Hometown Tim Herron spends a long day at Hazeltine

By Doug FergusonAugust 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Tim Herron was all dressed up with nowhere to play.
 
Herron is the only PGA Tour player who lives in Minnesota, growing up 15 minutes away in Wayzata and moving back home to raise his family of three, including twin sons. But he had a bad year at the wrong time and was not eligible for the PGA Championship, nor did he receive an exemption from the PGA of America.
 
I thought with my record (four PGA Tour victories), I deserved a spot, Herron said. It was a little disappointing.
 
Even more disappointing was Thursday. Because of two injuries (Trevor Immelman and Paul Casey) and three alternates who withdrew, Herron was the first alternate.
 
In the morning, while his caddie hung around the starting areas to check on anyone who might withdraw, Herron stayed in the car, not wanting to bring any attention to himself among thousands of fans who recognize him easily in these parts.
 
He finally went to the range, did a few interviews, and waited.
 
John Daly walked by on his way to the tee, his last realistic hope of playing. Herron headed back to his car, and then a long day got a little worse. He couldnt find his keys, and the car was locked.
 
As he fished through his pockets and golf bag, a fan recognized him.
 
Hey, Lumpy! Howd you play? the fan said with great enthusiasm.
 
I didnt, Herron replied.
 
Then he turned to a reporter and said quietly, This is getting old.
 
Herrons brother-in-law found the keys and he was on his way home. Herron said he would hang out with his family this week. Would he even bother watching the PGA Championship?
 
No, he said. I dont like watching golf on TV.
 

 
BOOM-BOOMS BACK: Fred Couples stood over his tee shot on the 18th hole, then quietly backed away, as if nothing was wrong.
 
Just the opposite.
 
He felt a spasm in his lower back that hurt much worse than Couples let on. He took two deep breaths, walked to the back of the tee, then returned to his shot, pursed his lips and found the fairway.
 
That was a little bit of a jolt, he said.
 
His back has been an issue the last 15 years, and its not behaving at the moment. Couples hasnt played in six weeks, since a tie for 11th at the AT&T National. He tried to play the Canadian Open, but it hurt so much that he had to withdraw ' then wait two days before he could fly home.
 
Im tired, Couples said. I havent walked since Tigers tournament. Im OK. I wouldnt be here if not for this. They gave me an exemption. I couldnt miss this one. And I need to be here for the Presidents Cup stuff.
 
Couples is the U.S. captain, and 10 players will qualify after this week.
 
He wound up with a 74 and might be in jeopardy of missing the cut for the third straight time in the PGA Championship. The hardest part for Couples was bending over to read putts.
 
If Im 6 or 7 over, Im not going to be reading many putts, he said. If Im 1 or 2 over, Im going have to try a little bit.
 

 
THE OTHER GUY: Rich Beem loves being introduced as a PGA champion, although that sounded pretty paltry in the company he kept Thursday ' Padraig Harrington with his three majors, Tiger Woods with his 14.
 
What was it like playing with such rock stars?
 
Just a couple of guys having a nice, quiet three-ball out there, with 30,000 people screaming their heads off, he said. It was a blast.
 
Told last week he was playing with Woods and Harrington, Beem replied in a text message, I thought they were playing with me.
 
Over the next several days, he wasnt sure if that would help or hurt. He only knew hed better bring his best game.
 
Beem three-putted the opening hole and admitted to some nerves. But he rallied just fine, and all three players were 2 under early on their back nine until Woods and Harrington pulled away, and Beem didnt. He wound up with a 71, not a bad effort.
 
Playing with those two guys you know theyre going to play well, he said. Usually when guys play well around you, they kind of drag you with them.
 

 
OLYMPIC LOOKAHEAD: With golf moving one step closer to being part of the Olympics in 2016, Fred Couples was asked to rank the most important golf tournaments that year.
 
Augusta, the U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship, he began, naming the four majors.
 
Then he went with the Ryder Cup ' which will be held at Hazeltine in 2016 ' and the Olympics.
 
Thats a pretty good list, he said.
 
And then he changed his mind.
 
Id put the Olympics after The Players Championship, he said. I cant put it any higher than that.
 

 
DIVOTS: Hazeltine didnt play all of its 7,674 yards, and it might not for the week. Among the tees moved forward were at No. 12, which played was 501 yards (up 17 yards), and No. 13, the par 3 that was 218 yards instead of 248. Paul Casey was headed home to Arizona on Thursday after he pulled out with an injury to his rib muscle. He said he would have tests to make sure it is a muscle strain and not something worse. His replacement, Tim Petrovic, shot 76.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Getty Images

    Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

    After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

    With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

    “I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

    Getty Images

    Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    “I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

    “I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

    Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

    Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

    “We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

    Getty Images

    Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

    The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

    Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

    Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

    • Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

    • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

    • Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

    Getty Images

    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”