no hope of healing on its own. It feels OK, and Faxon said it doesnt bother him swinging the club. Its not a hindrance to golf, he said.
What he believes set him back was being unable to play other sports.
Faxon lives in Rhode Island and puts his clubs away for the winter. He has a history of doing well on the West Coast because he stays competitive in the offseason by playing squash, table tennis and working out.
I couldnt do any of that, Faxon said. I think that competitive stuff I missed from playing those sports has hurt. Every year, after I moved back to Rhode Island, I always got off to great starts on the West Coast having not touched a club ... I literally played two days before going to Hawaii.
The last two years, I havent done anything competitively off the course. I think its interesting.
Faxon had at least two top 10s on the West Coast every year since 2000, including his victory at the 2001 Sony Open. Since injuring his knee, he has made it to the weekend only once in two years on the West Coast'a tie for 29th this year at the Nissan Open.
Faxon felt like he turned the corner at Quail Hollow, where he played the weekend at 1 under par and tied for 44th. Confidence-wise, I made a huge step in two days, he said.
As for that surgery?
I think Im going to take care of it this fall, Faxon said.
Retief Goosen is playing the Byron Nelson Championship for the first time, and while he didnt get the red-carpet treatment at the airport, he got something even better.
The 93-year-old tournament host was there to pick him up.
His wife was standing there and I thought, Well, its nice of her to greet me, Goosen said. And then we walked up to the car and she said, Ive got somebody waiting in the car for you. I thought maybe it was my caddie. And it was Mr. Nelson sitting in the front seat.
I was a bit surprised, Goosen said. It was a great way to arrive at a golf tournament.
THE MAD SCIENTIST
Davis Love III recently pulled his old persimmons driver out of the closet, not out of curiosity, but as the guinea pig for his 11-year-old sons science project.
The hypothesis was which driver'wooden or titanium'hits the new golf balls farther. Love used the MacGregor driver he hit in college.
Downwind, it was OK, Love said. But anything into the wind, or any crosswind, it was a joke. You couldnt put any spin on it, and it would just nosedive. You had to hit hard and put spin on it. These balls dont spin.
The last time Love used a wooden driver, he had the Titleist 384, a wound ball. The long hitters generated plenty of spin, which enabled the ball to rise and carry. With titanium drivers and multilayer balls that dont spin as much, the idea is to launch the ball higher.
If you took Lanny Wadkins ball shape, and Vijay Singhs, it would make an egg shape, Love said.
He didnt disclose the results, but it sounds as though he helped his son with a dynamite graphic.
OPEN SCOUTING REPORT
A cool spring meant there was hardly any rough at Quail Hollow for the Wachovia Championship. Apparently, its not much better down the road at Pinehurst No. 2.
Chad Campbell was among those who took a detour to Pinehurst for a practice round before the U.S. Open next month. Along with noticing some tee boxes moved back, Campbell said the rough was down and the grass sparse in spots.
Theres a little work that needs to be done, Campbell said. Theyre sodding around some of the greens. The Bermuda (grass) didnt come in because of all the weather, so theres not much rough right now. They need some rain and hot weather.
Temperatures were in the 80s during the final round at Quail Hollow. Help might be on the way.
DOWN FROM THE BOOTH
The results might not show it yet, but Paul Azinger says he is having no trouble making the transition to the broadcast booth as an analyst for ABC Sports.
Azinger has played 10 times and made six cuts, and his best chance was his first tournament, when he started the final round of the Sony Open three shots out of the lead and tied for 17th.
But he was encouraged by his last four weeks, where he made the cut each time and tied for 21st in New Orleans.
What Im finding is that I found my golf swing, Azinger said after a tie for 56th in the Wachovia Championship. Ive just got to figure out how to score. I three-putted nine greens this week. Its too bad, because I struck it really well. I just putted like a donkey.
ABC has not televised a PGA Tour event since the Match Play Championship the last week of February. Azinger, who is 137th on the money list, will play Memphis and Memorial before ABC resumes its coverage at the Booz Allen Classic, and he plans to play Congressional, too.
Ive had no trouble compartmentalizing the two, Azinger said. Shifting gears, initially, was tough. But once Im doing the golf, Im completed engulfed in golf. And broadcasting is another entity. Its not like I finish my round, put on a tie and go into the booth.
Jack Nicklaus will be playing tournament golf in consecutive weeks'first at the Memorial, beginning June 2, then the Bayer Challenge outside Kansas City, Mo., on the Champions Tour at a course he designed. ... Fred Couples tied for second in the SK Telecom Open in South Korea and moved up to No. 35 in the world. Couples will lose points over the next month, and he needs to stay in the top 50 to be exempt for the U.S. Open. ... Annika Sorenstam not only lost her streak of 43 rounds at par or better, it was her first finish over par in a 72-hole event in 25 tournaments dating to the 2003 John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic in Tulsa, Okla.
S TAT OF THE WEEK
The last 12 stroke-play events on the PGA Tour have been decided on the last hole, eight of them in playoffs.
There are plenty of big hitters that arent good players.'Padraig Harrington, asked whether golf was all about power.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar
DOHA, Qatar – Eddie Pepperell, Gregory 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.
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.
Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic
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.
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Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats
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:
• 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.
• 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.
• 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).
Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand
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.''
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.