Notes Sutton recalls classic battle with Tiger

By Associated PressMay 6, 2010, 2:22 am

The Players ChampionshipPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Hal Sutton beat Tiger Woods at his very best, a victory at The Players Championship that still resonates 10 years later.

Sutton was at TPC Sawgrass on Wednesday to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of his second and more memorable win on the Stadium Course. He recalled his famous “be the right club today” phrase, which he still gets asked about all the time, and weighed in on Woods’ recent struggles on and off the course.

Sutton made it clear he believes Woods is better equipped than anyone to overcome his problems and get back to playing the kind of golf that helped him dominate the PGA Tour.

“Tiger’s facing the greatest challenge,” said Sutton, who also won here in 1983. “Tiger meets every challenge with his head held high and knowing that he will overcome. He’s had better control of his mind than almost any player I’ve ever watched play the game.

“It’s very difficult and distracting to be able to take out of your mind things that are very important to you and do what he’s got to do right now. I think he’s facing his greatest challenge. I think he’s probably got more equipment to do this with than anybody else.”

Woods, playing in his second tournament since rampant extramarital affairs shattered his image, missed the cut at Quail Hollow by eight last week. He shot a 79 in the second round, the second-highest score in his 14 years on Tour. He has never missed consecutive cuts.

Sutton expects Woods to find a way to balance the selfishness needed to play well at this level and the humility needed to get his personal life straightened out.

“I’m sure Tiger will figure that out,” he said. “He’s figured everything else out.”

Woods didn’t figure out a way to beat Sutton in 2000. He needed a birdie on No. 18 for a chance at a playoff, but hit his approach into a swale near the green and chipped up for par.

Sutton hit next and knew the shot was good.

“Be the right club today,” he said as the ball took aim at the flag. It landed about 8 feet in front of the hole.

“The phrase … was just a moment of passion,” said Sutton, who once counted 36 times that he was asked about it one day. “It was never practiced or anything else. It was just what came out of my mouth when I saw it in the air.”

MILLER BASHING: As usual, NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller had some advice for Tiger Woods: Ditch the driver for The Players Championship, then ditch swing coach Hank Haney.

Miller said the Stadium Course doesn’t require power off the tee, which is why past champions Woods and Phil Mickelson have had to “throttle way down with their games.”

“If I were caddying for Tiger on the first tee, I’d probably break the driver and just say, ‘Let’s go play,”’ Miller said. “Phil when he won was really throttling down with that baby cut and playing very conservative.”

Then came the dig at Haney.

“This might be a little harsh, but I really believe he needs to – every night – watch the U.S. Open in the year 2000 in Pebble and just copy that swing and forget the Haney stuff,” Miller said. “That was the best golf anybody has ever played in history.”

Woods, who was working with Butch Harmon at the time, won by a record 15 shots at Pebble Beach, where the U.S. Open returns next month.

SHUTTER TROUBLE: Tiger Woods isn’t the only player who has to deal with cameras.

Hunter Mahan stood over his tee shot on the 16th hole Wednesday morning when a fan with a professional camera – cameras are allowed during practice rounds – fired the shutter in the middle of his swing.

“Did you get that?” Mahan’s caddie, John Wood, said to the man.

“Do you prefer me not to do that?” the man responded.

“No, it’s perfect,” Mahan said sarcastically.

Apparently, the sarcasm was lost on the man, for when Woods stepped to the tee, he was at the top of the swing when the man took more pictures. Woods stopped and started laughing, along with the rest of the group.

“Thanks, Wood,” he said to Mahan’s caddie.

EXTRA PRACTICE: Ian Poulter played the Stadium Course hundreds of times before he ever walked it in person. Poulter said Wednesday he learned the layout by playing PlayStation.

“The island green, I’ve probably played more rounds of it on PlayStation as a kid than I ever have now,” he said. “I don’t play anymore, but I’m just saying as a kid, I mean, hours in a pro shop.”

He believes video games helped him learn the course faster than he would have normally. However, he’s more familiar with the back nine than the front.

“When you set it up, you always set it up to play the back nine, I guess, with the island green,” he said.

How did he fare on No. 17, the famed island green?

“I’ve made birdie there all the time on the computer,” he said.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

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.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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