Storms force Monday finish; Tiger leads by 3

By Doug FergusonMarch 24, 2013, 9:34 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tiger Woods is going to have to wait one more day to try to reclaim No. 1 in the world.

Moments after Woods made a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole, a vicious thunderstorm packing gusts that topped out at 62 mph interrupted the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and delayed play until Monday.

The storm dumped nearly 1 1/2 inches on Bay Hill and formed small ponds in the fairways – there was even a fish in the middle of the 18th fairway. The wind toppled the TV tower behind the 10th green, which was a pile of metal poles, wood, mesh netting and had a stationary camera in the middle of it all.

About an hour after a tornado warning expired, officials said they would need time to clean up the course and let it drain. The final round was to resume at 10 a.m. Monday.

Woods is going after his eighth win at Bay Hill, which would return him to No. 1 in the world ranking for the first time since the last week of October in 2010.


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He hit all of six shots on Sunday, enough to build a three-shot lead over Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, John Huh and Ken Duke.

''At least we got a little activity in today, so we're not completely stagnant,'' Woods said before leaving. ''We've dealt with this before.''

There was plenty of action on a short day, none more bizarre than Sergio Garcia.

The Spaniard's tee shot on the 10th hole somehow came to rest about 15 feet up in an oak tree, sitting between two large branches. Garcia used a cart to jump into the tree, and after a few minutes, hit a one-handed, back-handed shot back to the fairway, before jumping some 8 feet back to the ground.

William McGirt was playing his shot from the fairway bunker on the other side and had no idea what Garcia was doing.

''I knew they were looking around the tree,'' he said. ''I didn't know they were looking in the tree. I looked over and Sergio is up in the air, and I'm trying to figure out what in the hell he's going to go. He called for a club. He's hugging the tree. And the ball comes flying out.

''Are you kidding me?''

Two holes later, the horn sounded. McGirt said Garcia handed him the scorecard and said, ''I'm out of here.'' Garcia earlier had taken a 9 on the par-5 sixth hole.

Billy Horschel hit three tee shots in to the water on the sixth hole and made an 11.

Attribute that to the wind, which was gusting hard when the leaders teed off.

Mark Russell, the tour's vice president of competition, said officials discussed whether to play early Sunday from two tees to try to beat the storms. He said NBC Sports was involved in the discussions – Woods going for the win, with Fowler at his side is sure to boost ratings – and they rolled the dice.

''If we played early, it was going to be a tape-delay situation. People were going to know who won before it came on television, so it defeats our television partners,'' he said. ''They wanted to take a chance. They've been involved in several situations where we played early and it didn't rain. It was just unfortunate.''

This marks the third time this year on the PGA Tour that a tournament finished at least one day later because of weather.

Woods won at Torrey Pines on a Monday when the Farmers Insurance Open lost a day to fog in San Diego. The Tournament of Championship at Kapalua didn't start until Monday because of unusually high wind, and the 54-hole event was completed some 29 hours after the opening tee shot. Dustin Johnson won on a Tuesday.

It will be the third Monday finish in the 35-year history of this tournament.

The storm lasted about two hours, enough time to do plenty of damage. Tournament director Scott Wellington said his staff was just starting a full inspection.

''We had some TV cameras go down,'' Wellington said. ''We had some fencing and so forth. All of the big structures to my knowledge – I have not been out there yet – are OK. But we want to make sure they're sound before we put people in them. We have some other structures, smaller structures, tents and so forth that did come down.''

Lawn chairs were toppled along the 18th fairway, where fans had been anticipating a big finish with Woods in the lead. Two chairs had blown into a bunker on the 14th, and seedlings from oak trees were scattered across several greens. Bunkers were washed out.

An osprey snagged a fish along the 18th and couldn't hold on. A fan ran across the fairway to get the fish out of the rough, and then dove headfirst across the 4-inch deep puddle in the fairway, dropping the fish. It swam for about 3 feet before going motionless.

Russell said that while storms were in the forecast for Sunday afternoon, tournament and TV executives thought there was a chance it would go north and south. Instead, it took a direct hit on Bay Hill.

''This thing was moving fast, and if we got shut down for an hour, hour-and-a-half, we could still finish,'' Russell said. ''We wouldn't have a problem there. But we got the very worst of it.''

And so the wait continues for Woods, who is going after his third win this year. Along with trying to reclaim No. 1 from Rory McIlroy, he can tie a PGA Tour record by winning Bay Hill for the eighth time. Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times.

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''