Notes Toms back from vacation

By Associated PressAugust 4, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich . -- Some introductions were in order last week at Firestone when David Toms walked onto the practice range. He hasnt been seen on the PGA TOUR since he tied for 27th at the Travelers Championship, turning down his spot in the British Open.
 
The reason? Toms was in dire need of a vacation.
 
The 41-year-old from Louisiana had played nine out of 11 weeks, only twice finishing in the top 20, when he decided it was time to take a break. He headed off to his lake house with his wife and two children, with plans of returning to the John Deere Classic. But he was having so much fun, and his game was not in shape, so he passed on Royal Birkdale.
 
I had a great time, said Toms, who had never taken such a long break in the summer without being forced out by injury. It was hard to force myself to come back.
 
He did at a tough place ' the Bridgestone Invitational ' and got progressively better with a 70-69 weekend to tie for 48th. Toms was among the early arrivals to Oakland Hills on Monday, playing 18 holes.
 
Toms made some sacrifices with his game to spend time with his family. He has yet to record a top 10, meaning he most likely will not be part of the Ryder Cup team for the first time since 1999. And he is 130th in the FedEx Cup standings with only two tournaments remaining before the playoffs begin.
 
No matter. It was time well spent, and Toms already has looked at the fall schedule, at least those tournaments that dont conflict with his beloved LSU Tigers football games.
 
We have an off week during Turning Stone, so Ill play there, he said. Im not going to Florida, so I can play the Texas Open. And if I dont play in the Ryder Cup, Ill play in Jackson (Viking Classic).
 
The man does have his priorities.
 
HOMETOWN FAVORITE
 
Looking for a PGA TOUR player who might be the local favorite? That would be Mike Weir.
 
The Canadian was born in Sarnia, which is only about an hour away from Detroit. Its so close that Weir grew up as a huge Detroit Red Wings fan. And he was getting plenty of cheers as he played nine holes Monday with Dean Wilson and Kenny Perry.
 
Its closer to home than it was two weeks ago, said Weir, referring to the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey outside Toronto. Theres a lot of Canucks in Detroit.
 
PLAYING HURT
 
Bart Bryant is 18th in the Ryder Cup standings and 27th in the FedEx Cup standings heading into the home stretch. His biggest concern was crossing the finish line, so the oft-injured Bryant had a cortisone shot in his right elbow two weeks ago.
 
It was his third such shot this year, and he hopes it will get him through September.
 
It was 90 percent effective, Bryant said. Each one lasts a little bit shorter, but hopefully, Ill be taken care of through the FedEx Cup. That would be a bonus.
 
And after that? Bryant said surgery is likely, which will be the fifth of his career.
 
But the first time on the exterior, he said, pointing to a scar on the inside of his left elbow. He also has had surgery on the exterior of his left elbow, along with his knee and shoulder.
 
At least its not brain surgery.
 
That should have been done a long time ago, Bryant said with a laugh.
 
Bryant likely needs to be runner-up at the PGA Championship to earn one of eight automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He is equally interested in the FedEx Cup, considering he has not returned to the Tour Championship at East Lake since 2005, when he set the course record with a 62 in the first round and won by six shots over Tiger Woods.
 
HOME SWEET HOME?
 
Scott Hebert is the first club pro in 11 years to win the PGA Professional National Championship and earn the right to play the PGA Championship in his home state.
 
Hebert is the head pro at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. The PGA Championship, which starts Thursday, is being held at Oakland Hills for the first time since 1979.
 
Home field advantage? Uh, not quite.
 
This is my first time in the driveway, Hebert said Monday. I havent seen it. When I get out of here, Im going to look for the range. Shortly after that, hopefully Ill get to the first tee and play some holes.
 
How could a six-time Michigan Open champion never have set foot at Oakland Hills, the most famous golf course in the state?
 
For starters, Grand Traverse is about 250 miles away. Then theres that small detail of his job.
 
Its not because I havent had invitations, Hebert said. Steve Brady is another great Michigan player who works here and has asked me to come down. And its just never seemed to work out. But I hear wonderful things about it. A lot of my members grew up here and said, Youre going to love the golf course.
 
Thats the scouting report from his wife, too. She came to Oakland Hills in 2004 for the Ryder Cup.
 
Hebert is thrilled his wife and children will be able to watch him play.
 
A week before he won the PNC in Georgia, his daughter was born prematurely. But she is doing fine, and everyone is at Oakland Hills. Hebert will play the first two rounds with Rod Pampling and Sean OHair.
 
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  • Park collapses; leaderboard chaos at CME

    By Nick MentaNovember 18, 2017, 8:47 pm

    Sung-Hyun Park started the day with a three-shot lead and slowly gave it all back over the course of a 3-over 75, leaving the CME Group Tour Championship and a host of season-long prizes up for grabs in Naples. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the LPGA finale, where Michelle Wie, Ariya Jutanugarn, Suzann Pettersen and Kim Kaufman share the lead.

    Leaderboard: Kaufman (-10), Wie (-10), Jutanugarn (-10), Pettersen (-10), Stacy Lewis (-9), Karine Icher (-9), Austin Ernst (-9), Lexi Thompson (-9), Jessica Korda (-9), Pernilla Lindberg (-9)

    What it means: It wasn’t the Saturday she wanted, but Park, who already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year Award, is still in position for the sweep of all sweeps. With a victory Sunday, she would claim the CME Group Tour Championship, the Race to CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and the money title, as she ascends to No. 1 in the Rolex world ranking. Meanwhile, Thompson, too, could take the $1 million and Player of the Year. As those two battle for season-long prizes, a host of other notable names – Wie, Jutanugarn, Pettersen, Korda, Lewis and Charley Hull (-8) – will fight for the Tour Championship.

    Round of the day: Kaufman made four birdies on each side in a bogey-free 8 under-par 64. A lesser-known name on a stacked leaderboard, she seeks her first LPGA victory.

    Best of the rest: Amy Yang will start the final round two behind after a 7-under 65. The three-time LPGA Tour winner could pick up her second title of the season after taking the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.

    Biggest disappointment: On a day that featured plenty of low scores from plenty of big names, Lydia Ko dropped 11 spots down the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd with a Saturday 72. The former world No. 1 needed two birdies in her last five holes to fight her way back to even par. Winless this season, she’ll start Sunday four back, at 6 under.

    Shot of the day: I.K. Kim aced the par-3 12th from 171 yards when her ball landed on the front of the green and tracked all the way to the hole.

    Kim, oddly enough, signed her name to a scorecard that featured a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. It was all part of a 1-under 71.

    Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


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    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    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.


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    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.