Notes Mickelson MIA Funk Just Says No

By Associated PressJuly 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Phil Mickelson won the Masters and lost the U.S. Open on the 72nd hole.
 
At the third major, he has been reduced to a couch potato.
 
'It's going to be an interesting day watching the leaders play,' Mickelson said Saturday after needing a birdie-par-eagle finish for a 73, leaving him 10 shots out of the lead in the British Open. 'I just wish I was one of the leaders.'
 
Mickelson reached 4 under after his first 10 holes of this championship, but has been sliding ever since. He didn't make his first birdie Saturday until the par-5 16th hole.
 
'After I was 3 over after nine and realizing that the chances of winning were not there, I just wanted to play well, hit good shots and keep grinding, and see if I could get it to turn. The last three holes were nice. That was good, but not quite enough.'
 
Mickelson twice made special trips to Hoylake to study the course, although he mentioned at the start of the week that no matter how well he understands the subtle nuances, it still comes down to hitting shots.
 
'I want to really get together one good round of golf,' he said. 'I know I can do that here.'
 
FUNK JUST SAYS NO
Fred Funk spent two weeks on the Champions Tour and decided it could wait.
 
'We're not quite mentally ready for that jump over,' Funk said.
 
Funk tied for 11th in the U.S. Senior Open, his debut in the 50-and-over circuit, then tied for 11th last week at the Senior Players Championship. He had planned to stick around next week for the Senior British Open at Turnberry, but never submitted his entry and will not play.
 
In fact, the only Champions Tour event he will play the rest of the year will be in San Antonio.
 
Funk has the luxury of taking his time, having won The Players Championship last year at age 48. That came with a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour that takes him through 2010, and with more than $18 million in career money, he could even take an exemption after that.
 
'The Players has really thrown a wrench into this,' he said.
 
Funk didn't have a miserable experience with guys his own age, he's simply not ready to give up trying against the best players in the world. He mentioned good friends he already had, such as Loren Roberts and Jay Haas, and new acquaintances Jim Thorpe and Dana Quigley.
 
The ultimate late bloomer, he has qualified for the last three U.S. teams (twice the Presidents Cup, once the Ryder Cup) and has been to the Tour Championship the last four years.
 
'I'm just not finished out here yet,' he said.
 
Also, his children are 14, 10 and 6, and the family travels everywhere. Most of their friends remain on the PGA Tour.
 
Funk says he is hitting the ball better than he was last year, just not getting the same results. His best chance came at New Orleans, where he closed with a 62 and nearly got into a playoff until Chris Couch saved par by chipping in from behind the 18th green.
 
The more he spoke Saturday afternoon after a 75 left him toward the bottom of the pack, Funk sounded as though competing against the best would be as meaningful as winning on the Champions Tour.
 
'There's nothing like winning,' Funk said. 'Once I start having trouble finishing off tournaments, and the frustration sets in, I'll probably think about going over there.'
 
In the meantime, he will leave the British Open for Milwaukee, play the Buick Open, PGA Championship and Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, and continue competing on the PGA Tour with hopes of getting into the Tour Championship again.
 
TIMELY ACE
John Senden lost all momentum when he took triple bogey on the 11th after losing his ball in high grass. The consolation came two holes later with a 6-iron that went into the cup for an ace on the par-3 13th.
 
'I didn't see it go in as there was a hill just short of the green,' Senden said. 'Pretty good cheer.'
 
Senden wound up with a 73 after an up-and-down day. He had two birdies, the hole-in-one for an eagle and no bogeys. The trouble was that triple at No. 11, and a double-bogey 7 on the 18th hole when he hit into three bunkers.
 
The highlight, obviously, was the ace.
 
'It's exciting when things happen like that, and it certainly will jog my memory when I'm thinking about this place,' he said.
 
A TIP FOR CABRERA
Angel Cabrera is one of the biggest hitters on the PGA Tour, and he's not afraid to use driver at Royal Liverpool -- especially after playing with Seve Ballesteros during a practice round earlier this week.
 
'I said to Seve, 'How do you play this golf course?' And Seve said, 'The closer you get it to the green, the more chance you have.' And that's the way it's played,' Cabrera said.
 
While Tiger Woods has hit only one driver in three rounds at Hoylake, the Argentine is hitting driver 'whenever I can.' The only time he used an iron off the tee was on Nos. 2, 4 and 8.
 
'Everywhere else I hit driver,' he said. 'Except the par 3s.'
 
Cabrera has played all three days with Mark Calcavecchia, another guy who likes to swing from the heels
 
'I get on well with him,' he said. 'He's easy to play with.'
 
Calcavecchia, who won the British Open in 1989, won the Argentine Open in 1993 and 1995.
 
SHOWTIME
Scott Verplank finished his 67 before Tiger Woods and Ernie Els headed for the practice range. Verplank reached 6 under, which at least gave him a shot to pick up Ryder Cup points if he can play well Sunday to get into the top 10.
 
A TV reporter asked if he would go back to his room and watch the 'confrontation' between Woods and Els.
 
'They are both supremely talented players and it's going to be fun, and hopefully, it will be good back-and-forth and nip-and-tuck,' Verplank said. 'And if it isn't, I'll probably take a nap.'
 
DIVOTS
Paul Casey took two triple bogeys, both times from the bunker. It took him three shots to get out of the bunker at No. 10, and two shots to escape a bunker on the 14th. He wound up with a 79. 'It wasn't the number of bunkers, it was the number of shots I took to get out,' he said. ... Sergio Garcia's 29 on the front nine was one shot shy of the British Open record for nine holes. Denis Durnian had a 28 at Royal Birkdale in 1983. Garcia will go into the final round having not made a bogey in 23 holes. ... Hideto Tanihara, in just his second career major, was three shots off the lead in seventh place. No player from Japan has won a major title; the country's best finish at the British Open was turned in by Massy Kuramoto, who tied for fourth in 1982.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
     
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''