Lehman in front of Insperity Championship field after Day 1

By Associated PressMay 4, 2012, 10:08 pm

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Tom Lehman used to hate the Tournament Course at The Woodlands Country Club. Now, he's wondering why he ever felt that way.

The 53-year-old Lehman had an eagle and five birdies on the first eight holes on the back nine Friday, then bogeyed the par-4 18th for a 7-under 65 and a one-shot lead after the first round of the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.

Fred Funk and Houston native Tom Jenkins were tied for second, and past winners John Cook and Bernhard Langer topped a large group at 68.

Michael Allen, coming off consecutive victories at TPC Tampa Bay and the Legends of Golf better-ball event with David Frost, opened with a 69.

Lehman, the player of the year last year after winning three times, shot his ninth straight sub-par round at the Woodlands, a venue that used to conjure nothing but bad memories.

He played in the 1985 Houston Open, the first year it was contested here, and missed the cut. In December 1989, Lehman finished ''nearly dead-last'' here in PGA Tour qualifying school on a cold, rainy weekend.

''It was a horrendous experience,'' he said. ''I played poorly and because it was such a big deal, I hated the golf course and I thought I'd never come back.''

But Lehman has top-10 finishes in each of his three Champions Tour starts at the course since 2009, and he was reminded again Friday how well the course actually suits his game.

He hit approach shots close all day, and sank 6-foot birdie putts on Nos. 10 and 11 to get going. He holed a 12-footer on the 13th hole, reached the par-5 15th in two shots to set up the eagle and then tacked on two short birdie putts on Nos. 16 and 17.

''I think to myself, 'Why did I not come back here? I love this course,''' Lehman said. ''It's just a testimony to how you can get something in your head, when things aren't going well. It's easy to say, 'I don't like the golf course.'''

Funk, meanwhile, is back at a venue he's always loved.

He played in that same 1989 qualifying tournament here, but played well and earned his card. Funk then earned his first Tour victory here at 1992 Houston Open, also the year he shot a course-record 62. And he met his second wife, Sharon, at a post-tournament party that year.

''A lot of good things here,'' Funk said, ''plus I love the golf course. It's a good spot.''

The 55-year-old Funk is coming off a tie for 30th at the Zurich Classic on the PGA Tour, where he finished with a 68. He has played in four Tour events this year and hopes to qualify for next month's U.S. Open.

''I still enjoy playing with the young guys,'' Funk said. ''I love those guys. It's just great to see them, and to try to stay in touch with what they're doing.''

The 64-year-old Jenkins played on the University of Houston's 1970 national championship squad. He's staying at his childhood home this week with his 92-year-old mother, Martha, and sleeping in his old bedroom.

''It's like going back in time,'' he said. ''You look up and you've got all the trophies in the cubby holes up there from when you were 15. It's kind of a special time. It's always great to be back and kind of kindle some of those memories.''

Winless since 2006, Jenkins felt totally relaxed as he began his round. He was 4-under par at the turn, then reached the par-5 first hole in two for another birdie. He added another birdie on the par-5 sixth to match his best round at The Woodlands.

Jenkins never felt comfortable in previous professional starts in Houston. His best finish in 15 appearances in the regular tour's Houston Open was a tie for 30th in 1983.

''Usually, in my past, it's always been more difficult to play at home, because all the distractions, you're having to get tickets for everybody,'' Jenkins said. ''Everybody wants to invite you to dinner. There's a lot of stuff. It doesn't happen now, it's just a little bit different now.''

Jenkins has won seven Champions Tour events, but none since October 2006. He had five top-25 finishes last year, including a tie for 16th at this event, when it was held in October.

He's quietly confident about his chances here this weekend.

''I still feel like I can play,'' he said. ''If I get in the hunt, I still feel like I can do it.''

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Furyk tabs Woods, Stricker as Ryder Cup vice captains

By Will GrayFebruary 20, 2018, 9:02 pm

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk has added Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker to his stable of vice captains to aid in his quest to win on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

Furyk made the announcement Tuesday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., site of this week's Honda Classic. He had previously named Davis Love III as his first vice captain, with a fourth expected to be named before the biennial matches kick off in France this September.

The addition of Woods and Stricker means that the team room will have a familiar feel from two years ago, when Love was the U.S. captain and Furyk, Woods, Stricker and Tom Lehman served as assistants.

This will be the third time as vice captain for Stricker, who last year guided the U.S. to victory as Presidents Cup captain. After compiling a 3-7-1 individual record as a Ryder Cup player from 2008-12, Stricker served as an assistant to Tom Watson at Gleneagles in 2014 before donning an earpiece two years ago on Love's squad at Hazeltine.

"This is a great honor for me, and I am once again thrilled to be a vice captain,” Stricker said in a statement. “We plan to keep the momentum and the spirit of Hazeltine alive and channel it to our advantage in Paris."

Woods will make his second appearance as a vice captain, having served in 2016 and also on Stricker's Presidents Cup team last year. Woods played on seven Ryder Cup teams from 1997-2012, and last week at the Genesis Open he told reporters he would be open to a dual role as both an assistant and a playing member this fall.

"I am thrilled to once again serve as a Ryder Cup vice captain and I thank Jim for his confidence, friendship and support," Woods said in a statement. "My goal is to make the team, but whatever happens over the course of this season, I will continue to do what I can to help us keep the cup."

The Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National in Paris. The U.S. has not won in Europe since 1993 at The Belfry in England.

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Watch: Guy wins $75K boat, $25K cash with 120-foot putt

By Grill Room TeamFebruary 20, 2018, 8:15 pm

Making a 120-foot putt in front of a crowd of screaming people would be an award in and of itself for most golfers out there, but one lucky Minnesota man recently got a little something extra for his effort.

The Minnesota Golf Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center has held a $100,000 putting contest for 28 years, and on Sunday, Paul Shadle, a 49-year-old pilot from Rosemount, Minnesota, became the first person ever to sink the putt, winning a pontoon boat valued at $75,000 and $25,000 cash in the process.

But that's not the whole story. Shadle, who describes himself as a "weekend golfer," made separate 100-foot and 50-foot putts to qualify for an attempt at the $100K grand prize – in case you were wondering how it's possible no one had ever made the putt before.

"Closed my eyes and hoped for the best," Shadle said of the attempt(s).

Hard to argue with the result.

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Tiger draws Sneds, Kizzire at Honda Classic

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 20, 2018, 7:43 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods will play alongside Patton Kizzire and Brandt Snedeker for the first two rounds of the Honda Classic.

The threesome will tee off at 7:45 a.m. ET Thursday off PGA National’s 10th tee, then 12:35 p.m. off the first tee in the second round Friday.

Woods is making his first start at the Honda, his hometown event, since 2014. He tied for second here in 2012, after a final-round 62.


Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


This is the first time he has ever played with Kizzire, a two-time winner this season and the FedExCup points leader.

Other notable groups for the first two rounds:

  • Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Daniel Berger: 7:35 a.m. Thursday, 12:25 p.m. Friday
  • Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Gary Woodland: 7:55 a.m. Thursday, 12:45 p.m. Friday
  • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Kevin Kisner: 12:25 p.m. Thursday, 7:35 a.m. Friday
  • Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington: 12:35 p.m. Thursday, 7:45 a.m. Friday
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The Social: In perfect harmony?

By Jason CrookFebruary 20, 2018, 7:00 pm

Bubba Watson re-emerges in the winner's circle but gets exposed on the hardwood, Mark Wahlberg tunes out Tiger Woods and if John Daly wants a drinking partner, he need look no further than ... John Daly?

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

Bubba Watson had himself a week.

The two-time Masters champion hung out with Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres, caught a taping of "The Big Bang Theory," played in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and still found some time to notch his first PGA Tour win in two years.

Watson's third victory at Riviera couldn't have come at a better time for the 39-year-old, with an annual trip down Magnolia Lane right around the corner. But don't let that distract you from the only Bubba highlight that mattered from the weekend:

Welcome to the block party, Bubba. Despite his former professional basketball playing wife's advice to stay out of the paint, Watson decided to challenge Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady at the hoop. You could say his challenge was accepted. And then some.

Watson, who picked up a couple of assists but also shot an air ball in the game, said afterwards that he "was just trying not to get hurt" and even poked a little fun at himself, calling out McGrady for committing a foul on social media.

But if these tweets from a couple of his PGA Tour peers are any indication, it will be a while before he lives this one down.

Sports fans probably take Bubba Golf for granted sometimes, no one plays the game like he does. Lets not make the same mistake with Bubba Basketball.

Want to know how far Tiger Woods has fallen? Sure, you could look at his 544th-world ranking or the current state of his game as he returns from injury, but the most telling sign came from his Wednesday pro-am round at the Genesis Open.

Woods was grouped with Mark Wahlberg for the day, and the superstar actor couldn't even be bothered to take the Apple AirPods out his ears – either one – for the entire round, even wearing them for the picture Woods posted on Instagram himself.

Marky Mark, you don't have to be his thunder buddy but at least show the man some common decency. He's still Tiger Freakin' Woods. Who is supposed to fake laugh at one of Tiger's patented hilarious dad jokes if all of his playing partners suddenly start listening to music during their rounds?

On a related note, guess Tigers are the only animals that Wahlberg won't talk to.

Something tells me this whole criminal thing isn't going to work out for these two.

Drinks were on John Daly Sunday after his hole-in-one at the Chubb Classic. But how many drinks? Well, that depends on who he’s drinking with.

If it’s with U.S. Olympian John Daly, the answer is, A LOT.

That's right, there's an American skeleton (headfirst luge for you newbs) racer competing in PyeongChang, South Korea, with the same name as the two-time major champ, and he couldn't help himself when asked about the similarity, jokingly saying he could keep up at the bar.

Of course, Daly (the golfer) wasn't just going to sit idly by while his name was dragged through the mud, tweeting out, basically, be careful what you wish for.

Somehow, someway, sliding headfirst down a frozen patch of ice with very little protection seems like a better idea than challenging Long John to a drinking contest. Just ask Andrew 'Beef' Johnston how it turned out.

If someone quits Twitter but they don't leave a long, drawn-out message on Twitter about why they're quitting Twitter before doing so, then did they even quit Twitter?

That's the riddle surrounding Lydia Ko's disappearance from the social media platform, one that the South Park Police Department would call, "suspicious."

The former LPGA world No. 1 has gone through all kinds of changes over the last couple of seasons, and added this curious move (on top of switching out her swing coach and caddie to start this season) because she said the app was “taking up [too much] storage on my phone.”

Whatever the reason, whether it be the storage issue she mentioned, or Twitter being a giant cesspool of negativity, here's to hoping it brings Ko happiness and a return to the winner's circle for the first time since 2016.

But we're sad to see her go.

After all, if people aren't freaking out on Twitter, what are we going to focus on here in The Social?

Rory McIlroy said last week after playing with Tiger Woods at the Genesis Open that the 14-time major champ gives up two strokes a tournament dealing with the hoopla that comes with being Tiger Woods.

That hasn't deterred John Peterson, who was on Twitter Monday openly recruiting Woods to play on his team for the Zurich Classic.

The April New Orleans PGA Tour stop switched to a team format last year, with Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith joining forces to win the first title.

Peterson followed up his original tweet by asking how many retweets he'd need to make it happen. We're no experts here, but probably more than the 132 it had at the time of this publication.

Peterson's followers had some fun with the request, applauding his effort as a shooter:

And hey, who knows, stranger things have happened. While the two may seem like an unlikely pairing, they have some stuff in common – Peterson won the 2012 Coca-Cola Walmart Open and Tiger, we think, has heard of an establishment known as Walmart.

So yeah, you could say the two are basically best friends at this point.