Notes Despite leg Westwood near top of leaderboard

By Doug FergusonJuly 17, 2010, 3:38 am

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – For a guy with a bad leg, Lee Westwood is playing pretty well.

The Englishman is at 6-under for the British Open, leaving him tied for third when the second round was halted by darkness Friday. Westwood shot a 1-under 71 on a day when blustery winds made any score below par look like a 62.

“I’m in a good position for the weekend, I think,” he said. “(But) I’m behind where I ought to be. I should really be 10-under, at worst. But I didn’t play last week. I didn’t really hit any balls, either.”

Westwood was at the French Open two weeks ago when his right calf swelled so badly doctors feared the 37-year-old might have a blood clot. Further tests showed he had instead ruptured the plantaris muscle, which runs down the calf. He played the tournament – tying for 18th – but skipped last week’s Scottish Open at Loch Lomond to give the leg a chance to heal.

He took almost all of last week off, not hitting balls until Friday, and played just one full practice round before the Open began.

“I knew I was hitting the ball well, so there was not really any need to do too much practicing,” Westwood said. “I’m just a bit rusty on the greens, which I might expect. We can sharpen it over the weekend and, no matter what the conditions are, I’ve still got a couple good scores in me.”

The No. 3 player in the world has finished in the top 20 in all but three of his 14 starts this year, including getting his second PGA Tour win at St. Jude’s. He’s been in contention at each of the four majors at least once, including finishing second at this year’s Masters and tying for third at Turnberry and the PGA last year.


BACKED UP: This wasn’t the kind of move Paul Lawrie wanted to make.

The last British player to win his own Open shot a 10-over 82 in Friday’s blustery conditions, a 13-stroke swing from the first round. At 10 over for the tournament, he’s all but assured of missing the cut for the fourth time in five years.

“That was one of the toughest days out on the golf course I can ever remember, to be honest,” the 1999 British Open champion said. “But I played very poorly, putted and chipped even worse, so 82 was about right. I really struggled, just couldn’t quite get into it at all. Had a poor three-putt at the third from not very far away, and it just got worse.”

Lawrie opened with a 69 on Thursday, only the second time since 2001 he’d broken 70; he shot 68 in the final round at Turnberry last time. But he went off in the very first group of the day, when the Old Course was playing as mild as it gets.

On Friday, it was about as nasty as it gets. With winds gusting around 40 mph, play was actually suspended midafternoon for 65 minutes.

“I would say it was unplayable for a wee while before they stopped it, to be honest,” said Lawrie, who was already 4 over when play was suspended. “When you’re over three- and four-foot putts and the ball is (moving) all the time, I think it’s unplayable.”

Lawrie was on the 10th green when play was stopped. Some golfers came back to the clubhouse while others parked themselves on the grass and relaxed. Lawrie headed for one of the nearby food stands and grabbed some sausage and fries.

“It was actually really nice,” he said. “It was the highlight of the day.”


GET A GRIP: K.J. Choi might want to rethink his new putting style.

He is likely to miss the cut when the second round concludes Saturday, currently tied for 108th at 6 over. While the blustery afternoon winds didn’t help, neither did his experiment with a croquet-like putting stroke. Choi averaged 1.89 putts over 36 holes, which puts him in a tie for 119th in the field of 156.

By comparison, Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen had the best average of those who completed play, with 1.583 putts per hole.


OLE! OLE! OLE! Sergio Garcia is looking like a world champion.

He has added a gold star to his golf shirts to honor Spain’s first title at soccer’s World Cup. Those champions wear stars on their jersey to signify the number of titles they’ve won; Brazil’s jersey, for example, has five stars to represent the titles it won in 1958, ’62, ’70, ’94 and 2002.

Asked if he – and Spain – will be adding a second star in four years, Garcia smiled.

“We’ll see,” he said. “Some of the guys that played this year might not be there in four years.”

The World Cup title capped a banner month for Spanish sports, with Paul Gasol winning another NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers, Rafael Nadal winning Wimbledon and defending Tour de France champion Alberto Contador contending again. Since 2000, Spain has won basketball’s world and European championships and four Davis Cup tennis titles; Nadal has captured eight Grand Slam victories; three Spanish riders have triumphed at the Tour de France; and Fernando Alonso secured two Formula One titles.

“Spanish sports have been very good for a while now,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, I’m not keeping up with it.”

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.