Taylor ready to make amends at Turning Stone

By Associated PressAugust 4, 2010, 6:17 pm

Turning Stone 2007 Logo

VERONA, N.Y. – Nearly a year later, Vaughn Taylor still laments what might have been.

With the Turning Stone Resort Championship there for the taking in a sudden-death playoff with Matt Kuchar early last October, Taylor let it slip away. After watching his 21-foot putt for birdie stop just shy of the cup, Taylor made double-bogey on the sixth extra hole to give Kuchar his first victory on the PGA Tour in seven years.

“It took me a little while to kind of get over it, but at the same time it helped me lock up my card, and you know, it was a good thing,” Taylor said. “I used it as confidence. Coming into this year, when I’ve been in the hunt, I’ve felt a lot better because of last year and the playoff. So it’s been a positive all in all.

“Still think about it every now and then, wish I had a shot or two over again, but that’s the way it goes.”

While Kuchar tees off at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio on Thursday, Taylor will be back at Atunyote Golf Club to compete in the Turning Stone Resort Championship.

The 34-year-old Taylor, who has two victories on tour – the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2004 (in a playoff) and again in 2005 – is brimming with confidence after finishing sixth at the John Deere Classic two weeks ago, his fifth top 10 of the year.

“I think confidence is definitely high,” said Taylor, 38th on the money list with $1.5 million. “Anytime you play well somewhere and you come back, you have good memories, good feelings.”

Turning Stone is part of the race for the FedEx Cup title this year after being part of the Fall Series since its inception. And good things have happened to its past two champions.

Dustin Johnson was 357th in the Official World Golf Rankings the week before he won at Turning Stone as a rookie two years ago. Johnson has since won twice on tour, and his victory at Pebble Beach in February made Johnson the first player since Tiger Woods to win in his first three years on tour after leaving college.

Kuchar ranked 101st in the OWGR the week before his playoff victory over Taylor and went on to record top 10s in four of his next five starts. This year, Kuchar is ranked No. 26, two spots ahead of Johnson, and both are poised to qualify for their first Ryder Cup team.

Among those in the Turning Stone field of 132 are: Steve Flesch, the inaugural winner in 2007, David Duval, Rocco Mediate, and Australian John Senden, who has two top fives in three starts at Atunyote.

Notah Begay III, the tournament’s ambassador, will play this year after missing last year’s event because of a knee injury that required surgery. Begay has not made a cut in eight tries on tour this year.

“I’ve got no expectations. I’ve made zero money on the tour this year,” said Begay, who played 15 events in 2009 before taking a medical exemption. “For me, just getting through a tournament without being in pain is a success, and I’m hoping to do that.”

Turning Stone Resort chief executive Ray Halbritter originally gave himself a sponsor’s exemption to play in the tournament, then recanted on Sunday. The 60-year-old Halbritter, who has passed a PGA of America playing ability test, was the driving force behind landing a PGA Tour event here four years ago and said he didn’t want to be a distraction.

Two players did receive exemptions. Chris Smith, whose wife was killed in a fiery automobile crash in northern Indiana just over a year ago, has made just one cut in eight events this year as he tries to rebound from the tragedy. The other exemption went to 15-year-old phenom Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y., who will be making his first career PGA start.

If Hall makes the cut – and that’s entirely possible because two weeks ago the left-hander shot a 10-under-par 62 to set an all-time scoring record at the U.S. Junior Amateur – he would be the second-youngest player in PGA Tour history to do so (Bob Panasik was the youngest, at the 1957 Canadian Open).

“It’s exciting,” Begay said. “He may never play another tour event again, but I’m hoping that he just enjoys it and doesn’t get too caught up in the competition.'

“Nobody’s expecting him to do well, so I think it’s more important for him to have fun and to really take as much experience as he can from the process and help him become a better player.”

Divots: The PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, the final major of the year, has reserved two spots in case the winners of this week’s Bridgestone Invitational and the Turning Stone Resort Championship are not already eligible. The first two alternates are D.J. Trahan and Matt Jones.
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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."