Phil an International Man Tiger Next

By Associated PressAugust 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 The INTERNATIONALCASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Founder Jack Vickers says the International's move to the Fourth of July weekend next year will mean a smaller field and a bigger draw for the golf tournament at Castle Pines Golf Club.
 
But the big question is will the move from the annual August date entice Tiger Woods?
 
He hasn't played the majestic mountain course since 1999.
 
Vickers hopes that changes next year, when the International will be played in a slot long held by the Western Open, where Woods has played nine times in his 10 full seasons on the PGA TOUR.
 
Woods has only played the International twice, in 1998 and '99. Like a lot of the world's top players, he has taken to skipping the Colorado tour stop that has usually been played right before or right after the PGA Championship.
 
The new date is three weeks after the U.S. Open and two weeks before the British Open, which would give Woods enough elbow room to play the International.
 
But ...
 
The Buick Open will be played a week before the International. Buick is one of Woods' biggest sponsors and he might be hesitant to play in consecutive tournaments before leaving to prepare for the British Open.
 
'I don't have a clue as to what will happen there,' Vickers said. 'We've talked to his manager and all I can tell you is in the past, he's played that weekend. So, I don't know. All we can do is do our best.'
 
The PGA TOUR approached Vickers when it was revamping the schedule for 2007 and offered him a spot in the new fall series, which Vickers declined because he didn't want to go up against football -- and because he felt the July 2-8 slot would be more attractive to Woods.
 
Phil Mickelson said a move to the first week of July could get more top players to come to Colorado as it would be the last tuneup before the British Open.
 
'It very well may, I just don't know,' he said. 'Each guy is kind of personal on that.'
 
Vickers said he's after higher television ratings and doesn't believe attendance will sag during the holiday weekend because $3-a-gallon gasoline will keep people from heading on long out-of-town trips -- and Woods would be quite an opening act for any fireworks show.
 
If you get the feeling this is all about Tiger, you're right.
 
'When we started off this event we had all the players. It's a little different now today,' Vickers said. 'I think we still have all the players for the most part. But we're missing one guy -- the most important guy.'
 
Another benefit of moving up a month is that weather delays at Castle Pines will be less of a concern. And Vickers said with a more manageable field of 120, down from 144, it would be easier to clear the course in case of late afternoon thunderstorms and lightning that have interrupted play in each of the tournament's 20 years.
 
Although July is usually more temperate and dry than August at Castle Rock, this year was an exception. Seven inches of rain fell in six days on the course south of Denver.
 
'We'd have been in big trouble,' Vickers acknowledged. 'But it was unusual. Our weather's more reliable in July than it is in August. I think the odds are with us.'
 
Inclement weather is one reason Vickers has long been at odds with the PGA TOUR over the size of the field at the International.
 
While he desperately wants Woods to be here, he'd like to limit the party to 119 other golfers.
 
'It's too big, as you know, right now. It causes us nightmares. Plus, if the TOUR doesn't wake up and do something about it, somebody's going to get killed one of these days,' Vickers said. 'We're pretty lucky that we haven't had something up to now.
 
'We'd have a classier tournament if it were (fewer golfers) so we could handle it properly, so if we do have a storm or lightning, we've got a lot better opportunity of getting people to a safe spot and getting the players off of there and back out there sooner.'
 
DIVOTS:
Vickers said he's confident the International will have a title sponsor next year. ... As for this year, Vickers pronounced the par-72, 7,619-yard layout the best ever thanks to the unusually wet weather in July: 'I think we've got a better uniformity of rough. It's been cut down to four inches, but it's a lot thicker than we've had it in the past. And I'll say up front that my prediction this week is if one doesn't drive it straight, he's going to have some problems.'
 
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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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.''