Notes Gnarly Rough Leftys Bright Outlook

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- So this is why they call it rough.
 
The gnarly, wiry, grabby rough at Firestone Country Club took another victim in Friday's second round of the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
Mike Weir, who had an opening 77, shot a 40 on the front side in the second round and then called it quits because of a neck injury.
 
He was walking up the 11th fairway when he called out to playing partners Joe Durant and John Rollins. Weir told them he was pulling out of the tournament, they all shook hands and then he made the long trek to the clubhouse.
 
'I hit a shot out of the rough on 4 and I felt something, and then on 9 I hit one out of the rough and I just felt it tighten right up. I thought there's no way I'm going to ruin this for next week,' Weir said, referring to the PGA Championship next week at Southern Hills.
 
Weir had his neck worked on by a therapist and was told to rest, take anti-inflammatories and apply ice to it.
 
Weir said he would head home to Utah and try to recover. He plans on seeing his chiropractor while he's there.
 
Almost every player said missing a fairway was the same as taking at least a bogey.
 
'The rough is nasty out here,' Hunter Mahan said after shooting a 73 that left him at even-par 140 and six shots behind leader Rory Sabbatini. 'It's not easy to get up and down from anywhere.'
 
Even those with the lowest scores know how difficult it is to hit out of the rough.
 
Zach Johnson has had a good week -- he's alone in second, two shots off the lead -- and he says a missed fairway is a big problem.
 
'You miss the fairway by a yard -- which I did yesterday, and I think it was the only one I missed -- and I couldn't get it to the fairway,' Johnson said after matching the tournament's low round, a 5-under 65 in the second round. 'I hit it about 4 feet on No. 14 yesterday.'
 
NUMBERS LIE
Phil Mickelson is tied for 41st in the 83-player field midway through the Bridgestone Invitational. He's not sure he belongs that far off the lead.
 
Mickelson has not completed a tournament in the U.S. since winning The Players Championship in mid-May. He injured a wrist preparing for the U.S. Open at Oakmont and had to withdraw from the Memorial, then missed the cut in his only other PGA TOUR starts, at the Open and the AT&T.
 
He did finish second in a playoff at the Scottish Open, but then missed the cut at the British Open two weeks ago.
 
Mickelson insisted he's not that far away from playing well.
 
'I played well at the Scottish Open. I played well at the British. I'm actually playing pretty well here,' he said after rounds of 74 and 72 left him at 6-over 146 and 12 shots behind Sabbatini. 'But we're at a U.S. Open-type venue here with the conditions being so tough.'
 
TAMING A MONSTER
The par-5 16th at Firestone Country Club is listed at 667 yards. No wonder the signature hole is called 'The Green Monster.'
 
Yet Charley Hoffman doesn't seem to have any problem with it.
 
'I got lucky I guess,' he said. 'That's the only hole I play good.'
 
Hoffman birdied it in the first round, then eagled it in the second round. Hoffman is 4-over 144 through 36 holes.
 
He walloped a driver 379 yards on Friday, then hit a rescue club 268 yards to the left fringe. From there, he nailed a 30-foot putt for the eagle.
 
Fellow pro Brett Wetterich kidded Hoffman by saying, 'He got lucky.'
 
Hoffman ignored that. He said no sane person would consider the long, long hole reachable in two shots.
 
'Most normal people wouldn't,' he said. 'I probably should have laid up but at the time I felt good about going for it.'
 
DIVOTS
The second-round scoring average of 73.049 was the highest in a round in the nine years the tournament has been a World Golf Championship event. ... Sabbatini has led after 36 holes in three other PGA TOUR events, winning the 2006 Nissan and 2003 FBR while tying for third at the 1999 BellSouth Classic. ... Davis Love III, who has missed the cut in his past four TOUR starts, matched Johnson's 65 for the lowest round of the tournament and is tied for sixth, five shots back. ... Only Arron Oberholser has played a round without making a bogey. ... Lee Westwood, also five off the lead and tied for sixth, is trying to break an 88-tournament winless streak on the PGA TOUR.
 

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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.