Rose leads Memorial; Tiger tumbles in Round 3

By Doug FergusonJune 6, 2015, 10:58 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Justin Rose made an early surge Saturday at the Memorial, when it seemed as though everyone except Tiger Woods was making a move. Rose kept right on going until he posted a 6-under 66 and emerged with a three-shot lead.

Five years after he first had that handshake with Jack Nicklaus after winning his tournament, Rose put himself in great position by missing only one green - just barely - on the back nine and creating a little comfort going into the final round.

He was at 15-under 201, three clear of Francesco Molinari and David Lingmerth.

''I guess I played a good, solid, patient round of golf. It ended up turning into a great round of golf,'' Rose said. ''I made my birdies when I had a chance and I limited the mistakes. Kind of surprised to play my way into a three-shot lead. I was looking just to keep pace, but it's a fantastic position going into Sunday.''

Woods was in a peculiar position after the worst score of his pro career.

When he tapped in for quadruple-bogey 8 on the final hole at Muirfield Village, he had an 85 and was in last place. For the first time, he will tee off as a single. Woods did not speak to reporters after the round. The round didn't feature the kind of shockingly bad chips he had in Phoenix when he shot 82. It was mediocre golf when he wasn't making bogeys and double bogeys.

Molinari had four birdies on the front nine until he cooled and shot 69. Lingmerth opened with a birdie to expand his one-shot lead at the start of the round, followed two bogeys with an eagle and then stalled. He shot 72.

Jim Furyk, another past champion at Muirfield Village, had a 70 and was four shots behind.

Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley were among the early starters who showed what the course might yield. Johnson, who has been frustrated with his swing in recent weeks, happened to walk by the TV when he saw a commercial of himself. He was swinging it great, noticed a difference in the setup, worked it out on the range with Claude Harmon III and then shot 29 on the front.

In vintage Johnson fashion, he started the back nine with a double bogey and an eagle, then settled in to a 65. Bradley was playing behind him. Bradley and Johnson are friends who often play money games at The Bear's Club - the course Nicklaus built in Florida - and Bradley was inspired to keep up. He also shot 65.

So did Kevin Streelman, who was in a group at 10-under 206 that included defending champion Hideki Matsuyama (71). Bradley was six shots behind, while Johnson was lagging at seven shots out.

Masters champion Jordan Spieth finished with a double bogey for a 72 and was nine shots behind.

It was a day of great fluctuation – 20 shots between the best score and the worst.

Woods had something to do with that.

''Every single shot out there, you're on your toes, you're on your guard,'' Rose said. ''One poor judgment of the wind, or one poor execution of an iron shot, and you can make bogey in a heartbeat.''

Rose made his on the ninth hole and it settled him down. He never thinks he's going to post a low score, though he had reason with four birdies through seven holes. His bogey on the ninth was the reminder he needed. He was solid the rest of the way, even missing a few birdies putts inside 10 feet, and the lead kept growing.

Rose must love his position now. Already a winner in New Orleans last month, and with the U.S. Open around the corner, he was poised to take a solid game and a bundle of confidence into the second major of the year.

DIVOTS: Patrick Rodgers was three shots out of the lead going into Saturday and shot 78. He was in a tie for 46th, and can't afford to slip much farther to secure special temporary membership for the rest of the year, which would give him unlimited exemptions. ... Phil Mickelson made six bogeys and a double bogey in his round of 78 to fall out of contention. ... Andy Sullivan was tied for fifth. Anything in the top 10 should be enough to assure he'll be safely in the top 60 in the world next week to get into the U.S. Open.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.