Old Man Irwin Leads Young Mans Open

By George WhiteJune 14, 2001, 4:00 pm
TULSA, OKLA. - The young guys all came to the U.S. Open brandishing their various tour cards ' U.S., European, Japanese, etc. Hale Irwin came brandishing something he thinks is just as important ' his AARP card.

Irwin shot a 3-under-par 67 in the first round at Southern Hills before play was suspended late Thursday. He's tied with the European Tours Retief Goosen, who was 3-under through just seven holes when the downpours began.
Irwin, playing his round in the morning, finished with a magnificent 2-iron to the 18th green that rolled to inside of three feet. The 56-year-old sank the birdie putt, then gave a little warning to his younger rivals. Watch out for the old folks, sonny.

Its not how far you hit the ball, but how do you control what you have and manage what you have? Irwin said.
And Im not looking at the statistics and saying, Yes, Im leading in driving. Its more important to me to ask, What did you shoot? And by doing that, I think it keeps things in perspective. Rather than getting hung up on all the hype and glitter, lets just get out there and play golf.
Defending champion Tiger Woods suffered a double bogey on No. 9 to drop his score to 3-over-par on the difficult Southern Hills course. He faces a six-footer for par on the 10th when play resumes at 7 a.m. Central time. Japans Toshimitsu Izawa is one off the pace at 2-under after four holes, standing alone in third place.
Loren Roberts, a youngster in comparison at almost 46, played beside Irwin and carded a 1-under 69. Irwin is great, he said, because he never puts himself in spots that he cant get out of.
Hes a control player, and this course lends itself to someone who keeps the ball in control, said Roberts. He putted extremely well today. I would say thats what youve got to do. But he had some great iron shots.
Irwin, after great years on the Senior Tour in 1997, 98 and 99, has tailed off somewhat the last couple of years. But he always has been an effective player in the Open, making the cut and finishing in a tie for 27th last year. He made the field this year by virtue of his U.S. Senior Open win last year.
He began by making bogey on the first two holes. But he birdied No. 3 with a 20-foot putt after hitting the approach shot out of the first cut of the rough. He then got back to even par after hitting a punch 7-iron to within two feet, and he was off and running.
Age, said Irwin, doesnt mean a whole lot in golf. I think we try to make it something thats bigger than we will let it be, he said. And I guess what Im saying is, if you keep your thoughts in a positive manner, if you dont accept the words, I cant do it, then you certainly can extend your career.
Just because you turn 40 or 45 or 50, thats a number. If youve taken care of yourself, you still have your skills, your nerves havent gone, you still can do this ' if you work at it. But it does not come without some sacrifice. It does not come without some effort. Its just not an automatic, like it might have been when youre 20 years old.
Roberts said the conditions Thursday definitely favored players who can control the flight of the ball.
Obviously, youve got to put the ball in the fairway here, he said. I think this is a golf course that is fair for everybody in the field. You can be a shorter control player or a longer player, and still be able to play this course.
The worlds No. 2 player, Phil Mickelson, was one of those who finished in the morning. He shot even-par 70 and said he did nothing that stood out.
Theres nothing in particular that I did exceptionally today, he said. Ive played well and Ive been playing well. I kept the ball in play and havent made too many mistakes. Ive been able to feel very comfortable on the greens. Ive been putting well.
Second-round play will not finish for everyone until Saturday morning. The cut will be made and then the third round will resume. Good weather is forecasted Friday and for the remainder of the week, with the championship back on schedule Saturday afternoon.
Full-field scores from the 101st U.S. Open

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm