Ridgewood strikes back in Rd 3 at Barclays

By Associated PressAugust 23, 2008, 4:00 pm
the Barclays Logo 2007PARAMUS, N.J. ' Steve Stricker shook his head and flashed a wry smile when he walked out of the scorers room Saturday at The Barclays.
 
If nothing else, the defending champion was glad he was finally off the sun-baked Ridgewood Country Club course after a humbling round that left Kevin Streelman atop the leaderboard and more than two dozen players in the title chase.
 
I just stunk it up, Stricker said. Ive got to try to regroup.
 
He lost a ball and the lead on the par-4 12th.
 
After fading a drive into the rough, his aggressive approach shot from a tough angle skipped along the far side of the left rough and into a tangled mess of shoulder-high grass, bushes and weeds.
 
Despite TV replays and a large search party, the ball couldnt be located and Stricker'four strokes ahead after 10 holes'took a penalty stroke and trudged back to the spot where he hit the costly shot.
 
The winner last year at Westchester Country Club, Stricker advanced the new ball 40 yards short of the green, hit his fifth shot 30 feet past the hole and two-putted for a triple-bogey 7 to drop to 7 under'a stroke behind Sergio Garcia.
 
I got off to a good start, then I made two stupid plays in a row on 11 and 12, Stricker said. The one at 12 was one of the dumbest plays I ever made trying to do what I did out of the rough there. From that point on, it was a struggle to get in.
 
By the time Stricker signed for a 6-over 77, he was four strokes back at 4 under in a 12-way tie for 11th. On Friday, he shot a 7-under 64 in perfect morning conditions to take a three-stroke lead over Hunter Mahan in the FedExCup playoff opener.
 
Stricker was 12 under through six holes, then dropped a stroke on No. 7 to end a 23-hole stretch without a bogey. He also bogeyed the 11th, made the triple on 12 and dropped three more strokes with bogeys on 14, 16 and 17.
 
Its tough, Stricker said. It got a little crusty and the wind picked up a little bit. But I didnt do very well.
 
Streelman, a 29-year-old Q-school graduate in his rookie season on the PGA TOUR, took the lead at 8 under with a 25-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-4 16th and parred the final two holes for a 68 and an 8-under 205 total.
 
It will be a fun day for me, Streelman said. Im interested to see how I kind of react to it. Thats what Ive been working for my whole life.
 
Streelman made news this year at Torrey Pines, playing with Tiger Woods on the weekend in the Buick Invitational in January and sharing the first-round lead in the U.S. Open in June on the San Diego course.
 
That day with Tiger was the greatest preparation I ever could have imagined, Streelman said. I know it will be crazy tomorrow, but I guarantee you it wont be quite as big as that day in San Diego with Tiger.
 
The former Duke stars parents are from nearby Glen Rock and his grandparents are buried in a cemetery next to the course.
 
My cousin came and watched me last week and told me, said Streelman, 102nd in the FedExCup standings. I was like, Well, thats kind of cool.
 
Vijay Singh, a three-time winner at Westchester, shot a 66 to join Garcia (69), Mike Weir (67) and Paul Casey (69) at 7 under. Garcia, a two-time champion at Westchester, had six birdies and four bogeys.
 
Its dried out quite a bit, said Singh, the winner three weeks ago at Firestone. The rough is less thicker. I think they stopped watering it, so you can actually play. Its playable, and some places, you can get yourself in big trouble.
 
But I think its playing really well. The greens have been drying out really fast, and depending where the pins are tomorrow, its going to be a tough day.
 
Tricky, shifting wind made club selection difficult on the tree-lined A.W. Tillinghast layout'the first-time site after 41 seasons at Westchester'and further hardened the small, stressed greens that started to turn purple in spots.
 
That little 10-mph wind, with the big trees, it has that Augusta feel where you think its going this way and it might go this way and thats the difference between maybe having as 10-footer or a 30-footer, said Weir, sporting a full playoff beard.
 
Kenny Perry, effectively the FedExCup leader with the top-ranked Woods sidelined by a knee injury, was 5 under after a 72.
 
Mahan, the first-round leader after a morning 62, also struggled in the final group, shooting a 74 to join Stricker in the large group at 4 under.
 
Phil Mickelson was 1 under after a 72. He double-hit a flop shot from the deep rough on the 271-yard, par-4 fifth en route to a double bogey.
 
I tried to hit a little 64-degree wedge and it came out and I heard it ding my club on the follow through, Mickelson said. I didnt really feel it.
 
Divots
 
The top 120 in FedExCup standings will qualify for the Deutsche Bank Championship next week in Norton, Mass. The field will be cut to 70 for the BMW Championship in St. Louis and to 30 for the TOUR Championship in Atlanta. After missing the cut Friday, British Open and PGA winner Padraig Harrington returned to the course Saturday for a lengthy practice session on the driving range.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Piller pregnant, no timetable for LPGA return

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Gerina Piller, the American Olympian golfer and three-time Solheim Cup veteran, is pregnant and will not be rejoining the LPGA when the 2018 season opens, the New York Times reported following the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller, 32, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is due with the couple’s first child in May, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz reported.

    Piller declined an interview request when GolfChannel.com sought comment going into the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller told the New York Times she has no timetable for her return but that she isn’t done with competitive golf.

    “I’m not just giving everything up,” Piller said.

    As parity reigns, LPGA searching for a superstar

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:00 pm

    Apologies to the LPGA’s golden eras, but women’s golf has never been deeper.

    With the game going global, with the unrelenting wave of Asian talent continuing to slam the tour’s shores, with Thailand and China promising to add to what South Korea is delivering, it’s more difficult than ever to win.

    That’s a beautiful and perplexing thing for the women’s game.

    That’s because it is more difficult than ever to dominate.

    And that’s a magic word in golf.

    There is no more powerful elixir in the sport.

    Domination gets you on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on ESPN SportsCenter, maybe even on NBC Nightly News if the “D” in domination is dynamic enough.

    The women’s best chance of moving their sport to another stratosphere is riding the back of a superstar.

    Or maybe a pair of superstar rivals.


    Photos: 2017 LPGA winners gallery


    A constellation of stars may be great for the devoted regular supporters of the women’s game, but it will take a charismatic superstar to make casual fans care.

    The LPGA needs a Serena Williams.

    Or the reincarnation of Babe Zaharias.

    For those of us who regularly follow the LPGA, this constellation of stars makes for compelling stories, a variety of scripting to feature.

    The reality, however, is that it takes one colossal story told over and over again to burst out of a sports niche.

    The late, great CBS sports director Frank Chirkinian knew what he had sitting in a TV production truck the first time he saw one of his cameras bring a certain young star into focus at the Masters.

    It’s this player coming up over the brow of the hill at the 15th hole to play his second shot,” Chirkinian once told me over lunch at a golf course he owned in South Florida.  “He studies his shot, then flips his cigarette, hitches up his trousers and takes this mighty swipe and knocks the shot on the green. It was my first experience with Arnold Palmer, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’

    “The thing about golf, more than any other sport, it’s always looking for a star. It’s the only sport where people will root against the underdog. They don’t want the stars to lose. They’re OK with some unknown rising up to be the story on Thursday or Friday, but they always want to see the stars win.”

    And they go gaga when it’s one star so radiant that he or she dominates attention.

    “It didn’t matter if Arnold was leading, or where he was, you had to show him,” Chirkinian said. “You never knew when he might do something spectacular.”

    The LPGA is in a healthy place again, with a big upside globally, with so much emerging talent sharing the spotlight.

    Take Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    The back nine started with Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie making the turn tied for the lead. There is no more powerful pairing to sell in the women’s game today, but there would be no duel. It would have been too far off script as the final chapter to this season.

    Parity was the story this year.

    Sunday in Naples started with 18 players within two shots of the lead.

    Entering that back nine, almost a dozen players were in the mix, including Ariya Jutanugarn.

    The day ended with Jutanugarn beating Thompson with a dramatic birdie-birdie finish after Thompson stunned viewers missing a 2-foot putt for par at the last.

    The day encapsulated the expanding LPGA universe.

    “I’ve never seen such crazy, brilliant golf from these ladies,” said Gary Gilchrist, who coaches Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko and Rolex world No. 1 Shanshan Feng. “It was unbelievable out there. It was just like birdie after birdie after birdie, and the scoreboard went up and down. And that’s why it’s so hard to be No. 1 on this tour. There’s not one person who can peak. It’s all of them at a phenomenal level of golf.”

    If Thompson had made that last 2-footer and gone on to win the CME, she would have become the sixth different world No. 1 this year. Before this year, there had never been more than three different No. 1s in a single LPGA season.

    Parity was the theme from the year’s start.

    There were 15 different winners to open the season, something that hadn’t happened in 26 years. There were five different major championship winners.

    This year’s Rolex Player of the Year Award was presented Sunday to So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It’s the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Thompson won twice this year, with six second-place finishes, with three of those playoff losses, one of them in a major championship. She was close to putting together a spectacular year. She was close to dominating and maybe becoming the tour’s one true rock star.

    Ultimately, Thompson showed us how hard that is to do now.

    She’s in a constellation we’re all watching, to see if maybe one star breaks out, somebody able to take the game into living rooms it has never been, to a level of popularity it’s never been.

    The game won’t get there with another golden era. It will get there with a golden player.

    Love's hip surgery a success; eyes Florida swing return

    By Rex HoggardNovember 22, 2017, 3:31 pm

    Within hours of having hip replacement surgery on Tuesday Davis Love III was back doing what he does best – keeping busy.

    “I’ve been up and walking, cheated in the night and stood up by the bed, but I’m cruising around my room,” he laughed early Wednesday from Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., where he underwent surgery to replace his left hip. “[Dr. James Flanagan, who performed the surgery] wants me up. They don’t want me sitting for more than an hour.”

    Love, 53, planned to begin more intensive therapy and rehabilitation on Wednesday and is scheduled to be released from the hospital later this afternoon.

    According to Love’s doctors, there were no complications during the surgery and his recovery time is estimated around three to four months.

    Love, who was initially hesitant to have the surgery, said he can start putting almost immediately and should be able to start hitting wedges in a few weeks.

    Dr. Tom Boers – a physical therapist at the Hughston Orthopedic Clinic in Columbus, Ga., who has treated Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and Brad Faxon – will oversee Love’s recovery and ultimately decide when he’s ready to resume normal golf activity.

    “He understands motion and gait and swing speeds that people really don’t understand. He’s had all of us in there studying us,” Love said. “So we’ll see him in a couple of weeks and slowly get into the swing part of it.”

    Although Love said he plans to temper his expectations for this most recent recovery, his goal is to be ready to play by the Florida swing next March.

    Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

    By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

    He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

    The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

    Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

    3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

    5/2: Rory McIlroy

    7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

    9/2: Justin Rose

    5/1: Brooks Koepka

    15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

    10/1: Adam Scott

    12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

    15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

    20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

    25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

    30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes