Notes: Scott clarifies he's not suing PGA Tour

By Associated PressMay 29, 2013, 10:31 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Adam Scott wants to make it perfectly clear that he isn't suing the PGA Tour.

Scott, the Australian who used the anchored putting stroke to win the Masters in April, is part of a group that has retained a lawyer to look into the situation. Hiring legal representation, he said Wednesday on the eve of The Memorial Tournament, was just a way of not being left out of the loop.

''My intention is just to get all the information given to me possible from the PGA Tour,'' he said. ''And just really, for me, like anyone else in a business, to have some professional guidance on this issue.''

The two governing bodies of the sport, the U.S. Golf Association and The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, have outlawed the anchored putting stroke used by four of the last six major champions. The rule takes effect in 2016 prohibiting players from anchoring a club against their bodies. Those two groups have urged the PGA Tour to join them so that the sport is played under one set of rules.

Scott is just trying to protect himself.

''I don't think I have the ability to get that (information) or ask the right questions, necessarily. I'm not a lawyer. And that's not my area of expertise,'' he said. ''So I just want to get that information and make sure that my views are expressed to the Tour and that's that. There's no intention of filing suit or making problems.''

Vijay Singh has sued the PGA Tour for exposing him to ''public humiliation and ridicule'' during a 12-week investigation into his use of deer antler spray, a substance that was on the tour's list of banned substances. The tour subsequently dropped its case against him and Singh filed the lawsuit later.

Addressing the issue of the banned putting motion, Scott said he was only trying to level the playing field.

''This is a business and I'm treating it professionally and I have professional counsel to do that,'' he said. ''I'm sure the tour has professional counsel when they make decisions about things or the USGA or R&A, for that matter. They wouldn't do this without professional help either, so that's all it is.''


WHERE'S TIGER? Many golf fans, conditioned by the emphasis placed on winning major championships, might not be fully aware that Tiger Woods has won four times in seven PGA Tour starts this season. That is a remarkable winning percentage for a tour player.

Davis Love III said people need to appreciate just how good he has been.

''People say, 'What's the matter with Tiger?' Nothing's the matter with him. As long as he plays, he wins,'' Love said Wednesday during preparations for the Memorial Tournament. ''When he was out for 6 months at a time, he didn't have a chance to win. But when he's been playing, he consistently wins one out of every four times he plays.''

Or, of course, even more often than that.

Woods is rested after taking time off – he was spotted water skiing with his kids and Olympic skiing star Lindsey Vonn – and ready to defend his title at the Muirfield Village layout where he has won a record five times.

''It's been a nice two weeks off, and now it's time to get out and play and come to an event that I've always loved playing,'' he said.

Woods said he's in a good place with his swing.

''I feel comfortable with the motion I'm making,'' he said, his cap pulled down low over his eyes. ''All the stretches where I've played well for a few years, I just felt good about what I was able to do as far as my misses and being able to fix it on the fly. ... I have a better understanding of how to make adjustments. That's huge.''

Rory McIlroy, No. 2 in the world rankings and a spot behind Woods, believes Woods is far and away the favorite at the Memorial.

''Most golf courses set up well for Tiger Woods, I guess,'' McIlroy said, grinning. ''The guy is good wherever he goes and plays. It's not like he goes to the same course and wins. He can win anywhere.''

Love believes that superstars raise the bar so high that they are victimized when they are merely great and not in the stratosphere in their accomplishments.

''We expect too much as fans out of Tiger, like we expected too much out of Michael Jordan,'' the veteran said. ''Like Michael should make every jump shot at the end of the game or something's wrong. They do it so many times they raise people's expectations. In the same respect, you don't give them enough credit because people think, 'Well, Tiger hasn't won the last three weeks. What's the matter with Tiger?' Well, odds are, the fourth week he's going to win.''

Woods is now 37 years old. He has won 14 majors – granted, none since the 2008 U.S. Open – and has 78 career PGA Tour victories. In addition to the humiliating series of affairs that ruined his marriage and changed how many think of him, he's also had four surgeries on his left knee.

Time wears down everyone, even one of the greatest golfers ever.

''You can tell when he walks, he's not Tiger – we're not what we were when we came out on Tour, none of us,'' Love said. ''I don't think we give him enough credit for how consistent he's been.''

Yet Woods sounds as if he's at a peak.

''What you're seeing more this year is that I've gotten more precise,'' he said. ''I've been able to work on the other parts of my game and made them strengths.''


FLOYD IS HONORED: Raymond Floyd, who won four major championships and 22 PGA Tour titles, is the latest player or contributor added to the list of honorees of the Memorial Tournament.

Floyd was introduced during a special ceremony Wednesday on the driving range at Muirfield Village.

His voice breaking, the 70-year-old credited his wife of 39 years, Maria, for making him a better person and player.

''I would not be here without her,'' he said.

It was Maria, dying of cancer, who had prompted him to accept the honor when tournament founder Jack Nicklaus first called him a year ago.

After a parade of people recited his accomplishments and told stories about him, Floyd said, ''I never knew I was this good. I'm humbled to be in such company.''

Past Memorial Tournament honorees also include Tom Watson, Nancy Lopez, Seve Ballesteros, JoAnne Carner, Lee Trevino, Payne Stewart, Sam Snead, Walter Hagen, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer and Nicklaus.

Nicklaus was asked to reminisce about playing against Floyd.

''What I always remember about Raymond is his competitiveness,'' he said. ''When he got in contention, generally speaking, he won.''


SPREADING THE LOVE: U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples has tapped one of his best friends, Davis Love III, as one of his assistants for this fall's team competition at Muirfield Village.

Both Love and Couples are playing in the Memorial this week, also at Muirfield. Love said he was surprised to join Jay Haas on Couples' staff.

''I really actually wasn't expecting it because we hadn't talked about it,'' Love said. ''To be around a team again so soon is really great for me, because we had a great experience for two years. It would be nice to jump right back in and let him make the speeches.''

Love was captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team last fall which built a gaping 10-6 lead heading into the final day but then lost eight singles matches and tied one to lose, 14 1/2 to 13 1/2. The victory was Europe's fifth in the last six matches.

The 49-year-old Love can't wait to get back into a team competition, but would prefer to do it as a player. He had surgery on his neck in February and didn't play until The Players Championship earlier this month.

Love said he preferred to be in a support role on the team.

''I'll be the behind-the-scenes golf-cart charger or whatever,'' he said.

Love holds a 16-8-5 record in Presidents Cup play, including a 5-2-1 mark when teamed with Couples.

''He is one of my closest friends,'' Couples said in announcing the decision.

The Presidents Cup will be played Oct. 3-6.

Love said he would like nothing more than to someday be in charge of the American side.

''I would love to do it,'' he said. ''Hopefully down the road a Presidents Cup captaincy will come up. It would be fun.''

The International team is led by captain Nick Price, with assistants Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone.


DIVOTS: The Muirfield Village grille room is famous for its milkshakes. At least two players could be spotted, on a sunny day with temperatures in the high 90s, sipping on shakes in between shots on the range. ... Daniel Summerhays, who finished tied for fourth behind Tiger Woods a year ago at the Memorial, took the place of Robert Garrigus, whose wife is expecting. ... Lucas Glover is a father for the first time. His wife gave birth to a daughter two weeks ago named Lucille.

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.

Getty Images

McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, five shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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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?''