PGAs feel-good story

By Brian HewittAugust 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Dont play scared, was the advice coming from Adam Schriber, perhaps the best golf instructor in the world who toiled in relative obscurity until this year.
Play cocky, Schriber added, thumping his index and middle fingers to his chest. Play with heart.
Schriber is best known these days for being the architect of the swing and attitude changes that have helped rocket 23-year-old Anthony Kim to No. 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
But this particular advice was for Schribers boss.
Schriber, you see, is on director of golf Brad Deans staff at Crystal Mountain, a burgeoning golf and ski resort northeast of Oakland Hills in a pretty little place called Thompsonville, Mich.
And Dean, you see, qualified to play in this PGA Championship by finishing T-15 at the PGA Professional National Championship at Reynolds Plantation in Georgia in June.
Moreover Dean, a native Michigander, will be the first player to hit the first ball off the first tee Thursday when his 7:30 grouping that includes Briny Baird and Alastair Forsyth officially Christen this championship.
Oh, and by the way, this will be the first official PGA TOUR event for the long-hitting 42-year-old Dean, who has played a lot of good golf over the years in the Michigan Section of the PGA of America.
For his part, Dean is more aware than most that the league he will be playing in Thursday is a different one.
This is way overwhelming, Dean said Wednesday afternoon after finishing his final practice round.
He said it with a big smile, though. And you had to like that. It may be overwhelming. But he is soaking up every last big minute of it. Just eight days ago Deans wife gave birth to the couples fourth child. The proud father is still beaming.
Whether he makes the cut or not. This is all good.
Attempting to avoid the rush Wednesday, Dean was all set to be the first off the tee in his final tune-up when a couple of other players in the field showed up and asked if they could join him.
Brad Dean, meet Corey Pavin and Charles Howell.
Two of the nicest guys, Dean said.
Along for the ride was Pavins noted golf shrink, Dr. Richard Coop. So Dean picked his brain. A lot of it was stuff I tell my students at Crystal Mountain, Dean said.
But the reassurance was, well, reassuring. So what are the precise thoughts that will be in Deans head when he steps up to the tee on the 435-yard first hole in the first round?
I just need to bury myself in my pre-shot routine. I just need to focus on the shot. I did that pretty well at Reynolds.
Dean and Schriber affectionately refer to Kim as Junior. When I asked Kim Wednesday afternoon if he had any tips for Schribers boss on the eve of the PGA Championship, Kim broke into a broad grin.
I dont know if I have any advice, Kim said. When we tee it up tomorrow hes going to be one of my competitors and obviously I wish him the best
Kim paused for effect, knowing Schriber was listening to his press conference. But I might have to try to take him down for Adam this week.
By that time Dean had adjourned to the players family lunch room. His 13-year-old daughter Emily, it turns out, is very aware of Kim and Camilo Villegas and Sergio Garcia and the fact that those three are grouped together the first two days.
If any of them are in there, were going to try and get the next table over, Dean said.
Kim, Garcia and Villegas are scheduled to go off No. 10 at 8:25 a.m. Dean said he wont be surprised if Emily drifts away from his threesome. But he expects a lot of noise from a lot of people when they introduce him on the first tee.
Deans goal is a modest one and a smart one. He would like to make the cut and play on the weekend. His length and his putting are his strong points, he says. Schriber says Deans a little handicapped by lack of trajectory on a track built to favor high-ball hitters.
But Schriber thinks Dean can survive and advance to Saturday. When not working with Kim, Schriber has been keeping an eye on his bosss mechanics in recent weeks.
And, hey, nobody ever accused Hogan of being a high ball hitter. And he brought the Monster that is Oakland Hills to its knees at the U.S. Open in 1951.
Whatever happens, the Brad Dean story is one of the feel good stories of the week, if not the year, in major championship golf.
Crystal Mountain is one of the Midwests best family resorts, Dean said Wednesday afternoon, marketing when he could have been excused for needing to put his game face on. If you bring your family there, they will have something to do every single day.
Thursday and Friday, at least, Crystal Mountain will have to be one of the Midwests best family resorts without its director of golf.
He will be busy at Oakland Hills.
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

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    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''