Third-round leader Watney implodes with 81

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2010, 4:24 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – After a shaky start, one click pushed Nick Watney over the edge.

The 29-year-old leader after 54 holes of the PGA Championship squandered an early three-stroke lead but was still tied when a photographer’s camera snap on his backswing on the par-3 seventh unnerved him and sent his tee shot wayward into Lake Michigan.

“I made a birdie on No. 6, which kind of, I was tied for the lead at that point,” he said. “Number 7, a guy clicked me on the backswing, I hit into the lake, made a triple and it was pretty much over after that.”

Watney went on to card bogey or worse on five of the next eight holes and finished with an 81, the highest score ever by a 54-hole leader in PGA Championship history dating to the start of stroke play in 1958.

“I was leading by three shots going into Sunday of a major. For me as a player I need to take as much as I can from that,” he said. “I definitely got way ahead of myself.”

Watney, known by his college buddies as “Rube” after a character in “Major League II” because he’s so polite to seniors, was the only golfer who had a chance to fire in the 60s for all four rounds heading into Sunday’s play.

He passed 70 before finishing the 15th.

The only drama left in his day was watching a rules official walk up when playing partner Dustin Johnson grounded his club on the 18th that cost Johnson a chance at a playoff.

“I was totally shocked, I thought he was coming to me about it with the way my day was going,” he said. “It’s worse to be in Dustin’s situation.”

Sports psychologist Morris Pickens believes Watney will bounce back quickly and only needed to point to Watney’s playing partner, Johnson, who had a similar struggle after being the 54-hole leader at this year’s U.S. Open.

“I’m just going to tell him about perspective,” Pickens said. “Hey there’s golf. There’s pressure and there’s fun pressure. It’s not like you’re waiting on test results because your wife or your husband may have cancer. That’s uneasy pressure. This is, ‘You had a bad day at work.”’

A terrible one with his family watching.

Watney’s parents, sister and girlfriend, Amber Uresti, were following him during the day and by the turn, all Uresti wanted to do was try to comfort him.

“There was nothing I could do. I just wanted to give him a big hug,” she said. “It’s hard to watch when you see things not falling his way. It’s just not easy.”

Watney’s new caddie, Chad Reynolds, kept pushing him to stay positive and eventually the two-time winner on tour broke through with birdies on 16 and 17 to finish at 4-under 284. He was actually feeling better about himself when Johnson’s day turned bitter.

“It’s the first time he’s ever truly been in contention at a major. That’s another step forward. Hopefully that’s the way he’ll look at it,” Pickens said. “Just like a team that goes to the Super Bowl and then they don’t get it done, they come back the next year and they know more.

“I won’t say he’ll win the next time he gets in this position, but he’ll know more.”

Watney admitted he was nervous on Sunday morning, but ready for the challenge of Whistling Straits. It quickly turned sour.

“I was really looking forward to getting out there and I didn’t handle it as well as I would like,” Watney said. “It’s a major, and you definitely want to shoot as low as you can.

“I shot a million.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm