Norman Was Brilliant at 94 Players

By George WhiteMarch 25, 2003, 5:00 pm
No less an authority than Fuzzy Zoeller said it. He has been a pro since 1974, won major championships himself, had actually broken a scoring record at The Players Championship in 1994.
But what he had seen made him shake his head. The same week that he broke the record, Greg Norman obliterated it.
In 20 years out here, I havent seen anyone play as well for 72 holes, said Zoeller. I got beat by the best player in the world.
Zoeller had shot 268 for the tournament, breaking Nick Prices record of 270. But in 1994, that wasnt nearly good enough. Norman shot a 264, smashing Prices 18-under-par record by six shots and shooting 24-under.
Then-commissioner Deane Beman was equally impressed. I think this is one of those records that will never be beaten, he said.
Norman obviously agreed. I think this is in my top three of four weeks of golf, said the two-time British Open champion.
Certainly there were mitigating conditions that might have aided the record low scores. There were calm conditions all week long until the final day, and then the breezes were relatively light. Thunderstorms lashed the course, leaving the turf relatively soft. But spectators saw an exhibition of shot-making that is rare indeed from both Zoeller and Norman.
In the opening round, Norman didnt come close to making a bogey while sizzling with a 63 that tied the course record set by Fred Couples in 1992. Ive had 63s before, but sometimes you have to work hard for them, Norman said. This was an under-control 63.
But by the end of the second round, postponed by thunderstorms and finished on Saturday, Norman was already at 11-under. After lunch, he came out for Round 3 and continued his assault on the course. Zoeller briefly tied him for the lead after birdies at 10 and 11, but Norman quickly righted the ship with three birdies before the end of the round. He shot 67, Zoeller shot 68, and by now it had become a two-man race.
Norman went into Sundays action ahead of Zoeller by four strokes. He quickly upped it to seven with birdies on the first two holes. Zoeller bogeyed the first, and the outcome was never in doubt.
Norman made his first bogey of the tournament at the 13th, where he missed the green with the only really bad swing I make all week. He still had a five-stroke lead as he prepared to play the par-3 17th, the lake being the only remaining hazard. But Norman made birdie on a 9-iron to two feet, then made the triumphant walk up the 18th fairway. Waiting for his on the green, ready to cool him off with a towel, was Zoeller.
Norman was 39 years old, No. 1 in the world, and then at the peak of his golfing prowess. But never was there such a destruction of a golf course as Norman made of the TPC at Sawgrass.


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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.