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.''

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.