Notes Broken Hand Flirting with 59

By Associated PressSeptember 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
BMW ChampionshipLEMONT, Ill. -- Arron Oberholser has been struggling with injuries to his hand and wrist since the U.S. Open, and it finally caught up with him Thursday when he withdrew from the BMW Championship after eight holes.
 
Oberholser, who tied for second last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, is at No. 29 in the standings for the PGA TOUR Playoffs. If no one else behind him does anything, he could still wind up in the top 30 and qualify for the Tour Championship.
 
Either way, he won't be at the TOUR Championship next week in Atlanta.
 
'I won't be able to play at East Lake, even if I made it,' he said. 'Finishing the year at East Lake in the top 30 ... you've had a good year. I love the course there and was pointing toward that. I just can't go any more.'
 
Oberholser was 3 over through eight holes when he walked off the course.
 
His hands have been bothering him since Oakmont, and the injuries include a fracture in the left hand. Oberholser isn't sure if the fracture is getting worse or if he's having to compensate in other areas of his hands, putting more stress on him.
 
'I just have a whole mess of issues right now -- arms and wrists and hands,' he said.
 
He plans at least three weeks of rest and therapy at least three times a week. Doctors have told him that he should be able to play in time for a new Fall Series tournament in the Phoenix area that is six weeks away.
 
Oberholser's withdraw meant 65 players remained in the field.
 
BARKING BACK
Stewart Cink was more perturbed than most when he heard a parade of complaints about the FedExCup from various players, who suggested the tour didn't consult them about the changes.
 
Cink was on the front lines as a member of the PGA TOUR policy board. He also was in player meetings that were not well-attended.
 
'It's been documented for a year now in print,' he said. 'I don't see how you can complain about not knowing. As far as being left out of the process, I think that a lot of players were asked, just about everybody was given an opportunity. We had abysmal attendance at player meetings. That's our forum. If you can't take the time to come to the player meeting and voice your opinion, then how else are we supposed to get it?'
 
Cink said players shouldn't gripe about anything until after the FedExCup is over, then figure out how to make it better.
 
BIG STRETCH
Tiger Woods can't relate to guys on the bubble to make the TOUR Championship, or any bubble. But there was a time he had to play a lot of golf to reach a goal. After turning pro in 1996 at age 20, Woods was given seven starts to make enough money to avoid going to PGA TOUR qualifying school.
 
'My outlook was to get into a rhythm of playing week after week because I had never done that,' he said. 'Then on top of that, get a win somewhere, and it will take care of everything.'
 
He tied for 60th in Milwaukee, finished 11th at the Canadian Open and had a chance to win at the Quad City Classic until he coughed up a 54-hole lead to Ed Fiori.
 
'That's why I was so bummed out when I played that bad against 'The Gripper,'' Woods said, alluding to the strong grip Fiori used. 'I knew that if I just won that event, I have a card for two years and I don't have to go to Q-school.'
 
He clinched his card with a tie for third the next week at the B.C. Open, took a week off, then won in Las Vegas for the first of what is now 59 career victories.
 
NO RAIN
Cog Hill already was soft from rain on the eve of the first round. Making it even easier for the players was being allowed to lift, clean and place their balls in the short grass.
 
The rain never arrived.
 
'The fairways slowed up, but more the greens,' Tiger Woods said. 'When you have ball in hand, you're firing at just about every flag. It's one of those things where you felt like you had to shoot something in the mid-60s or else you're going to be left behind.'
 
It wasn't quite that bad.
 
Only 28 players out of the 65 who finished their rounds shot in the 60s, although only 22 players failed to break par.
 
ROSE DREAMS
Justin Rose made a 45-foot birdie on his ninth hole to shoot 29 on the front at Cog Hill, then rolled in a birdie from 20 feet at No. 10 and had a simple up-and-down for birdie at the par-5 11th. Just like that, he was 8 under through 11 holes and thinking of a certain magical number.
 
Rose would have needed four birdies over the last seven holes for a 59.
 
He played them 2 over and shot 65.
 
'It briefly came across my mind on the 11th hole, but I never got really excited about it from that point of view,' he said. 'I knew it was a par 71, which is always a little easier than a par 72.'
 
Rose knows what it's like. He had a birdie putt for 59 on the easy Palm course at Disney last year, and settled for a 60. Turns out he didn't even win the tournament, finishing five shots behind Joe Durant.
 
'It's always disappointing when you're 8 under par through 11 and you finish 6 under,' he said. 'But at the same time, I think you've got to realize it's certainly not an easy course.'
 
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