Notes Official Mistake at Presidents Cup

By Associated PressNovember 20, 2003, 5:00 pm
GEORGE, South Africa -- Stuart Appleby and K.J. Choi hit out of turn on the par-5 fifth hole Thursday in the Presidents Cup, but they were spared the loss-of-hole penalty because of an official's mistake.
 
In the alternate-shot match against Tiger Woods and Charles Howell III, Choi hit his drive so far left that it wound up at the base of a thick shrub.
 
Appleby decided they should take a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie, and he summoned Theo Manyama from the Sunshine Tour to clarify.
 
Manyama told Choi to take the drop and hit the shot. Appleby assumed the second shot -- which belonged to him -- was the penalty stroke, and Choi would hit the third.
 
Woods and Howell looked back as Choi was hitting, and questioned whether it should have been Appleby playing the shot.
 
The Americans were right.
 
However, since Manyama told them what to do, they were not penalized.
 
Manyama said he made the ruling because he thought Appleby had hit the tee shot.
 
Ultimately, it didn't matter.
 
The International team reached the green in four, while Howell hit his second shot just over the green and Woods' chipped down to 2 feet for a sure birdie.
 
Manyama, embarrassed by his goof, was at least glad Woods and Howell won the hole outright.
 
'That was my consolation,' he said. 'I feel sick about this.'
 
COIN TOSS: South African president Thabo Mbeki, an honorary chairman at the Presidents Cup, was in charge of the coin flip on the first tee to determine whether the U.S. or the International team had the honor to hit first.
 
As he went to flip the coin, it slipped out of his hand.
 
Mbeki laughed, looked on the ground and saw it favored the International team.
 
'Their turn,' he said to Nick Price and Mike Weir, as everyone laughed.
 
Former President Bush smiled and shook his head.
 
'I want a recount,' Bush said.
 
THE BEAR RETURNS: U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus was still suffering from flu-like symptoms Thursday, his voice cracking as he announced his team during the opening ceremony.
 
Still, he was on the course watching the Americans play, and his pep talk on the eve of the Presidents Cup was a big hit.
 
'He said, 'This is my last event,' meaning playing or captaining,' Kenny Perry said. 'And that inspired me. I wanted to win. I would rather win this for him than anything because probably this is it. He's going out.'
 
Nicklaus brushed it off on two accounts.
 
Asked what was the best thing he could say to a player coming to the 18th hole of a close match, Nicklaus replied, 'nothing.'
 
'They know where they are. They know what they're doing,' Nicklaus said. 'Do they like support? Absolutely. Saying something, would it make any difference? Just for me, I couldn't see it.'
 
He also clarified his future.
 
Nicklaus said he plans to play the Memorial next year, and probably the Masters. He would like to play a PGA Tour event in Florida to make sure his game is in shape.
 
EYE OF THE TIGER: Charles Howell III has played several practice rounds with Tiger Woods, and they even played against each other in the quarterfinals of the 1996 U.S. Amateur, won by Woods.
 
They were partners for the first time Thursday, and Howell said he was reminded how badly Woods wants to win.
 
'As competitive as everyone thinks he is, you can just triple that,' Howell said. 'It's amazing that when the gun goes off on Thursday, he's not the same guy you see on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And that got my attention.'
 
Howell was the 12th partner for Woods in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, and Woods said it was a good pairing.
 
'I'm a little bit shorter than he is, but that's OK,' Woods said. 'That's just old age.'
 
Woods (27) and Howell (24) are the youngest two players on the U.S. team.
 
DIVOTS: Phil Mickelson has changed back to his old blade-styled putter after using the Scotty Cameron Futura during the PGA Tour season. Lefty holed his share of putts, including a 45-footer down the slope on No. 2 for birdie, and a testy 4-footer that gave him and David Toms a 1-up lead on the 16th. ... While the galleries were partisan toward the International team, they were cheering every shot struck by Woods, favoring him over Stuart Appleby and K.J. Choi. That could change Friday, as Woods and Howell are in the final better-ball match against South Africans Ernie Els and Tim Clark. ... The wives of Jim Furyk and K.J. Choi did not make the trip because they are due to give birth in December.
 
Related Links:
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

    Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

    ''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

    Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

    Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

    She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

    ''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

    Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

    ''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

    Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

    Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

    ''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

    It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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    Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

    Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

    The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

    ''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

    PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

    Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

    ''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

    It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

    He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

    ''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

    Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

    Later, he laughed about the moment.

    ''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

    Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

    Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

    The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

    “They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

    The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

    “Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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    Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

    “As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

    Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

    “Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.