No Complaints Coming From Love

By Associated PressJune 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- It wasnt that long ago, just a few weeks to be exact, that Davis Love III was both sounding and looking an awful lot like something he said he never wanted to be'an aging player complaining that golf courses these days are simply too tough.
Those young whippersnappers who set up courses today just dont understand people want to see birdies, not bogeys, he groused. Nobody ever gets a chance to shoot 20-under anymore and have some real fun like we used to. The next thing you know, theyll start growing knee-deep rough at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
I dont want to sound like the guy whos 44 and not playing good, Love said at the Memorial. But its really hard.
So is the U.S. Open, something Love should know a lot about after playing in the last 19 of them and breaking par only once. He might have been tempted to skip this one at his age and get in some practice for next weeks Travelers Championship, a place where birdies are still in abundance.
He didnt, even though he had to walk 36 holes and shoot an awfully good score while doing so just to get here. He didnt, even though he was thrown into a threesome almost as an afterthought in a spot usually reserved for an amateur player.
Maybe theres something liberating about coming to Torrey Pines with no baggage after long being known as best player to win just one major. Maybe Love gained a little incentive after missing the Masters and losing his streak of playing in 70 straight majors.
Maybe, just maybe, after being written off by almost everyone, hes still got a little game left.
I think physically I can play the game, Love said after inching toward the midway lead with a 2-under 69 that left him two shots back. And I think if I get on a roll, get my confidence going, I can have a few more really, really good years, and possibly great.
Loves golf shrink would likely advise him not to get that far ahead. The mind guys like to remind players to stay in the moment and dont think about consequences.
But while theres still plenty of time left for his annual June swoon, Love seems to believe hes still got something in the tank at an age where players start looking back at their careers, not ahead.
As if to prove it, he hasnt complained about the difficulty of Torrey Pines. Yet.
I love the challenge of the way the USGAs got it set up, Love said. Its obviously'I dont know the right way to put it'its more fun to play than the last two years. There are some opportunities out there. If you hit good shots, you know youre going to get rewarded, and if you hit bad shots, you know that its not the end of the world.
Thats a lesson that seems to have taken a long time to sink in for Love, whose talent is about the only thing that hasnt been questioned in a career now in its 23rd year. Hes won 19 times during that span, including the 1997 PGA Championship, but the consensus among most in golf is that he should have done much more.
Surprisingly enough, Love agreed in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
I know I should have and could have won more, he said. Everybody wants more for you. I want it more than anyone wants it for me.
Love hasnt made things any easier for himself along the way. Hes taken it upon himself to police the integrity of the game, which has led to confrontations with photographers and fans who might make noise at the wrong moment, and he once threatened to quit in the final of the Match Play Championship against Tiger Woods if a man who yelled No Love wasnt removed from the course.
He walked out of an interview at the PGA Championship two years ago when asked about what Greg Norman said about drug testing, saying he wouldnt respond to anything Norman said.
And if he would have seen Phil Mickelson wearing a shirt without a collar in the first round of the Open, he would have been horrified.
Love, though, has had bigger things to worry about recently than protecting the game. He tore up his left ankle when he stepped in a hole during a friendly game last September, had to spend months rehabbing it and failed to qualify for the Masters for the first time since 1990.
After having to qualify for this Open, he seems to understand hes running out of chances for future majors.
I got 36 holes this weekend that could help me get in a lot of majors, he said. And then if not, I go to Detroit. Go 36 again for the (British) Open. So its nice that its out there for me, and I think as long as I stay positive and keep playing hard, that good things will happen.
As long as he doesnt think about how hard the course is, they just might.
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.