Van De Velde Finds Hope in Latest Loss

By Associated PressJune 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
What most people saw as another comical collapse by Jean Van de Velde, he saw as a significant step toward resurrecting his career.
 
At least I have a job again, Van de Velde said.
 
Jean-Francois Remesy
Jean-Francois Remesy got the win while Jean Van De Velde got a second chance.
Forever known as the Frenchman who took triple bogey on the 72nd hole of the 99 British Open and lost in a playoff, Van de Velde again blew a lead on the 18th hole Sunday at the French Open by hitting into the water. He hit another shot into the water in the playoff and made triple bogey, allowing Jean-Francois Remesy to win.
 
Van de Velde, whos had two operations on his right knee, no longer has exempt status on the European tour and relies on invitations. But his runner-up finish was worth about $470,000, moving him up to 21st on the money list to secure his card for next year.
 
It also made him exempt for the British Open in two weeks at St. Andrews.
 
Just five months ago, I wasnt sure I would walk properly again, Van de Velde said. Now Im a player again. Thats the main thing.
 
A CONFIDENT STRIDE
Former British Open champion David Duval lives about a quarter-mile away from the 17th tee at Cherry Hills, so he brought his wife and their 2-month-old son out to the course for the final round of the U.S. Womens Open. Duval is trying to find his own game, but he still has an eye for talent.
 
Standing behind the ropes along the second fairway, he watched a parade of teens come by -- 18-year-old Paula Creamer, then 15-year-old Michelle Wie, followed by 17-year-old Morgan Pressel in the final group.
 
Pressels demeanor caught his attention.
 
Look at the way shes walks, Duval said. Shes the only one who thinks she can win this thing. Shes walking like, Hey, Im the deal. You know?
 
He almost was prophetic.
 
Creamer had three bad holes on her way to a 79. Wie couldnt make putts inside 3 feet and shot 82. Pressel was poised to win until an improbable bunker shot by Birdie Kim on the final hole left her tied for second.
 
FLORIDA RETURN
Ty Votaw has already done a big favor for Carolyn Bivens, his successor as commissioner of the LPGA Tour. No one will ask her when were bringing a tournament back to Florida, Votaw said with a laugh.
 
For the first time in five years, the spring schedule will include an LPGA Tour event in the Sunshine State. The Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open will be played April 27-30 at Reunion Resort & Club of Orlando.
 
Votaw resisted putting a tournament in Florida unless it was a strong event, and this has all the trappings. It will offer $2.5 million in prize money, joining the Evian Masters as the richest among regular LPGA Tour events.
 
The weekend rounds will be televised by CBS Sports.
 
NAME GAME
Whats in a name? St. Andrews bridge offers options
 
Jack Nicklaus will be playing in his final British Open next month, and it will be a momentous occasion when he strolls over the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews one last time.
 
Or is that the Swilken Bridge?
 
The most famous bridge in golf, which crosses a small burn on the 18th fairway, is spelled at least three ways in various publications that are almost as old as the Old Course itself.
 
Its this wonderful idea we have that spelling should be consistent, which was not an 18th century idea, or even an early 19th century idea, said Peter Lewis at the British Golf Museum at St. Andrews. Youll find in minutes and publications that names get spelled innumerable different ways within a paragraph of each other.
 
Lewis said the Links Trust, which operates St. Andrews, goes by Swilcan.
 
How it reached that conclusion is anyones guess.
 
In Chamberss Journal dated Aug. 1, 1906, Mr. WT Linskill wrote that when he used to play with Young Tom Morris in the early 1870s, the historic Swilcan Burn formerly swept almost into the centre of the links before it turned to the sea, and one often drove into this bed from the first tee.
 
Lewis, however, said the earliest known map of St. Andrews in 1821 shows the spelling as Swilkin. But then theres Alister Mackenzies survey of the Old Course in 1924, when he referred to the burn and bridge as Swilken.
 
The official spelling of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club is Swilcan, but even the R&A cant get it right, which is not to suggest either way is wrong.
 
The official British Open annual in 2000 published by the R&A spells the bridge and the burn Swilcan in the text and photo captions. But turn to the map at the back of the book, and it goes by Swilken. Plus, the official Old Course hole-by-hole booklet from 2000 refers to it as Swilken.
 
Its a phonetic name that doesnt seem to have an absolute, rock-standard spelling, Lewis said. Its six of one, one-half dozen of another. I wont complain whichever way you do it.
 
Stewart McDougal, who oversees publicity matters for the R&A, said the correct spelling is Swilcan.
 
That seems to be as good as any.
 
DIVOTS
Lorie Kane sure knows how to make up ground when conditions are severe. Six years ago, she was in 49th place going into the final round of the U.S. Womens Open at Blackwolf Run, shot the only round under par and moved up 30 spots. On Sunday at Cherry Hills, the Canadian was tied for 30th and again was the only player to break par in the final round'a 2-under 69 -- to move into a tie for fourth. ... The 2006 season on the European tour again will start in the fall with a tournament in Shanghai on Nov. 10. The tour will play three times in China and twice in South Africa, before the calendar changes to 2006.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
The $560,000 that Birdie Kim earned for winning the U.S. Womens Open represents 87.5 percent of her career earnings on the LPGA Tour.
 
FINAL WORD
When you have talent like that, youre always going to have a little controversy around it.'Cristie Kerr, on Michelle Wie.
 
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

<
Getty Images

DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

Getty Images

Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

Getty Images

Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.