Retief Goosen ends winless drought at Transitions

By Associated PressMarch 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
PALM HARBOR, Fla. ' The greens were so crusty, firm and scary fast that Retief Goosen felt as though he was back at Shinnecock Hills, where his putting carried him to victory in the U.S. Open.
 
Needing only two putts from 25 feet to win Sunday, he was thankful it didnt turn out like Southern Hills.
 
Goosen ran his putt 5 feet past the hole, steadied his nerves and curled in the par putt for a one-shot victory at the Transitions Championship, his first victory on the PGA Tour in nearly four years.
 
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen won for the second time at Innisbrook (2003). (Getty Images)
It was great to see that putt go in, Goosen said. The greens got scary. Down those last few holes, they were definitely getting like Shinnecock was. You just cannot hit them soft enough. It was really tough.
 
Goosen closed with 1-under 70 to avoid a playoff with Brett Quigley and Charles Howell III, an Augusta, Ga., native who can only return to the Masters with a victory.
 
Both had a birdie putt in the groups ahead of Goosen to catch him. Both ran it well past the hole and made it coming back.
 
Youre in the back of the tub trying to stop it short of the drain, Quigley said describing the putt they all had.
 
Equally famous in Goosens career was a three-putt bogey from 12 feet on the final hole at Southern Hills, which nearly cost him the 2001 U.S. Open until he won it the next day in an 18-hole playoff.
 
It was disappointing to hit it that far past. I didnt want to have another U.S. Open there, Goosen said. I felt good with my putting, and there wasnt too much indecision with the one coming back. It was nice to see it go in.
 
Howell was tied for the lead with four holes to play, but made two straight bogeys and shot a 69 for his best finish since he won at Riviera two years ago. He will have to win at Bay Hill or the Shell Houston Open to avoid missing the Masters for the first time since 2002.
 
If Retiefs 5-footer lipped out, I wouldnt have cried, Howell said. That golf tournament means more to me than anything.
 
Quigley, now 0-for-342 in his 13 years on the PGA Tour, was bogey-free on the back nine and shot 68 for his second runner-up finish in as many weeks.
 
Former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, trying to become the seventh player in his 50s to win on the PGA Tour, did not make a birdie until a long putt on the 17th hole, and he shot a 75 to tie for eighth.
 
Goosen won twice in the fall in South Africa and Asia, but this was his first PGA Tour victory since he won the now-defunct International in August 2005.
 
Eventually, you wonder if you can still do it, Goosen said.
 
He did it the way he usually does ' with a pure putter on the toughest greens.
 
One of the biggest came early in his round, when he holed a 15-foot par putt that kept him from sliding out of contention. He chipped in from behind the ninth green to get back in the mix, then took the outright lead with an 18-foot eagle putt at No. 11.
 
What won him the tournament, though, was a series of nervy par putts along the back nine that kept him in front, and a splendid chip from behind the 17th green to save par and give him a cushion going to the last hole.
 
When greens get so crusty and fast, I just tend to be able to control my stroke better on these quicker putts, Goosen said. I think if I putted on greens like this all year long, Ill enjoy it.
 
Goosen finished at 8-under 276 and won for the seventh time on the PGA Tour. It was his second victory at Innisbrook, having won in 2003 when it was played in the fall.
 
This looked more like June with greens that had patches of brown and developed a yellow sheen going into the weekend.
 
It definitely got like Shinnecock, he said. You couldnt hit them soft enough.
 
Lehman, who turned 50 two weeks ago, had a one-shot lead going into the final round as he tried to become the first ex-Ryder Cup captain since Tom Watson in 1998 to win on the PGA Tour.
 
He hit a poor chip on the second hole that led to bogey and cost him the lead. That led to a revolving door of challengers, with five players atop the leaderboard at various points during the final round.
 
But the back nine was more about hanging on than forging ahead.
 
And for so many, it was about falling apart.
 
Steve Stricker rallied from a four-shot deficit to tie for the lead, but he couldnt sustain it. After two solid par saves, he flew the green from a bunker on the par-3 17th for bogey, then missed the green from the middle of the 18th fairway and made another bogey. He closed with a 69 and tied for fourth.
 
It was the third time this year Stricker had the lead on the back nine and failed to win.
 
Charlie Wi chipped in twice on the front nine and made the turn with the outright lead, reaching 9 under until he was undone on the par 3s. He shot a 69 and tied for fourth with Stricker and Mathew Goggin (67).
 
You ride on such a thin line on a track like this, where you just know every bogey hurts more than most, because you know its so much harder to make up, Howell said.
 
Divots: Alvaro Quiros had eight drives over 300 yards in the final round, including one at 325 yards when he tried to clear the water on the 12th hole, and barely did. It didnt help on the card, though. He closed with a 72. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber walked the final round with Howell, a close friend. A sign hanging from the bleachers behind the 17th green said, We miss you JD. Get back soon. That would be John Daly, who was seen having a few beers and signing autographs next to the 17th green after missing the cut last year. He is serving a six-month suspension.
 
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  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

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    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    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: