Pair Share Lead Tiger Lefty 3 Back at Medinah

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were more of a sneak preview than the main event.
 
Together in a major for the first time in five years, both shot 69 -- not usually a bad start in the PGA Championship, but certainly nothing special on a day of record scoring at Medinah Country Club.
 
Lucas Glover
Lucas Glover posted a 6-under 66 to grab the early clubhouse lead at Medinah.
Lucas Glover made a strong opening statement about his Ryder Cup hopes with three birdies on his last four holes for a 6-under 66, giving him a share of the lead with Chris Riley, one shot better than seventh-alternate Billy Andrade.
 
They were among 60 players who broke par at Medinah, billed as the longest course ever for a major (7,561 yards) but playing more like a pushover in soft, calm conditions. It was the most rounds under par since the PGA Championship switched to stroke play in 1958, two more than the second round at Riviera in 1965.
 
It was an assault on par and a march toward the Ryder Cup.

Davis Love III, in dire need of a good week to make his seventh straight team, was on the verge of tying the course record until he whiffed a shot with a wedge, took triple bogey and shot 68. He was joined by Stewart Cink, another Ryder Cup hopeful, and J.J. Henry, who is eighth in the standings and trying to show he belongs on the U.S. team.
 
Woods summed up his summit with Mickelson with numbers, not words.
 
'Sixty-nines,' he said. 'We all kept ourselves right in the ball game.'
 
'He's in his own world and we take care of our game and our business,' Mickelson said. 'It's a fun day and we shake hands afterwards. We both played OK today, but we both had a chance to go a little lower.'
 
U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, tagging along with the Masters and British Open champions, easily kept pace and joined them at 69. He didn't see any fireworks, only loads of photographers.
 
'The dynamic was exactly like probably every group this morning,' he said.
 
So were the scores.
 
Mighty Medinah was more of a cream puff under such benign conditions. When the PGA Championship was played here seven years ago, only 35 players broke par and the course played about a stroke harder.
 
'I don't think there's anything wrong with it,' Cink said. 'If somebody shoots 20-under-par this week, then they are going to be the PGA champion, and they are going to have to go through a whole lot to win this tournament. It's a tough win no matter what.'
 
It could be tougher with so many players challenging. Those 60 players were separated by five shots after one day.
 
Billy Mayfair, two weeks removed from surgery for testicular cancer, was among the leaders at 6-under until he ran out of steam on the hillier back nine and settled in at 69.
 
Also at 69 was Sergio Garcia, known in these parts for that improbable shot he gouged out of the base of a tree on the 16th hole when he came close to toppling Woods in 1999. This time, he languished over a 2-foot par putt on the 16th hole and missed it badly to the right.
 
'It's a shame I go and miss a short putt on probably my favorite hole on the golf course,' Garcia said.
 
Jim Furyk and Retief Goosen were among those at 70. Ernie Els, whose father-in-law died in South Africa early Thursday, shot 71.
 
The attention was on Woods and Mickelson, playing in the same group at a major for the first time since the 2001 Masters.
 
Only about 300 fans were waiting for them on the 10th tee at Medinah -- a 25-minute walk from the clubhouse -- to start the round.
 
They shook hands in a small tent while picking up their scorecards, just as they would if this were the Buick Invitational.
 
'Nice 3,' Woods said to Mickelson after Lefty rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt at No. 11, the type of conversation heard at the Memorial.
 
Mickelson birdied the first two holes, then hit a stretch where he missed seven out of nine greens. He saved par on all of them except the par-3 second hole, pulling a 4-foot putt.
 
Woods made a sloppy bogey on the par-5 10th, cussing and flipping his club at the bag when he missed the green with his third shot, then chipped 35 feet by the hole. But he recovered with a key 7-foot par save on the 13th, and an unlikely birdie on the par-5 14th when he hit a blind 7-iron off a trampled lie in the rough and holed a 30-foot putt.
 
Otherwise, they were just another group of players taking dead aim at Medinah.
 
'No one was walking to the other side of the fairway to avoid the other,' Ogilvy said. 'And no one was walking across the fairway to talk to each other, either. It was a typical first day at a major championship.'
 
None of the three major champions got the most out of a vulnerable Medinah, but they did enough. By the end of the day, they were three shots out of the lead, a solid start toward adding another major title this year.
 
Glover missed the cut in the first three majors this year, but much more is at stake in this one. He is 14th in the Ryder Cup standings and knows captain Tom Lehman might bypass him in favor of a veteran to offset so much inexperience already ahead of him. Glover has been guilty of putting too much pressure on himself to make the team, and it's not easy to put the Ryder Cup out of his mind.
 
'Every day, every minute, every second for the last six months,' he said. 'But I had decided to put that behind me this week and try to just play golf, have fun, not worry about it.'
 
Riley tied for fourth in the PGA Championship two years ago to make his first team, but not even a victory would help him now. He hasn't had a top-10 finish since Whistling Straits in 2004, meaning he has zero points.
 
But he's starting to play well again, which means just as much.
 
He just never thought 66 would be good enough to be at the top of the leaderboard at Medinah, not on a day like this.
 
'I don't know what's low, but I thought 6-under would have been in the top five,' he said. 'I don't know what place it's in, but I'm happy with it.'
 
Love tried to put a happy face on his round, but there was no escaping the triple bogey at No. 17.
 
He tried to cut a 6-iron over the water, but pulled it into deep rough with a bunker between his ball and a slick putting surface running toward Lake Kadijah.
 
'If I fly it in the middle of the green, it's going in the lake,' Love said. 'I didn't have many options.'
 
He picked the worst one by trying to hit the perfect flop. His sand wedge slid so steeply through the tall grass that the ball didn't even move -- a whiff. He dumped it in the bunker on the next shot, blasted out timidly and two-putted from 12 feet for triple bogey.
 
'I was one club away from a great round,' Love said. 'Other than two or three swings, I wouldn't change much.'
 
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  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”