Notes: Casey, Inkster finally returning from injuries

By Doug FergusonJune 19, 2012, 8:26 pm

CASEY RETURNS: Paul Casey, who had to withdraw from the U.S. Open because of an injury, returns this week in Germany for the BMW Championship. He can only hope he will be healthy enough the rest of the year to avoid being left off another Ryder Cup team.

''It was tough having to sit at home watching the U.S. Open on TV when you really want to be playing,'' he said. ''But doctors said my shoulder needed another week's rest. I've been having the shoulder massaged, but it's meant also having to cut down my practice sessions.''

Casey, who dislocated his right shoulder while snowboarding over the holidays, ended last year at No. 20 in the world. He has slipped to No. 60. Worse yet, he is 30th on the European Ryder Cup world points list and 56th on the list based on European Tour money.

Only 10 weeks remain to qualify for the team.

''This week will only be my sixth tour event this year, so in many ways, this week really now is the start of my season,'' Casey said. ''The shoulder injury has meant a lot of time away from the game. But I'm coming back, firmly believing that if I can get going, I can still qualify and make the European team.

''It's going to be a case of winning golf tournaments, and that's all I will focus on, and I refuse to focus on the alternative.''

The alternative would be the same one he had last week at the U.S. Open - staying home to watch on television.


SILVER MEDAL AND A FOOTNOTE: Michael Thompson had the lowest opening round (66) and closing round (67) at the U.S. Open. It was that 75-74 in the middle that cost him at The Olympic Club, although he did earn a footnote in history.

Thompson is the only player to be runner-up at the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open on the same golf course. He lost in the championship match to Colt Knost at Olympic in 2007.

He also earned $695,916, and that's at least a head start toward getting into the next major. The British Open takes the top two players (not already eligible) from a special PGA Tour money list that includes The Players Championship and the five tournaments through The Greenbrier Classic. Thompson leads that list at $718,412 with St. Jude Classic runner-up John Merrick next at $604,800.

Both can be overtaken by someone not already eligible winning the next three weeks.


TEN-SHOT RULE: U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis often cites the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills when talking about the 10-shot rule in making the cut, which now has been eliminated. That was the year 108 players made the cut, and the final round began shortly before 7 a.m.

But only four times since 1996 has that 10-shot rule even been necessary. Otherwise, the top 60 and ties included everyone within 10 shots of the lead going into the weekend. The exceptions were in 1997 at Congressional, 2001 at Southern Hills, 2005 at Pinehurst No. 2 and 2008 at Torrey Pines.

The highest number of players to make the cut since Oakland Hills was 83 on three occasions - most recently in 2010, when they all finished among the top 60 and ties, anyway. The smallest field was at Bethpage Black in 2009 when 60 players made the cut.

Had the 10-shot rule been used at Olympic this year, an additional 22 players would have made it to the weekend, expanding the field to 94 players.


RETURN OF INKSTER: Juli Inkster is returning to golf a lot sooner than she had planned.

Inkster, who grew up in the Bay Area, was among those in the crowd last week at Olympic before ducking out for the weekend to watch her oldest daughter, Hayley, graduate from the University of Santa Clara.

She had elbow surgery that figured to keep her out until August. But she played in the CVS Charity Classic this week in Rhode Island, and she plans to make her return next week at the Northwest Arkansas Championship in Arkansas, before going up to Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., for the U.S. Women's Open.

''I can't believe how the strength has come back,'' Inkster said. ''I'm pretty excited.''

She has been mainly chipping and putting for the last month or so which has held back the 51-year-old Inkster. She advanced to playing full rounds at Los Altos, where husband Brian is the head pro, with a low round of 65.

The one difference when she returns? Inkster has been experimenting with the belly putter.


DIVOTS: Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood are the only players to have finished in the top 10 at both majors this year. ... Dylan Frittelli of South Africa, who holed a 30-foot birdie putt at Riviera to win the decisive match and give Texas the NCAA title, has signed with IMG and makes his pro debut this week at the BMW International in Germany. ... Jiyai Shin has withdrawn from the U.S. Women's Open in two weeks while recovering from surgery. ... Patrick Cantlay has signed with Excel Sports Management and makes his pro debut this week at the Travelers Championship, where a year ago he shot 60 in the second round.


STAT OF THE WEEK: In the last two U.S. Opens at Olympic, the winner was the only one who broke par from the last 18 players who teed off.


FINAL WORD: ''If you played anything less than perfect golf, it was extremely penalizing. And I played far from perfect.'' – Phil Mickelson, who had all four rounds over par in the U.S. Open for only the second time in his career.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.