Scott oversleeps, almost misses tee time

By Doug FergusonJune 29, 2012, 1:33 am

BETHESDA, Md. – Few holes on the PGA Tour offer a more difficult opening shot than the par-3 10th at Congressional, which is 220 yards over the water.

For Adam Scott, it was even tougher – because it really was his first swing of the day.

Scott had an 8:02 a.m. tee time Thursday in the AT&T National, so imagine his surprise when he awoke at 7:20 a.m. Worse yet, he is staying this week in Georgetown, which can be a 45-minute drive to the course depending on the traffic.

'Luckily, I had ironed my clothes the night before,' Scott said with a big enough smile to make it clear he was kidding.

He wasn't smiling when he woke up. Typically a calm Aussie, Scott said he was 'jumpy' rushing out to his car and didn't think he had any chance of making it. He arrived at 7:55 a.m., just seven minutes before his tee time. He didn't have time to warm up on the range. He might have been late to the tee, a two-shot penalty, except for starting at the 10th. Because it's a par 3, and a tough one at that, there was a five-minute delay that helped him.

Scott hit 4-iron into the right bunker, blasted out to 4 feet and escaped with par.

'It was probably a 5-iron, but being my first shot of the day, I thought a 4-iron was a better choice,' he said.

Before walking up to the tee on the 11th hole, Scott raced into a portable bathroom, another reminder of how much he had rushed to get to the course.

Scott said he usually doesn't need an alarm clock. He has the uncanny ability of telling his body when he needs to wake up the next morning. This time, he says he forgot to tell his body when to wake up because he had set his alarm – or so he thought.

The AT&T National gave players a new phone as a gift, so Scott decided to switch over from his regular phone.

'Obviously, it was a bit more complicated,' he said. 'I don't know if I didn't hear it or if I didn't set the alarm right.'

The good news is he made it to the golf course on time, and after a rugged start, played even par over the last 11 holes for a 75.

LEISHMAN'S WAIT: Marc Leishman didn't bother going through British Open qualifying last month because he had no intention of going. With an American wife and the recent birth of their first child, he has applied for a green card, which takes time.

'It was looking like I wasn't going to be able to leave the country, so I didn't do it,' he said.

But after winning the Travelers Championship last week, he has gone to the top of a special money list from which the top two players not already exempt will get into the British Open. He is likely to get a spot, and he would love to play.

But one of the conditions of applying for a green card is not leaving the country until it's approved. Thus the quandary.

'It's a good thing to have to worry about,' he said.

He has spoken to immigration lawyers, and he has been approved for advanced parole, which would allow him to travel to England for the Open. Trouble is, that takes 30 days to come through, and the next major starts in 21 days.

'Hopefully, it gets here before the British,' he said. 'Otherwise, I'm not sure what we're going to do.'

WEEKEND WEATHER: Tiger Woods felt the fairways and greens were plenty firm in the opening round. What really makes him wonder is the weekend.

The forecast is for increasing heat, perhaps into the 100s, over the next several days.

'It'll be interesting to see what happens, what they do on the weekend, if it's supposed to be hot again,' Woods said. 'You can water the greens all you want in the morning, and they're going to obviously dry out as the day goes on. I don't see how this course is going to play easier in the afternoon.'

Then again, the scoring average was slightly higher Thursday morning than in the afternoon.

BEAU KNOWS: Davis Love III ran into Beau Hossler and told the 17-year-old, 'You're sure playing a lot of tough courses.'

Hossler was briefly leading in the third round of the U.S. Open at Olympic Club two weeks ago. He played in the U.S. Open last year at Congressional. And he was given a sponsor's exemption into the AT&T National, which felt like a U.S. Open.

No matter. The kid bogeyed his last hole and still had an even-par 71.

'I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable out here, so I feel like I belong,' Hossler said. 'Obviously, my game needs to get better before I'm out here all the time, I feel pretty comfortable out here, feels like I can make the adjustment from junior to amateur to professional golf. I feel like I've made some progress.'

DIVOTS: With the hot weather, Robert Garrigus said the ball is going even farther. 'For you,' said Jim Furyk, who was walking by when he heard the big-hitting Garrigus offer such an assessment. ... Congressional matched the highest score to par among first-round leaders this year with Bo Van Pelt at 4-under 67. Michael Thompson led the U.S. Open at 4-under 66; John Merrick and Jeff Maggert were at 4-under 66 at the St. Jude Classic; and Colt Knost, Vaughn Taylor and Chad Campbell were at 4-under 67 in the Heritage at Hilton Head. ... Garrigus, who opened with a 70, has shot over par only three times in 17 rounds at Congressional.

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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.