Notes USGA to change par in the middle of an event

By Doug FergusonJuly 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
BETHESDA, Md. The U.S. Open typically plays as a par 70, which requires converting a couple of par 5s into par 4s. There are a few par 71s, such as Torrey Pines, where USGA setup man Mike Davis wisely decided to leave the 18th as a par 5, leading to one of the most memorable finishes.
Par has not been decided for Chambers Bay outside Seattle, site of the 2015 U.S. Open.
It could be a par 70. It could be a par 71.
It very likely will be both.
You cant change par in the middle of a tournament, Tiger Woods said, thinking aloud as he tried to process the possibility.
Considering that Davis isnt afraid to break the unwritten rules, the possibility is very real.
One thing Im absolutely positive well do in the future, perhaps in 2015 at Chambers Bay, is play a hole certain days as a par 4, and certain days as a par 5, Davis said in a telephone interview over the weekend.
Davis mentioned the first and 18th holes at Chambers Bay, which he felt could be played as either a par 4 or a par 5.
We would hate to make a decision one way or another, because they could be such a good par 5, and such a good par 4, he said. I would hate to give up playing it multiple ways because we have a set par.
That could be a first ' a U.S. Open where par for the four days would be 282.
Par is just a number, Paul Goydos said with a shrug when told of the concept. All you care about is the total score. What wins is 277, not 3 under or 5 under.
He figured big hitters would have an advantage on a par 4 that measured 525 yards, such as the seventh hole at Bethpage Black. Turn that into a par 5, and big hitters still would have an advantage by reaching it in two with less club.
Someone will complain either way, Goydos said.
There surely could be some complaints on this one, for no other reason than trying to change par once the tournament starts.
It might be perceived as goofy, Davis conceded. But all were looking for his the low 72-hole score. That doesnt change.

GOING IN STYLE: Even as his British Open prospects starting looking good, Goydos decided against reworking his schedule to play in the John Deere Classic so he could take the charter to Turnberry. Players are to make a charitable donation to ride on the charter, and its far less than first-class airfare to Britain.
Goydos played in a charity event for Steve Flesch on Monday in northern Kentucky, then went home to California for the week. He would get a little time off, even if it would cost him a lot more money.
With that came a shrug and perspective.
If youre concerned about the amount of airfare, maybe I should just go to Milwaukee, he said. No disrespect whatsoever to Milwaukee. My point is, maybe you should be playing somewhere else.
His hotel room at Turnberry was going to run him about $800 a night, with a minimum stay. Goydos did some quick math ' remember, he was a substitute teacher ' and figured the trip would cost him about $20,000.
Sounds like the old days, when some players actually lost money by playing the British Open.
Well, back then they went by boat, he said.
He played the British Open for the first time last year, missed the cut, and called it the coolest tournament he ever played.
I would look forward to eating lunch with the spectators, Goydos said before he qualified. Remember that big concession they had by the practice green at Birkdale? Ate fish and chips there probably four times that week. Loved it.

GRADUATED ROUGH: Mike Davis of the USGA first introduced graduated rough at Winged Foot in 2006, and it has been a standard at the U.S. Open ever since. Hell have his work cut out for him at Congressional in 2011.
Staggering the height of rough requires a lot of property, and there was plenty of it at places like Torrey Pines and Bethpage Black. Congressional, however, is a traditional, tree-lined course. The trees on some holes are about 10 yards from the fairway.
In other words, theres not a lot of room.
Some courses work better than others for that, but the answer is well definitely graduate it, said Davis, who will be coming to Congressional in two weeks for early planning. Some places it will be tough for sure, not only with the trees, but with some of the holes being parallel, you need to move spectators. So were not going to get the width we want.
The ideal situation is to never have a player hit it outside the ropes unless they really, really miss one.
One thing Davis knows for certain ' the sixth hole, which was a par 4 at the 97 U.S. Open and in the last three years at the AT&T National, will play as a par 5. There already is a new tee to add significant length, and Davis said the pond wrapping around half the green makes it more prudent to accept wedge instead of 3-iron or hybrid.
I hated it as a par 4, he said of the 97 U.S. Open. Its not shaped for a par 4.
Congressional still will play as a par 70, with the plan to move the tee slightly forward on the 16th and convert that to a par 4.
That would be the classic par 4 1/2 , Davis said. The green is somewhat receptive to a long shot. If you made it a par 5, nobody would argue that its a great par 5.

DIVOTS: Tiger Woods victory at the AT&T National was the 25th tournament on the PGA Tour that he has won. It was his first time winning somewhere new since Quail Hollow in 2007. The latest suggestion from Joe Ogilvie? I think a player ought to be on the executive committee of the USGA, said Ogilvie, still perplexed at the various dates when new grooves rules take effect. Maryland was the 15th state where Woods has won on Tour. Neither of the LPGAs major champions this year, Brittany Lincicome and Anna Nordqvist, are among the top 10 on the money list.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods last five PGA Tour victories in stroke play have been by one shot, the longest streak of his career.

FINAL WORD: I dont know and I dont care. I wont be here. Ill be 100 years old by then. ' Fred Couples, who turns 50 in September, on what changes can be expected at Congressional for the 2011 U.S. Open.
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Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''

Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.