Notes Dream Weaver Big Easy Heats Up

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- About a month ago, Drew Weaver was just another face in college golf. One month in Britain changed everything for the junior-to-be at Virginia Tech.
 
He won the British Amateur at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, becoming the first American champion since Jay Sigel in 1979. He played his first professional tournament last week at Loch Lomond, missing the cut in the Scottish Open.
 
Weaver's amateur victory qualified him for the British Open, and he gave it a good run at Carnoustie.
 
Despite three birdies on his first six holes, Weaver made too many bogeys the rest of the way for a 72. He wound up at 6-over 148 to miss the cut, but that might not be the end of his summer.
 
An unknown a month ago, Weaver now should get serious consideration to make the U.S. team for the Walker Cup.
 
'It would mean a lot to me to make the Walker Cup team,' he said.
 
He sure gave U.S. captain Buddy Marucci something to think about. The Walker Cup will be played in early September at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, and Weaver certainly showed he can handle links courses.
 
Weaver was upset when he walked off the course, making three straight pars when he needed one birdie to keep playing. Tiger Woods was the last American amateur to make the cut in the British Open, and for Weaver to have joined him, it might have been awfully tough to keep him off the Walker Cup team.
 
'I think some people out there were doubting me,' Weaver said. 'But I threw myself in the picture. I played as hard as I could. It's out of my hands.'
 
Whatever happens with the Walker Cup, he has set himself up nicely for next year. Weaver will play in the Masters as the British Amateur champion, and his summer in Britain has done wonders for his confidence.
 
'A couple of times it hit me today, like when I made three birdies in six holes,' he said. 'It made me realize I've got what it takes.'
 
RULING STANDS
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club stood by the rules official who gave Tiger Woods free relief from television cables in the British Open, even though its rules director said Friday he was able to move the cables himself.
 
'We know Alan Holmes got the ruling right,' said David Rickman, rules director of the R&A.
 
Woods' tee shot on the 10th hole Thursday went left into thick rough, resting on a strand of cables. Holmes, the incoming chairman of the R&A rules committee, tried to move the cables but found them to be fixed. In that situation, the player can drop the ball within one club length without penalty.
 
Woods' lie improved dramatically, from thick rough to trampled grass. He hit just short of the green and made an 8-foot par putt.
 
Mark Roe, a former European tour player working for the BBC, said he was able to move the cables a full yard, raising questions whether Woods was given preferential treatment.
 
Rickman said he went to the spot Thursday evening and said he also could move the cables. But he said he it was possible the cables had been snagged in high grass or by the stakes holding the ropes. He also said spectators might have been standing on the section of the cables.
 
'I don't have a clear explanation,' he said. 'Alan confirmed the cables were not readily movable.'
 
TEMPER, TEMPER
Henrik Stenson lost his ball out-of-bounds on the par-3 eighth hole, then he lost his temper.
 
The Swedish star, who won the Accenture Match Play Championship in February, smashed his club into the tee marker. He went on to make triple bogey and shot 40 on the front nine, then ended his round with a bogey on the 18th for a 76.
 
He could have saved his angry for late in the afternoon. The cut fell at 4-over 146, and Stenson missed by one.
 
Ernie Els also was frustrated by his putting, which he said cost him about four or five strokes. After missing a short putt on the ninth hole, the Big Easy let out an expletive loud enough for everyone to hear.
 
And he saved another one, slightly more mild, after a grilling from the media.
 
'That's just the way I felt,' Els said. 'Normally, I keep it all in. But I thought, 'Maybe let me get everything out.' I didn't see too many small kids, so hopefully, they all closed their ears. That's what a major does to you.'
 
Later in the interview, he was asked whether his reaction at No. 9 was a culmination of emotions. Then he was asked if he had heard about Stenson. Then he was asked where his mind was at that moment. Finally, a question about what his coach would have said.
 
'Who gives a (expletive),' Els said. 'Jeez!'
 
SHADES OF '99
Just as they did the last time the Open came to Carnoustie, Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard nervously watched the day's final group play the 18th hole to learn their fates.
 
The difference is that in 1999, leader Jean Van de Velde made triple-bogey there, opening the door to a four-hole playoff that Lawrie eventually won by making birdies on the final two holes. This time around, both were already at 5-over par 147 and simply hoping to make the cut.
 
The Open field is trimmed to 70 players and ties after the second round, and the only way Lawrie and Leonard would have played on the weekend was for W.J. Lee to make double-bogey and slip into the group at 147. Lee came close, but salvaged a bogey for a round of 73 and a 146 score at the midway, sending both home to watch the rest of the tournament on TV.
 
GOOD BREAK
Tiger Woods wasn't the only player who got a good break on the 10th hole at Carnoustie.
 
Woods' approach was headed for the burn to the right when it rattled into the trees and found land. Jim Furyk's escape was even more fortuitous, as it sailed through the trees and hit the edge of the concrete bridge, bouncing into the cluster of trees.
 
Furyk figured it was wet, and that he would do well to escape with double bogey.
 
'I've never been so happy to see a ball stymied behind a tree,' Furyk said after his 70, which left him four shots behind.
 
Then there was Rich Beem.
 
The former PGA champion was 2 under for the tournament when his ball headed for the burn and wound up at the bottom. He took double bogey, made another double bogey on the 18th and shot 73. Beem wound up seven shots behind.
 
ON THE AIR
The last European to win a major championship was inside the ropes at Carnoustie with golf spikes.
 
And it wasn't Paul Lawrie.
 
Karen Stupples of England, who won the Women's British Open three years ago, is working at the British Open as a radio commentator for BBC Five Live. She was assigned to Phil Mickelson's group Friday.
 
'I can talk endlessly. That's my skill,' Stupples said.
 
Don't get the idea she is hanging up her clubs for a microphone. Stupples recently gave birth to her first child, and will be at St. Andrews for the Women's British Open in two weeks. She already played a Ladies European Tour event a few weeks ago in her first tournament as a major -- 10 weeks after giving birth -- and finished second.
 
Stupples won her only major by starting the final round at Sunningdale with an eagle. On the par-5 second, she holed a 5-iron from 202 yards for a double eagle on the next hole.
 
'I still can't believe I did that,' Stupples said.
 
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x