Notes No Caddies Needed

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Lee Westwood and Greg Owen didn't need caddies Monday.
 
When the threat of severe weather late Sunday afternoon forced PGA Championships officials to suspend play for the day, Westwood was on the 18th green waiting to take a 10-foot putt for birdie.
 
He waited a long time. Just over 15 1/2 hours. More than an hour per foot.
 
``I suppose it is nice that I came back for one shot, not two,'' he said Monday after making the birdie 4 that closed a 5-over 75 that gave him a 2-over 282 total, six shots behind champion Phil Mickelson.
 
``My clubs are already on the way to Akron, I just came back with a putter, a ball, a hat and some shoes,'' Westwood said, referring to this week's tournament, the WGC-NEC Invitational in Ohio.
 
He did get a scare when he arrived at Baltusrol Golf Club on Monday.
 
``My putter was missing when I got to the locker because they had tidied out my locker, but I found it -- they had tidied it away for safekeeping.''
 
Paired with Westwood, Owen came back to face an 8-foot birdie putt on the closing hole. He couldn't follow Westwood's lead, however.
 
``I think to come back and horseshoe out for a birdie summed up my week really,'' said Owen, who closed with a 10-over 80 and finished at 287. ``I don't know whether it was the heat or the long week, but I had just no good feelings at all. I couldn't get anything going, but hopefully I can learn from it.''
 
MISSING CLUB
Phil Mickelson was asked what club he hit on the 230-yard 16th, a hole he bogeyed to drop into a three-way tie for the lead at 3-under.
 
``Four-iron,'' he said. ``That was all I had.''
 
It wasn't that Mickelson's caddie lost any clubs or there was a low-iron thief on the loose. He took it out of the bag before Sunday's final round started because of the wind.
 
``I have a 3-iron and a sand wedge that I have in my bag, and yesterday I took out the 3-iron based on the wind, mainly because of No. 16,'' he said. ``And today, the wind did a 180. It was straight into the wind and I didn't have my 3-iron, which I desperately needed. So I knew I was going to struggle with that particular hole, and you've just got to fight it out.
 
``I hit a good shot, the ball plugged in the bunker. Hit a decent shot out to about 18 feet and missed that. Sometimes things don't always go your way and you just have to gut it out.''
 
LAST OUT WINS
Steve Elkington was trying to end a 10-year run in which the PGA champion came from the last group in the final round.
 
Elkington, who finished one shot behind champion Phil Mickelson, was in the third-to-last twosome this year.
 
The last player to win the PGA and not play in the final pairing was Elkington in 1995.
 
TOP TENS
Vijay Singh was the tournament's defending champion and the two-time PGA winner had a final-round 74 that left him at even par for the 72 holes, six strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson and tied for 10th.
 
It did mean he and Tiger Woods were the only players to finish in the top 10 of all four majors this year.
 
Woods won the Masters and British Open and was second to Michael Campbell in the U.S. Open. He finished at 2-under 278, tied for fourth in the PGA.
 
Singh tied for fifth in the Masters and British Open and was tied for sixth at the U.S. Open.
 
By bogeying the 18th, Singh missed a chance to join Woods, Campbell and Mickelson in the Grand Slam of Golf later this year. Retief Goosen will fill out the foursome instead.
 
TEE SHOTS
The holes used to measure driving distance this week were the 482-yard 6th and the 505-yard 7th, both par-4s.
 
John Daly, who finished tied for 74th in the tournament, led the way, averaging 334.6 yards.
 
Woods, who finished tied for fourth, was second at 324.3 yards.
 
Twenty-six players averaged better than 300 yards on those holes.
 
The low man on the driving list was Darrell Kestner, a club pro from Long Island, who averaged 271.5 yards. He finished at 19-over 299, next-to-last of the 79 players who made the cut.
 
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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.