Love Playing Again After Emotional Time Off

By Associated PressMay 20, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Bank of America ColonialFORT WORTH, Texas - During the Bank of America Colonial pro-am, several amateurs asked Davis Love III about skipping last year's tournament and last week's Byron Nelson Championship. The answer to both was the same.
'Those kind of questions, you really don't want to go into it,' Love said Wednesday, a day before the start of the Colonial. 'I had to be at home this time last year is kind of my stock answer. But we got through a year, and now we can move on.'
Love missed both ends of the PGA Tour's Texas two-step and another tournament last year after he found his brother-in-law dead with a self-inflicted gunshot.
The one-year anniversary of Jeffrey Knight's death was Sunday, also the final round of the Nelson. So Love withdrew and stayed home.
'I wanted to play and had planned on playing for a long time, but then the closer it came to the year anniversary, I felt it would be better for me to be with my family,' Love said. 'It turned out to be a great weekend. I spent a lot of time with the family and a lot of time on the driving range.'
Love said he misses his brother-in-law and father, who died in a 1988 plane crash, every day and that specific dates don't change his feelings.
'But for a lot of the family (last week) was an emotional week,' he said.
Now Love is back at what he knows he does well: playing golf Thursday through Sunday.
Love is No. 6 on the money list. Masters champion Phil Mickelson (No. 2) is the only higher-ranked player in the field this week.
'I love Colonial,' said Love, with top-five finishes his last two trips to Hogan's Alley in 2000 and 2002. 'I'm ready to play.'
Most of the attention at Colonial Country Club last year was on Annika Sorenstam, who became the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour. This week, the focus is back on the men and the 7,054-yard course Tiger Woods won't play.
The world's No. 1 golfer has said Colonial doesn't suit his game and indicated the par-70 course of tree-lined fairways, doglegs and difficult par 3s is outdated.
'Sure, you can't hit driver every hole, but who says you have to?' said Justin Leonard, who shot a Colonial-record 61 last year. 'I certainly don't think this golf course is outdated. It's a nice break from a lot of the golf courses that we play.'
Defending champion Kenny Perry calls Colonial 'a great old course' that has stood the test of time.
Perry knows he will always be remembered as the player who won Sorenstam's tournament. But he did a lot more than that last year.
Perry followed his record 19 under par win, his fifth overall victory and first in three years, by winning the Memorial and at 42 becoming the PGA Tour's oldest back-to-back winner since 1990.
'It was just a magical two weeks,' he said.
But he wasn't finished. He was just getting started on the best stretch of his 17-year PGA career.
Perry tied for third at the U.S. Open and then won the Greater Milwaukee Open. He never had won more than once in a year, and went on to finish sixth on the money list at $4.4 million - more than double what he had ever earned in a season.
'The pressure's not really on me because I don't really expect to duplicate what I did last year,' Perry said. 'What I did was incredible. It was magical.'
Perry quietly got a share of the 36-hole lead last year while Sorenstam missed the cut by four strokes at 5 over.
After Sorenstam left, Perry shot a third-round 61. He led by eight strokes going into Sunday, and won by six strokes even after Leonard's closing 61.
Perry has three top-10 finishes in 11 tournaments this year. But he finished 59th at the Nelson, his first tournament since missing the cut at the Masters.
Love has five top-10 finishes in 10 events, but in the last five has finished in the top 20 only once, at the Masters (sixth).
'I feel like my game's real close,' Love said. 'I've been making enough birdies and enough eagles, but I'm just having a bad hole here and there, a bad day here and there, keeping me from winning.
'I'm looking forward to this summer, obviously three more majors and a lot of big tournaments coming up. So I'm pretty positive about the year's start.'
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.