Goosen Closing in on Lead

By Golf Channel NewsroomDecember 7, 2001, 5:00 pm
Sunshine TourLocal Cape Town professional Alan McLean bounced back from a year of setbacks to set a new course record and claim the lead at the halfway stage of the Vodacom Players Championship on Friday.
McLean carded an eagle and eight birdies with just one dropped shot in a superb round of 64 which was all the more impressive in that it was played in the teeth of a strong south-eastern which blew throughout the afternoon.
One shot behind McLean is Des Terblanche after a 66 in benign morning conditions, and a stroke further off the pace are three young South African tyros ' Jean Hugo (66) Bradford Vaughan (66) and Martin Maritz (67).
Nobody, however, will have missed the looming presence of reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen who is a shot further back after a 66 of his own.
Ernie Els posted a 68 to stand at 6-under, the same score as defending champion Trevor Immelman.
Casualties of the halfway cut ' which fell at level par - included PGA Tour star Rory Sabbatini who crashed to a 78, as well as consistent tour performers Andre Cruse and Desvonde Botes.
'Things went my way today,' McLean said afterwards. 'I made a lot of putts and remained patient. I didnt hit that many fairways and just managed to get the ball in the hole.
'Ive had a tough year, to be honest. I took some time off at the beginning and tried to make a swing change, but when I went back out onto the European Challenge Tour my mind was going crazy and my confidence took a knock.
'I think I hit rock bottom around July, but things have gradually got better since then. When you hit rock bottom the only way is up and Ive never practiced as hard as I did this year. When it gets between your ears, golf is a difficult game, and thats what I allowed to happen.'
Terblanches round included five birdies and an eagle two at the par-4 1st ' his 10th ' when he holed his second shot.
'It was a 9-iron from 146 yards,' Terblanche said. 'I didnt see it go in, but someone up there on the green said it was perfect and obviously it was.'
'I didnt actually play that well yesterday but its got better and better and Im actually hitting it good now. Things are looking good.'
Big-hitting Vaughan, who is one of the most exciting young talents on the Sunshine Tour, blotted his card with a bogey from the middle of the fairway at the relatively straightforward 18th. Remarkably, he was using a new set of irons for the first time, after losing faith in his regular set on Thursday.
'I dont think my manager knew what to say to me,' Vaughan laughed. 'But I told him not to worry and that I knew Id be able to hit them ' and thats what I did.'
Goosen meanwhile was delighted with an improved showing following his 69 in the first round, although still felt that he was not hitting the ball as well as he could around a course that received almost no protection from a strangely muted south-easterly breeze.
'The greens were definitely a lot easier in the morning than they were yesterday afternoon,' Goosen said. 'I actually played worse today but this time managed to sink some putts. On the first nine I only hit three greens in regulation ' I think the holiday swing is setting in.
'Although the wind isnt really blowing, the course actually played harder than the first round with the way its set up. It would be good if the wind got up a little over the weekend ' obviously we dont want gales, but a club or two difference could be interesting. Ive seen one or two of the pin positions for tomorrow and if the wind blows we could have some fun out there.'
The reigning U.S. Open champion also admitted that he was ready for a rest after the most successful year of his career, but one that has clearly taken a huge amount out of the genial man from Pietersburg.
'Im looking forward to the holiday coming up. Its getting to the stage now where Im starting to get a bit frustrated when Im hitting what I think are good shots but I dont get the result that I want.
'Im getting a bit tired and frustrated ' gatvol,' he said. 'But Ill give it my all over the weekend. Only two rounds to go for the year so I might as well try and finish off on a high.'
Full Field Scores from the Vodacom Players Championship
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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."