Monty takes three-shot lead in Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 23, 2015, 9:09 pm

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Colin Montgomerie was long considered one of the best players in golf who had never won a major championship.

As a senior, he has said no more.

Montgomerie shot a 2-under 70 on Saturday on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort to take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Senior PGA Championship.

At 5-under 211, the 51-year-old Scot was in position to win his third senior major championship in a year. He won the Senior PGA last year at Harbor Shores in Michigan, and took the U.S. Senior Open in July in Oklahoma.

''It was frustrating to come to these championships and walk off with the runner-ups' medal,'' Montgomerie said. ''I've done that five times. You try your damnedest and you come up a shot light.

''I'm more relaxed now. I'm more relaxed than I was. My temperament is more consistent and I think that's helping. I'm enjoying it, I really am. I'm a great believer that if you enjoy something, you're usually quite good at it.''

Bernhard Langer, a four-time winner in senior majors, was second after a 68. He eagled the 415-yard, par-4 eighth hole and closed with consecutive birdies after a bogey at the par-5 16th.

Montgomerie and Langer will play in the final twosome Sunday, just like they did last year at Harbor Shores, when Montgomerie shot a 65 and won by four.

Scott Verplank, Esteban Toledo and Brian Henninger were tied for third at 1 under. Verplank shot 70, Toledo 73, and Henninger 74.

Henninger made a triple bogey on the 16th to drop out of a share of the lead. His second shot on the 539-yard hole darted right, into deep, deep rough and he had to declare his ball lost.

Second-round leader Tom Lehman had a 79 to drop into a tie for 13th at 2 over.

''I just didn't make them,'' said Lehman, who had three three-putts and 34 putts in all.

Langer was fortified by his birdie-birdie finish, but he wondered what might have been after hitting a wedge from 80 yards over the green at 16 and making bogey and missing a couple short putts.

''I had two of the worst lip-outs ever in my life,'' Langer said. ''On No. 3, I hit a putt that went in on the left, went all the way around and came back out this way. So it went 460 degrees.''

Thirty of the 76 players who made the cut shot par or better on a sunny Saturday with a tricky wind. Eleven players go into the final round within six shots of Montgomerie.

''I am where I am. I would rather be leading by eight, but I'm not,'' said one of them, Verplank, who has struggled with injuries over his two Champions Tour seasons.

Verplank and the rest can by comforted by the severity of the course. Things can happen fast on it. They happened fast Saturday.

Langer holed a 7-iron from 162 yards for his eagle at No. 8.

A few minutes later and a few groups behind, Lehman three-putted No. 6 for a bogey. One group ahead, Toledo half-shanked his tee shot into the pond alongside the par-3 seventh green and made double bogey. Then Lehman missed the green at No. 7 and made another bogey.

Suddenly, Langer, Lehman, Toledo and Montgomerie were tied for the lead at 2 under. Anything can happen on a course as severe as Dye's treeless, windswept hilltop monster.

''There's a potential double around every corner here,'' said Montgomerie, who had a lone bogey Saturday. ''Long day ahead tomorrow. There's a seven-mile walk, and the emotions will go up and down like a roller coaster.''

Getty Images

McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

Getty Images

Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

Getty Images

Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

Getty Images

Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.