Notes Tricky greens not heat worry seniors

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGACOLORADO SPRINGS, Co. ' Forget the heat, dont worry about the altitude. Its The Broadmoors notoriously tricky greens that will undoubtedly befuddle the field at the 29th U.S. Senior Open.
 
Well, first you have the influence of the mountains, the Cheyenne Mountains so close by, Coloradan Hale Irwin said. And that always was intriguing when we did play down here years ago, how the Texas and Florida guys would come up and theyd have no clue how to putt these greens.
 
Well, I welcome myself to that club now because its been a long time since weve played a course that has greens, A, this size; B, with this much contour in them; and C, with such an overpowering influence off the mountain.
 
Other courses have all of these elements but not to this degree. Add in altitude that affects approach shots and golfers entire games are affected by the unpredictable greens.
 
And thats before the USGAs often unfriendly pin placement is even taken into account.
 
What weve seen with the practice rounds are the hole locations they will not use because of how much break there is, Irwin said. So were trying to putt to where we anticipate other holes to be, but you never know. Thats the mystery of the USGA.
 
The par-70, 7,254-yard East Course is the longest for a U.S. Senior Open, surpassing the 7,117-yard Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, site of the 2004 championship.
 
The tee-to-green game is pretty straightforward, Irwin said. While not overbearing, its not easy because of the severity of the greens, because if you miss the fairway, the odds of you hitting the green or hitting in a position where you have any kind of a putt whatsoever are greatly diminished.
 
So, it sort of backs itself up. You look at hole location where youre going to have to be on that green where you have any kind of a putt, he added. And then it starts putting pressure on the second shot, on the drive to perform. And thats the way it should be.
 
Putts tend to break away from the west-to-east slope of the mountain. R.W. Eaks, a native of Colorado Springs, said it helps to locate the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun on the mountain and try to putt toward it.
 
Well, you got the shrine up there, OK, and you kind of have to triangulate where the shrine is and where youre putting. I know it sounds funny, but it really works, Eaks said. It just takes time to get used to it, but shoot, it took me a while to try and figure that out.
 
I dont know if Im going to make all my putts or not, but at least I know what direction theyre going.
 
Irwin said the influence of Cheyenne Mountain also speeds up the putts.
 
Some of the putts here will be faster in mid-roll than they are when you first hit it, so that becomes almost something that gets out of your control; hence, putting toward the mountain is going to be what we all try to do, he said.
 
OH WHAT A DRAG
 
At 72, Dale Douglass of Castle Rock, Colo., is the elder statesman of the field at the 29th U.S. Senior Open. He won the tournament in 1986 in his first try just four months after turning 50, the minimum age for the senior circuit.
 
Well, you might think you might know more at 72 than at 50. But the fact is that youve forgotten more. And that evens it out, so you dont have an advantage of wisdom, Douglass said.
 
It doesnt bother me. Im very fortunate to be healthy and able to play and able to walk this golf course at 72.
 
When he was introduced as the oldest golfer in the field, however, Douglass dropped his head.
 
I was hoping Gary Player is here because hes older than I am, see, but when he doesnt show, its me, said Douglass, who is four months younger than Player.
 
Douglass said it gets tougher and tougher every year, making the Champions Tour a young mans game.
 
Theres a rejuvenation out here because youre not intimidated when youre 50, he said. Youre not intimidated by any of the other players because you hit it further and straighter and you putt better.
 
Douglass, who first played The Broadmoor at the 1959 U.S. Amateur championship that launched Jack Nicklauss career, is playing in his 23rd Senior Open, two shy of Arnold Palmers mark.
 
Theres some of his other records that I would have preferred to have challenged, Douglass said.
 
ACHING KNEES
 
R.W. Eaks won the Champions Tour 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn., earlier this month with the help of a golf cart, which the USGA doesnt allow in the U.S. Senior Open.
 
Both of Eaks knees need replacement. He couldnt walk up stairs in December, and twice this year has withdrawn from tournaments because he could barely get out of a cart.
 
The 56-year-old Eaks said hes not anticipating any problems, however, walking the 7,254-yard East Course, the longest ever for a Senior Open.
 
Hes been wearing FDA-approved electrical stimulation braces on his legs while he sleeps.
 
Just in the last few days Ive noticed a big difference, Eaks said.
 
DIVOTS
 
Dave Delich, 51, of Colorado Springs, may have an experience advantage this week over the rest of the field. Delich is a member at the Broadmoor and a six-time Broadmoor Golf Club champion. He also won the 2007 Colorado State Senior Amateur and the 1997 Colorado State Mid-Amateur. Australian Graham Marsh withdrew from the tournament Wednesday and was replaced by alternate Steve Heckel, of Carterville, Ill. Until he played three practice rounds here this month, Irwin said it had been at least 42 years since he played the East Course.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • 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.''