Watson Takes Control at US Senior Open

By Associated PressJuly 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
U.S. Senior OpenHAVEN, Wis. -- If Tom Watson ever figures out this golf course and quits swinging so awkwardly, the rest of these guys might really be in trouble.
Watson shot a 6-under-par 66 in the second round of the U.S. Senior Open at Whistling Straits on Friday, moving to 8 under for the tournament and taking a three-stroke lead over five players.
Watson made eight birdies Friday, including a string of four straight just before he turned nine holes. But after his round, he said he still doesn't have much a feel for the course, making him think twice about the way he is swinging.
'They've put a couple of tees in different places today, so you go, 'Wait a minute, where do you hit it here?'' Watson said. 'And it makes me a little bit unsure of my swing.'
Watson certainly hid those insecurities well -- especially during the birdie binge that began on the par-4 14th.
'I made some awkward swings out there, to hit some awkward shots, and got away with them for the most part,' Watson said.
Watson's closest pursuers at 5 under are Loren Roberts, Des Smyth, Lonnie Nielsen, Ben Crenshaw and Vicente Fernandez.
'Obviously, he still hits it as good as he ever did,' Roberts said. 'For him, it's a matter of making putts and obviously he made some putts. He's going to be tough to catch.'
Watson, 57, has won five British Opens, two Masters and a U.S. Open -- but he has yet to win a U.S. Senior Open in seven previous tries.
Watson has finished second in three of the past five senior opens, losing a duel with Allen Doyle last year despite playing in front of his home-state fans at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan.
'It would be nice to not finish second again and come back with that beautiful trophy, it sure would,' Watson said. 'I have had my opportunities here.'
And now he has another shot at it, thanks in large part to tranquil wind conditions in the morning.
'You had to get some birdies with the wind laying down as it did,' Watson said. 'I made that run on the backside with four in a row, and that obviously was what I needed.'
Watson is well-known for his ability to play in the wind, but that's a skill that hasn't really been needed the past two days at Whistling Straits.
The course's signature high winds whipped up during practice rounds early in the week but have been mostly absent during the first two rounds, leading to unexpectedly low scores.
But that didn't help first-round leader Eduardo Romero, who had a rough afternoon capped by a triple-bogey meltdown on the 18th hole.
Romero's tee shot landed in a bunker, from which he pitched across the fairway and into another bunker. His next shot landed in a creek short of the green, and he needed help from fans in a nearby grandstand to find his ball.
'It's no good for a finish, but there's two more days to go,' said Romero, who noted that his back was bothering him during the round.
He finished 5 over for the day and is 1 under for the tournament.
Meanwhile, a pair of big names won't be around for the weekend.
Doyle was trying to become the first player to win three straight senior opens; instead, he became the first defending senior open champion to miss the cut since Bruce Fleisher in 2002. Doyle shot an even-par 72, but he missed the cut after shooting 83 in the first round.
'We had high hopes, and we go home a little disappointed, but that's the way it is,' Doyle said. 'We went home the last two years probably sky-high.'
Two-time senior open champion Hale Irwin missed the cut by one stroke when he failed to sink a short putt on 18. It was the first time Irwin sat out the weekend in a Champions Tour major, a streak of 24 straight.
A frustrated Irwin said he would take the next three weeks off.
'I'm fed up with it,' Irwin said. 'I've got to get my mind straight, my game straight. Nothing's straight right now. Very disappointing.'
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

    Masters victory

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    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

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    Man of the people

    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

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    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Victory at Valderrama

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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.