Notes Short End to PGA Tour Hopes
But a rainy week at Kingwood Golf Club outside Houston never relented, and Gilliam never hit another shot. Because the field did not finish the third round, the scores were wiped out and the second stage reverted to a 36-hole qualifier.
Gilliam wound up missing by one shot.
Its a sad situation for those of us a shot out of it, Gilliam said Tuesday.
Erik Compton, Roger Tambellini and Bryce Molder were among those in the same predicament'not knowing whether they could have rallied over the final 36 holes that were not played.
The other five sites at the second stage all played 72 holes.
Obviously, the intention is to play 72 holes, PGA Tour spokesman Dave Lancer said. The regulations say 36 holes is acceptable if thats what it comes down to.
The PGA Tour had no choice. It rained so much in Houston last week that the course was reduced to a par 68 because four holes were under water. Gilliam said the tees on four holes had so much water that the tees were moved up to about 180 yard short of the green and played as a par 3.
The qualifier was supposed to be Wednesday through Saturday, but rain washed out the opening round and made it impossible to play Saturday and Sunday.
Gilliam and other hard-luck cases now have no place to play. The former Florida Gator said he likely would play the Hooters Tour and try to Monday qualify on the Nationwide and PGA Tour.
He also is looking at a team competition in May near Las Vegas called Big Stakes, in which two-man teams put up $100,000 for a chance to win $3 million.
I met someone in Texas who might be willing to sponsor us, Gilliam said. That was about the only good thing that came out of that trip.
The Father-Son Challenge is for major champions and their sons, although tournament organizers were more than willing to bend the rules for Lee Janzen.
He will be playing the tournament with the 15-year-old son of Payne Stewart.
It struck me that Aaron would be playing with his dad if Payne were still alive, Janzen said. I thought he was missing out on something special. So I called my manager about playing with Aaron.
Stewart, a three-time major champion, died Oct. 25, 1999, when his plane flew uncontrolled across the country before crashing in a South Dakota field.
Janzen and Stewart were close friends, and Stewart was the runner-up both times Janzen won the U.S. Open.
The Father-Son Challenge will be played Dec. 2-5 at ChampionsGate in Orlando.
Fresh off his first victory of the season at the Taiheiyo Masters in Japan, Darren Clarke is shutting it down the rest of the year because of his wifes health.
Clarke pulled out of the Nelson Mandela Invitational this week in South Africa and the Nedbank Challenge next week in Sun City, where the winner gets $2 million. He is not expected to play again until next year.
The nature of his wifes illness was not disclosed.
Much as I am disappointed in having to withdraw from my obligations, I hope that everybody understands that it is vital I am with my wife and family at this time, Clarke said. Heather has been having problems, and we are determined to get to the bottom of them as quickly as possible.
Frank Lickliter and Cameron Beckman arent just going to South Korea for a chance to win $1 million this week. They will be hosting a clinic for U.S. troops at the Korea Golf Championship. The $3.5 million tournament starts Thursday. ... The Wendys Championship in Ohio that ends Aug. 28 will be the final tournament for LPGA players to earn Solheim Cup points. The team previously had been decided at the State Farm Classic. ... Fred Ridley was nominated for a second one-year term as USGA president.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods hit more greens in regulation than anyone else at the Dunlop Phoenix, the first time he has led the field in that category since the 2003 Funai Classic at Disney.
Im more worried about the speech. I dont think I can ramble on for 20 minutes.'Karrie Webb on her induction next year into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it
NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.
She says she always gets nervous starting a round.
You don’t believe it, though.
She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .
Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .
Or disarming ticking bombs . . .
“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.
Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.
Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.
Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.
At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.
She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.
She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.
And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.
There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.
Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.
It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.
Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.
Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.
“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”
About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.
Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.
“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”
David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.
“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”
Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.
Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . .
“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.
Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.
“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”
Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.
“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.
Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.
National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.
The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.
Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.
These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:
Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.
This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.
“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”
Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.
In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.
If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.
“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”
Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.
Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.
''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''
The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.
The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.
''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''
Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.
''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''
First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).
Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.
''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.
''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''