Scores high as weather disrupts play

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' The PGA Championship looked a lot like the U.S. Open, with only seven players under par when darkness finally covered Oakland Hills on Thursday and put The Monster to sleep.
 
It sounded like a U.S. Open, too.
 
'Theres only one guy whos going to like this place by the end of the week, Ben Curtis said.
 
Robert Karlsson
Robert Karlsson has his sights set on a fourth consecutive top-10 finish in a major. (Getty Images)
Jeev Milkha Singh and Robert Karlsson found it agreeable enough after each shot 2-under 68 in the pleasant morning conditions, before thunderstorms stopped play for 90 minutes in the afternoon. Andres Romero of Argentina was 2 under through 16 holes, the only late starter under par and among 18 players who did not finish the first round.
 
Kenny Perry finished the round, but he wont finish the tournament. Playing in a major for the first time this year, Perry withdrew after a 79 because of an eye injury.
 
The calendar says August. It sure seemed like June, with firm fairways, thick rough, hard greens and plenty of opinions.
 
A great test of golf and patience, Singh said.
 
It was a real beast today, said Ernie Els, who overcame a double bogey after the rain delay to shoot 71.
 
It was easy to lose patience on a course that was punishing from the opening tee shot to the final putt. The rough is the thickest for a U.S. major this year, the Donald Ross greens at Oakland Hills are as frightening as Augusta National and the scoring chipped away at the PGA Championships recent reputation as being the major to make birdies.
 
The course is 7,500 yards long, the greens are firm and the pins are tucked away, Lee Westwood said after finishing with six straight pars to salvage a 77. They are sucking the fun out of the major championships when you set it up like that.
 
I sound as if Im moaning'which I am'but its a great shame, he said. Its a fantastic golf course. They are great greens and they are playable. But there is no need to play it as it is.
 
Such comments typically are reserved for a U.S. Open, and the similarities didnt stop there. The rough is so thick that players rarely reached the green after missing the fairway, and caution was required for every putt on greens that became so crispy in pleasant sunshine that tournament officials hosed down three of them throughout the day.
 
Even so, the best golf was rewarded.
 
Sergio Garcia struck the ball solid as ever, holed one long putt, limited his mistakes and joined a group at 69 that included Billy Mayfair, Ryder Cup hopeful Sean OHair and Ken Duke.
 
Phil Mickelson was in three bunkers before he reached his second green (No. 11), was 2 over for his round and somehow managed a 70. He made only eight pars, but among his five birdies was a 35-foot putt down the scary slope on the 16th, followed by a 4-iron that rolled within 18 inches for a birdie on the 238-yard 17th.
 
Im just happy to have shot even par today, he said.
 
Anthony Kim overcame five bogeys with an eagle on the par-5 second hole that carried him to a 70, joining the likes of former U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, Rod Pampling and Michael Allen, the last alternate into the field.
 
Karlsson, the only player to finish in the top 10 at all three majors this year, opened the fourth one with a shot that bounded off a cart path over the first green and led to double bogey. He answered with three straight birdies and reached 4 under for his round until missing the green for bogeys on 14 and 15 and settling for a 68.
 
How does someone start with a double bogey and not lose his cool, much less his mind?
 
Try to remember that I actually can play golf, even though it didnt look like that on the first hole, Karlsson said. My caddie said, Remember, we played with Tiger in the U.S. Open. And I think he took 6 down the first hole pretty much every day. So you can shoot a good round from here as well.
 
But such rounds were hard to find.
 
Its a U.S. Open at the moment, said Geoff Ogilvy, who won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006 without breaking par in any round and failing to do that Thursday with a 73. This is one of the clubs that prides itself on how hard it is. I dont think anyone expected it to be easy. It wouldnt be a monster if it was.
 
Ben Hogan gave Oakland Hills its nickname when he won the 1951 U.S. Open and said he was glad he brought this monster to its knees. The Monster played like it was on steroids, especially after Rees Jones lengthened it to just under 7,400 yards.
 
His redesign did not meet everyones approval.
 
If you had Rees Jones redo Scrabble, hed leave out the vowels, Paul Goydos said after a 74.
 
Players knew what they were getting into after three days of practice. The surprise came when they got on the golf course Thursday and found it firmer than ever, with balls rolling on the fairway and crusty footprints visible on the greens. Mickelson hit what he thought was a perfect tee shot on No. 10 with a hybrid, only to learn that it rolled all the way into a bunker.
 
Karlsson, however, managed to make six birdies. And the other Singh'Jeev is from India and plays the European tour'made only three bogeys on a course that was significantly harder than he had seen during practice.
 
His best birdie might have been a 3-iron to 20 feet on the 17th.
 
To stop the ball on that green when theres a lot of breeze from behind, that was good, he said.
 
Singh fits the mold of someone who would thrive in the majors this year. He came to Oakland Hills with an ankle injury he has been coping with the last two months, so severe that doctors have recommended a month of rest.
 
Trevor Immelman won the Masters four months after having a benign tumor cut out of his back. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on one good leg. Padraig Harrington wasnt sure he would be able to play'much less win'the British Open because of a wrist injury.
 
Singh said he had to be careful walking the hills on this course. The only time it really hurts during his swing is when he hits driver.
 
And you do need to hit a lot of drivers on this golf course, he said.
 
Jim Furyk is among those who like the course firm and fast, and he was satisfied with a 71 that put him in the group with Steve Stricker, who is No. 8 in the Ryder Cup standings.
 
The nightmare belonged to Hunter Mahan, who is 10th in the U.S. standings, was the runner-up at Oakland Hills in the 2002 U.S. Amateur and posted his highest score as a professional'an 81.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry