Mediate shares lead Norman one back

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England -- From sunny San Diego to bleak and blustery Royal Birkdale, the expression on Rocco Mediates face didnt change.
 
He watched one final birdie tumble into the cup for a 1-under 69 and a three-way share of the lead in the British Open, straightened his 45-year-old back, then dropped his jaw into a smile that said, How did that just happen?
 
Others must have been wondering the same thing Thursday.
 
Adam Scott
Adam Scott held the lead most of the day before two late bogeys. (Getty Images)
Ernie Els was playing some of his best golf in the worst of the weather until taking 45 shots on the back nine and posting an 80, his highest score in nearly two decades at his favorite major.
 
Phil Mickelson was up to his knees in grass right of the sixth green and never found his ball, taking a triple bogey that sent him to a 79.
 
Robert Allenby and Graeme McDowell, who watched on television as the early starters suffered through raging wind and stinging rain coming off an angry Irish Sea, must have wondered where all that nasty weather went as they made their way around Birkdale in tamer wind to join Mediate atop the leaderboard.
 
Stranger still was seeing 53-year-old newlywed Greg Norman in the hunt.
 
Indeed, how did all that happen?
 
I have no explanation for that whatsoever. No idea why that happened, said Mediate, still going strong after his epic playoff loss to Tiger Woods last month in the U.S. Open.
 
It was just one of those rounds, he said. It was just up and down, up and down, and a couple of birdies, and here we are. I would have been ecstatic with 73 or 74 today.
 
For those who thought his performance at Torrey Pines was merely a mirage, Mediate again found bright lines under leaden skies of the Lancashire Coast by bouncing back from three bogeys on the opening six holes by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 13th, chipping in from off the 17th green for birdie and ending his round with a 20-foot birdie.
 
Crazy stuff, he said.
 
Norman made enough par-saving putts to sustain momentum and finish at 70 along with Australian protege Adam Scott and Bart Bryant.
 
The group at 71 included Retief Goosen, who might have played the best golf of anyone.
 
Goosen awoke at 2 a.m. when rain pelted his windows, and he caught the brunt of the bad weather his entire round. He still managed four birdies and was under par most of the round until a pair of late bogeys.
 
How in the hell is he 1 under? Pat Perez said from the warmth of the locker room after an 82. I would pay to learn how to do that.
 
The leaders caught a break by getting slightly better weather, although it was by no means easy. The average score in the opening round was about 76, driven up by 19 rounds in the 80s.
 
But they arrived at Royal Birkdale in good form.
 
McDowell, the first-round leader down the coast at Royal Liverpool in 2006, won the Scottish Open four days ago at Loch Lomond. Allenby lost in a playoff at the Stanford St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., last month, and tied for third two weeks ago at Congressional.
 
Even so, the British Open lived up to its billing as the major that sometimes requires the most luck. It wasnt a goofy bounce but the tee times, thanks to weather that shifted along with the tide in the middle of the 15 hours of action.
 
We did get the better side of the draw, no doubt about it, Norman said. When you watch it in the morning, you feel sorry for the guys. But theres times when you say, Well, Ive been there before. Ive been on that side of the draw, too. It all balances out, and you have to take advantage of it.
 
Former Masters champion Mike Weir did his best in the morning, making an eagle on the 17th for a 71.
 
Sergio Garcia, the betting favorite at Birkdale with Woods on the disabled list, was among the late starters but did not make his first birdie until the par-5 15th and had to settle for a 72. Also at 72 was Brandt Snedeker, who has contended in both majors this year. After five bogeys on the first six holes, he was 3 under the rest of the way.
 
Now for the gloomy side of this opening round.
 
It was miserable, miserable, miserable weather, Vijay Singh said after his 80. It was just a miserable day.
 
Mickelson, at No. 2 the highest-ranked player at a major for the first time, was not terribly bothered by his 79 because he figured everyone else would struggle. When the winds died slightly, so did his hopes. He was tied for 123rd.
 
You cant play, Simon Dyson said after an 82 while playing in the opening group. You put a 4-handicapper on that first tee and theyd probably shoot 100. Thats no exaggeration. I dont think Ive played a par 4 that I couldnt reach with my best drive and my best 3-wood, and theres three of them.
 
Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson responded to the complaints with a statement as old as this championship.
 
Links golf, he said. Tough day by the seaside.
 
It was so brutal that two major champions didnt even bother to finish. Sandy Lyle stopped after 10 holes and former PGA champion Rich Beem made his exit after a 46 on the front.
 
Its the greatest golf known to man, Beem said. It was just difficult.
 
McDowell considered himself fortunate. The British Open starts at 6:30 a.m. and did not finish until nearly 10 p.m., offering the late starters a chance to tune into the BBC and see how the course is playing.
 
I sat at home this morning with my breakfast cereal and cup of coffee in my hand going, God, do I really have to go out there this afternoon? Obviously, we got pretty lucky, McDowell said.
 
He added to his good fortunes on the 499-yard sixth hole, playing dead into the wind toward the sea, when he got greedy with his second shot out of the rough and advanced it only 10 yards. He had to lay up to 9-iron range, hit that 30 feet and made it for bogey.
 
If I made double there, Im obviously feeling pretty bad about things, McDowell said.
 
This was a day where a lot of players felt plenty miserable'except for Mediate, of course. Even in the chill of late afternoon, he felt the warmth of the gallery, of another good round and what is shaping up as a magical summer.
 
A lot of crazy things have happened the last six weeks, Mediate said.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.