Notes Couples Making the Most of His Chances

By Associated PressMay 8, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Fred Couples didnt realize until a few months ago that he wasnt eligible for The Players Championship, an event he has won twice and counts among his favorite.
Couples missed nearly all of last year with back problems, so he wasnt among the top 125 on the money list. But with so many players pulling out, from Tiger Woods to Martin Kaymer of Germany, Couples kept moving up the alternate list until he got in.
He made the most out of his 25th start at Sawgrass.
Couples was among the leaders until a bogey from the bunker on the 14th, and a three-putt bogey on the 17th, leading to a 70. But he can only imagine being at Sawgrass and waiting to hear if he got in.
Not to be mean, I just dont have that in me, he said. If I sat here for three days and didnt get in, I think Id be miserable for a month.
Couples didnt have to wait and he didnt have anything to complain about Thursday. Coming off an eighth-place finish at Wachovia, the two-time champion looked solid from the start.
I feel pretty confident, Couples said. Im not playing tremendous golf, but if you do a few things, you can inch your way up there.
After taking most of last year off to deal with chronic back problems, Couples returned this year and has put together several solid rounds. He has three top-10 finishes in nine events.
I dont feel as good as I did earlier in the year, but I feel better than I have in a long time, he said.
GOYDOS OFFERING: When Paul Goydos normally reaches the famed No. 17 island green at TPC Sawgrass during practice rounds, he reaches into his bag, grabs a few old balls and tosses them into the murky lagoon as some sort of offering to the golf gods.
He forgot to do it this week.
Maybe he should have. Goydos landed his tee shot, an 8-iron from 146 yards, pin high and it bounced over the back edge. He ended up with a bogey.
When I hit it, I had a bad feeling I hit it too good, said Goydos, who shot a 4-under 68 in the opening round and was two shots behind leader Sergio Garcia. I dont have that feeling very often. I was kind of hoping it was an optical illusion that it was going so far.
Goydos bounced back from the bogey with a par on the difficult 18th, then made three consecutive birdies to start his back nine.
So 17 wasnt all bad.
I even make the argument that that was the hole that kept me levelheaded, he said.
PERRYS VISION: Kenny Perry called his 4-under 68 Thursday the best round of golf he has played all year. It could have been much better had he not missed three fairly short birdie putts.
Perry missed from inside 10 feet on Nos. 6, 12 and 14, an all-too-familiar feeling for the 47-year-old Perry the last few years.
I just dont read the greens very good anymore, he said. I dont know if I cant seen. I dont know what it is. I just cant see the line like I used to for whatever reason.
Perry had Lasik surgery a decade ago, then had an enhancement a couple of years later. But his eyesight started deteriorating last year, forcing him to return to wearing contact lenses during the day and glasses at night. But his vision remains a problem, especially around the putting surface.
Its like I cant see the speed of the green. I cant see the grass. I cant see the grain., he said.
Making things even more baffling, Perry made a 35-footer for birdie on No. 3 and rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on the seventh.
I dont get it right now, he said.
PLAYER WITHDRAWALS: Masters champion Trevor Immelman, Hunter Mahan and Jason Gore withdrew from The Players Championship on Thursday.
Immelman headed home to Orlando after he woke up with a stomach virus, leaving the PGA TOUR's flagship event without the last two major champions. PGA champion Tiger Woods missed the tournament while recovering from knee surgery.
Mahan and Gore also withdrew because of illness. Mahan played two holes, parred both, and left the course. Gore walked away after four holes, which included a quadruple bogey and a double bogey.
Ryan Armour withdrew after the first round. He shot a 9-over 81.
Immelman has had a tough time since winning the Masters by three shots over Woods. He failed to break par in his last two tournaments, missing the cut at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship and the Wachovia Championship.
Immelman was replaced by Dustin Johnson, a 23-year-old rookie who opened with a 73.
Johnson arrived at the course around 6:15 a.m, and was sitting in the locker room watching television when he received a text message telling him he was teeing off at 8:30 a.m.
I kind of expected not to get in as first alternate, Johnson said. But it just happened I did. It was pretty exciting.
DIVOTS: The PGA TOUR does not market The Players Championship as a major, although it sure seems to act like one. In a subtle change this year, the name on the back of caddie bibs included the flag from the country where the player was born. And the players were introduced by name and country'and every other PGA TOUR event, they are introduced by name and the city where they live. Rich Beem holed out from the seventh fairway for an eagle on his way to a 72. Paul Goydos no longer has an endorsement deal with Pep Boys, so he wore a Long Beach State baseball cap.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.