Notes Trying to compare Barack and Eldrick

By Associated PressJanuary 13, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 Sony OpenHONOLULU ' Parker McLachlin is in his third year on the PGA Tour and he still hasnt even met Tiger Woods, let alone played with him. He has heard stories of young players being overwhelmed, but at least he will have experience to lean on when the time comes.
After all, not too many golfers get to guard president-elect Barack Obama in a pickup basketball game.
McLachlins father was Obamas high school basketball coach at Punahou School in Honolulu, and during a vacation to Oahu over Christmas, Obama got together with some old friends from school. McLachlins father was invited, and asked if his sons could come along.
Next thing he knew, McLachlin was on the court with Obama and had to guard him.
It was his choice, McLachlin said. I think he wanted to have an easy game on defense. He said he wanted to guard the golfer.
McLachlin wasnt always a pushover.
He was trying to back me down, and Im giving him an elbow to the kidney, McLachlin said. And Im sure the Secret Service guys are like, Get your hands off of him. I had to belly up and play a little hard-nosed defense. Looking back on it, Im like, I cant believe I was elbowing him. But thats what youve got to do.
He was asked to compare being on the court with Obama to his first time on Tour being in the presence of Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson, players he had only seen on television.
Thats an interesting question, McLachlin said. I think to me, theres still a little bit more of an air with Tiger just because its what I do and I aspire to be in Tigers shoes. Theres sort of a bit more of an air there, more unattainability.
Then he paused and smiled at what he had just said.
Obviously, the presidency is very unattainable, as well, he said. Maybe its just the way that Barack was. He was very genuine and very interested in what I was doing and everyone else that was there. He made a genuine effort to really connect. That was something that really made you feel at ease with him.
McLachlin said he would watch the inauguration with more interest than most.
Just knowing the fact that my dad has had a part in his upbringing and that hes influenced him in some way, I think, is something pretty special, McLachlin said.

HALL OF FAME: Not only did Kenny Perrys three victories last year earn him a spot on the Ryder Cup team, it got him on the PGA Tour ballot for the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame released its ballots to voters Tuesday. Perry and Jay Haas were added to the PGA Tour ballot, while Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland was added to the International ballot.
For players to be on the PGA Tour ballot, they must be at least 40 and a Tour member for at least 10 years, with a minimum of 10 victories or a combination of 20 PGA and Champions Tour victories. Perry now has 12 wins; Haas won twice last year, pushing his combination of wins to 21. Clarke became eligible by turning 40.
Voters include Hall of Fame members, golf writers, historians and golf dignitaries from around the world. The ballots are due March 2, and players require 65 percent of the vote to be elected. (If no one is elected, the player receiving at least 50 percent will get in).
Lanny Wadkins received 52 percent of the vote last year, followed by Doug Ford (35 percent) and Mark OMeara (24 percent). Davis Love III received 19 percent last year but likely will get more votes after picking up his 20th career victory in November.
On the international ballot, Jose Maria Olazabal received 49 percent of the vote last year.

CAREER MONEY EXEMPTIONS: Prize money on the PGA Tour has nearly tripled in the last decade. Now, there might be a new way to measure the financial growth ' the number of players taking a one-time exemption for career money.
Chris DiMarco is among eight players who will keep their card in 2009 from being in the top 25 or the top 50 in career money, the highest number using career money exemptions this decade.
DiMarco (No. 19) and Tom Lehman (No. 18) are the only two players from the top 25 in career money. The others are Jeff Sluman, Brad Faxon, Bob Estes, David Duval, Jeff Maggert and Loren Roberts. Sluman (No. 26) and Roberts (No. 45) arent expected to play most of the time on the Champions Tour, but so taking the exemption was a matter of using it while its available.
Roberts and Sluman both are playing in the Sony Open.
If I dont use it, Ill probably lose it, said Roberts, who plans to play four or five times on the PGA Tour this year.

DIVOTS: Seven players at the Mercedes-Benz Championship decided not to take the 20-minute flight to Oahu for the Sony Open, including Vijay Singh (knee surgery Wednesday) and Justin Leonard, who traditionally plays the Bob Hope Desert Classic next week, which starts a day early because it is 90 holes. Sean OHair figures to have a hectic summer. His wife, Jackie, is expecting their third child in late June. The Irish Open will be played this year at County Louth Golf Club.

STAT OF THE WEEK: The PGA Tour had 41 players who made more money last year than Arnold Palmer earned in his career.

FINAL WORD: This is the first year I can remember that I dont have to worry about keeping my card.'Paul Azinger, who turns 50 next year and will join the Champions Tour.

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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 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 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.''