Nicks Knack

By Brian HewittJune 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Phil grimaced in the afternoon. It was Oakmont. Golfing root canal. His injured left wrist was sore. He shot 74.
Tiger struggled at times in the morning. The live mikes picked up a bit of blue language during his hard-earned 71. It was the U.S. Open.
All of which followed the script to the letter.
Until Nick Dougherty came along.
The course is, I hate saying it, easy, Nick Dougherty said.
The U.S. Open is my favorite tournament to play, Nick Dougherty said.
I love the fun, Nick Dougherty said. You Americans are noisier than us and I like that. I love the atmosphere, the way the tournament is run.
Nick Dougherty is a 25-year-old Brit who was born in Liverpool, the same city that brought us the Beatles. He is the 118th ranked player in the world. He is the 10th ranked Englishman in the world.
And after 18 holes he is leading the 107th United States Open Championship.
This is because he shot 2-under par 68. And that was mainly because he needed just 32 shots on the back nine and just 27 putts on a day where feared Oakmont turned up soft early because of a late Wednesday rain.
Hopefully if I can just cling on now for the next 54 holes, Ill do it, Nick Dougherty said, winking all the way.
Dougherty knows there are a million golfing miles to go this week. He knows he still has the reputation for being a bit of a party boy. He protests the latter.
Those days are gone to be honest, he insisted Thursday after his round provided him with a one-shot lead over Angel Cabrera. I prepare as well as anyone. I train. I do everything the right way.
The thing hes doing best right now is not taking himself or the championship or the golf course too seriously.
Once upon a time Nick Doughertys father bought his son a flute. His general idea, said Nick, was because I was young at the time.he said when youre on Tour, it will entertain you, to be able to sit in your room and play the flute.
That wasnt happening.
TGI Fridays is much more fun, Nick Dougherty said.
History tells us that the Nick Doughertys of the world shoot 78 in the second round of the U.S. Open and disappear quietly and quickly from the leaderboard.
But Thursday at Oakmont he was the fresh face with the insouciant attitude and the red hot short game. And he was happy to tell his story if you were willing to listen.
My mom has been a housewife now for about'well, for as long as dad told her to be, about 20-odd years now, he said.
Dad is a former car salesman who transitioned into property which is what they call real estate in England. Nick Doughertys brother is a corporate lawyer in New York.
Nick Doughertys idol is Nick Faldo. One of his teachers is David Leadbetter. Both are Englishman. Dougherty was supposed to make the European Ryder Cup team last year but his game shorted out at the wrong time.
Last year he shot 78-75 at Winged Foot and missed the cut at that U.S. Open. The year before that he made the cut at the Pinehurst U.S. Open and left the place absolutely enchanted.
Pinehurst is the most special week Ive ever had on the golf course and this here (Oakmont) is fabulous, he said.
It was almost as if Nick Dougherty was drinking in a different air than everybody else in the field Thursday. The most serious he got was when he was pressed about the next three days.
I believe Im a good enough golfer to contend in majors whether its now or this year or down the line, he said. I want to be one of those European and British players the media look at to fly the flag for us in these tournaments because weve had a drought recently.
Drought, indeed. No European has won a major in this century. And no European has won the U.S. Open since Englishman Tony Jacklin conquered Hazeltine in 1970.
Nick Dougherty is a still a long, long shot. Woods is still only three behind. But the longer Nick Dougherty hangs around the leader board the more refreshing that leaderboard will be.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.