Notes Daly double Vive Van de Velde

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England -- John Daly is out of excuses and the British Open after an 89 on Friday left him at 29-over-par for the tournament and a staggering 20 strokes on the wrong side of the cut line.
 
Daly began the week talking about injuries and blasting former coach Butch Harmon, who ended their brief relationship in March after saying Daly was drinking too much and more interested in partying than practicing. Daly said those remarks cost him endorsements and caused him considerable pain.
 
His round Friday included a quintuple-bogey 9 and three doubles. He missed an 18-inch putt at the 18th and was cheered by fans who howled when the Wild Thing was in his prime and pounding tee shots through the wind and into the distance. He walked off the green, stopped to sign an autograph'left-handed, while cradling a cigarette in his right hand'then signed his card and climbed into the back of a waiting car. He declined comment.
 
LINKS TO THE BOOTH: Four straight bogeys late in his round kept Tom Watson from making the cut. He followed his 74 in miserable weather with a 76 in slightly better conditions, missing a weekend tee time by one shot.
 
Next up for Watson is the Senior British Open at Royal Troon, one of five links courses where he won the British Open.
 
But he wont be leaving Royal Birkdale just yet.
 
Watson reluctantly agreed to try broadcasting this weekend and will join ABC Sports as a commentator.
 
They asked me to do it, and I said, I dont want to do that. But on the other hand, the British Open is not a bad place for you to do it, Watson said. You have a chance to play in it, see the golf course, and tell the viewers what you think of a particular shot. I said, You know what? I probably can do that. Let me give it a try. So thats what Im going to do the next couple days.
 
MONTY PLAYS ON: Colin Montgomerie started his round only three shots out of the lead. He finished hoping to make the cut.
 
He made it with one shot to spare, overcoming an atrocious start'two double bogeys and a triple bogey before reaching the seventh tee. The worst of it was No. 5, a triple bogey from the fairway. After an approach into thick grass, Monty not only whiffed with a wedge, the attempt buried the ball even deeper.
 
He took a penalty drop, and it rolled into a divot.
 
I didnt want to go on, he said.
 
But he answered with birdies on his next two holes and wound up with a 75 that at least allowed him to keep playing.
 
Im quite proud that I managed to play the last 12 holes in 2 under feeling the way I did walking off the sixth green, because that wasnt a great feeling, believe me, Montgomerie said.
 
The cut was at 9-over 149, the highest since it was 12-over 154 at Carnoustie in 1999.
 
Among those on their way home were three players from the top 10 in the world'Geoff Ogilvy, Stewart Cink and Vijay Singh.
 
OLYMPIC HELP: Golf has another voice in its campaign to be part of the Olympics'Jack Nicklaus.
 
Ive offered to help where I can, if I can, Nicklaus said Friday during a brief stop at Royal Birkdale. Im doing golf courses around the world. If golf became an Olympic sport, it would get government financing. It would be a big thing in the world of golf to get financing in a lot of places where golf is not played.
 
Nicklaus wasnt even aware that golf executives had put together a plan and met with IOC officials in May. He said he was in his office Monday chatting about golf and the Olympics when an assistant called the PGA Tour to inquire about the chances. Thats when they learned of an announcement Tuesday at the British Open, in which Ty Votaw was chosen to lead the effort.
 
I just told them wherever they need me, Id be happy to help, Nicklaus said. If Im going to one of these countries and they have an IOC guy theyd like to have me talk to, Id be delighted.
 
VERPLANK CARRIES ON:The wife of PGA TOUR rules official Dillard Pruitt died Friday from complications of cystic fibrosis, news that hit Scott Verplank particularly hard after he finished his second round of the British Open.
 
Fran Pruitt, who was 46, and Verplanks wife were sisters.
 
Shes the one who introduced us, he said quietly as he sat in the locker room at Royal Birkdale, so numb over the news that he wasnt the least bit interested in his round of 67 that brought him back into contention, five shots out of the lead.
 
Pruitts death touched many PGA TOUR members.
 
Her husband played on the PGA TOUR from 1988 to 1996 before he decided to become a rules officials. He is the younger brother of Jan Haas, who is married to Champions Tour player Jay Haas. And she set up her little sister, Kim, on a blind date in Dallas with Verplank.
 
Fran Pruitt had been awaiting a double lung transplant and took a turn for the worse earlier this week. Verplank, who brought his son with him to Britain and celebrated Scotties 16th birthday Monday, said he considered withdrawing Thursday, but his wife and Dillard Pruitt insisted he play.
 
My wife said the only good news she had today was getting a text that I was playing good and that someone saw Scottie on TV, Verplank said.
 
VIVE VAN DE VELDE: For the first time since St. Andrews eight years ago, Jean Van de Velde will be playing on the weekend at the British Open. The Frenchman famous for his comical collapse at Carnoustie in 1999 was actually on the leaderboard Friday, just two shots out, until struggling on the back nine.
 
He wound up with a 71 and at 4-over 144 was only five shots out of the lead.
 
I had it going but made a couple of mistakes and paid the price for those, Van de Velde said of his double bogey on the 11th and a triple bogey on the 16th. But Im very happy. If it wasnt for a couple of blemishes, I could have been under par. Its should haves and would haves I guess.
 
No one knows that better than Van de Velde, who should have won the 99 Open if he would have laid up short of Barry Burn on the 18th hole. Then he could have avoided a triple bogey on the final hole and perhaps not lost in a playoff.
 
ROCCO ROCKS: Rocco Mediate keeps delivering big moments in the majors, the latest keeping him in the hunt Friday. After chopping up the par-5 17th for a bogey, his approach to the 18th stopped inches away for a tap-in birdie and a 73.
 
That put him only two shots behind 53-year-old Greg Norman.
 
Mediate was alone in the lead until his 3-wood went well to the right on the tough 11th hole. His chip went sideways, and he wound up with a double bogey. Then came another bogey on the 14th, the bogey on the 17th, and his big finish.
 
I made two bad swings today, and I got what I deserved on those holes, he said of the 11th and 17th. Other than that, I didnt make as many putts today, obviously. I hit the ball a million times better, shot four shots higher. Go figure. Thats how it works in this game.
 
Does he have a better chance trying to catch Norman at Birkdale than Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines?
 
Its still a major, Mediate said. Its still going to be the most exciting thing ever if youre in the hunt. The difference is, you dont have to look him (Woods) in the eye. Id rather him be here than not, to tell you the truth.
 
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

    Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

    ''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''


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    Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

    Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

    Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

    She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

    ''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

    Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

    ''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

    Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

    Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

    ''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

    It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.


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    Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

    Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

    The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

    ''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

    PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

    Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

    ''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

    It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

    He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

    ''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

    Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

    Later, he laughed about the moment.

    ''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

    Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

    Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

    The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

    “They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

    The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

    “Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”


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    Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

    “As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

    Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

    “Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.