Jim Furyk gives himself another chance to win

By Associated PressDecember 19, 2008, 5:00 pm
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. ' Golf has been merely a hobby for Jim Furyk the last few months.
 
He has not played a competitive round since Oct. 15, when he crashed the PGA Grand Slam of Golf party in Bermuda as an alternate and beat the four-man field of major champions. His next meaningful round came 54 days later'and the rust was only a rumor.
 
Despite failing to make birdie on the five par 5s at Sherwood Country Club, and with mud from the soggy turf causing his ball to fly three directions off the face of his club, Furyk managed a 4-under 68 on Thursday to lead the Chevron World Challenge by two shots.
 
It would seem he is just getting back into the swing of golf. But after this event ends on Sunday, Furyk wont play again for nearly two months, not resurfacing until the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
My expectations werent that high, he said.
 
Neither was his score.
 
Furyk birdied the 18th hole to build a two-shot lead over Boo Weekley and K.J. Choi, and only four other players in the 16-man field managed to break par in the opening round of the final golf tournament this year.
 
Im very happy to break 80 today, said Anthony Kim, one of those at 71.
 
Thats what Tiger Woods used to say in his self-deprecating style, but the defending champion is sitting this one out. Woods has been reduced to the role of tournament host at this $5.75 million event, sitting through meetings, keeping warm and resurfacing on Sunday to hand someone the trophy and a seven-figure check.
 
Furyk started strong, but he was wary.
 
Most players arrived at Sherwood with a fair amount of rust, and the scores tend to get better as the week goes on.
 
I think I see more 64s and 65s in this tournament probably in the second, third and fourth rounds than you do the first round, Furyk said. That being said, my best round is always in the first round.
 
Even so, he was surprised to be leading with the only sub-70 score.
 
The goal was obviously to come in and play well and try to win the golf tournament, Furyk said, but as little as Ive been playing, I wanted to just kind of get my feet wet and little by little, chip away and try to put a good round together.
 
The entire 16-man field got its feet wet at Sherwood, which was soggy from a week of cold rain.
 
Weekley was walking up the 11th fairway when he pulled up the bottom of his rain pants to reveal camouflage thermals to keep warm. He was heating up nicely until running into trouble on the par-5 16th, where he hit a fairway metal for his fourth shot and escaped with bogey.
 
Choi was flawless on the greens while working with a new caddie'Michael Sponge Waite, who worked for Michael Campbell when he won the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. Choi plans to use two caddies next year as his regular looper, Andy Prodger, takes time off.
 
The bizarre round belonged to Mike Weir, who offset his lone bogey with an eagle on the par-5 13th. It was a solid round of golf over 16 holes, but it was the two at the turn that sent him to the bottom of the pack'a triple bogey on the par-3 eighth hole, followed by a quadruple-bogey 8 on the next hole. He wound up with a 78, tied for last with fellow Canadian Stephen Ames.
 
Ryder Cup teammates Kim, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and Vijay Singh were at 71, with Kim the most thrilled. He hasnt played since he was disqualified from the second round of the HSBC Champions in China in early November.
 
It was all rust, he said. I hit two shots that Ive never hit in my life on 16 and 18. My go-to shot is a cut'the ball would not go right when I was setting up to the left.
 
One of them was left of the bunkers on the par-5 16th, going into the hazard and leading to a bogey. The other tee shot on the closing hole was so far off that it landed between generators.
 
I told a couple of my buddies that breaking 80 was the goal today, Kim said. So even though I bogeyed the 18th, Im pretty happy.
 
Furyk didnt play golf for six weeks except for the odd corporate outing, spending most of his time going to Ohio State and Pittsburgh Steelers football games, and coaching his 5-year-old sons basketball team.
 
He tried to get in shape for this tournament, even with another big break on the other side.
 
I felt like I needed to bridge the gap'play here and then take another seven weeks or so off, he said. I just felt like the longer you wait, the more time its going to take to get back. I also have pride. To just come out here and slap it around and shoot 78 every day and collect a check isnt fair to the sponsor and its not fair to the tournament.
 

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  • 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.


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    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:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''