Milwaukee Event Breathes a Little Easier

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 19, 2005, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- The U.S. Bank Championship is definitely greener this summer.
 
The PGA Tour event was held last year in the same neighborhood as the PGA Championship, which siphoned off corporate dollars and fans. And organizers fretted over winter grass kill before the greens at Brown Deer Park sprouted this spring with better than usual luster.
 
When the snow melted and we got the first look at the golf course, it did not look good. It was brown and we didnt know if it was dead or not, tournament director Dan Croak acknowledged. But with the warm weather, we were able to see the plant was alive. It had just gone into hibernation and just needed to grow out.
 
Eight of the greens were closed at the public course in May and four in June while the course mended. The only problem that remains is the landing area on the 13th fairway, where some patch sodding was done.
 
With the greens greener, Croak is counting on the tournaments coffers following suit.
 
Without the PGA Championship looming as it did last summer, Croak said corporate support has been higher.
 
Still, he maintains the PGA Championship last year served his tournament well.
 
The 18th green chalets, for instance, are now enclosed and air-conditioned, an acknowledgment that Wisconsin golf fans now have firsthand knowledge of first-class treatment and expect more.
 
So I think the PGA helps us, Croak said. It generated interest in golf and let more companies see the value of entertainment. So, I see it as a good thing.
 
Its a fact of life. Were going to have that every five years.
 
Nearby Whistling Straits, where the PGA Championship was held last year, will host it again in 2010 and 2015. The Ryder Cup is going there in 2020.
 
The field at this years Milwaukee PGA Tour stop includes several players in the top 30 on the money list such as Bart Bryant, Ted Purdy and Scott Verplank. But it doesnt include Loren Roberts, whose string of 22 consecutive stops in Milwaukee will come to an end.
 
Roberts just turned 50, earning his eligibility on the Champions Tour. So, hell be at the Senior British Open in Aberdeen, Scotland, instead of Brown Deer Park, where he was one of only six players who have played in all 11 tournaments held at the public course.
 
Those with sponsors exemptions include Ryan Moore, the top-ranked amateur in the country before turning pro at the Barclays Classic this summer. In 2004, Ryan joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the U.S. Amateur, Western Amateur and NCAA Division 1 titles in the same year.
 
Nick Gilliam, the 2001 NCAA champion and Green Bay native, also received a sponsor exemption.
 
Also returning is defending champion Carlos Franco, who posted four rounds in the 60s on his way to his second Milwaukee win last summer.
 
Franco is a notorious slacker when it comes to practicing, a habit that has prompted Vijay Singh to rib him about getting on the course more instead of fishing at his friends Wisconsin lake.
 
He says, Practice more, you need to practice more, Franco said last year. Maybe I need to practice more, but Id rather go fishing.
 
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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 Web.com 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.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    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.