Notes TOUR Players Headed to White House

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2008, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- Steve Stricker celebrated the Fourth of July with a round of 64 and an invitation to the White House.
 
Stricker moved into contention at the AT&T National with a flourish Friday. Starting on the back nine, he holed a bunker shot for a birdie at No. 10, then sank putts from 48 and 58 feet for birdies at Nos. 11 and 2. His round included seven birdies and a bogey, moving him from 1 over to 5 under for the tournament.
 
I made a couple of bombs, which you have to do to have a round like this, said Stricker, who finished second to K.J. Choi here last year. I really enjoy this course. It gives you that major-type atmosphere. Theres a lot of history here.
 
Stricker then headed to the showers to prepare for another big event: his first visit inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He was among a group of 14 players invited by President Bush for dinner and fireworks in a twofold celebration. Not only was America having a birthday, but the presidents birthday is Sunday.
 
I had to look it up online, Stricker said. I wasnt sure if we were celebrating the Fourth or his birthday. I guess its both.
 
Stricker said he didnt know how he ended up on the guest list'heres a hint, Steve: Youre the highest rated golfer in the world rankings at the tournament'and he considered flying his family from Wisconsin so they could join him for the special evening. He learned of the invitation when he received a call from the White House itself.
 
It was kind of a weird call, Stricker said. And then you give them all your vital information. Its pretty interesting. Background check.
 
THE PRESIDENTIAL 14:
The full list of players invited to the White House: Fred Funk, Davis Love III, Billy Andrade, Jonathan Byrd, Fred Couples, Rocco Mediate, Lucas Glover, Ben Crane, Jim Furyk, Johnson Wagner, Mike Weir, Brandt Snedeker, Corey Pavin and Stricker.
 
PERNICE CRITIZES TOUR:
When it comes to club grooves and Tiger-less tournaments, Tom Pernice Jr. thinks the PGA TOUR is lax on the job.
 
Pernice, a former member of the TOURs policy board, criticized commissioner Tim Finchem on Friday for not doing more to resolve two contentious issues: U-shaped grooves that produced extra spin coming out of the rough, and the tournaments that have essentially become second-tier because they are rarely' if ever'visited by Tiger Woods or any of the other top players.
 
I think theres several things that commissioner Finchem has done a great job on, and I think theres been several things that hes very weak on, Pernice said after matching the course record with a 63.
 
The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club last year proposed limiting the amount of spin produced by U-shaped grooves. U-shaped grooves have allowed some golfers to drive tee shots into the rough with virtual impunity, knowing that the extra spin will keep the approach shot on the green.
 
But the new rule has yet to be implemented, and Pernice thinks its time for the tour to act.
 
Why isnt the PGA TOUR and Tim Finchem stepping to the plate and using our own rules? Pernice said. Tims been against it all the time. We should have our own rules, and this way we could use V-grooves and everybody can have the same set, and driving the ball in the fairway might make a difference.
 
Pernice also said the TOUR should require Woods and other top players to play more events.
 
There are some things that the TOUR could do to help the sponsors, Pernice said. I think theres got to be something. Michael Jordan didnt get to skip and not go play in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks when the Knicks were good and he didnt like playing there or whatever.
 
THE FAMILY WAY:
Jeff Overton has golf in his blood. At least he thinks so.
 
My mom, she won the nine-hole city tournament back when I was in her stomach, Overton said after his second-round 65 moved him in contention.
 
He then added: I think I was in her stomach. We havent quite been able to do the math on it. I think she shot 50.
 
SHOT OF THE DAY:
Pavin had the first hole-in-one of the tournament, an ace at the 215-yard 10th.
 
Pavins shot with his hybrid 3-iron took two big hops and rolled straight into the hole. It was the second hole-in-one in the AT&T Nationals brief history. Kevin Stadler aced the 13th in the third round of last years inaugural tournament.
 
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  • 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.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    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.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    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

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    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.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    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

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    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.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''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.''