A Lost Year for Love And Weir

By Associated PressAugust 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
PGA of AmericaSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Davis Love III stood on his balcony at the Old Course Hotel as the early starters in the second round of the British Open played below. He had an afternoon tee time that day, but the hollow look on his face showed someone who knew he could only watch another major championship go by.
 
By the end of the day, he had missed the cut and was headed home early from a major for the second time this year.
 
I wanted a chance in all of them, and I havent gotten one yet, Love said.
 
Mike Weir had high hopes, too, and several players were quick to mention his name as someone who could crash the party of the so-called Big Five at the start of the year.
 
It fell apart in April after he tied for fifth in the Masters. A stomach virus caused Weir to vomit so much that he fell asleep on his bathroom floor and awoke the next morning with a wrenched back. Weir didnt give it enough time to heal and he paid the price. He missed the cut in six of his next seven tournaments.
 
I thought I was going to have a big year, Weir said Tuesday.
 
In that regard, Im disappointed.
 
So much of the focus this year has been on the Big Five, which has been whittled down to the Big Two going into the final major championship of the year. Tiger Woods has four victories, including the Masters and British Open to regain his No. 1 world ranking. Vijay Singh also has four victories, and top 10s in all three majors.
 
Ernie Els won three times overseas before a season-ending knee injury. Phil Mickelson has come up empty in the majors, although he won three times before the Masters. Retief Goosen won last week at the International.
 
Love and Weir are simply trying to salvage a lost year.
 
They were among the top 10 in the world when the season began, and now are in the middle of the pack. Love has slipped to No. 18, while Weir is at No. 25. Neither is assured a spot in the Tour Championship. Both are No. 9 in their respective standings for the Presidents Cup, never dreaming they would be on the bubble.
 
The motto for the PGA Championship'Glorys Last Shot'takes on new meaning for them.
 
Can one week atone for a season gone haywire?
 
No, Love said. But you can forget about most of it.
 
Love turned 41 in April. Time is not on his side.
 
He has failed to win a PGA Tour event five of the last seven years. Love has had seven finishes in the top 10 this year, but no serious chances at winning. And he has taken himself out of the majors, opening with rounds of 76 at the Masters, 77 at the U.S. Open and 75 at the British Open in the tamest conditions.
 
The only cut he made came at Pinehurst No. 2, where he closed with rounds of 70-70-69 to tie for sixth.
 
After that, I figure Im good for the rest of the year, Love said.
 
He went to Turnberry and shot 62 before heading over to the British Open at St. Andrews. He was hitting the ball with authority during his practice round and felt as good as he ever as going into his favorite major. But he knew it was over after the first round.
 
You get six or eight shots back and its like, Where am I going to make up these shots? I got off to the same start at the U.S. Open. Thats when you get frustrated, he said.
 
Weir knows the feeling.
 
Singh and Els were among those who predicted a big season for the Canadian, who had taken the winter off so he could start off fresh. A runner-up finish at Pebble Beach was promising, as was his tie for fifth at the Masters, even though Weir never had a chance to win.
 
Then he got sick and fell asleep on the bathroom floor.
 
It sounds like a funny thing, sleeping that way, Weir said.
 
But I couldnt swing a club for a week. When I got to Wachovia, I couldnt swing. I shouldnt have played there. I never had a chance to recover. I tried to stretch, I had my trainer with me, but I still ingrained some bad habits.
 
He failed to break par over the next four months, until he finally felt strong enough to work with swing coach Mike Wilson, putting in six- and seven-hour practice sessions.
 
Weir tied for 15th at the International last week, and his outlook is changing.
 
Im working as hard as ever, Weir said. Just feeling healthy and setting to the ball nice and solid, I havent been able to do that the last few months. I think Im on the right track.
 
Love is hoping his low standing for the Presidents Cup is a good omen. The last time he was near the bottom of a list going into the PGA Championship was in 1997 at Winged Foot, where he won his only major.
 
Weir will go to Montreal on Monday to join PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in announcing that the Presidents Cup will be played in Canada in 2007. It would look foolish if Canadas biggest golf star were not on this years team.
 
But he doesnt think that will be the case.
 
In a year when Weir and Love have been falling stars, they cling to the idea that Glorys Last Shot might contain a surprise for them.
 
This week, Weir said, can make up for a lot.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.