Notes Eagle putt awaits Lefty Zingers strong view

By Associated PressAugust 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Phil Mickelson wasnt the best lefty in his twosome.
 
Steve Flesch was 2 under through five holes, and moved into a tie for fifth at 1 over on Saturday when thunderstorms forced suspension of play for the day at the PGA Championship.
 
Mickelson was even par through the same stretch and remained at 3 over, four shots behind second-round leader J.B. Holmes.
 
I dont know if either one of us has a lot to be proud of today, Flesch said. I think both of us will be looking to get some momentum in the morning, hoping it will carry us through on whats going to be a long day.
 
The suspension meant the two left-handers faced 31 holes on Sunday.
 
Mickelson is in the midst of his longest stretch with one top-10 finish at a major, going nine starts with only a tie for fifth in April at the Masters.
 
Lefty shed the label of being the best player without a major championship in 2004 at Augusta, won the PGA Championship in 2005 and earned another green jacket in 2006.
 
Mickelson was tied for 18th and 19th in the U.S. Open and British Open, respectively, this year. He missed two cuts at majors last season, finishing no better than 24th, and finished outside of the top 15 in the final two majors of 2006.
 
The worlds second-ranked player got off to a great start Saturday with a drive that landed in the fairway, just 72 yards from the green at 435-yard first hole.
 
But Mickelson didnt take advantage, finessing an approach that went in a bunker short. He came up short again but had a good chip out of the rough on the short side of the green to set up a short putt for bogey.
 
Mickelson drove down the middle of the fairway on No. 5 and hit a beautiful shot that trickled toward the cup and left him with about a 5-foot birdie putt. But he barely caught the left side of the cup. After tapping in for par, he shook his head as he walked off the green.
 
Mickelson gave himself a chance, though, to make up ground with an 8-foot eagle putt at No. 6 only to have the horn blow. He marked his ball and took a look at the line hed have before getting in an SUV to evacuate the course.
 
It took 17 minutes to get Mickelson and Flesch back to the clubhouse as a caravan slowly made its way from the far end of the course to the clubhouse.
 
After a 4-hour delay, Mickelson left the course without talking to reporters.
 
DOESNT COUNT
 
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger played in the PGA Championship, so he knows how difficult it is to play Oakland Hills.
 
Its the hardest course Ive ever played, Azinger said after his third-round 76 left him at 14-over 224.
 
That speaks volumes considering the source, who is playing in his 66th major and has competed in five Ryder Cups and two Presidents Cups.
 
The top eight players in the Ryder Cup standings after Sundays final round will get automatic berths for next months event at Valhalla. Azinger will fill out the rest of the side with four captains picks to be announced Sept. 2 in New York City.
 
Players who struggled at Oakland Hills this week have not doomed their chances, Azinger insisted.
 
Doesnt mean anything, he said. This isnt the Ryder Cup week. We have three weeks to go. I want a guy who is confident and if the guys confidence is shattered when he left here, join the club.
 
FUN AT THE TURN
 
Rocco Mediate and Mark Calcavecchia both birdied the par-3 ninth in the third round, the first time in the tournament all the players in a group left the green with scores under par.
 
That coupled with a midmorning tee time put them in a good mood on the 10th tee, knowing they would get their round in before the expected storms rolled into the Motor City area.
 
Have fun at 9 oclock! Calcavecchia shouted to D.J. Trahan, who had a 1:20 p.m. starting time and managed to play four holes before play was suspended for the day.
 
After Mediate hit his drive, he walked over to Trahan on the practice green to shake his hand and say a few words.
 
Mediate (72) is 9 over for the tournament and Calcavecchia (76) is 13-over 223.
 
The ninth hole, which was 220 yards with the forward tee used, was the 14th-toughest hole when play was suspended Saturday after being among the most difficult in the first two rounds.
 
With wind whipping around the course so hard that a sports section flew out of somebodys hands near the green, some players struggled at the hole Saturday.
 
John Mallinger sent a 3-wood tee shot that was headed for the middle of the green only to sail into the right rough because of a gust of wind. Japans Hiroyuki Fujita, playing in the same group, used a hybrid only to be disappointed when the wind knocked down his tee shot into the fairway. Both ended up bogeying the hole.
 
KILLIN TIME
 
While play was suspended for over 4 hours, players found anything they could to wait out the weather.
 
Tom Lehman, who got in seven holes before play was called, said he tried a little bit of everything.
 
I spent a lot of time in the fitness trailer; Ive got an elbow issue, he said. So I was warming it up and then Id go practice, then re-warming it up and then going to practice again. And I was eating, and watching the Olympics, and talking and taking a nap ' I just kind of covered all the bases.
 
U.S. PRIDE
 
If an international player wins the PGA Championship, it will the first time Americans didnt win at least half of the majors since 1994.
 
Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open in June but had knee surgery soon after and didnt play in the British Open, won by Irelands Padraig Harrington, or the PGA. South Africas Trevor Immelman won the Masters.
 
In 1994, South African Nick Price won two majors (PGA and British) and Spains Jose Maria Olazabal (Masters) and South Africas Ernie Els (U.S. Open) each won one.
 
DIVOTS
 
Ernie Els has won the most money in PGA Championships (nearly $1.4 million) without winning the major. He has made the cut in 13 of 16 starts and finished among the top five in three of the last four. Detroit Pistons coach Michael Curry and assistant Pat Sullivan were among the faces in the crowd Saturday. Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier, who was a prep star at nearby Detroit Country Day High, was in the gallery during the first round. Battier hadnt watched a major in person since the final round of the 2001 Masters, when he and Mike Dunleavy were coming off a national championship at Duke and Tiger Woods became the first player to hold all the major titles at the same time.
 

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  • Day finishes strong, leads Aussie Open by one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 6:12 am

    Jason Day birdied three of his final five holes to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand in Sydney:

    Leaderboard: Day (-10), Lucas Herbert (-9), Jonas Blixt (-7), Matt Jones (-7), Cameron Smith (-6), Rhein Gibson (-5), Anthony Quayle (-5)

    What it means: Day has a great shot at his first victory – in his final start – in 2017. It’s been a frustrating campaign for Day, who has dropped to 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. A win this week, in his native Open, would be a huge boost as he embarks on the 2018 season.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Day’s 2-under 69 wasn’t the lowest of the day, but it was the most important. Day parred his first 13 holes before birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He bogeyed the 17th, but finished with a birdie at the par-5 18th for the outright lead.

    Best of the rest: Blixt’s 66 put him in position to win. Meanwhile, Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya shot the low round of the day, a 6-under 65, to reach 4 under for the tournament.

    Biggest disappointment: No one really blew it on Saturday, but Jordan Spieth was unable to make a move. His 1-under 70 has him eight shots off the lead. Herbert managed an even-par 71 but he had a two-stroke lead until an errant tee shot at the par-3 11th. Speaking of which …

    Shot of the day: Not every Shot of the Day is a great shot. Herbert made a long birdie putt on the eighth and was two clear of the field through 10 holes. But he hit his tee shot long at the 11th and was not able to find it. He had to re-tee, made double bogey and lost his advantage. He’s now chasing a major champion in the final round.

    Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 4:30 am

    Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.

    Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

    “I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.

    Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.

    “Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.

    Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.

    “Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”

    South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.