Mahan takes Rd 1 lead at The Barclays

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
the Barclays Logo 2007PARAMUS, N.J. ' With two perfect shots, Hunter Mahan put a terrible week at the PGA Championship behind him at The Barclays.
 
Playing in calm morning conditions at demanding Ridgewood Country Club, Mahan split the fairway with his opening drive, then watched his 98-yard sand wedge shot spin back into the hole for an unlikely eagle. Seventeen holes and eight birdies later, he signed for a 9-under 62, good for a four-stroke lead Thursday in the FedExCup playoff opener.
 
I was surprised to shoot so low, Mahan said. I didnt have any idea what was going to be a good score out here. Its definitely not that easy. Its perfect conditions. Youve got great weather. The course is in perfect shape right now. Playing in the morning helped a lot. The greens were a little bit more receptive.
 
Two weeks ago in the PGA at Oakland Hills, the 26-year-old former Oklahoma State player shot 81-79 to miss the cut, and made news with critical remarks about the Ryder Cup in a Golf Magazine interview.
 
I wanted to get that out of my system and just play golf today ' and I did, Mahan said. It was a pretty tough week, but you learn from your mistakes.
 
Englands Paul Casey shot a 66, and Bo Van Pelt, Kevin Streelman, Mathew Goggin, Charley Hoffman and afternoon starter Dudley Hart had 67s. Steve Stricker, the winner last year at Westchester Country Club, topped the group at 68.
 
Trying to earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team as one of Paul Azingers four captains picks, Mahan hit 11 of 14 fairways, 15 greens in regulation and needed only 23 putts.
 
The greens are good. I mean, theyre perfect. Perfect speed, Mahan said. I think you can be aggressive. I was committed to my lines and made aggressive strokes.
 
Mahan birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 7, holing putts from 21, 12 and 4 feet, to get to 5 under. He bogeyed the par-3 eighth, got the stroke back with a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 10 and added a 14-footer on 12.
 
On the 615-yard, par-5 13th, he hammered a 332-yard drive, hit a 3-wood 265 yards to just short of the green and chipped to 4 feet to set up another birdie. He followed that with a curving 40-footer on the par-3 14th, and capped the round on the par-4 18th with a 180-yard shot to 3 feet for his eighth birdie.
 
Mahan, 31st in the FedExCup standings, established the course record in the first PGA TOUR round on the A.W. Tillinghast-designed layout ' a composite of Ridgewoods three nine-hole courses.
 
I thought the scores werent going to be as low, Phil Mickelson said after his morning 70. Hunter had such a great round and there were some 4- or 5-under par rounds. So my 1-under par round is not as good as I thought it would be, but I thought I played well and Ill take it.
 
With the groupings based on FedExCup points, Mickelson played alongside British Open and PGA winner Padraig Harrington (72) and Kenny Perry (69), effectively the points leader with top-ranked Tiger Woods sidelined by a knee injury.
 
The rough here is terrible, said Perry, returning from an eye injury that forced him to withdraw after the first round of the PGA.
 
The 48-year-old Perry, a three-time winner this season, wondered how Mahan managed to shoot a 62 on the tree-lined course that places a premium on accurate driving.
 
It never ceases to amaze me, the PGA TOUR, Perry said. There are tournaments where Ill shoot 6 or 7 under and thats as good as I can play and the winner is 21 under and Im thinking, `How did they do that? Did they quit after 15 or what?
 
Harrington, the 2005 winner at Westchester, made a double bogey on 18 ' his ninth hole ' and also had a 6 on the 586-yard par-5 third.
 
I know its difficult out there and the rough is tough, but that was just bad play, the Irish star said.
 
Mahan had his fifth 62 in five full seasons on the Tour. Last year, he opened with a 62 en route to a playoff victory in the Travelers and also matched his career best in the Canadian Open and at Westchester, the tournament site the previous 41 seasons.
 
When he gets hot, he does do some crazy stuff, Goggin said. If you drive the ball well you have some birdie chances and, if you dont, you struggle to break par.
 
DIVOTS
 
The top 120 in FedExCup standings after the tournament will qualify for the Deutsche Bank Championship next week in Norton, Mass. The field will be cut to 70 for the BMW Championship in St. Louis and to 30 for the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Rich Beem had a 68. He finished third last week in North Carolina, closing with two 63s, to jump from 166th to 114th in the standings. Streelmans parents are from nearby Glen Rock and his grandparents are buried in a cemetery next to the course.
 
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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:







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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."