Toms blows seven-shot lead at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 22, 2011, 1:58 am

FORT WORTH, Texas – Charlie Wi began the third round at Colonial just hoping to cut into playing partner David Toms’ big lead. Wi certainly never expected to be leading at the end of the day at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. 

Toms blew a seven-stroke margin Saturday, and Wi took the lead with a 32-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th hole. At 13 under after a 4-under 66, Wi had a one-stroke stroke edge over Toms – and the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career.

“I’m very pleasantly surprised. I played really well today and David didn’t,” Wi said. “It’s such a crazy game. I don’t know what to say.”

Soon after a weather delay of 1 hour, 20 minutes, Wi’s tee shot at No. 16 landed on the back side of the green and Toms pushed his shot right into the rough. Wi holed the birdie putt before Toms’ 16-foot par chance just missed for a two-stroke swing that changed the top of the leaderboard.

“Tough day overall,” said Toms, who shot 74 after building his huge lead with bogey-free 62s.

Toms opened with a birdie Saturday, but had three bogeys in a five-hole stretch while Wi got started with consecutive birdies.

Even worse for Toms was a three-putt from 7 1/2 feet for double bogey at No. 14, where Wi chipped to 12 feet to save par before the delay.

“Until then I was still three behind him, so I wasn’t even thinking about the lead or anything,” Wi said. “Then it’s `Wow, I’m only one shot behind him.’ I knew it was getting a lot more interesting than how I envisioned when I started the day.”

Wi made his 100th cut in 147 PGA Tour events this weekend, but the 39-year-old South Korean has never won.

The 44-year-old Toms is a 12-time winner, but is looking for his first victory in more than five years. He is coming off a playoff loss to K.J. Choi last weekend at The Players Championship.

While Toms now has another disappointment to overcome, at least he still has one more round to play at Hogan’s Alley.

“I’m right where I set out to be when I started this week,” Toms said. “I certainly would like to be sitting here with a 10-stroke lead and trying to break some record or something like that. It’s all about getting in position and see how I do. I did well last Sunday with a chance, but didn’t quite get there.”

John Senden, who began the third round with Wi in a quartet of players seven strokes back, shot even par and was third alone at 9 under. Stuart Appleby (67), Paul Goydos (67) and Mark Wilson (71) were 8 under.

After blasting out of a frontside bunker at the par-4 14th, Toms three-putted for his first double bogey in a stretch of 343 holes at Colonial. That coupled with Wi’s impressive up-and-down at the same hole cut the gap to one stroke.

Before Toms and Wi finished No. 15, play was stopped because of an approaching storm. Only a little bit of rain fell before play resumed and both made their par putts.

Toms got to 17 under with his opening birdie Saturday at the 565-yard first hole, chipping from just short of the green to 6 feet. Then came a couple of bad bounces and three bogeys.

His approach at the par-4 second hit on the front of the green but rolled back into the greenside bunker. He blasted to about 19 feet and two-putted for his first bogey in 38 holes.

“From there, he kind of lost the momentum a little bit, but I didn’t think I was going to be able to close the gap like I did,” Wi said.

After missing the fairway left at No. 3 and hitting a low liner approach that stopped just short of the green, Toms pushed a 5 1/2 -foot par chance just right of the hole.

At the difficult 247-yard fourth hole, his tee shot landed in the frontside bunker so deep that the 5-foot-10 Toms’ head was barely visible from the back of the green when he blasted to 9 feet. When he made that putt, he had a slight fist pump that was more relief than celebration.

But Toms got another bad break when his approach at No. 6 rolled off the right side of the green. He chipped 9 feet past the hole and couldn’t save the par, and walked away holding both hands out.

“I felt like after the first six holes, I was just hanging on,” he said. “Trying not to make a mistake rather than going out and playing great. That’s probably what that big lead does for you. … I really never felt nervous. I just didn’t feel as confident out there today. I just didn’t feel in control, and that’s a bad feeling.”

After carding 31s on both nines on each of the first two rounds, Toms finished the front side Saturday at 2-over 37. He had already missed five greens, matching his total for the first two rounds.

Still, at that point, Toms was 14 under with a three-stroke lead over Wi and Wilson, playing in the group ahead.

“It can happen fast on this golf course, you can go either way quickly,” he said. “There are some birdie holes if you’re playing great and there’s a lot of bogeys out there to be had if you’re not.”

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

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.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

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.