Kim caddies at Bethpage Mickelson absent on birthday

By Doug FergusonJune 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
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2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Anthony Kim played a full practice round at Bethpage Black last week, and feels as though he knows where to go. He also caddied at the U.S. Open course last week, and knows where not to go.
Kim took part in the Golf Digest Challenge, a made-for-TV event in which four amateurs try to break 100 on a U.S. Open course. He caddied for singer Justin Timberlake, who shot an 88.
Got to see some of the course that I probably dont want to see in the tournament, Kim said.
Or maybe he will.
Kim has been an enigma this season after a breakthrough year in 2008 when he won at Quail Hollow and Congressional, and gave the Americans a spark by whipping Sergio Garcia in the leadoff singles match at the Ryder Cup.
He opened the year with a runner-up finish at Kapalua. He hasnt had a top 10 since then.
Kim has dealt with a series of odd injuries, one to his jaw while horseback riding in New Zealand. But there are concerns that he is spending more time having fun off the course than putting in work on his game to be among the best players.
He has fallen to No. 15 in the world, and his best result since Kapalua was a tie for 20th in the Masters.
To be honest, its not far off, he said. I said that early last year before I went off and won a couple of tournaments. I just havent been as patient as I need to be on the golf course, and if theres anywhere thats going to test it, its going to be at Bethpage.
As for his days on the bag?
I wasnt a very good caddie, he said. I did everything I could, though. I probably should just stick to playing golf.

TIGER & KOBE: Tiger Woods grew up watching the Los Angeles Lakers during the Showtime era and remains a big fan, even though he lives in Orlando, Fla., and has front-row seats for the Magic games.
But he had additional interest this year, having spent more time with All-Star guard Kobe Bryant. He said he took Bryant out to dinner when the Lakers were in Orlando, although he didnt say which day.
His work ethic is phenomenal, Woods said. Look at him on the court, how he guides his team throughout the game. Thats steady. Thats knowing the offenses, knowing defenses youre going against, knowing basically all the chess pieces. That takes hours upon hours upon hours of study. His preparation is second to none. And thats certainly something anyone can appreciate.
What was the occasion for taking Bryant to dinner?
We were hungry, he said.

WHERES LEFTY: Phil Mickelson celebrated his 39th birthday on Tuesday, but not on Bethpage Black.
Mickelson left the St. Jude Classic for his home in San Diego to be with wife Amy, who is battling breast cancer. He was to fly to New York later Tuesday, hold a press conference Wednesday morning and then play his lone practice round of the week.
Even so, the gallery was surprised to see his familiar sidekick ' caddie Jim Bones Mackay ' walking up the 13th fairway as he mapped out the course as part of his U.S. Open preparations.
Mackay spoke for about five minutes with Woods in front of the green, and with Woods caddie, Steve Williams. He wound up walking the last five holes with Woods group as he measured possible hole locations.
Along the way, fans continued to say to him, Wheres Phil? and Is Phil playing today? Mackay told them that Lefty would be on the course Wednesday. He couldnt help but notice the hand-painted shirt of one young fan.
Happy Birthday Phil. No. 39.

OGILVY AND THE EMPIRE STATE: Geoff Ogilvy won the U.S. Open the last time it was held in New York, and while Bethpage Black is more than an hour away from Winged Foot, he feels right at home.
Ogilvy was signing autographs Tuesday when he noticed several fans holding out ticket stubs from 2006 at Winged Foot. Some of them brought flags from the course in Westchester County. He even met 10 people who were inside the ropes as volunteers during the final round, when he took advantage of a double bogey by Phil Mickelson on the final hole for a one-shot victory.
I keep meeting people who were there at the time, and I saw you there earlier in the week and You signed by boys hat, and hundreds of them, Ogilvy said. Ive met a lot of people who were inside the ropes with me. Maybe theres some exaggeration going on, but its really, really cool. A lot of people I met have Winged Foot stories that makes the nostalgia better.
Ogilvy did not play Bethpage Black in 2002. He missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills in 2004.

WARNING: The Black Course at Bethpage State Park is famous for a sign behind the first tee, which remains posted during the U.S. Open. It says, Warning. The Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers.
Henrik Stenson found that unusual.
I havent really played much courses with warning signs, the Swede said. Its more for the ski slopes, isnt it?
But the more he thought about it, and having played a practice round, he wasnt sure.
Might be a little bit seriousness in there, as well, he said.

DIVOTS: Sergio Garcia has agreed to fill in for Trevor Immelman next week in the World Skins Game in Canada. Immelman had to withdraw from the U.S. Open with a left elbow injury. Garcia will compete against Mike Weir, Geoff Ogilvy, Fred Couples and Ian Poulter. Jack Nicklaus will be in the Big Apple on Wednesday to turn on the lights to the Empire State Building tower. The lights will be red, white and blue to celebrate the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, the 18th time the U.S. Open has been held in New York.
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

    Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

    ''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''

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    Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

    Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

    Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

    She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

    ''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

    Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

    ''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

    Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

    Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

    ''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

    It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.

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    Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

    Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

    The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

    ''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

    PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

    Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

    ''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

    It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

    He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

    ''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

    Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

    Later, he laughed about the moment.

    ''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

    Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

    Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

    The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

    “They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

    The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

    “Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”

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    Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

    “As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

    Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

    “Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.