Sauers leads by three at U.S. Senior Open

By Associated PressJuly 12, 2014, 11:10 pm

EDMOND, Okla. - Several years ago, a rare skin disorder left Gene Sauers unsure if he would survive. Now he has a chance to win the U.S. Senior Open.

Sauers crept up on the field and shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead after three rounds at Oak Tree National. He moved to 7 under, passing front-runners Bernhard Langer, Scott Dunlap and Colin Montgomerie along the way.

The journey to this opportunity is what makes Sunday's final round extra special for the 51-year-old Sauers. He said a reaction to a wrongly prescribed medication caused Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a disorder that burned the skin on his arms and legs from the inside out.

While he was in the hospital for seven weeks recovering, he pictured his golf swing. He got out of the hospital in June 2011 and eventually returned to the course.

''The good Lord said I'm going to give you another chance,'' Sauers said. ''Bogey doesn't matter that much anymore. That's when I learned to have a great time and tried to hit everything I was capable of doing, and it worked out today.''

Langer, Dunlap and Montgomerie are tied for second at 4 under.

It looked as if Montgomerie might run away from the field early on in the third round. He opened with birdies on 1 and 3 to jump out to a four-shot lead over Langer, who by then had moved from third to second.

Langer remained steady and Montgomerie bogeyed Nos. 5 and 7. Heading into the back nine, Mongomerie's lead was just one shot.

Then Sauers got going. He had a 33 on the back nine, including birdies on Nos. 12, 16 and 18, to take control heading into the final round. It was an impressive run for someone who hasn't placed higher than 15th in a Champions Tour event this season.



''I've got some help back home,'' Sauers said. ''Some friends and some teachers have been helping me a little bit. They've got me hitting the ball solid now. Building my confidence is mainly what they do. They know I still have it. You know, it's just - go out there and do it. Try not to put too much pressure on myself and try to have fun.''

Montgomerie shot a 3-over 74 after leading at the end of the first two days. He was 3 over on the back nine, but is confident he can regain some of his earlier touch.

''I will try to do what I did Thursday with a 65,'' he said. ''If I can do it Thursday, I can do it Sunday. If I can hit it in the fairway, I can play to the strength of my game, which is the iron game.''

Langer, who has three wins this season on the Champions Tour, was solid, but had several potential birdies just miss during his even-par 71.

''Sometimes they lip in, sometimes they lip out,'' he said. ''It was frustrating. I played really good golf on the back nine, the last nine holes, had a lot of chances, lot of opportunities and I think I had four lip-outs or something and left one short on 18 and could have easily been three better but could have, should have, would have doesn't count in this game.''

Langer isn't conceding yet.

''I played pretty solid golf for three days in a row and the putter was hot yesterday,'' he said. ''Wasn't so hot today, but, you know, we'll see what happens tomorrow. We've still got 18 holes to go. It's a lot of golf left, and anything can happen.''

Marco Dawson, who shot a 76 on Friday, rebounded with a 69 on Saturday. He left Friday disappointed and saying he was unsure how to play the course. On Saturday, he was 1 over through six, and then got on a torrid stretch that included birdies on Nos. 7, 8, 10, 12, 13 and 15 to move into a tie for the lead at 5 under.

Dawson bogeyed Nos. 16, 17 and 18 to fall to 2 under. He is tied for fifth with Jeff Sluman and Vijay Singh.

Dawson said he expects it to be tough to get good scores on Sunday because the course will continue to dry out in near 100-degree heat.

''Unless somebody just gets really hot with the putter and gets some good bounces, you know, the best score may be 4, 5 under tomorrow,'' he said.

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.