Notes The oft-forgotten Aussie Viva Espana

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England -- Dont forget Geoff Ogilvy.
 
The Aussie is one of the most overlooked major champions'the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot is best remembered for Phil Mickelsons double-bogey meltdown on the final hole'but hes got the look of a top contender in this weeks British Open.
 
Ogilvys steady if unspectacular play could be suited to Royal Birkdale, which has been soaked by rain and punishes those who find its pot bunkers and tangly rough.
 
Ive just gradually gotten better, Ogilvy said, describing a career in which all six of his victories have come since 2005 and have taken him to No. 3 in the world rankings. I feel like I was a really slow learner with golf. How to go about it, stay patient on the golf course, how to approach it, how to practice, how my attitude needed to be on the golf course.
 
I think Ive learned from mistakes quite well and I just gradually worked it out. I dont know about any one attribute. I think I hit the ball OK, I think I chip OK and I think I putt OK. But I think it all adds up to a pretty good package.
 
Rated a 25-1 shot by the British bookmakers, Ogilvy hopes tough conditions will weed out many of his potential rivals.
 
The golf course is fantastic'its really difficult, he said. Its playing really long, quite narrow. The rough is pretty healthy. Its just a very green Birkdale.
 
Ogilvys nationality might also work in his favor.
 
The only winners at Royal Birkdale are Australians and Americans. The champions from Down Under are Peter Thomson (1954 and 65) and Ian Baker-Finch (91), while Americans Arnold Palmer (61), Lee Trevino (71), Johnny Miller (76), Tom Watson (83) and Mark OMeara (98) have triumphed.
 
The worlds current No. 1 is not on that list, and he wont get a chance to rectify that situation. Tiger Woods is sitting out the rest of the year recovering from knee surgery.
 
In an interesting twist, Ogilvy didnt have to worry about Woods at Winged Foot, either. That was the only major as a professional in which he failed to make it to the weekend.
 
He started the tournament, Ogilvy quipped. I cant help it if he missed the cut.
 
VIVA ESPANA
Sergio Garcia is looking to add another victory to what has already been a memorable summer for Spanish sports.
 
The countrys soccer team claimed its first major international title in 44 years, capturing the European championship, then Rafael Nadal ended Roger Federers five-year winning streak at Wimbledon in an epic final match.
 
Garcia is generally recognized as the best player never to win a major golf championship, a distinction he hopes to erase at Royal Birkdale.
 
If I manage to win here, itll be something, Garcia said. Itll be a very good summer for Spain. But its not going to be easy.
 
If he does manage to win the British Open, which victory would be more revered in his homeland?
 
Without a question, the football, Garcia said quickly. In Spain, football is the biggest.
 
Well, then, what would be No. 2?
 
Me, Garcia said, smiling.
 
FURYK ON BRITAIN
Jim Furyk never lacks an opinion, no matter the subject.
 
So, whats his take on Britain?
 
Id probably have to say that the tea is highly overrated'and the beer is highly underrated, Furyk quipped.
 
He doesnt mind driving on the left side of the road, but hes still trying to figure out the car-rental business on this side of the Atlantic.
 
Renting a car here could be the most difficult thing of the entire trip, Furyk said. It sounds like its going to cost like 200 to 300 pounds, and by the time youre done its like half the mortgage on your house. And then you get a call like six months later that you still owe them money. I try to avoid renting cars at all costs over here.
 
FIRST OFF
Craig Parry will need to leave an early wake-up call Thursday.
 
The Australian gets to hit the first shot of the tournament at 6:30 a.m., leading off a group that also includes American Lucas Glover and Englands Simon Dyson.
 
While no one can predict the weather, especially in Britain, Parry figures hes got a better chance of getting in at least a couple of hours in decent conditions with the early tee time.
 
Its a real distinction to be teeing off first in a British Open, he said. The good aspect is that I wont be the last one out in the afternoon, so Im thrilled.
 
Parry, who made his British Open debut at Muirfield in 1987, is playing the tournament for the first time in three years. He finished eighth at Royal Birkdale in 1991, when fellow Aussie Ian Baker-Finch won his only major title.
 
That was a great year for the Australians because Finchy won, Mike Harwood was second, I was eighth and Greg (Norman) was ninth, said Parry, who now plays in Japan.
 
Birkdale just seems to set up well for the Australians in the aspect that theres openings in front of the greens and you can run the ball in, he added. Its a little similar the courses we have back home, so I think we will go well again this year.
 
CADDIE CAUSE
Before arriving at the British Open, five-time champion Tom Watson and author John Feinstein raised $600,000 for ALS research through the fourth annual Bruce Edwards Celebrity Classic.
 
Edwards, the longtime looper for Watson, died from Lou Gehrigs disease in 2004. The tournament has raised $2.5 million in four years, with the majority of money going to the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins.
 
When Bruce was diagnosed in early 2003, I promised him I would do what I could to find a cure, Watson said. There is promising research being done, but our community needs all the help it can get.
 

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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.