Notes Defending Champ Surrenders Crown

By Associated PressJune 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
U.S. OpenMAMARONECK, N.Y. -- With six bogeys over his final nine holes, Michael Campbell lost any hope of successfully defending his U.S. Open title.
 
Playing in a threesome with Tiger Woods and Italian amateur Edoardo Molinari, Campbell shot a 77. Combined with his opening-round 75, that left him three shots off the cut of 9-over-par 149.
 
'That's life. You must carry on,' he said. 'There are a lot of U.S. Opens to go in my career, so I'm looking forward to that. I'll put this behind me.'
 
Campbell won at Pinehurst last year by shooting an even-par 280. In two rounds this year, he had 20 pars, 14 bogeys and two birdies.
 
He wasn't the only player to struggle on the difficult Winged Foot course; Woods also came in at 152.
 
'We just really struggled on the greens today,' Campbell said. 'The thing is, your play gets magnified worse out there. I didn't play that badly the last couple of days, just missed a few fairways. Once you do that, you have to chip out sideways and make bogeys.'
 
Campbell started on the 10th hole with a bogey, but got his only birdies of the tournament at Nos. 2 and 8 to complete the back nine at 1-over for the day. He then stumbled to four straight bogeys, effectively ending any chance of making the cut.
 
'The patience ran out toward the back nine there, where I missed a few fairways and made a few bogeys,' he said. 'I got frustrated, I think, and missed a few putts because of that.'
 
When it was over, Campbell accepted his fate with little more than a shrug of the shoulders.
 
'I can walk away. I'm just disappointed I'm not defending or doing well this weekend,' he said. 'It's one of the things that happened, and hopefully you just learn from it. This week was a lesson for me, and I need to go back and reflect on it and learn from it for next time.'
 
The last player to win the Open and then fail to make the cut the following year was Retief Goosen, in 2002.
 
SHARP CRITICISM
Darren Clarke didn't sugarcoat it. After shooting a 72 on Friday, he vehemently complained about the greens at Winged Foot.
 
'The greens are poor, basically,' he said. 'They are poa greens, and they are very poor.'
 
Poa annua is considered by many to be nothing more than a weed. It's safe to assume that Clarke is among those with that opinion.
 
'They are jumping about, and with the combination of slope and the speed, it makes it very tough to hole putts on,' he said.
 
Asked if they are the worst greens he'd ever seen, Clarke responded, 'Yes. Comfortably.'
 
Clarke was in a dour mood after a round that he thought should have been a lot better.
 
'I made some very silly bogeys. Pathetic,' he said. 'Seventy-two is by far and away the worst score I could have shot, and I managed to do it.'
 
Clarke reached the midpoint of the tournament at 145, 6 off the lead.
 
Someone asked him what he needed to do to contend over the weekend.
 
'Just hole some putts, but I don't know how I'm going to do that.'
 
RECORD SETTER
Jay Haas set a PGA Tour record Friday, making the cut for the 591st time during a career that began in 1976.
 
The 52-year-old Haas shot 72 for a 147 total, two under the cut line and breaking a tie with Tom Kite for most career cuts made.
 
Someone asked Haas if such a record means he's good -- or just old.
 
The answer: A little of both.
 
'Much more so that I've been out here a long time, and I've been good in spots and consistent,' he said. 'I've been healthy. I think that's a big part of it. But I guess I just hate missing cuts.'
 
Haas is 4-for-4 in making the cut at Winged Foot. He did it as an amateur in 1974, then as a pro in the U.S. Open in 1984 and in the PGA Championship in 1997.
 
DO WE REALLY NEED ALL 18 HOLES?
David Howell might want to stash an energy bar or two in his golf bag for the weekend. If the Englishman hadn't run out of steam at the end of his first two rounds, he could be leading the U.S. Open.
 
In Thursday's opener, Howell was cruising along at 4-under-par, thanks to a second straight birdie -- and his third in four holes -- at No. 14. Unfortunately, he then stumbled in with two bogeys and a double-bogey over the last four to finish with a 70.
 
Friday didn't go much better. Howell teed off from No. 10 and was 4-over for the day and the tournament when he reached the No. 6 tee. He then duplicated his finish of a day earlier, closing with two more bogeys and another double over the last four holes.
 
'Nothing I can say, really. I was going all right, and I just played poorly coming in,' he said.
 
EARLY WITHDRAWAL
David Toms withdrew from the tournament because of a back injury.
 
Toms told PGA officials of his decision less than two hours before he was scheduled to tee off in the second round at 1:03 p.m.
 
Toms said the injury happened on the 12th hole Thursday. He parred the hole but shot 9-over-par 79 that left him 10 shots behind first-round leader Colin Montgomerie.
 
DIVOTS
Andrew Svoboda, a local golfer who has been playing Winged Foot since he was 10, shot 75 on Friday for a 150 total. He missed the cut by one. ... Tadd Fujikawa, at 15 the youngest person to play in the Open, will be headed back to Hawaii after following his opening 81 with a 77. He finished 140th in the 156-man field. ... Madalitso Muthiya, the first person from Zambia to play in the Open, finished at 81-80--161 and missed the cut by 12.
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”