Weathers Been Around

By Brian HewittApril 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
Weather, my GOLF CHANNEL colleague Kraig Kann and I like to joke, has been around a long time.
 
And as former New York Yankee manager Casey Stengel used to say, You could look it up.
 
Going all the way back to Biblical times, weather has been a factor. Lately, in golf, it has been around more often than not.
 
It was a dominant theme at last weeks Masters where winner Zach Johnson conquered the wind and the cold AND Tiger Woods to win a coveted green jacket. Sunday at Hilton Head gale force winds forced golfers and spectators off the Harbour Town Golf Links at the Verizon Heritage and prompted officials to postpone the events finish until Monday.
 
In fact Sunday, all up and down the Eastern Seaboard, weather was a dominant story line in golf. On the womens side, though, it had to share the front page with Lorena Ochoa, who could not hold off Brittany Lincicome at the Ginn Open. Ochoa was poised to replace a recuperating Annika Sorenstam atop the Rolex Womens World Rankings. But she played the last six holes in 6 over par.
 
Mexicos Ochoa had been stalking Sorenstams spot at the top for months. She supplanted Sorenstam as the LPGAs Player of the Year in 2006. And she could have passed Sorenstam on the Rolex list with a victory at the Kraft Nabisco two weeks ago.
 
Ochoa faltered down the stretch there and Morgan Pressel won the first major of the year in womens golf. Afterward Ochoa said she had waited five years and she would patiently wait a few more weeks if she had to do so.
 
Suddenly now two young Americans'Pressel and Lincicome have won the last two important tournaments in womens golf.
 
Meanwhile, Sorenstam had withdrawn from the Ginn and announced she had back and neck problems that would sideline her for at least a month.
 
Many of the seeds of Ochoas rapid ascent to the near top were sewn at last years Samsung World Championship. Playing together in the final pairing with Sorenstam, Ochoa carded a near-flawless 65. Sorenstam struggled to a 70 that included three bogeys. Ochoa turned a three-shot 54-hole deficit into a two-shot victory, all the while looking like she belonged; and all the while looking quite comfortable in the heat of competition.
 
The Los Angeles Times quoted Sorenstam, in its next day editions as saying, It doesnt get any worse than this.
 
Sorenstam appears much more resigned to Ochoas rise now, especially since she has been playing in pain much of the year. Clearly she has been looking forward to the opening of her golf academy near Orlando on Monday more than playing in pain.
 
But for her part, Ochoa will have to resign herself to more patience while wondering all over again why she has problems closing the deal when she is in position to win. It happened at Kraft Nabisco when she made a late triple bogey in the third round and followed that with an inability to make key putts Sunday. And it happened again admist the roaring winds at the Reunion Resort and Club Sunday.
 
Meanwhile, back on the mens side, it got so bad Sunday afternoon at Hilton Head that CBS-TV showed David Feherty, at the outset of that networks final round coverage, demonstrate how gusts of 50 miles per hour can actually change the shape of the hole from round to oval.
 
On the par-3 17th hole, before play was stopped, long-hitting J.B. Holmes chose a 6-iron, dead into the wind, from 130 yards and came up 15 yards short. TOUR officials had mercifully chosen an up tee box and the hole was still virtually impossible.
 
It just got unplayable, said TOUR rules official Slugger White. And it got dangerous. At one point a spectator was struck by a limb that fell from a tree on the ninth hole.
 
Play was officially suspended at 4 p.m. with a 7:45 a.m. re-start scheduled for Monday morning. GOLF CHANNEL will televise the final round beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sunday afternoon the final grouping of Ernie Els, Kevin Na and Jerry Kelly had hit their tee balls on the first hole when wind turned golf there into a travesty.
 
The gusts were severe at the Ginn, but not as bad as Hilton Head. But the women had to wait out a two hour and 41 minute rain delay after which Ochoa slowly took command.
 
She couldnt hold the lead and nobody could hold back Mother Nature.
 
Yes, weathers been around a long time.
 
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.