Woods grouped with Scott, Stenson at Doral

By Will GrayMarch 4, 2014, 7:35 pm

Should Tiger Woods' back limber up before the start of the WGC-Cadillac Championship Thursday, he will play the first round alongside the two players closest to him in the world ranking.

Woods is slated to begin his first round at 12:39 p.m. ET Thursday, alongside world No. 2 Adam Scott and reigning FedEx Cup champ Henrik Stenson, currently third in the world.

Woods enters this week as the event's defending champion, but was forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic after 13 holes Sunday because of back spasms.

This event will mark the first time in months that Woods' top spot in the rankings will be up for grabs. Based on unofficial projections, Scott can become the top-ranked player in the world with a win this week at Trump Doral, assuming Woods finishes somewhere outside the top 5-7.

Each of the top 24 players in the world will be grouped Thursday in order based on their world ranking. As a result, world No. 4 Jason Day will make his first start since winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship alongside Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, who will look to bounce back from Sunday's disappointing playoff loss at PGA National. The trio will tee off at 11:44 a.m. Thursday.

The other threesome consisting entirely of players ranked inside the top 10 will begin play at 12:28 p.m. Thursday and includes Justin Rose, Zach Johnson and Sergio Garcia. Rose has missed three scheduled starts this year while battling tendinitis in his right shoulder, while Johnson and Garcia both already have a win under their belts in 2014.

Here is a full list of first- and second-round tee times this week at the newly-renovated Blue Monster (all times ET):

Thursday 11 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:06 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Kevin Streelman, Scott Hend, Darren Fichardt

Thursday 11 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:06 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Harris English, Jonas Blixt, Brendon de Jonge

Thursday 11:11 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:17 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Hyung-Sung Kim, Boo Weekley, D.A. Points

Thursday 11:11 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:17 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Hideki Matsuyama, Victor Dubuisson, Luke Donald

Thursday 11:22 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:28 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Russell Henley, Richard Sterne, Miguel Angel Jimenez

Thursday 11:22 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:28 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Charl Schwartzel, Jason Dufner, Ian Poulter

Thursday 11:33 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:39 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Gary Woodland, George Coetzee

Thursday 11:33 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:39 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar

Thursday 11:44 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:50 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Jamie Donaldson, Hunter Mahan, Peter Uihlein

Thursday 11:44 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:50 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy

Thursday 11:55 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Bill Haas, Ernie Els, Francesco Molinari

Thursday 11:55 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 1:01 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Louis Oosthuizen, Keegan Bradley, Martin Kaymer

Thursday 12:06 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:11 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson

Thursday 12:06 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Brett Rumford, Chris Kirk, Dawie van der Walt

Thursday 12:17 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:22 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell

Thursday 12:17 p.m. (No. 10 tee). Friday 11:11 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Thongchai Jaidee, Ryan Moore, Kevin Stadler

Thursday 12:28 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:33 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Sergio Garcia

Thursday 12:28 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11:22 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Patrick Reed, Jin Jeong, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano

Thursday 12:39 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:44 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson

Thursday 12:39 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11:33 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Nick Watney, Roberto Castro, Stephen Gallacher

Thursday 12:50 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:55 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Jimmy Walker, Lee Westwood, Matteo Manassero

Thursday 12:50 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11:44 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Rickie Fowler, Graham DeLaet, Joost Luiten

Thursday 1:01 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11:55 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Branden Grace, Billy Horschel, Thomas Bjorn

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.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

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.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

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.''