Weir shoots 65 for share of lead in Canada

By Associated PressJuly 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
RBC Canadian OpenOAKVILLE, Canada ' Mike Weir gave Canadian Open fans what they came to see on another rainy day at drenched Glen Abbey.
 
The Canadian icon shot a bogey-free 6-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead with Anthony Kim and Eric Axley during the suspended first round. Only half of the players were able to finish the round that was delayed for 5 hours, 42 minutes.
 
Mike Weir
Mike
You want to take advantage of today because its only going to get a little firmer and faster, said Weir, his words punctuated by a clap of thunder that drew a smile and forced him to reconsider his answer. Maybe not with whats coming. Maybe not.
 
Richard Johnson, J.P. Hayes, Nicholas Thompson, Ryan Armour and Jason Allred shot 67s on the course saturated by 8 inches of rain in six days. John Senden and Charley Hoffman also were 4 under. Senden played nine holes, and Hoffman completed eight.
 
Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to use preferred lies.
 
Were playing lift, clean and place and, if you hit fairways, youre going to have great opportunities to go at flags, Kim said. The course isnt overly long. But if you can hit some 7-irons 15 feet and shake some of those in, youll be in good shape. I hit every fairway and that gave me a lot of opportunities to go at some pins.
 
Two-time defending champion Jim Furyk, a few minutes away from teeing off when play was suspended was 1 under at the turn.
 
A brief storm hit at about 1:30 p.m. and waves of showers followed, flooding bunkers and fairways on the course that many players thought would be unplayable after heavy rain Wednesday. Play resumed at about 6:30 p.m., and was suspended because of darkness at 8:49 p.m., leaving the course once again to the weary maintenance crew.
 
I heard in the locker room somebody said they were here until 3 in the morning, Weir said. Im sure they got a couple hours of sleep and were right back at it first thing. Theyve had their work cut out and theyve done a great job. It exceeded my expectations what I thought I was going to see out there.
 
Weirs 65, highlighted by 11 one-putt greens, matched his best score in the tournament and was his first opening sub-70 round of the year. He finished with a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth, drawing one last round of cheers from the adoring fans who lined the fairways 10 deep in places.
 
It played probably about as easy as Glen Abbey can play given the balls not running out through the fairways on some of the doglegs, Weir said. You just kind of hit it to the corner and its just stopping there. With the greens being soft, you can fly the ball right to the hole and it would stop.
 
Trying to become the first Canadian winner since Pat Fletcher in 1954, Weir is back at Glen Abbey for the first time since a playoff loss to Vijay Singh in 2004. The 2003 Masters champion is making his 18th appearance in the event. He missed the cut in his first nine starts ' eight at Glen Abbey and one at Royal Montreal.
 
I did need to get over the struggles I had around here, Weir said. Finally shooting some good rounds in 2004 helped me get over the mental hurdle that I can shoot better than 70 out here.
 
With the national championship stuck in a difficult schedule spot after the British Open and before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship, Weir is skipping the WGC event next week at Firestone.
 
This is like a major here and the PGA is a major, Weir said. Its (Firestone) a golf course Ive never played that well. Of the tournaments coming up, if I was going to skip one, that was going to be it. I really want to be ready for the PGA. The PGA is close to home for me, as well.
 
Kim, the Wachovia Championship and AT&T National winner, is coming off a seventh-place tie in the British Open. The 23-year-old American was back in form Thursday after adjusting his swing to cope with the strong wind at Royal Birkdale.
 
I really didnt feel comfortable until today, Kim said. Yesterday, playing 15 holes, my game was a little bit off. My putter was off. Everything was just a little bit rusty. I definitely feel like I have my legs under me now.
 
Axley, the 2006 Texas Open winner, closed with a 15-foot eagle putt on par-5 18th.
 
DIVOTS: Corey Pavin was preparing to strike a 2-foot birdie putt on his final hole when play was delayed. He waited nearly six hours before holing out for a 71. Weir won the Frys Electronics Open in October for his eighth PGA TOUR title, matching the late George Knudson for the most by a Canadian. Richard S. Johnson, the U.S. Bank Championship winner Sunday in Milwaukee, shot a 71.
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - RBC Canadian Open
  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    FALLING

    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.


    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.


    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1956-57

    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    EUROPE'S BIG 5

    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1969-70

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.


    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.