Singh's early 63 holds up to lead Greenbrier

By Associated PressJuly 5, 2012, 11:40 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Vijay Singh and Jeff Maggert sent reminders that they're still able to compete with the younger crowd.

Singh had his best round in six months, shooting a 7-under 63 on Thursday in the Greenbrier Classic to take a one-stroke lead over Maggert, Jonathan Byrd and Martin Flores – and leave Tiger Woods eight shots behind.

''Gosh, I don't know where that came from,'' the 49-year-old Singh said. ''I've been playing pretty good golf for a while, but just never got any scoring going. But today seemed I hit it close and drove the ball really well, hit a lot of greens and made some nice putts.''

Last week at the tough layout at Congressional, only seven players posted first-round scores in the 60s.


Mosier: Tiger has much ground to make up

Tiger Tracker: Recap his round shot by shot

Photos: The Greenbrier Classic


Sixty-two players broke par Thursday on the Old White TPC course, with the greens far more forgiving than last year when they were reseeded and Scott Stallings won at 10 under.

Woods wasn't one of them. Coming off a victory Sunday in the AT&T National, he struggled with his putter in a 1-over 71 in his final tuneup for the British Open in two weeks.

Saying the greens rolled slower than those in his last three tournaments, Woods needed 31 putts on the course he played for the first time Wednesday.

''I was a little bit off with my game, and on top of that I didn't have the speed of these greens at all,'' said Woods, the Tour leader this year with three victories. ''I missed literally every single putt high today.''

Singh had his best effort since an 8-under 64 in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January.

Singh is playing in his ninth tournament in 10 weeks with two top-20 finishes in that span. Last week, he also got off to a fast start but shot 81 in the final round and tied for 49th.

Something clicked Thursday, when he made six birdies on the back nine, finishing with four straight.

''Hopefully it keeps going,'' Singh said. ''I don't feel tired. I feel really energized. I've been working really hard on my game, so it's nice to see something happen.''

Singh earned the last of his 34 PGA Tour wins four years ago and will be eligible to join the Champions Tour in February.

Maggert, a year younger than Singh, has had to earn his PGA Tour card through qualifying school in two of the last three years. He hasn't won since the 2006 St. Jude Classic and missed the cut in more than half his tournaments this year, including last week.

Although he feels he has a disadvantage off the tee compared with younger players on the 7,274-yard Old White, Maggert used strong iron play to make four birdies on his front nine.

Asked to describe his birdie putts, Maggert joked, ''At my age, it's hard to remember – short-term memory's going.''

He didn't need a big measuring stick – three of his six birdies overall were from less than 10 feet in a bogey-free round.

''I feel really comfortable here,'' Maggert said. ''There's a lot of guys out here in their 40s, late 40s, that can really play some good golf still. So it's not surprising to see some of the old guys up on the leaderboard.''

Byrd has five career wins and already has five top-10 finishes this year. He hadn't played since the U.S. Open and fought through a nagging cough to finish birdie-bogey-birdie Thursday.

Flores had a rare bogey-free round that was his second best of the year. He spent the majority of 2011 on the Nationwide Tour, now called the Web.com Tour.

Playing alongside U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson and Steve Stricker and starting on No. 10, Woods birdied two of his first three holes in his first Greenbrier Classic appearance.

On the par-5 17th, he drove into a hazard, took a penalty stroke and three-putted from 20 feet for double bogey.

Phil Mickelson matched Woods with a 71. Mickelson vowed to focus more on golf this time after taking advantage of the resort's numerous amenities with his family last year and missing the cut.

''I didn't play that bad (Thursday),'' Mickelson said. ''But I made some mistakes there that were just a little sloppy.''

Simpson, J.B. Holmes, Andres Romero and Garth Mulroy shot 65. K.J. Choi was among a group of seven at 66. Stallings birdied his final three holes for a 67.


 

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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.