Veteran Rookie Lead in Milwaukee

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2007, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- Jeff Maggert turned to an old friend to help straighten out his sagging golf game, dusting off a Ping Anser putter that might be older than his five children.
 
Maggert, who missed the cut in his previous four tournaments, put a putter he has had for 'probably 15 or 20 years' and a new set of irons to good use at Brown Deer Park on Thursday, shooting a 7-under-par 63 to tie rookie Brendon de Jonge for the lead in the first round of the U.S. Bank Championship.
 
For all the technological advances to hit the golf world in the past two decades, Maggert said the familiar feel of an older club sometimes makes all the difference.
 
'It made me think a little bit more about making putts instead of worrying about missing putts,' Maggert said. 'It's confidence more than anything, I guess.'
 
Confidence has been fleeting lately for Maggert, a PGA TOUR veteran with three career victories. At 43, family obligations keep him from practicing as intensely as he used to, and he admits he's having a hard time keeping up with golf's hard-charging younger generation.
 
That group might now include De Jonge, a native of Zimbabwe who played collegiate golf at Virginia Tech. One day after his 27th birthday, he shot a 63 to claim a share of the lead.
 
With most of the top PGA TOUR players overseas for the British Open this week, de Jonge said this tournament could be an opportunity for a young player to break through.
 
'It's a good chance for any young guy to get a win,' de Jonge said. 'Obviously, it's not as strong a field by any means, but it's still always going to be a good field. It's a great chance for one of us to make a move, definitely.'
 
De Jonge holed out a chip shot from 100 yards away to eagle the par-4 second hole. But he didn't actually see the shot fall because the hole is a dogleg left with a blind approach.
 
'We just heard the lady behind the green,' de Jonge said. 'She got pretty excited, so we figured it was either in or really close. It was nice to walk up there and not see the ball.'
 
Maggert also had an eagle during his round, making a 20-foot putt on the par-5 15th hole.
 
'Sometimes, when you change something like a putter or an iron, it just takes some negative focus away from some negative things and puts some positive thoughts in your head,' Maggert said.
 
Maggert also switched to a new set of Ping irons that hasn't yet hit store shelves, but said the old putter made the biggest difference Thursday.
 
'For me, it usually starts with putting,' Maggert said. 'When you're putting poorly, it just puts a lot of pressure on the rest of your game. You feel like you've got to hit your iron shots really well, and you feel like you've really got to chip the ball close to the hole. And when you're putting well, you're not really concerned if you're three feet away or six feet away on your chips.'
 
Maggert has made the cut in only seven of the 16 PGA TOUR events he has played this year, and hasn't played into the weekend since the Crowne Plaza Invitational in May.
 
Maggert said there's nothing in particular wrong with his game, but acknowledges that his priorities have changed as he has gotten older.
 
'It's probably being 43 years old and having five kids,' Maggert said. 'The priorities are just so much different for me now than what they used to be.'
 
Maggert's oldest son is in college, and his youngest are 3-year-old twins. He admits he 'very rarely' works hard on his game when he's at home, making it hard to keep up with golf's younger generation.
 
'Those kids are young and strong and they work hard, and sometimes it's kind of hard to keep up with those guys,' Maggert said.
 
Garrett Willis, who made the Brown Deer field as an alternate, is third at 6 under. Tour veteran Robert Gamez is tied for fourth at 5 under with Jay Williamson, who made the field on a sponsor exemption. Jesper Parnevik is one of five players tied for sixth at 4 under.
 
After his round, Parnevik responded harshly to recent comments from Gary Player, who on Wednesday urged golf to begin random drug testing and said he knew of at least one player who uses performance-enhancing drugs.
 
'I thought it was stupid,' Parnevik said. 'I personally don't know one person who used them.'
 
Parnevik, decked out in tight black pants and a black derby he called a 'Chicago mob hat,' said steroids wouldn't help a golfer play better anyway.
 
'It wouldn't advantage you at all,' Parnevik said. 'Nobody would play better golf. You probably would do a lot worse -- your touch would disappear.'
 
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.