Notes Weir Back on Track

By Associated PressJanuary 8, 2005, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- A former Masters champion who is one of the top 10 players in the world ranking, Mike Weir had ample opportunity to rake in some easy money during the silly season.
 
Instead, the 34-year-old Canadian shut it down after the Tour Championship in early November and had one of his longest breaks from golf since he joined the PGA Tour.
 
But this was no vacation.
 
While he did go skiing with his family in Utah, Weir also spent a lot of time with swing coach Mike Wilson in the California desert, tightening a game that he thought was getting away from him last year.
 
``I was getting a little bit of a reverse pivot, and the length of my swing was getting very long,'' Weir said. ``It was causing me some problems, and then I just didn't feel real comfortable with my putting all year. That was the major thing I worked on - more stability with my putting and getting the stroke under control a little bit more.''
 
The putting problems were never more obvious than at the Canadian Open.
 
Weir looked like a shoo-in to become the first Canadian to win his national open in 50 years - on the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Open, no less - until his putting abandoned him the final two rounds. He blew a late lead, missed a 5-foot putt to win in the playoff, and eventually watched Vijay Singh pose with the trophy.
 
``That played on my mind as the weeks went on after the Canadian Open, and I think maybe that played into something in the offseason that, 'Hey, I need to work on my putting,''' he said.
 
The problem with his putting was mainly in the setup. Weir found himself moving around, which led to bad posture. He was four shots behind going into the final round at the Mercedes Championships, getting there with a 63 in the second round. And whatever happens this week, that showed his work already was paying off.
 
``When you're making putts on these greens, I know I'm on the right track,'' he said.
 
CAMPBELL EQUIPMENT
Chad Campbell has a golf bag that looks like it belongs to a PGA Tour rookie or struggling journeyman, not someone who has won each of the last two years.The bag is blank except for his name.
 
Campbell did not renew his equipment deal with Cleveland, and while there was no shortage of offers the last few months, he wants to take his time deciding which way to go. For now, the 30-year-old Texan is playing Ping.
 
``I've had opportunities in the offseason, but I'm going to play with what I
like,'' Campbell said. ``I've played these irons for a long time.''
 
Campbell said he tried three other brands the last few months - he declined to say which, although he had Hogan irons in his bag at the Target World Challenge. He used Ping during his college career at UNLV, and during his successful run through the Hooters and Nationwide tours.
 
There is no rush to have an equipment contract.
 
``Right now, we'll just wait and see,'' he said. ``I'm only worried about playing good golf.''
 
ON THE BAG
Vijay Singh has won twice with his trainer, Joey Diovisalvi, working as his caddie. Singh said there is good karma between the two, but it only lasts so long in the player-caddie relationship.
 
Diovisalvi is a whiz at creating fitness routines. He certainly is strong enough to carry a bag, especially on a mountainous course like the Plantation at Kapalua. But he's not a pro caddie, so Singh does a lot of the leg work.
 
``It gives me a lot better feel of where I need to hit on the greens and where the pin is,'' he said. ``At times when you do that, you get more focused on pin placement, where the trouble is, where you've got to hit it. But it's also a hassle, running around and doing your own yardages. I kind of get tired of it after two weeks. That's why I'm getting my old caddie back.''
 
Diovisalvi also will work next week in the Sony Open, but Paul Tesori will return to caddie in San Diego. Singh already has split with Dave Renwick, the Scot on the bag during his rapid rise to No. 1 in the world.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Mercedes Championships
  • Full Coverage - Mercedes Championships
     
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


    Getty Images

    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

    Getty Images

    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.