Notes Conflicts Abound
Geiberger became the first player to be fined $20,000 for being put on the clock 10 times in one season.
'I understand they're trying to do something about slow play and trying to get a system that works,' Geiberger said. 'But it's not a system that shows you're a slow player.'
The tour last year introduced a tough penalty structure to combat slow play. Some players were concerned that they would be guilty by association if they kept getting paired with notoriously slow players, because everyone in the group is considered on the clock when they are out of position.
Geiberger pointed out another situation he feels was unfair.
Tour officials pay more attention to the first three groups, because they set the pace for the rest of the field. PGA Tour winners get later tee times, so Geiberger has been among the first off because he had not won since 1999.
'If you're in the first three groups, those are the one trying to keep the pace up,' he said. 'If I'm in the middle of the field, the winner's bracket, and you're a minute or two over, they let it slide a little.'
Mark Russell, senior rules official for the PGA Tour, could not comment on Geiberger because the tour does not disclose fines. But he agreed earlier groups get more scrutiny, saying a rules official is assigned to the lead groups every Thursday and Friday.
'That's the way it has to be,' Russell said. 'It would be like the lead car driving 20 mph. You think there's going to be a traffic jam? But there's a ton of others in the same situation. Those guys have got set the pace.'
Geiberger said he was put on the clock twice at the Wachovia Championship. One of those was when Scott Hend had to get two rulings in three holes.
The 10th time, which cost him $20,000, irritates him the most.
It came in the Buick Championship at Hartford after the short par-4 15th, where players are asked to let the group behind them tee off before finishing the hole. Geiberger says Bob Burns drove beyond the green onto the 16th tee box. Once Geiberger finished the 15th, he had to wait for Burns to get a drop and play to the green before his group could even get on the 16th tee.
'Of course, there's going to be separation,' Geiberger said. 'It doesn't mean they should put us on the clock. It doesn't mean I should get a $20,000 fine that I had to pay.'
Geiberger will be able to put his theory to test. His victory in Greensboro will put him in the middle of the tee times with other PGA Tour winners for the next two years.
MATCH PLAY CONFLICT
The European tour schedule was released last week, and one change could affect non-European players.
The World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, usually played in early October, was moved to Sept. 15-18. That's one week before the Presidents Cup is played in Virginia.
The three-time defending champion is Ernie Els, who now is faced with the prospect of playing as many as 144 holes of match play before his International team in trying to beat the Americans.
'I'm not sure why they moved that,' Els said. 'It's going to be a bit of a grind. I can't see too many guys flying there, coming back. It's hard doing that. I'm going to do it, but I'm just crazy.'
Vijay Singh typically plays the HSBC World Match Play and is a past champion. But he likely will skip next year to defend his title in the 84 Lumber Classic, with which he also has a sponsorship deal.
If the European tour was hopeful of getting a stronger field, it might not work. Assuming Retief Goosen is eligible for Wentworth, he doubts he will play.
'It's going to be a tough one,' Goosen said. 'I'll probably play over here (PGA Tour) if it's a good tournament.'
Besides, Goosen has never been a big fan of Wentworth.
'It's a great event,' he said. 'I wish it move around instead of being there all the time. There's only one player who likes it, and he wins there every time.'
AUGUSTA ON HIS MIND
Phil Mickelson has made it a habit of playing somewhere else than the tournament course during the week, and he caught plenty of grief for doing that at the Ryder Cup.
No one will raise any eyebrows this week.
Lefty plans to play Wednesday at Augusta National for the first time since he won the Masters.
'I've gone there and played a bunch, but not since I've won,' Mickelson said. 'It will be my first round back, so I'm trying to get a little bit of positive momentum. I can't wait to get out there and just relive a lot of the shots and putts of Sunday's final round.'
SLAM IN THE AIR
Even if U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen pulls out of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Tiger Woods says he won't play the Nov. 23-24 tournament in Hawaii that he won five straight years.
Goosen's spot in the major winners-only field is in doubt because his wife is expecting their second child on Nov. 25, a day after the two-day event at Poipu Bay. Ernie Els would be first alternate, but he already said he will would not play.
The second alternate is Woods, who will be on his way from Japan to California that week. He said he wouldn't play because he didn't qualify by winning a major.
Woods won the PGA Grand Slam in 1998 as an alternate, but he drew a distinction.
'One person won two majors that year,' he said, referring to Mark O'Meara's victories in the Masters and British Open. 'I felt it was my right to go. This year, we had four different winners, so I don't think it's my right.'
The third alternate is Justin Leonard, whose agent said he would play if Goosen withdraws.
Tiger Woods will be competing against women twice during the silly season. First is a one-day Skins competition next week in Korea with K.J. Choi, Colin Montgomerie and Se Ri Pak. At the end of the month, Woods is playing in the original Skins Game in California against Fred Couples, Adam Scott and Annika Sorenstam. ... Phil Mickelson will give $105,600 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Mickelson and his sponsors, Ford and BearingPoint, gave $100 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle to a foundation that provides scholarships for children of Special Operations personnel killed in combat.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Phil Mickelson was 144 under par in the 16 stroke-play tournaments he played through the PGA Championship. He was 17 over par in the three events he completed after the majors.
'It's Tiger Woods without the charisma.' - Paul Azinger, on Vijay Singh's season.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai
While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.
Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.
The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.
The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.
Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.
''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''
Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.
Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.
Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.
Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.
''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''
The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.
Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.
''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''
If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it
NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.
She says she always gets nervous starting a round.
You don’t believe it, though.
She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .
Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .
Or disarming ticking bombs . . .
“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.
Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.
Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.
Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.
At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.
She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.
She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.
And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.
There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.
Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.
It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.
Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.
Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.
“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”
About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.
Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.
“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”
David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.
“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”
Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.
Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . .
“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.
Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.
“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”
Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.
“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.
Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.
National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.
The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.
Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.
These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: