Watsons 71 good enough to make cut

By Associated PressJune 19, 2010, 7:36 am

2010 U.S. Open

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – As Tom Watson walked up the 11th fairway Friday morning, fresh off an impressive birdie that left him at 2 under for his round, even his most ardent supporters lining the gallery wondered how long it would last.

“I hope old Tommy Boy can keep it going,” one said.

Watson couldn’t keep the birdies dropping, or avoid a few costly bogeys in the second round, putting his U.S. Open future in doubt. But the golfer who forever defined Pebble’s 17th hole with his chip-in from off the green to wrap up the 1982 U.S. Open title, gets at least two more rounds at the season’s second major.

Perhaps some of Watson’s magic at Turnberry last July will reappear over the weekend at Pebble.

Watson’s even 71 left him at 7 over. Thanks to Graeme McDowell’s bogey on his final hole that left the leader at 3 under, Watson’s 149 total meant he sneaked under the cut line – barely.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson will play the weekend in what could be his final U.S. Open. (Getty Images)

Watson will play the weekend thanks to the 10-shot cut rule. His goal for the day was to shoot 2 under, and Watson reached that number midway through his round, only to see a few costly shots take away his cushion.

“I hate to miss the cut, I really do,” Watson said after his morning round finished. “It just grates on me when I miss the cut. I hate it, I always have.”

Now he can focus on playing the weekend. Watson becomes the second-oldest player to make a U.S. Open cut, just behind Sam Sneed, who played all four rounds at age 61 in 1973. It’s the 25th time he’s made the cut at the U.S. Open.

Just in case Friday was the end for Watson, his adoring fans on the Monterey Peninsula made sure Watson felt loved and appreciated. He heard encouragement on every fairway and around every green. Watson walked up to a standing ovation from the grandstand at No. 17, the site of his famous birdie on the 71st hole in ’82, and received another roaring ovation from the patrons around the 18th green. That time Watson replaced the wry, appreciative grin he displayed all day with a bow to the grandstands.

“I think he just appreciates being at Pebble Beach and playing in an Open. I think it just brings that much more to the table,” said Watson’s son, Michael, his caddie this week. “When he bowed to the crowd, they were gracious enough to support him at 18, that was pretty nice.”

But there were no magical chip-ins from the deep, gnarly rough on this day to ensure two more rounds. He was 2 under for his round after bouncing his approach on the 495-yard 10th through the opening at the front of the green and tucking it within 4 feet.

He followed up the birdie on the 10th with a lazy bogey on No. 11 when a gap wedge from the fairway was dunked into the bunker fronting the green. On the 12th, his playing partner Rory McIlroy playfully urged Watson’s birdie putt rolling short to pick up some steam.

Another bogey followed on the 13th when Watson pulled a 7-iron from the fairway left of the green into deep rough. Even a deft flop shot couldn’t keep Watson from dropping another stroke.

Watson rallied with a birdie on the 15th, but then his two best chances at spending a relaxed afternoon with his family went away. He left a short par putt on No. 17 under the hole, then saw a lengthy birdie attempt on the 18th lip out instead of curling in.

“It was the only solid putt I hit all day,” Watson said.

Watson became the only player to participate in all five Open’s played at Pebble Beach thanks to a special exemption from the USGA. If Watson could have held on to his final round lead at the British Open a year ago, his exemption as a major champion would have given Watson five more Open’s to eagerly anticipate.

He spent the two rounds paired with Ryo Ishikawa and McIlroy, whose combined age of 39 isn’t two-thirds of Watson’s 60 years. He thoroughly enjoyed watching the rising stars up close, how far and high they hit, reminding Watson of himself in his younger years.

“They could be my grandkids,” he quipped.

Watson will start the weekend 10 back, and his best chance of getting back to an Open to play with the youngsters in the future is to win the U.S. Senior Open. Although Watson didn’t play well in the first round, when he shot 78, his performances in recent majors make winning the national championship of the 50-and-over crowd plausible.

“I certainly appreciate the USGA’s invitation. I’m grateful for it. It was a very nice thing to do for an old guy like me,” Watson said. “I wish I had played a little bit better.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm