Notes Big Moves for the Big Three

By Associated PressSeptember 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. -- Phil Mickelson played an eight-hole stretch in 7 under par. Right about the time he was cooling off, Tiger Woods played six straight holes in 6 under par.
 
Filling out the 'Big Three' was Vijay Singh, who had his best round in a month and was bringing up the rear.
 
The glamour group at the Deutsche Bank Championship lived up to expectations Saturday. One day after they combined to go 3 over par in the opening round, they were a combined 19 under in swirling conditions at TPC Boston.
 
Woods and Mickelson each had a 64. Singh, in danger of missing three straight cuts for the first time in his career, had a 66.
 
'We all made some putts and got it going,' Woods said. 'When you get in those groups, when you all feed off one another, when you're all going low, all making birdies, those are fun pairings to get involved in.'
 
Mickelson was the first to get going, chipping in for birdie on the 15th and for eagle on the 18th, sprinkling in birdies at No. 16 and No. 1, then hitting a flop shot over a mound on the par-5 second that spun back to 3 feet for another birdie.
 
'I was 7 under through eight holes, and that kind of was the round for me,' said Mickelson, who was at 8-under 134.
 
He was six shots ahead of Woods after 11 holes when Woods took off. After a 15-foot birdie on the third, Woods drove the 298-yard fourth green and holed the 35-foot eagle putt, then added birdies on the sixth and seventh holes. He wound up at 6-under 136.
 
'I just needed to make a few more birdies, and all of a sudden I caught fire on the back nine,' Woods said. 'I think I went 6 under through six, and that basically got me back into the tournament.'
 
Singh was at 3 over for the tournament until running off four straight birdies around the turn.
 
'We were more into it today,' Singh said. 'That was more how we thought we'd play.'
 
It was the first time on the PGA TOUR they played together, courtesy of a PGA TOUR Playoffs system that groups players in the first two rounds according to their standing in the points list. Woods was No. 4, Mickelson No. 5 and Singh No. 6.
 
REGULAR RICH:
Rich Beem lives the good life on the PGA TOUR, playing the best courses with the best players, taking part in pro-ams with the rich and famous. But he still enjoys going back to his roots -- a municipal golf course, a few beers, lots of laughs.
 
Beem was having lunch with his caddie, Billy Heim, on Monday in Rhode Island when he mentioned he was going to play golf and the waitress recommended a course in Providence called Triggs, an old Donald Ross design.
 
'I played with two police officers from Rhode Island,' Beem said. 'They had their day off. They finished playing golf, but I don't know how. They were really enjoying their day off.'
 
This wasn't the first time Beem has gone from TPCs to municipal tracks. He was asked if he would pay $400 to play Pebble Beach.
 
'Oh, God, no,' Beem said. 'But I'd pay $15 to play El Dump-o-rama down the street with the bowl-shaped greens and the bunkers that haven't been raked in four years. Absolutely. That's fun. That's fun golf. We play these beautiful courses all the time, but what's wrong with going out and playing fun golf now and then, shooting whatever, play in your bare feet.'
 
Heim is more than just a caddie. He lost in the final match of the 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur to Brett Quigley, who happened to play with Beem the first two rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
 
How does a former PGA champion wind up on a municipal golf course?
 
'I'm just another guy who took a day off of a work and went to go play golf,' he said. 'Is that so bad?'
 
LOVE HURTS:
Davis Love III left the TPC Boston with nowhere to play the next two weeks.
 
Headed toward the worst season of his career, Love needed at least a top-10 finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship to advance to the third round of the playoffs.
 
But he missed the cut with rounds of 75-70, and will not be at the TOUR Championship for the first time since 1994.
 
It is not clear how often Love will play in the Fall Series, if at all. Those are seven events that start the week after the TOUR Championship and are designed for those trying to finish in the top 125 to keep their cards. That won't be a problem, as Love already has earned more than $1 million.
 
His worst season as a pro was his rookie year in 1986 when he finished 77th on the money list. Love started this week at No. 78.
 
EARLY DEPARTURES:
David Toms was No. 27 in the playoff standings going into the Deutsche Bank Championship, and now he'll be scrambling next week to get into the TOUR Championship. Toms opened with a 75 and was 6 over for the tournament after nine holes Saturday when he withdrew with a back injury.
 
That will put him around No. 30 going to the BMW Championship outside Chicago.
 
Stephen Leaney also withdrew after nine holes (5 over) with a wrist injury. Fred Funk (76) and J.P. Hayes (79) withdrew without starting the second round. Those three were outside the top 70 and saw their FedExCup season end.
 
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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    FALLING

    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.


    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.


    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1956-57

    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    EUROPE'S BIG 5

    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1969-70

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.


    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.