Notes Presidents Cup Clash Major Letdowns

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Lucas Glover is No. 10 in the Presidents Cup standings by a mere $43,861 over John Rollins, so after opening with a 70 in the PGA Championship, you would think he would have checked to see what Rollins shot.
 
'I didn't have to,' Glover said. 'I'm staying with him.'
 
Their wives became friends a few years ago. Glover and Rollins frequently play practice rounds and have dinner at least once a week. Rollins' wife suggested a few months ago that they share a house at Southern Hills, not knowing they would be battling for what might be the final spot on the Presidents Cup team.
 
And it gets better. They played a practice round Wednesday with Stewart Cink, No. 9 in the standings but a little bit safer. Cink leads Glover by about $720,000.
 
Dollars are doubled in a Presidents Cup year, and the top 10 who earn a spot on the U.S. team will take shape over the weekend.
 
One thing appears certain -- Glover is doing a much better job paying attention to the right stuff, mainly his golf.
 
He was consumed with making the Ryder Cup team last year, so much that he lost focus on his golf and didn't earn any points over the final three months of qualifying.
 
'I've made the last five cuts in a row and I've been right around the top 10,' Glover said. 'I'm playing well, and I'm trying to think only about the tournament. Last year, I had it (the standings) down to a science.'
 
One guy who likely won't be on the team is Chris DiMarco, who holed the winning putt two years ago for captain Jack Nicklaus. DiMarco went an entire year without a top 10 on the PGA Tour, finally ending that drought when he tied for fourth last week at Firestone.
 
But he was out of gas at Southern Hills.
 
'This was my 10th tournament in 11 weeks,' DiMarco said after rounds of 79-73.
 
He tried to battle back with four birdies on his final seven holes, but a double bogey set him back. DiMarco said he wasn't ready for the PGA Championship after a week that felt like a major at Firestone. And he wound up breaking one his rules of golf.
 
'Do not hit out of the rough more than one time on the same hole,' he said.
 
DiMarco is 25th in the standings, and he was still holding out hope.
 
'I know he was looking for me to do well,' he said of Nicklaus, who will make his two selections Monday. 'You shouldn't rely on one week. My game is getting back to what it should be. Hopefully, he remembers what happened last time.'
 
MAJOR PAY
Todd Hamilton was at 5 over for the tournament on the back nine when a cruel thought entered his mind. This could have been the first time since his 2004 British Open victory he failed to make a cut in any of the majors.
 
'It just popped into my head,' Hamilton said.
 
He made the cut at the Masters in 2005. He made the cut at Royal Liverpool in 2006. But he was 0-for-3 in playing the weekend in the majors this year, and he was close to going home with six holes to play.
 
He made all pars for a 72, putting him at 5-over 145.
 
'Like a grizzled veteran, I pulled through,' he quipped.
 
ADIOS, ARGENTINA
U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera bounced back nicely from his 81 with one birdie, one bogey and 16 pars on his way to a 70. He still missed the cut, taking two other Argentines with him. Andres Romero finished his amazing summer with an 81-72, while Jose Coceres had a 77 to finish at 8-over 148.
 
Romero was playing for the eighth consecutive week, with the British Open and Bridgestone Invitational surprise additions. He'll find out Monday if he gets another tournament on his schedule -- the Presidents Cup.
 
He was 10th on the Presidents Cup standings for the International team, which is based on the world ranking. But with gradual reductions that take place each week, he was assured of dropping to No. 11 behind Nick O'Hern no matter what happens the rest of the week. His only hope is for Gary Player to make him a captain's pick.
 
Being from Argentina might work in his favor, especially since it would give Cabrera a partner with whom he is comfortable.
 
'It is the decision of Gary Player,' Romero said. 'I would like to play. But I didn't play well this week, so I have to wait.'
 
Stephen Ames, who is trying to make the team with a big week at Southern Hills, said he expected Romero to be on the team.
 
'He's proved himself as a performer to some extent,' Ames said. 'If I was a captain, I would be picking him, without a doubt. Too good of a player to leave out.'
 
HALL OF FAME
With the induction ceremony being held only about a half-hour from the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, Scott Verplank had made plans to go watch Thurman Thomas enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame last weekend.
 
'I had my tickets and everything. I was all set up,' Verplank said.
 
Then he spoiled it all by getting into contention at the Bridgestone Invitational. Verplank had finished outside the top 50 the previous two years at the event, but was three shots off the lead entering the weekend.
 
'I actually played decent up there where I couldn't make it,' Verplank said. 'I told him, `Sorry. I usually don't play any good here.''
 
Verplank said he didn't expect Thomas, who also attended Oklahoma State, to be in attendance at the PGA Championship. But he thought another former Oklahoma State tailback and Hall of Famer might stop by.
 
'It wouldn't surprise me if Barry (Sanders) showed up. He's a golf nut,' Verplank said.
 
MAJOR DEPARTURE
The PGA Championship typically groups the three major champions of the year, but only two of them will be playing on the weekend. Along with Cabrera, Masters champion Zach Johnson also missed the cut with rounds of 74-76.
 
Johnson said he would learn to say no to all the media obligations, and he did just that Friday, declining to stop for reporters.
 
British Open champion Padraig Harrington was the only player still alive, despite a 73 that left him at 2-over 142.
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”