2001 US Open - Mark Brooks News Conference Transcript

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 17, 2001, 4:00 pm
MARK BROOKS: Well, I've never been in an 18 hole playoff. It's going to be a lot like a match, like just a very important match. And the only difference is that you can have multiple shot swings on holes. So it was a very bizarre turn of events at the end, and I feel bad for him. Golf is a very cruel game at times. And my 3-putt was far more predictable than what happened to him. I'm sure he'll be ready to go tomorrow, and I will be, too.
Q. What's it like to be brought back to life?
MARK BROOKS: I don't know, I didn't know I was dead (laughter.) Again, it's just another -- a great break for me, and we'll see if it pans out. I played solid today and hit a lot of greens, and that will kind of be my goal tomorrow, just go out there and play the golf course, and see what happens.
Q. And secondly, what were you doing at that time, were you watching, were you leaving, had you packed up?
MARK BROOKS: I was just watching from my locker, on a regular-sized television. It was shocking, -- it was shocking enough to see Stewart do his thing, and so I feel bad for both of them. And that's probably -- you hate to say it, but it's like once one guy does it, all of a sudden it's the power of suggestion, that that's miserable. And it's kind of like when two guys get going, playing good together, they start making everything. I'm not blaming it on Stewart, don't get me wrong, but he probably did me a big favor by having that happen.
Q. Mark, can you just describe, was it like a jolt of electricity when you saw him miss that one-footer, or what kind of washed through your mind at that time. Did you say, 'My goodness, I may win out right'?
MARK BROOKS: I'm going to spend a night again with my perfect host and do it again. It was shocking. I've been around this game quite a long time, and not as long as Mr. Kite, who had a phenomenal round, or some of those other guys, but we've all witnessed phenomenal stuff.
Q. Did you think you might win out right, if he missed this again?
MARK BROOKS: I didn't go that far. There's been some people missing short putts, Doug Sanders at St. Andrews. And several missed at Augusta that were short and close. Hopefully, I'll have a good match tomorrow and it will be entertaining.
Q. Have you ever been on the other side of it where you've missed a short one that opened the door for somebody else like that?
MARK BROOKS: I'm sure I have. I don't want to jinx myself, though, but I'm sure I have.
Q. Do you think you have the advantage, now, in view of the things that happened, maybe --
MARK BROOKS: Well, probably not. We played together yesterday, and he did a lot of great stuff yesterday. I mean, I think he shot 69 and it was about as good a 69 as I've seen. It was scrambly, he was kind of all over the place, so he must have played a lot more solid today. We'll see.
Q. Mark, when Goosen hit his second shot on the green as close as it was, was it over in your mind?
MARK BROOKS: Yeah, I figured it was over. No question. And it probably should have been.
Q. Mark, when Tom Kite started the day the way he did, did you think this was the day when you were going to have to make a lot of birdies to win?
MARK BROOKS: No, not really, because I kind of had one of those rounds, I guess on Friday. And the golf course doesn't play extremely long. A couple of long, par-3s. And for me 18 is typically -- going to be a pretty long second shot. But if you get on a little bit of a roll, the greens are good and you can do it. Low scores are possible, but you would think that most of the leaders, guys in that position aren't going to be playing ultra aggressively. There were a lot of pins today that were pretty iffy, if you should have gone for them or not. I chose not to go for most of them.
Q. Mark, can you walk us through your thought processes once you got to your ball --
MARK BROOKS: Let me tell you -- go ahead.
Q. Well, go ahead.
Q. Yes.
MARK BROOKS: You know, the main thing I was trying to do was find the line. So I probably didn't pay enough attention to the speed. And, obviously, I hit it too hard. I think I picked the right line, if I had hit it softer, I think it would have been the right direction. But that green did look slow, and I was kind of having to start it up the hill. I think that was only my second 3-putt for the week. I know I 3-putted No. 5 the first day from a long range and kind of misread it and missed the speed. 72 holes, as many greens as I hit, to only 3-putt twice is pretty amazing.
Q. On the second putt did you just not hit it quite hard enough?
MARK BROOKS: No, I didn't hit it hard enough. I think if I hit it harder I would have misread it. I think it would have stayed up on the right. And it is tough. You're playing greens that are pretty darn fast all day, and playing pretty big sweepers. And then you get on that green, you can kind of take some break out and hit it a little firmer.
Q. Mark, did the fact that the USGA, they were babying that green a little bit, they didn't mow it. Was it playing differently, was there a different speed on the 18th green when you guys got there?
MARK BROOKS: Yeah, the 18th green is definitely a different speed. And 9 is a different speed. I hit a couple of decent shots into 9 and didn't really come close on either putt there, the last couple of days. Those two greens are definitely a different speed. And I guess, thank God, they are. My shot yesterday would have rolled 40 yards down yesterday, instead of 2-putting for par. Everybody had to play the same greens.
Q. On the back 9 how much did you watch the scoreboard to know what was going on behind you, and is there any time that it influenced the way you played the remainder of your round?
MARK BROOKS: I felt like five or six, I kind of thought six was the number. I played through 12 holes. When I played 13 and made birdie to get to 5. I saw they were both at 5. That's when I kind of felt like if you could get to 6, that was -- that would probably win the golf tournament. So, yes, I watched. I knew what was going on.
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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by The Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in The Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.

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Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

It was too much “socializing.”

“I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

“Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

His plan for doing that?

“Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.