Notes No Help for Wie British Washout

By Associated PressJune 28, 2006, 4:00 pm
NEWPORT, R.I. -- Juli Inkster took only 105 putts when she won the U.S. Women's Open four years ago at Prairie Dunes, and caddie Greg Johnston played a big role in helping Inkster read some of the subtle breaks in the greens.
Now that he's on the bag with Michelle Wie, however, Johnston has gone mute.
That's by design.
Wie is trying to develop independence as a golfer by reading greens by herself, and some believe it has cost the 16-year-old from Hawaii in her last few tournaments. She missed six birdie putts inside 12 feet in her morning round of U.S. Open qualifying, and she took 12 more putts than LPGA Championship winner Se Ri Pak at Bulle Rock.
'The old saying is you learn from your mistakes,' said B.J. Wie, her father. 'On the LPGA Tour, I think some players are overly dependent on their caddies.'
But their were two contrasting images from Bulle Rock.
On the par-5 eighth green, Wie paced off a 45-foot chip from the first cut that went over a ridge, studying the break the last 12 feet to the hole as Johnston stood on the far side of the green, keeping to himself. Earlier that day, Karrie Webb -- one of the best putters on the LPGA Tour -- crouched over a 10-foot par putt when she called over caddie Mike Paterson for a second opinion.
Is it hurting Wie to not taking any advice from her caddie, especially one of Johnston's caliber?
But the teenager isn't about to change now. She feels she will be a better putter in the long run if she learns to read greens by herself, and Wie has shown she is under no pressure to win immediately. This remains a work in progress.
'I feel like I can trust myself better,' Wie said Tuesday. 'Obviously, if there's a really tricky putt, then I'm going to ask Greg to read it with me. But if I feel confident the way I'm putting, then I should just go with how I feel.'
Even so, there are many examples of players relying on their caddies for a second set of eyes. One of the biggest putts Tiger Woods made in a major came on the 17th hole at Medinah seven years ago in the PGA Championship. Uncertain of the break, caddie Steve Williams gave him the line and Woods holed the par putt, winning by one shot.
'I'm not going to make every single putt, and I'm never going to be really happy with how I putt,' Wie said. 'But I think that every putt I hit, miss or make, is just going to make me a better putter.'
The British Open qualifier scheduled at Congressional was washed out Tuesday, and no one was more disturbed than Brad Faxon.
Heavy rain left the course unplayable, and officials awarded the 12 spots from the world ranking. Faxon missed by four spots in the ranking, and now has to play well this week in Hartford, where he is the defending champion, to have any chance of going to Royal Liverpool for the British Open.
Faxon thinks so highly of golf's oldest championship that he flew over to Scotland for local qualifying last year and earned one of the three spots. He received warm applause at every turn at St. Andrews for his willingness to fly across the Atlantic to qualify.
'Going there was the highlight of my year,' Faxon said.
It was a sad coincidence that Faxon was on the PGA Tour policy board when it approved a British Open qualifier that was held in the United States for convenience. He was the only player who voted against the plan, believing that Americans -- or anyone else, for that matter -- should be willing to travel to Britain if they want to play in the Open.
'I just feel like the British Open is so much different from playing golf anywhere here in America,' he said. 'We should have to do it over there.'
Then there's the date change.
The Royal & Ancient moved up one week local qualifying. Instead of playing the weekend before the Open, local qualifying now is July 10-11, meaning a player would have to stick around Liverpool for a week before the major. That eats up three weeks of PGA Tour time.
'To do that would mean missing the Western Open and the John Deere Classic, and it's still no bargain -- three spots,' Faxon said. 'It's not like there's eight or six spots. That was really disappointing.'
He's angry at himself for not playing better to be exempt into the British Open. And he was angry about the rain.
Making matters worse -- although this would not have helped him -- the U.S. qualifier was supposed to have 15 spots available. But when a number of players withdrew, the R&A took away three spots and gave them to the European qualifier.
'I didn't need to know that,' Faxon said. 'I was mad enough as it was.'
All is not lost. Faxon still can qualify for the British Open if he is the leading player not already eligible who finishes in the top 10 at the Buick Championship. Otherwise, he could be headed for the B.C. Open instead of the British Open.
Hawaii's flag will be flying proudly at Newport Country Club.
Along with Michelle Wie, the most famous golfer from the islands, Hawaii has three other players at the U.S. Women's Open. Stephanie Kono, Kimberly Kim and Ayaka Kaneko each made it through sectional qualifying, giving Hawaii its own foursome at Newport.
Wie played with Kim's sister in junior events in Hawaii, and she played with Kim during a practice round Tuesday.
'I was really surprised when I played with her today,' Wie said. 'It was nice seeing someone from back home.'
The British Open remains the only major where juniors can get in free when accompanied by an adult, and it likely will stay that way.
'We have a great limitation on the number of tickets we can sell,' USGA executive director David Fay said when asked if the U.S. Open would ever allow teenagers in for free. 'You and I can walk up off the street to the British Open. We can't do that in the United States. We don't have the room.'
The U.S. Open has been a sellout since 1998.
But it's a different story at the U.S. Women's Open. Those under the age 17 will get free admission when accompanied by an adult who has a ticket.
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will be moving back to the TPC Louisiana next year. The TPC course was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and sustained so much tree damage that it has been closed since the storm. Chris Couch won the Zurich Classic at English Turn in April. The TPC Louisiana is to open to the public on July 15. ... Annika Sorenstam will play in the Middle East for the first time when she competes in the inaugural Dubai Ladies Masters, to be held Oct. 26-29. That's the same week as the CJ Nine Bridges Classic in South Korea, an official LPGA Tour event.
Steve Stricker earned $989,136 in his last three years combined on the PGA Tour. In eight tournaments this year, he has earned $1,065,119.
'I thought I was watching me.' -- Michelle Wie, on Phil Mickelson making double bogey on the 18th hole at Winged Foot to lose the U.S. Open.
Related Links:
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry