Notes One Coach Two Masters

By Associated PressJune 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Swing coach Butch Harmon had to serve two masters Friday at the U.S. Open.
 
Harmon has been working the past several years with Adam Scott, the No. 4 player in the world ranking. He began working about two months ago with three-time major champion Phil Mickelson.
 
Just his luck, Mickelson and Scott played together the first two rounds.
 
Even though Mickelson is the more celebrated and accomplished player, Harmon has gone to great lengths to say his priority was helping the 26-year-old Australian win his first major. Still, Harmon didn't arrive until Scott was already about 10 minutes into his warm-up session, and then he spent five minutes chatting with Mickelson's caddie.
 
Lefty finally arrived and made it easy for the coach.
 
'Where do you want to go?' he said to Harmon. 'Would you rather have me hit by Adam? Would that be easier?'
 
'Wherever you want,' Harmon replied. 'But that would be easier for me.'
 
Mickelson found an opening two spots down from Scott, separated only by Jeff Sluman. Harmon, however, headed straight for Scott and spent the next 10 minutes working with him, then switched over to Mickelson.
 
Scott took triple bogey on the first hole on his way to an 82. Mickelson shot 40 on the back nine for a 77.
 
OW, MY NOSE
Justin Rose had the perfect excuse for his three-putt bogey on No. 2.
 
Rose had a nosebleed on the second hole, and he was still sniffling when he reached the green on the par 4.
 
'Certainly I would say the second green was a little bit difficult,' he said. 'I can't necessarily blame the three-putt on that, but it was unusual that it happened, yeah.'
 
The Englishman recovered nicely, though, shooting a 1-over 71 that left him 2 over for the tournament.
 
Rose didn't know what caused the nosebleed -- 'My caddie didn't hit me or anything' -- but said it might have been his allergies. He tends to get hay fever, and people in Pittsburgh have complained all spring that this is a particularly bad year for allergies. Brisk winds stirred things up even more Friday.
 
'I don't know if something got irritated,' Rose said. 'It was a little annoying, but by the fourth hole it was all good.'
 
How did he cure it?
 
'What do you do with nosebleeds?' he laughed. 'You just throw a bit of tissue up there and off you go.'
 
PAIN IN THE BACK
Steve Stricker was on the practice range when, without hitting a shot, he felt a twinge in his back.
 
He did a slow knee bend, trying to stretch it out, which got the attention of caddie Scott Steele. He reached into the bag for a bottle of pain relievers, which Stricker quickly downed.
 
'Something just grabbed it,' he said.
 
Stricker made it through his round in 73 and was at 8-over 148, but his back wasn't feeling any better. He said he has been feeling a few aches in the back of his knee, and worried that it was causing problems in his back.
 
QUIET, PLEASE
Tom Pernice Jr. played the first two rounds with Charl Schwartzel, a 22-year-old South African in his second U.S. Open who is No. 46 in the world ranking.
 
Asked for his impressions, Pernice said he sounded familiar -- in other words, not much chatter.
 
'I'd say he's your typical South African,' Pernice said. 'They never talk, just like Retief (Goosen) or Ernie (Els); not the most exciting personalities, but loads of talent, no question.'
 
Typical South African?
 
Apparently, Pernice hasn't played too often with Rory Sabbatini.
 
EARLY DEPARTURE
The youngest player in the field didn't make the cut at the U.S. Open. He didn't even make it to the end of his second round. Richard Lee withdrew after 13 holes Friday with a wrist injury. The 16-year-old was 11 over for the day, 20 over for the tournament when he stopped.
 
'I am disappointed,' he said. 'But I'm still happy that I came here this week to this wonderful golf course, Oakmont. A lot of history to this course. It's an honor that I played here.'
 
Lee was trying to chip out of the rough beside the green on the par-4 11th when he tweaked his right wrist.
 
'I took a full swing at it because it was all the way down there,' he said. 'After that shot, I was like, `Whoa, what happened to my wrist?' I was just trying to concentrate, but I couldn't. There was a lot of pain.'
 
Lee played the 12th and 13th holes and then withdrew.
 
EAGLE HELP
Paul Goydos was 11 over par for the tournament, surely headed home, when he played final 13 holes in even par.
 
He had some help.
 
Goydos holed out for eagle from 231 yards in the seventh fairway, even though he gave that back with a double bogey on the 10th. He birdied the 12th, only to bogey the 13th, then finished with five straight pars.
 
'My patience is horrible,' he said. 'This golf course, and the U.S. Open, test your patience. I was 11 over after five holes today, so I must have hung in there pretty good. It's easier to stay patient when you're holing 231-yard 3-irons.'
 
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x