Notes Nerve-racking moment Goydos on testing

By Doug FergusonMay 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
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PGA Tour (75x100)PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' The most nervous Annika Sorenstam ever felt on a golf course was standing on the 10th tee at Colonial in 2003 when she became the first female in 45 years to compete on the PGA Tour.
 
Ian Baker-Finch might be able to understand how she felt.
 
The 48-year-old Australian, a past champion at Colonial, has entered the Crowne Plaza Invitational, which begins May 28. This will be the 20-year anniversary of his victory at Colonial, but only his second time to compete in the last 12 years.
 
I turn 50 in a couple of years and I want to see where I am, whether its worth putting extra effort into playing a bit, Baker-Finch said Tuesday. Id be an addition to the field as a past champion, so if I did shoot a bad score, I wouldnt feel bad about taking a place.
 
Why the nerves?
 
Baker-Finch, a television commentator for the last decade who now works for CBS Sports, has not played tournament golf in eight years, going 74-77 at Colonial to miss the cut. Most people recall his return to the British Open as a former champion when he played at Royal Troon in 1997 and shot 92 before he withdrew.
 
He has considered playing a couple of times over the years, but was cautious because of what happened at Troon, playing with an ailing back, nowhere to hide before thousands of fans.
 
But hell still be nervous.
 
Im out of my league now, he said. I call the golf and still play well, but its different when you play a Tour event. Im a little apprehensive how my form would be. I have no visions of grandeur.
 
His one wish is that the PGA Tour will consider grouping past champions together at tournaments where they can still play, such as Colonial and the Memorial.
 
Baker-Finch said Colonial officials have embraced the idea, and he is hopeful the PGA Tour would go along with it.
 
I really think it would add some spice to the event, he said. You add groupings of past champions, theres extra spice, more of a media angle. I think it would be good for the tournament. And the older guys are going to be more comfortable playing with each other. Im not sure I want to get drawn with two young guys that hit it 340 yards.
 
Baker-Finch said depending on how the Colonial goes, he might consider returning to play the British Open next year at St. Andrews.
 

 
GOYDOS AND DRUG TESTING: Paul Goydos last year illustrated the difference between him and Tiger Woods when he said that Woods was trying to win 18 majors and Im trying to play in 18 majors.
 
But he has one major distinction Woods cant match ' first player to be tested for drugs at a major.
 
I shot a 74, nothing special, he said. I hadnt made a cut at a major in 10 years, since the 99 PGA Championship, and I was the first one tested at a major championship.
 
Drug testing became a topic last week after Los Angeles Dodgers star Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games. The PGA Tour wasnt looking for a spokesman on the issue when it asked Goydos to speak Thursday night at a corporate function, but it might have found one.
 
Goydos has his own take on what constitutes performance enhancing drugs, arguing that glasses help a players performance. But he pointed out to reporters, and later during his Q&A with Jeld-Wen clients, that drug testing shouldnt be an issue in golf.
 
Do you know the rules of golf? he said. Our second rule says to be a good sport, treat competitors fairly and leave the course better than you found it. Its not the 50th rule. Its the second. We dont cheat. We call penalties on ourselves. Golf is all about integrity.
 
He said drug testing is the only rule in golf in which were not policing ourselves.
 
Goydos is not about to join a speakers circuit, and he said he agreed to the corporate function at The Players Championship only if he didnt have to give a speech.
 
If I had to entertain these people without them being involved, not good, he said. If they want to do a Q&A, I can be pretty good.
 

 
COUPLES FUTURE: Fred Couples turns 50 in October and will make his Champions Tour debut later this year. As for the future, he plans to keep full membership on the Champions Tour, and he has an idea what his schedule will look like without even looking.
 
And while he doesnt know the schedule, he kept it simple, as always.
 
The Senior Open is in Seattle, and theres a tournament in Seattle, he said. A couple in California ' thats four. One in Houston and San Antonio late in the year ' thats six. Five majors ' thats 11. And I believe I have to play 12, and thats my goal.
 
He counted the U.S. Senior Open twice, but not to worry.
 
I could get in as a pick for Hualalai, he added, referring to the season-opener in Hawaii. I think the Senior Skins is the next week, and Jay (Haas) and I are going to be partners. Can you believe that?
 
That made him think of something else, and he snapped his fingers and grinned.
 
Oh, Jay and I are playing the Legends of Golf, he said. Thats 12.
 

 
DIVOTS: Having now played more than 21 rounds this year, Tiger Woods made his debut in the PGA Tour statistics. He is No. 1 in scoring average at 69.13, more than a half-stroke better than David Toms. The bright side of missing the cut at The Players Championship was that Paul Goydos was able to spend Mothers Day at home with his two daughters. Their mother, ex-wife Wendy, died in January. There was a piece of me that thought it was a good thing that I was home, he said. And I was right. Danny Lee has accepted a sponsors exemption to the John Deere Classic, held a week before the British Open. The third round of the LPGA event last week at Kingsmill had to give way on ESPN2 for the opening round of the NCAA Lacrosse Championship featuring Brown against Johns Hopkins. For the record, Johns Hopkins won in an overtime thriller.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: With his three-way tie for second in the Italian Open, John Daly moved up 343 spots in the world ranking. He now is No. 451.
 

 
FINAL WORD: I dont think I could play unless I was trying to get better.'Padraig Harrington.
 

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.