Notes Verplank Slips on Saturday

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- If it's not one thing, it's another for Scott Verplank.
 
He began to suffer from plantar fasciitis -- a painful ailment in his right foot -- just after the Masters, and there were times he wondered if he could finish the season, much less try to make the Ryder Cup team.
 
Relief came in July, when Foot-Joy made a special shoe using a mold of his foot, and he marveled at how good he felt when he shot a 67 in the first round of the PGA Championship.
 
He stood at 5 under through four holes Friday when his luck -- and foot -- turned, leading to bogeys on four of the next six holes and a double bogey on 11 that left him with a 76.
 
Verplank revealed the reason for his meltdown after his round Saturday: He said he twisted his right foot on one of the thousands of potholes at tortuous Whistling Straits when he was trotting to catch up to his group after a bathroom break at the fifth hole Friday.
 
'It wasn't like I took a step and fell over. But it's rough. Have you walked around where the spectators are? I guess you can break an ankle there,' Verplank said. 'But all our paths, unless you're on the fairways or on the tee box or the greens, you need hiking boots.'
 
On Saturday, the foot hurt even worse, he said, and it showed as he carded a 77 that included two bogeys, a double-bogey and a triple-bogey that left him 4 over for the tournament.
 
'It affects my golf swing, it affects my balance,' said Verplank, who can't put his full weight on his right foot.
 
He said it wasn't quite a sprained ankle and that he felt pain along the top and outside of his foot.
 
Verplank is 14th in the Ryder Cup standings, and his foot problems are a serious issue. There are two rounds of matches the first two days at Oakland Hills next month.
 
'I'll be all right. Maybe not before tomorrow, but I'll be fine,' Verplank insisted as he limped off.
 
MISSED MEMO
Stuart Appleby missed the memo.
 
The PGA of America changed its mind this week and announced that all of the more than 1,400 bunkers at Whistling Straits would be played as hazards at the PGA Championship.
 
That meant players were forbidden to ground their clubs or remove loose impediments -- even if the ball wound up in a fan's footprint.
 
The golfers got the memo in their lockers on Monday.
 
Appleby was in contention Saturday thanks to three consecutive birdies that gave him four birdies in five holes when he hit his tee shot into a sand bunker outside the ropes on No. 16.
 
'I moved a piece of dead grass,' explained Appleby.
 
Two-stroke penalty, ruled the PGA.
 
'And grounded my club,' Appleby added, 'because I didn't think it was a bunker' that was in play.
 
Another two strokes.
 
That gave him a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5, 569-yard hole known as 'Endless Bite.'
 
Appleby never conferred with a rules official before his big bunker blunder.
 
'I didn't think a bunker that 30,000 people had walked in was part of the course,' he complained.
 
Several fans realized right away what a gaffe it was and promptly notified tournament officials.
 
'I wasn't trying to get away with it,' Appleby said. 'Easily 100 people could see what I was doing.'
 
Instead of finishing the day with a 68 to put him at 5 under for the championship, Appleby was left with an even-par 72 and is 1 under overall.
 
'You talk about saving shots in a round of golf,' Appleby said. 'I basically could have saved four strokes by reading a piece of paper inside the locker room.'
 
CELEBRITY SIGHTING
As Joe Ogilvie crested the hill behind the 18th green following his round of 70 Saturday, he was surprised to see Donald Trump, decked out in a gold sweater with a golf cap covering his golden locks, by the grandstand.
 
'I can be the apprentice!' Ogilvie told the billionaire businessman and star of the NBC's hit show 'The Apprentice.'
 
'You're hired!' Trump replied, a spin on his famous 'You're Fired!' tag line.
 
Ogilvie doesn't need a job, however.
 
The 30-year-old native of Austin, Texas, who joined the PGA Tour five years ago, has earned $873,727 this year and should pick up a nice paycheck on Sunday.
 
'I've got a pretty good gig,' Ogilvie said. 'So, I can't help him out.'
 
Ogilvie said he shouldn't have been surprised to see the real-estate tycoon who owns Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., checking out the action at the season's last major.
 
'He's a movie star,' Ogilvie said. 'He's the man now. He's got to be seen.'
 
DIVOTS
Jerry Kelly's missed cut ended his streak of 27 consecutive cuts made, leaving Scott Verplank (25) second to Tiger Woods' 129 straight. With Kelly, a Madison native, failing to qualify for the weekend, Milwaukee's Skip Kendall found a larger following Saturday, but he shot a disappointing 79 to go 8 over for the tournament. 'I was a little off,' he said. 'Hopefully, I'll be a little on tomorrow.' ... Roy Biancalana, of Huntley, Ill., is one of three club pros who made the cut. He was scheduled to tee off alone at 7:40 a.m. but asked for a marker to play the third round with him. 'I was the last one to putt out (Friday) night and the first one to hit it this morning,' Biancalana said after shooting a 75. 'I should have just slept here. It felt like a quick turnaround.'

Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA Championship
  • Photo Gallery - Whistling Straits
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Course Tour - Whistling Straits
     
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.