Stenson returns at Sun City after ten days rest

By Associated PressDecember 4, 2013, 8:55 pm

SUN CITY, South Africa – Ten days away from golf was just about enough for Henrik Stenson to get his ''funky'' right wrist back to being close to healthy.

Stenson knows he needs more time to recover fully, but when he's in this kind of form it's easy to understand why the Swede doesn't want to slow down.

The hottest golfer in the world is returning after a brief end-of-season break for this week's Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City, hoping to continue the kind of play that earned him both the FedEx Cup and the European money titles this year.

''It's going to take some golfing to keep this up, what I managed to achieve this year,'' Stenson said Wednesday at the casino resort in northern South Africa. ''It's been a dream year and a fantastic season for me. I'm still having little niggles, but it (the wrist) still seems to be fine to play and hit. I hope we can keep my body together.

''This is my 30th event this year and I'm in serious need of rest, but we'll try to mobilize for the last little bit.''

If he needs any kind of reminder for how quickly fortunes can change, the third-ranked Stenson only needs to think back to his last tournament in South Africa at the end of 2012. Back then, his ranking had plummeted and he hadn't won a title in 3 1/2 years, but his victory at the South African Open helped spark his historic run this year.

Whether he can earn another title at Sun City – where he won by nine shots in 2008 – will depend on ''how much energy we can mobilize,'' Stenson said.

Nedbank is a tougher test this year, as well, with the field having been increased from 12 to 30 players this year and the tournament being part of the 2014 European Tour schedule. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, former No. 1 Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia and major winners Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and defending champion Martin Kaymer are among the starters.

The 37-year-old Stenson played through the pain in his wrist during the final swing of the European Tour last month to keep his lead in the Race to Dubai standings – with the help of pain killers, anti-inflammatories and plenty of ice. His last few weeks have been more about recovering than celebrating.

''I have spent more time in the ice bucket than a bottle of Moet & Chandon over the last month,'' he said earlier this week.

Having sprayed his share of champagne this season, though, Stenson is now facing constant questions over when he'll win his first major. And for next year, that's definitely one of the goals.

''The majors are the next step for me. I've won great tournaments on both the PGA and European Tours,'' he said. ''I won both the Order of Merits and played on the Ryder Cup team. ... I've pretty much achieved everything in the game that I want to except for winning a major championship. I must keep on working on my game and following up on a great season.

''(But) There are a couple of traps and I think expectation is one of them. Another is handling my time. The demand for my time is probably five times as much now as it was six months ago. When you're flavour of the month everyone wants a piece of you ... and if you don't get rest and practice in then it will show up in your game. It will be key to look after those areas.''

And after Sun City, Stenson will follow his own advice and finally take an extended break.

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Watch: Tiger birdies 3 of 4, then goes OB

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 8:30 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off in his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which he walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at the par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

His momentum was slowed by his first bogey of the day at No. 9, the product of an errant drive and its ensuing complications. As a result, Woods made the turn 2 under on his round, 9 under for the week, and still five off the lead, like when he started the day.

But Woods wouldn't wait long to make up for his mistake, immediately responding with another flagged iron and another birdie at No. 10.

He continued his assault on Bay Hill's par-5s at the 12th, getting up and down from the sand for a birdie-4 that moved him to 11 under par, just two off the lead.

And with this roll at 13 giving him his third birdie in four holes, the charge was officially on, with Woods just one back.

Just when it looked like Woods was primed for a late run at his 80th PGA Tour victory, Woods stepped to the tee at the par-5 16th, where he had missed wide right three days in a row, and sniped his drive out of bounds into a backyard miles left.

He made 4 on his second ball for a bogey-6 to drop back to 11 under, three behind.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.