Notes Woods Not Expecting Much Conversation

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- British bookmakers were up to their tricks Tuesday by offering some unusual side bets for the British Open. None was more tantalizing than defending champion Tiger Woods and three-time champion Nick Faldo playing in the same group.
 
William Hill is offering 6-to-4 odds that they will not shake hands on the first tee Thursday, and 25-to-1 odds that Woods and Faldo will come to blows at some point during the first round. Those odds started at 100-to-1.
 
Is it all overblown?
 
Woods and Faldo were never close, and have only played together twice in competition'the first round of the 1997 Masters, and the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship, which Woods won handily.
 
But there has been much focus on Faldo criticizing Woods swing while working for ABC Sports at the 2005 Buick Invitational, and Woods made it clear Tuesday that he doesnt expect much social time Thursday or Friday.
 
We dont really talk much, he said. Ive only played with him two times since Ive been a pro, and there wasnt a lot of talking there, either.
 
Both are intense while playing, anyway.
 
Faldo walks quickly and keeps his head down. Woods generally is the model of concentration.
 
Woods was asked what his reaction would be if Faldo wants to chat.
 
Surprised, he said.
 
Faldo turned 49 on Tuesday, and he was asked again about his criticism of Woods at the Buick Invitational last year. Woods was leading by one shot on the final hole when he fanned a 2-iron that narrowly missed the water, and went on to make birdie. A complete fan and a miss, Faldo said.
 
I was just doing what I was paid to do, Faldo said. If I compliment him, nobody says anything, do they?
 
Faldo also said he was surprised the Royal & Ancient would put him in the same group with the defending champion, especially because they are 19 years apart in age and a generation apart in golf.
 
Im surprised he wasnt placed in a younger age group, he said.
 
MEMORIES OF ERNIE
Three players at the British Open have hoisted trophies at Royal Liverpool, even though it hasnt been part of the British Open rotation since 1967.
 
Paul Broadhurst won a Pro-Celebrities tour event in the early 90s. Mikko Ilonen of Finland won the 2000 British Amateur.
 
And then theres Ernie Els.
 
In a corner hallway of the clubhouse are framed black-and-white photos, including one from the Tillman Trophy in 1988, a junior event. Standing in the middle, tall and gangly with an awkward smile and mussed hair was Els.
 
It was a very long time ago; it was almost 20 years ago, Els said. I remember winning that tournament in a playoff, but thats about it. I cant remember the winning score or anything.
 
Still, the Big Easy has seen the photograph.
 
Theres a beautiful picture in the clubhouse if you want to see, Els said with a grin. I havent changed much.
 
IMMELMAN OUT
Trevor Immelman, coming off a win at the Cialis Western Open, wont get a chance to go for two in a row.
 
The 26-year-old South African dropped out of the British Open after learning that his wife, Carminita, would be undergoing a C-section to deliver the couples first child.
 
Immelman was trying to catch a flight home, while first alternate Andrew Buckle of Australia was trying to get to Liverpool as soon as possible with the tournament beginning Thursday.
 
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said Tuesday night that Immelman would be flying on the tours corporate jet back to Florida, which would arrive early Wednesday morning. Finchem said he understood Immelmans wife had already given birth, although he didnt know any other details.
 
Immelman has played in four British Opens, tying for 15th a year ago at St. Andrews.
 
Asked if Immelman would have to help pay for fuel, Finchem quipped, Hes already paying for it; hes missing the British Open.
 
REMEMBER ME
After Ben Curtis finished his work on the putting green Tuesday, he took his bag to the storage room at Royal Liverpool for safekeeping overnight.
 
There was only one problem. The guard stationed at the room didnt recognize the 2003 British Open champion.
 
I need to see a caddie or player badge, the guard said.
 
Curtis realized that his sunglasses, propped up on the bill of his Kansas City Chiefs cap, were blocking his badge. He lifted up his glasses and was promptly let into the room.
 
Dont they remember you won this tournament? someone asked.
 
I guess not, Curtis said with a shrug.
 
A BRIT FOR THE BRITISH
Its been seven long years since a British golfer won the British Open, but maybe its time for a breakthrough.
 
Five Brits, including perennial favorite Colin Montgomerie, are ranked among the top 50 in the world.
 
David Howell is the best of the lot at No. 10, followed by Luke Donald (11th), Montgomerie (13th), Paul Casey (29th) and Paul Broadhurst (50th).
 
Lee Westwood was the only English player in the top 100 four or five years ago, Montgomerie said. It just comes and goes. Its something thats purely coincidental. If we win one, we might four or five in a row. You never know how these things happen.
 
Paul Lawrie was the last British champion, winning a playoff after Jean Van de Veldes monumental collapse on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie. Hes the only Brit to win their namesake event in the last 13 years.
 
The Americans have done particularly well in this event, capturing nine of the last 11 titles even though they dont spend a lot of time of links-style courses back home.
 
I think we sometimes underestimate the American shot-making potential that they obviously have, Montgomerie said. They keep on winning this event and winning it well.
 
FIRE WARNING
Firefighters are standing by at the British Open and its got nothing to do with cooling off the sweltering fans.
 
Britain is in the middle of a rare heat wave, with temperatures soaring into the 90s, and a long spell of dry weather prompted officials at Royal Liverpool to post fire warnings around the course.
 
We have liaised with all the appropriate authorities and are advising spectators to take care and apply due diligence given the hot weather and the dry conditions on the course, said David Hill, director of championships for the Royal and Ancient Club.
In other words, no tossing a still-smoldering cigarette butt onto the yellowed, beaten-down grass.
 
The fire authorities are close at hand and are aware of all the measures we have put in place, Hill said.
 
Related Links:
  • Tee Times - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.