Toms in Mississippi missing Ryder Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
Viking ClassicMADISON, Miss. ' Ask David Toms how hes handling life away from the Ryder Cup, and hell smile and give an honest answer.
 
Not very well, he says.
 
While the PGA TOURs top flight is in Louisville, Ky., playing for national pride, Toms is at the Viking Classic at the Annandale Golf Club.
 
Like Chris DiMarco and J.J. Henry, Ryder Cup teammates two years ago who find themselves dealing with the deep rough and muddy fairways in central Mississippi this week, Toms will be sneaking away as often as possible to see what kind of fight the U.S. team is putting up.
 
Ive played enough in that event to know what Im missing and everything, and know those guys are having a good time, Toms said. Theyre playing for their country and loving every single minute of their time being there. Ill certainly miss it this week, but my focus is here.
 
As it should be. Toms has been one of Americas most consistent international match play presences. He has played in either the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup over the last six years and thought hed represent the United States a seventh time in 2008.
 
And why not? With more than $28.5 million in career earnings and 12 PGA TOUR victories since 1997, Toms has earned the right to be presumptuous.
 
Toms was 4-0-1 and scored the most points for the Americans in their Presidents Cup victory in Montreal last September. A little more than a month later, though, he tore a calf muscle and limped into 2008 not quite ready to play.
 
He skipped much of January, taking time to watch his alma mater LSU win a national championship in football. Then he got off to a slow start and hurt his back in his second tournament. He is 120th on the money list after missing four of 18 cuts this year.
 
He doesnt blame injuries for his problems, though.
 
That would be an excuse, Toms said after hitting a perfect tee shot on No. 13 during Wednesdays pro-am. Just the level of play hasnt been there this year. Its been a weird year. Ive had a couple of nagging injuries, Ive had other times where Ive had a chance to play well and didnt. Just overall my golf game hasnt been in as good of shape, actually in the last two years, as it had been for a long time.
 
Toms failed to win a tournament in 2007 for the first time in five seasons and hopes the $3.6 million Viking Classic can give him the kind of bump Chad Campbell, a captains choice in the Ryder Cup, was hoping for when he turned his career around with a win at Annandale last year.
 
Fred Funk, a former Ryder Cup team member and two-time winner in Mississippi, said all it takes for players like Toms is a good weekend to reverse their flagging fortunes and games.
 
Its a little slap to the ego, but its also the nature of the game, said Funk, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour this year.
 
Its such a fine line between being on the Ryder Cup team and being 120th on the money list. Theres not much difference between being successful out here and being in Q-School.
 
After backing off over the summer, Toms will be more aggressive this fall and offseason than usual. Hell play more fall tournaments and quite a bit in the offseason rather than take time off.
 
He doesnt need to win this weekend to satisfy his need for progress, but hed like to see if he can make a run. The tournament features 13 former Ryder Cup players and five players in the top 50 earnings list.
 
What Im trying to get out of this week is have a little competition, come out here and do well, try to get under the gun and have a chance maybe on Sunday to see how I do, and try to build some confidence going into next year, Toms said.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.