Stricker in place for Hawaii sweep

By Doug FergusonJanuary 13, 2012, 4:30 am

HONOLULU – Steve Stricker became a footnote in PGA Tour history by winning Comeback Player of the Year in consecutive seasons.

Coming back after a win? That’s been a little more difficult.

Three days after winning on Maui at the Tournament of Champions, Stricker was back to work. He did well Thursday in the Sony Open to open with a 4-under 66 and finish three shots behind Graham Delaet of Canada. What made it impressive is that Stricker felt as if he were in a daze part of the time at Waialae Country Club.

“A little sluggish at times,” Stricker said.

That’s nothing new. In the seven previous times that he played the week after winning, the best he could manage was a tie for ninth in the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2007.

He won the John Deere Classic the last three years, flew across the Atlantic for the British Open and has never been a factor. When he won the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in 2010, he headed over to Arizona for the Match Play Championship and became only the second No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round.

This week’s trip was only a short hop over from a different island, but it’s no less taxing.

“I’m still excited from last week,” Stricker said. “You turn around and you’re right back in the competition. You’ve got to be focused. And I was, for the most part.”

The Plantation Course at Kapalua is a big walk, and Stricker said he was even more drained from nearly losing five-shot leads on the last two days and fighting off the contenders. Winning itself always takes a toll, so Stricker took Tuesday off, then spent Wednesday in what he described as a pro-am that was cluttered with media requests, not to mention dozens of players stopping to congratulate him.

“It’s a nice problem to have,” he said

But he’s back to work, now, and in the first full-field event of the PGA Tour season, feels as though he at least gave himself a chance to join Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to sweep the Hawaii tournaments.

Walking toward the clubhouse, Stricker was approached by Golf Channel and asked if he could come on the set for a few minutes. One of the producers said it wasn’t imperative, and Stricker – as if it were the hardest thing he ever did in his life – said no.

After changing shoes in the locker room, and speaking briefly with a PGA Tour media official to provide quotes for the Honolulu newspapers, he made a detour on his way to the hotel so he could do the Golf Channel interview.

There’s one big advantage coming off a win, however.

“When you can win, it just boosts that confidence level way up there today,” Stricker said.

DeLaet didn’t have reason for a lot of confidence considering he had not played in any PGA Tour event in nearly seven months. His excitement level was hard to match, though.

It was about this time a year ago when the Canadian’s lower back hurt so much that he had major surgery, in which part of a disk was shaved off to alleviate pressure on a nerve. He thought there might be a chance he would never play again, this right after a rookie season in 2010 in which he finished a respectable 100th on the money list to easily keep his card.

“I’m just so excited to be back out,” DeLaet said. “I had a good season my rookie campaign, and then it was all basically just taken away. And I realize now how fortunate we are to be playing golf for a living. My whole attitude is definitely better.”

DeLaet surged to the top of the leaderboard when he chipped in from just short of the green on the par-5 ninth, then holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the 10th and hit his approach to 6 feet on the 12th for another birdie. He took the outright lead with birdies on the last two holes, getting up-and-down from just short of the green on the par-5 18th.

Carl Pettersson and former Sony Open champion K.J. Choi were among those at 65, while Stricker was in the group at 66 with Webb Simpson and Bud Cauley.

Thursday was a gentle start of the season on the PGA Tour, with the ocean breeze barely strong enough to move fronds on the palm trees that line the fairways. Sixty-three players in the 144-man field broke par, including Oahu native Tadd Fujikawa, who was given a late sponsor exemption.

Cauley, who last year became the sixth player to go from college to the PGA Tour without Q-School, didn’t show any signs of rust from having not played in nearly two months. He ran off four consecutiveA birdies around the turn until he stalled, then dropped a shot on the 17th and missed a birdie opportunity on the 18th when he tried to hit fairway metal out of a bunker and topped his shot.

“I did a lot of things right,” he said. “I did a lot of things I was doing last summer.”

DeLaet’s injury was nothing new, first suffered when he was playing hockey as a junior. His lower back would give him fits, and then the pain would subside. Toward the end of his rookie season in 2010, however, it got so bad that he couldn’t sit for more than a few seconds.

Surgery took care of the pain, and DeLaet tried to return in the summer in the two tournaments sandwiched around the U.S. Open. His next start was supposed to be the AT&T National at Aronimink, but after playing a few holes before the Wednesday pro-am, he realized he was trying to get back too soon.

“I think I wanted to be there so bad that I felt that I was better physically than I actually was,” DeLaet said. “I just knew that it’s hard enough to compete out here when you’re healthy, and I just knew that I wasn’t in good enough shape to compete.”

For the moment, he feels great.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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