Notes Casey Ogilvy looking to do the impossible

By Doug FergusonJune 15, 2009, 4:00 pm
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2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Geoff Ogilvy and Paul Casey are among the hottest players coming into the U.S. Open, each having won three times around the world over the last seven months.
 
While neither is paying close attention this early in the year, they at least are poised for a potential run at history. No one has ever won the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same year.
 
Ogilvy is No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings in America on the strength of victories in the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the Accenture Match Play Championship. The latter is a World Golf Championship and counts on all tours, which has gone a long way in the Australian being No. 2 in the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
 
Casey won for the first time on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and was runner-up to Ogilvy at Match Play, which has helped push him to No. 10 in the FedEx Cup standings. The key on the PGA Tour is to be in position going into the FedEx Cup playoffs, which feature four consecutive $7 million events.
 
The Englishman also won the BMW Championship at Wentworth and the Abu Dhabi Championship, which has given him a sizable lead in the Race to Dubai.
 
The U.S. Open will count toward both money lists, as will the final two majors and the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
That would be pretty cool, Ogilvy said about the prospects of leading both money lists. No one has ever done it? Im sure Tiger has done it, hasnt he?
 
Before waiting on an answer, Ogilvy realized that Woods has never taken up membership on the European Tour by playing a minimum 11 tournaments and being eligible for the Order of Merit.
 

 
BIG BREAK: Few players deserve a good break like J.P. Hayes, and he finally got one.
 
The 43-year-old Hayes earned notoriety last year for disqualifying himself at Q-school on the PGA Tour when he discovered he inadvertently used a golf ball that had not been approved yet for tournament play. He has no status on Tour, so he had to go through local and sectional qualifying to reach the U.S. Open.
 
Hayes signed up for local qualifying near his home in El Paso on May 12, which was a Tuesday.
 
But it became complicated when he received a sponsors exemption to the Texas Open, which asked that in return he play in the Monday pro-am. Getting from San Antonio to El Paso was not only a long trip, but an expensive one.
 
Just his luck, he played in the pro-am with a prominent businessman from El Paso who flew to San Antonio in his private jet. He offered Hayes a ride home for the qualifier, where he shot 68 to make it by one shot. In the sectional qualifier in Memphis, Tenn., he again qualified on the number.
 
This is my sixth U.S. Open, and I wont have many left, Hayes said. Im going to enjoy this one.
 

 
WEATHER WOES: Weather is quickly becoming a major concern at this major championship.
 
Tiger Woods was delayed for about half an hour on the first tee Monday morning because of rain, then eventually got nine holes in, some of which actually took place in sunshine.
 
But more rain pelted Bethpage Black during the afternoon, leaving plenty of muddy puddles on walkways and further softening greens that could ' assuming anyone hits them ' be downright receptive this week.
 
Forecasters are calling for as much as a 50 percent chance of rain on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The two remaining practice days, according to the National Weather Service, likely will be mostly dry, but temperatures will be hard-pressed to crack the 70-degree plateau.
 
For Kenny Perry, the talk of bad weather brought up some memories from the last time this tournament was held at Bethpage. The 10th hole has a long carry to clear some overgrown grass, and during a downpour at the 2002 Open, Perry said Nick Price simply couldnt get the ball far enough.
 
He had a 3-yard landing area with the walkway there that he had to land in, Perry said. That will be a situation on that hole.
 
Maybe not. The fairway has been brought closer to the tee by some 40 yards, requiring only a 225-yard carry. That shouldnt be a problem in any weather.
 

 
AMATEUR SUCCESS: Amateur Bronson Burgoon knows hes one of the longest shots in the 156-man field at the U.S. Open. The Texas A&M standout put a shot from the rough, 120 yards from the hole, to within 3 inches of the cup to clinch the Aggies NCAA title last month.
 
But hes got some hope.
 
Already this year, two amateurs have won on the European Tour. Shane Lowry survived a playoff to win the Irish Open last month, and New Zealands Danny Lee won the Johnnie Walker Classic in February.
 
Over there the golf is just as good as it is over here, Burgoon said.
 
The 22-year-old from The Woodlands, Texas, also is finding some inspiration from this side of the pond as well.
 
I just think the level of competition as amateurs now has gone way up, Burgoon said. You know, like you can tell Anthony Kim comes out and does real well. Dustin Johnson comes out and does really well. Time and time again, people are just proving that young guys can play.
 
Perhaps the best example of amateurs on the rise: There are 15 amateurs in the field, the most since 18 amateurs in 1981.
 

 
DIVOTS: Darren Clarke made a detour on his way to Bethpage Black, spending the weekend at Pine Valley. Clarke shot a 67 the first day and a 72 on Sunday. Its hard, he said with a grin. But its pure. Tiger Woods played his practice round with James Kamte of South Africa, whose first trip to America has been one to remember. Kamte played with Jack Nicklaus at Muirfield Village the weekend before the Memorial, where he received an exemption. He played a practice round with Ernie Els at the Memorial. And then he played with Woods at Bethpage Black.
 
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  • Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


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    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''

    Park's stumble creates wide-open finale

    By Randall MellNovember 18, 2017, 11:46 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park didn’t turn the CME Group Tour Championship into a runaway Saturday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    She left with bloody fingernails after a brutal day failing to hold on to her spot atop the leaderboard.

    OK, they weren’t really bloody, but even the unflappable Park wasn’t immune to mounting pressure, with the Rolex world No. 1 ranking, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the money-winning title among the prizes she knew were within reach when she teed it up.

    “It’s honestly some of the worst pressure,” Stacy Lewis said of CME week. “It’s so much pressure.  It’s just really hard to free yourself up and play golf.”

    Lewis isn’t in the mix for all those prizes this year, but the two-time Rolex Player of the Year and two-time Vare Trophy winner knows what the full weight of this week’s possibilities bring.

    “It’s almost nice to come here without all that pressure, but you want to be in that situation,” Lewis said. “It’s just really tough.”

    Park is no longer in charge at Tiburon.

    This championship is wide, wide open with a four-way tie for first place and 18 players within two shots of the lead.

    Park is one shot back after stumbling to a 3-over-par 75.

    Count Michelle Wie among the four tied for the lead after charging with a 66.

    Former world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn (67), Suzann Pettersen (69) and Kim Kaufman (64) are also atop the leaderboard.

    Kaufman was the story of the day, getting herself in contention with a sizzling round just two weeks after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.

    Park is in a seven-way tie for fifth place just one shot back.


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    Lexi Thompson (69) is in that mix a shot back, as is Lewis (67), who is seeking to add a second title this year to her emotional win for Houston hurricane relief.

    For Wie, winning the tournament will be reward enough, given how her strong rebound this year seemed derailed in September by an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie fought her way back from two of the most disappointing years of her career, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” Wie said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun. That’s when I play my best.”

    All the subplots make Sunday so much more complicated for Park and Thompson, who are best positioned for a giant haul of hardware.

    They have the most to gain in the final round.

    Park has already clinched the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, but she can add the Rolex Player of the Year title, joining Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win both those awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978.

    A fifth place finish or better could give Park the Player of the Year Award outright, depending what others do.

    “There are a lot of top players right now at the top of the leaderboard,” Park said. “Keeping my focus will be key.”

    Thompson can still take home the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy and the CME Globe jackpot. She needs to win the tournament Sunday to win Player of the Year.

    Like Park, Thompson is trying not to think about it all of that.

    “I treat every tournament the same,” Thompson said. “I go into it wanting to win. I’m not really thinking about anything else.”

    The Vare Trophy for low scoring average is Thompson’s to lose.

    Park has to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson on Sunday to have a shot at the trophy, and they are tied at 9-under overall.

    The money-winning title is Park’s to lose. So Yeon Ryu has to win the tournament Sunday to have a chance to wrestle the title from Park, but Ryu has to pass 31 players to do so.

    The CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot remains more up for grabs, with Thompson and Park best positioned to win it, though Jutanugarn is poised to pounce if both stumble. A lot is still possible in the race for the jackpot.

    The pressure will be turned way up on the first tee Sunday.

    “There is always that little bit of adrenaline,” Thompson said. “You just have to tame it and control it.”

    Simpson WDs from RSM, tweets his father is ill

    By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2017, 10:45 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Following rounds of 67-68, Webb Simpson was in 12th place entering the weekend at the RSM Classic before he withdrew prior to Saturday’s third round.

    On Saturday afternoon, Simpson tweeted that he withdrew due to an illness in his family.

    “Thanks to [Davis Love III] for being such a great tournament host. I [withdrew] due to my dad being sick and living his last days,” Simpson posted on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.


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    Simpson’s father, Sam, caddied for his son during amateur events, and Webb Simpson started playing golf after following his father to the course on family vacations to North Carolina.

    “My dad is probably the kindest man I know. He’s always been the guy who knew everyone, everyone knew him, everyone wanted to be around him,” Simpson said in a 2015 interview with David Feherty. “He taught me the game. He’s always been one of those dads who loved to be active with their kids.”

    Before play began on Thursday, Luke Donald withdrew after being hospitalized with chest pain. Tests indicated the Englishman’s heart was fine and he returned home to undergo more tests.

    New old putter helps Kirk (64) jump into contention

    By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2017, 10:43 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Chris Kirk’s ball-striking has been nearly flawless this fall. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for his putting.

    In four events this season, Kirk ranks 143rd in strokes gained: putting, but his fortunes have changed this week, thanks at least in part to a return to something familiar.

    Kirk switched to an older style of putter similar to the one he used on the Web.com Tour in 2010 to earn his PGA Tour card.

    “It's nice to be back in contention again,” said Kirk, who is alone in second place, three strokes behind front-runner Austin Cook. “It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow.”


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    Kirk is 25th in strokes gained: putting this week and has converted several crucial putts, including a 30-footer for birdie at the 17th hole on his way to a third-round 64.

    His putting is similar to 2013 when he won the RSM Classic, and his improved play on the greens has given the 32-year-old confidence going into Sunday’s final round.

    “I'll probably be relatively comfortable in that situation, and thankfully I've been there before,” Kirk said. “It's still not easy by any means, but hopefully I'll be able to group together a bunch of good shots and see what it gives me.”