St Andrews May Play Tougher This Time
One bunker is bigger -- the famous 'Road Bunker' on the 17th-- and 93 others have been rebuilt in the last three months.
'We made it slightly bigger than it was before -- about three feet wider,' Gordon Moir, St. Andrews Links Trust superintendent, said Wednesday. 'And we re-contoured the ground around it so it would gather the ball a little bit more.'
Another bunker change is also subtle.
The lip on the bunker that guards the par-4 12th hole has been lowered between 8-12 inches, making it invisible from the tee. A new tee has also been built to add about 35 yards to the hole. 'When you stand on the tee now you don't see that lip,' Moir said. 'Before you could see a black sliver of the face.'
Added greenskeeper Euan Grant: 'They wanted us to play with the golfer's mind.'
In addition to No. 12, four other tees will be different from 2000. Nos. 2, 13 and 14 will have new tees, which will add about 35-40 yards in distance. And No. 4 has been extended by 10-15 yards.
Moir said the new official yardage at St. Andrews would be about 7,200 yards, up from 7,015 in 2000. He said the course will be officially remeasured next month.
The par-5 14th will also become the longest hole in a British Open, approximately 616 yards.
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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.
Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.
South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.
Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.
The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout
It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.
Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.
Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.
"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."
Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.
Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.
Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top
The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.
The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."
Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.
Lexi, Finau 3 back going into final QBE round
NAPLES, Fla. - Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry shot an 8-under 64 in modified alternate shot and shared the lead Saturday with Steve Stricker and Sean O'Hair going into the final round of the QBE Shootout.
McDowell (Northern Ireland) and Lowry (Ireland), the only international players among the 12 teams at Tiburon Golf Club, began to erase a five-shot deficit with an eagle and birdie on the opening two holes and they dropped only one shot all day in blustery conditions.
Stricker and O'Hair started the back nine with a pair of bogeys, rallied with three straight birdies and then dropped one last shot from the bunker on the 17th.
The teams were tied at 18-under 126.
Lexi Thompson, the lone LPGA player in the field, teamed with Tony Finau for a 66 that put them in the hunt going into the final round. Thompson and Finau were three shots behind.
McDowell and Lowry tied for ninth in the World Cup last year. They grew up playing Irish junior golf and appreciate the difficulty of alternate shot, even the modified version when both players hit tee shots.
''To go out and shoot 8 under in that format in these conditions today, I think it speaks volumes about the fact we're both playing pretty well,'' McDowell said. ''We both had an opportunity to hit some good shots out there today and make some good putts, and it gives you a little bit of momentum going in there tomorrow.''
The format for the final round is better ball.
Stricker and O'Hair have each won the QBE Shootout, but not as partners.
Stricker, captain of the winning American team at the Presidents Cup, said he couldn't get comfortable and put O'Hair in some tough spots.
''We should have probably been two or three shots better than what we were,'' Stricker said. ''Sean played another good round of golf and made some great putts in there to keep us going, but all in all, we're in good shape.''
Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele shot 70 and were two shots out of the lead.
Defending champions Matt Kuchar and Harris English had a 72 and were tied for last place with Zach Johnson and Charley Hoffman, who shot 70. They were nine shots out of the lead.