Notes Skateboards and Special Invites

By Associated PressMay 5, 2005, 4:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Richard S. Johnson gave up skateboarding for golf when he was a teenager - all for the affections of a girl.
 
Now, when he tries to get back on his board, he pays the price.
 
'The problem is when you fall now, you fall like a log,' the 28-year-old Swede said Thursday after an opening-round 4-under-par 68 left him tied for second at the Wachovia Championship. 'Before, it was more like a cat. It really hurts when you fall now, and it's the same with everything. When you fall, you fall hard.'
 
After finishing 148th on the PGA Tour money list last season, Johnson has only a partial exemption in 2005, and this is his fourth start. He tied for ninth last week in New Orleans - his first tournament since February - and continued the solid play at Quail Hollow.
 
He had the lead to himself at 6 under heading to the 17th tee, but hit his 5-iron long into the rough on difficult par-3. An indifferent chip left Johnson about 25 feet from the hole, and he missed the putt to make a bogey. Another one at the 18th left him in a group of four players one shot behind Sergio Garcia.
 
'I had a really nice day going,' he said. 'Of course, I'm really happy with 4 under coming in, as well. You know, it's too bad with the finish. The last three holes are really tough holes.'
 
As for the reason he took up golf in the first place, Johnson took a bet when he was 15 from his girlfriend's family, who jokingly told him he couldn't get the 'Green Card' required to play golf in Sweden. So he practiced for 10 straight days, 10 hours a day, and passed the test.
 
Before long, Johnson couldn't get enough of the game.
 
'I got hooked like everybody else,' he said.
 
He won several national junior tournaments in Sweden, then came to the United States to enjoy better playing conditions - he described his native land as a 'small country with very bad weather.' Now, he simply has to find his thrills on the golf course, something he would not have believed possible before he began playing.
 
'I did every other sport, and I really thought golf was kind of weird,' Johnson said. 'But if you pull off a really good shot or if you hole something, whatever, just the adrenaline flow is really probably what keeps me going. That's what I'm trying to get back to a little bit more, to get the adrenaline flowing.'
 
OPEN INVITATION
Pinehurst No. 2 is only a couple of hours down the road from the Wachovia Championship, and Nick Price won't have to worry about getting to the U.S. Open.
 
The USGA gave him a special exemption last week.
 
'That was sweet,' Price said Thursday after opening with a 73. 'It's the first invitation I ever got to a major championship. It was a big thing for me when (USGA vice president) Walter Drive phoned me. I said, 'Walter, that's one of the nicest phone calls I ever got.' I really needed it this year, too.'
 
Price thinks he's capable of becoming the first player since Hale Irwin in 1990 to win the U.S. Open after getting a special exemption.
 
'My game is not quite right, but it's close,' he said. 'If I can get rid of the junk in my game, just clean it out, I can have a chance, especially on an Open championship course. If it plays hard and fast, it will be awesome.'
 
Price tied for 23rd at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999.
 
FURYK FADES
Jim Furyk came to the 18th hole at the top of the leaderboard and in total control of his game. A few wayward shots changed all that.
 
After playing without a bogey through the first 17 holes, the 2003 U.S Open champ chopped up his final hole and made a double-bogey 6, leaving him with a 3-under 69.
 
'Had I doubled 1 and played the rest of the way in, I'd probably be smiling and happy,' Furyk said. 'But finishing that way is never great.'
 
His trouble started when his drive unexpectedly bounced in the rough, and a weak approach shot found a bunker. An awful explosion left him with a 40-footer for par, and he misread the green from there.
 
'I hit a bad second shot, the bunker shot was terrible, and I got fooled on the putt,' Furyk said. 'I end up making a couple of mistakes on one hole after playing mistake-free.'
 
BEN ON THE MEND
Ben Curtis couldn't see his eagle on the 12th hole, and he was lucky to hear about it with only a dozen or so people around the green. He hit an easy 5-iron from 172 yards, the ball landing on the ridge and breaking some 15 feet before dropping into the center of the cup.
 
'I hit it to 3 feet on the last hole and no one clapped,' Curtis said. 'Tough crowd.'
 
It's been a tough start for the 2003 British Open champion, although he is seeing some progress. Curtis shot 71, the first time he has started with a round under par since his first start of the year at the Buick Invitational. He shot 75 the next day and missed the cut.
 
Curtis, who has made only one cut this year, began seeing Hank Haney three weeks ago. He is working on starting his swing more outside, and he already is seeing some results.
 
'I've always been about keeping the swing on plane,' Curtis said. 'I'm getting some of my power back now.'
 
DIVOTS
Tim Petrovic, who got his first career victory in a playoff last week in New Orleans, had a 77 in the first round, matching the score of James Driscoll, the man he beat. ... An odd scene caused a brief backup on the 16th hole early in the first round. Glen Day pulled his drive behind a couple of portable restrooms and needed a ruling, so his playing partners - Neal Lancaster and Michael Allen - finished out the hole by themselves. Meanwhile, all three members of the next group hit their tee shots, unaware of Day's troubles. He eventually completed the hole solo, making a bogey 5. ... Jay Haas had the best day among his family, finishing with a 73 to beat son Bill by one shot. Jerry Haas, Jay's brother and the golf coach at Wake Forest, shot an 80.
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Wachovia Championship

  • Full Coverage - Wachovia Championship

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    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

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    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


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    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

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    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


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    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.