Notes Tom Watsons lingo Vijay Singhs comeback

By Doug FergusonJuly 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
2006 Buick OpenTom Watson made bogey on the 72nd hole at Turnberry because of his weight.
In yet another example of two cultures using the same words with different meanings, Watson spoke all week during the British Open about getting his weight right. To hit the ball the right weight simply means to hit it the right distance.
Tiger Woods often talks about distance control. He is seldom heard, if ever, saying weight control. Not so for Watson, a five-time Open champion (and very fit for 59), whose affection for golf in Scotland includes using the proper language in golfs home country.
On the eve of the tournament: With the rookies out there that havent played this before the most important thing in golf has always been (to) hit the ball the right weight, hit the ball the right distance.
On his shot to the 18th in the first round: I had over 200 yards and hit 7-iron. The most important thing about doing it well is hitting it the right weight. Just hitting it the right distance. Can you judge how far to hit? If youre short and long all the time, either youre not hitting the ball solidly or you dont have the feel for it.
On his three-putt bogey from the back of the ninth green in the third round: I knew I had to lay off the wedge, I just couldnt lay off of it enough to get the right weight to it.
And his 8-iron to the 18th on Sunday in regulation that went over the green: It was a tough day to play. Its a difficult golf course, crosswinds, getting the right weight, which I prided myself in. I just didnt do it in the last hole.
For most Americans, it was a curious term. In Scotland, it is simply part of the golf vernacular.
John Huggan, once a top Scottish amateur who now writes for Golf World, hit a woeful putt at Gullane No. 1 the day after the British Open and said sarcastically, Except for the line and the weight, it was a great putt.
After a week listening to Watson, it made perfect sense.

MAJOR CUTS: The pressure is on Kevin Sutherland at the PGA Championship.
Sutherland is eligible for all four majors for only the second time in his 22 years as a pro, yet hes among only 15 players who made the cut in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open.
That list doesnt include Tiger Woods, who left Turnberry early; and Phil Mickelson, who didnt play the British Open.
Masters champion Angel Cabrera is the only player to win a major and make the cut in the other two ' Lucas Glover didnt qualify for the Masters and missed the cut at the British Open, while Stewart Cink missed the cut at the Masters.
None of the 15 have lit it up at each major. The consistency award probably would go to Ross Fisher of England. He finished under par at the Masters (T30) and the U.S. Open (5th), and was leading early in the final round of the British Open before the quadruple-bogey 8 on the fifth hole sent him to a 75 and a tied for 13th.
The 15 players to make the cut in all three majors: Sutherland, Cabrera, Fisher, Kenny Perry, Steve Stricker, Sean OHair, Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Andres Romero.
The more dubious list is for those who have yet to make a cut in all three majors. That would be Briny Baird, D.J. Trahan, Brandt Snedeker, Michael Campbell and Alvaro Quiros.
But at least they qualified for all three. Scott Verplank and Woody Austin, members of the last Presidents Cup team, have yet to play in any major this year.

SINGHS PROGRESS: Vijay Singh concedes that he came back too early from knee surgery earlier this year.
Singh played at Kapalua before having surgery to repair a torn meniscus, returning a month later for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where he missed the cut. He missed the cut the next week, too, and did not record a top 10 finish until he closed with a 67 to sneak into a tie for ninth at The Players Championship.
The 46-year-old Fijian has yet to seriously contend on the back nine this year, with only three top 10s.
I just started playing a little too soon and it kind of put me back quite a bit, Singh said last week in a conference call. Instead of taking two months off, I took a month-and-a-half off, and going to the range created a lot of bad habits for my golf swing. And it took two or three months to get out of it, because every time you get out of something, you develop something new.
Not that hes terribly concerned.
A year ago, Singh didnt win until the Bridgestone Invitational in early August, then he won the first two tournaments in the PGA Tour Playoffs to essentially wrap up the FedEx Cup.
My golf game is coming around, Singh said. I have two weeks to practice, and I cant wait to get out there and do it again.

NAME GAME: Sean OHair became a father for the third time after the U.S. Open when his wife gave birth to a son, Grady Quinn, a name that has no particular significance.
Not so with the other two children, Molly and Luke, and it amazes OHair to talk about it.
When Jackie was pregnant, she had a dream with Molly written on the wall in purple, OHair said. And she looks just like Jackie.
Luke comes from his father-in-law, Steve Lucas, whose surname became his nickname in college.
He looks like Steves mother, OHair said. No one else in the family has red hair. Its weird.
As for Grady Quinn?
Pulled that one out of the air, OHair said. But he looks like me when I was that age. G.Q. Maybe thats it. Hes a handsome devil, just like his dad.

DIVOTS: According to the Official World Golf Ranking formula, the Texas Open had a slightly weaker field moving to May than it did when it was part of the Fall Series last year. U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover has not sorted out his silly-season schedule, but it will not include the World Cup or the HSBC Champions, both of them played in China. Teams are starting to come together for the World Cup, with Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher (England) and Rory Sabbatini and Richard Sterne (South Africa) among those committed. Nick Watney has agreed to play for the United States, although he hasnt announced his partner.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Of the top 10 players in career PGA Tour earnings, Kenny Perry is the only one without a major.

FINAL WORD: I dont know how long the FedEx Cup is going to go on for. If its a thing thats going to be around forever, then its probably one of the biggest successes of my career. ' Vijay Singh, who won the FedEx Cup last year.
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    Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

    By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

    PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

    She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

    Her confidence is high.

    “Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

    Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

    Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

    “One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

    “I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

    Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

    “I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

    That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.

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    Returning Park grabs 54-hole Founders lead

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 2:09 am

    PHOENIX – In the long shadows falling across Wildfire Golf Club late Saturday afternoon, Inbee Park conceded she was tempted to walk away from the game last year.

    While healing a bad back, she was tempted to put her clubs away for good and look for a second chapter for her life.

    But then . . .

    “Looking at the girls playing on TV, you think you want to be out there” Park said. “Really, I couldn't make my mind up when I was taking that break, but as soon as I'm back here, I just feel like this is where I belong.”

    In just her second start after seven months away from the LPGA, Park is playing like she never left.

    She’s atop a leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, looking like that’s exactly where she belongs.

    With a 9-under-par 63 Saturday, Park seized the lead going into the final round.

    At 14 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Mariajo Uribe (67), two ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and three ahead of 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies (63) and Chella Choi (66).

    Park’s back with a hot putter.

    That’s not good news for the rest of the tour. Nobody can demoralize a field with a flat stick like Park. She’s one of the best putters the women’s game has ever seen, and on the front nine Saturday she looked as good as she ever has.

    “The front nine was scary,” said her caddie, Brad Beecher, who was on Park’s bag for her long run at world No. 1, her run of three consecutive major championship victories in 2013 and her gold medal victory at the Olympics two years ago.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “The front nine was great . . . like 2013,” Park said.

    Park started her round on fire, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. She was 6 under through five holes. She holed a wedge from 98 yards at the third hole, making the turn having taken just 10 putts. Yeah, she said, she was thinking about shooting 59.

    “But I'm still really happy with my round today,” she said.

    Park isn’t getting ahead of herself, even with this lead. She said her game isn’t quite where she wants it with the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major championship, just two weeks away, but a victory Sunday should go a long way toward getting her there.

    Park is only 29. LPGA pros haven’t forgotten what it was like when she was dominating, when she won 14 times between 2013 and ’15.

    They haven’t forgotten how she can come back from long layoffs with an uncanny ability to pick up right where she left off.

    Park won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year in just her second start. She left the tour again in the summer with an aching back.

    “I feel like Inbee could take off a whole year or two years and come back and win every week,” said Brittany Lincicome, who is four shots behind Park. “Her game is just so consistent. She doesn't do anything flashy, but her putting is flashy.

    “She literally walks them in. It's incredible, like you know it's going in when she hits it. It's not the most orthodox looking stroke, but she can repeat it.”

    Park may not play as full a schedule as she has in the past, Beecher said, but he believes she can thrive with limited starts.

    “I think it helps her get that fight back, to get that hunger back,” Beecher said. “She knows she can play 15 events a year and still compete. There aren’t a lot of players who can do that.”

    Park enjoyed her time away last year, and how it re-energized her.

    “When I was taking the long break, I was just thinking, `I can do this life as well,’” Park said. “But I'm glad I came back out here. Obviously, days like today, that's the reason I'm playing golf.”

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    Joh on St. Patrick's ace: Go broke buying green beers

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:57 am

    PHOENIX – Tiffany Joh was thrilled making a run into contention to win her first LPGA title Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she comically cracked that her hole-in-one might have been ill-timed.

    It came on St. Patrick’s Day.

    “This is like the worst holiday to be making a hole-in-one on,” Joh said. “You'll go broke buying everyone green beers.”

    Joh aced the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 166 yards on her way to an 8-under-par 64. It left her four shots behind the leader, Inbee Park (63).

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    One of the more colorful players on tour, Joh said she made the most of her hole-in-one celebration with playing partner Jane Park.

    “First I ran and tackled Jane, then I high-fived like every single person walking to the green,” Joh said.

    Joh may be the LPGA’s resident comedian, but she faced a serious challenge on tour last year.  Fourteen months ago, she had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma. She won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for the way she handled her comeback.

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    Davies, 54, still thinks she can win, dreams of HOF

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:22 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies limped around Wildfire Golf Club Saturday with an ache radiating from her left Achilles up into her calf muscle at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Every step is just misery,” Davies said after. “It’s just getting older. Don’t get old.”

    She’s 54, but she played the third round as if she were 32 again.

    That’s how old she was when she was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year and won two major championships.

    With every sweet swing Saturday, Davies peeled back the years, turning back the clock.

    Rolling in a 6-foot birdie at the 17th, Davies moved into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park, a lead that wouldn’t last long with so many players still on the course when she finished. Still, with a 9-under-par 63, Davies moved into contention to try to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.

    Davies has won 20 LPGA titles, 45 Ladies European Tour titles, but she hasn’t won an LPGA event in 17 years, since taking the Wegmans Rochester International.

    Can she can surpass the mark Beth Daniel set winning at 46?

    “I still think I can win,” Davies said. “This just backs that up for me. Other people, I don’t know, they’re always asking me now when I’m going to retire. I always say I’m still playing good golf, and now here’s the proof of it.”

    Davies knows it will take a special day with the kind of final-round pressure building that she hasn’t experienced in awhile.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “The pressure will be a lot more tomorrow,” she said. “We'll see, won’t sleep that well tonight. The good news is that I’ll probably be four or five behind by the end of the day, so the pressure won’t be there as much.”

    Davies acknowledged confidence is harder to garner, as disappointments and missed cuts pile up, but she’s holding on to her belief she can still win.

    “I said to my caddie, `Jeez, I haven't been on top of the leaderboard for a long time,’” Davies said. “That's nice, obviously, but you’ve got to stay there. That's the biggest challenge.”

    About that aching left leg, Davies was asked if it could prevent her from challenging on Sunday.

    “I’ll crawl around if I have to,” she said.

    Saturday’s 63 was Davies’ lowest round in an LPGA event since she shot 63 at the Wendy’s Championship a dozen years ago.

    While Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in ’01. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Davies said she still dreams about qualifying.

    “You never know,” she said.