Pampling Knows Round One Lead

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 14, 2003, 4:00 pm
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Rod Pampling knows not to get excited about one round, even a bogey-free 66 for a share of the early lead Thursday at the PGA Championship.
 
He's been in this position before -- just not for long.
 
The 33-year-old Aussie opened with a 71 to take the lead in 1999 at Carnoustie, only to follow that with an 86 to miss the cut. That made him the only player in British Open history to go from the lead to the airport in one round.
 
'You learn that nothing counts after Day 1,' Pampling said. 'There's still three days to go. Come Sunday, if you're talking to me, I might not be too calm.'
 
Still, he has reason to be optimistic.
 
He's playing well this year and had chances to win at Pebble Beach and the B.C. Open. He overcame the theft of his golf clubs. And seeing 500-1 long shot Ben Curtis capture the British Open makes him think he can become the next unheralded player to win a major.
 
'It's nice to see guys who work hard, who aren't expected to win, actually get up and win,' he said. 'It makes everyone else feel they can win. It's not just the top 25 in the world can win a major.'
 
Playing the PGA Championship for the first time, Pampling was first off the 10th tee Thursday morning and quickly got his name on the leaderboard with birdies on the 13th and 14th holes, and another one on No. 1.
 
A bigger key for Pampling was missing only two fairways in a bogey-free round at Oak Hill, which is framed by ankle-deep rough.
 
'It's just gnarly, it's kind of growing everywhere,' Pampling said. 'When you miss a green as well, it's just difficult to know what the ball is going to do once you're in the rough. I really didn't have to deal with the rough all that much. I hit some nice
shots and made some putts. It was pretty boring but I'm happy with it.'
 
Pampling might be benefiting from an unanticipated change of equipment. A thief crept into his garage in suburban Dallas one night in April and made off with his clubs.
 
'When you lose 14 clubs -- there's a couple of clubs you've had for a long time in there -- that puts pressure on other parts of the game that it normally doesn't,' he said. 'It took a while to get around that but, yeah, that's all in the past now. The last month has been good. It's just getting comfortable again with the clubs I've got.'
 
Not since 1969 have all four majors gone to players who had never won a Grand Slam event.
 
Curtis, a 26-year-old rookie who was No. 396 in the world ranking, captured the British Open at Royal St. George's a month ago. Mike Weir became the first Canadian to win the Masters. And Jim Furyk won the U.S. Open at Olympia Fields.
 
'It's a realistic goal now that you can definitely put a major on your list and expect to have a chance of winning one,' Pampling said.
 
Pampling didn't take up golf until age 16 and earned an apprenticeship in greenskeeping before turning pro at age 24. His wife, Angela, a clinical psychologist, often watches him play and feeds him advice before and afterward.
 
'Obviously, we don't interact while we're out there,' he said. 'She just more or less looks at the way I react to certain shots. It's just another link, I suppose, that can get you to the top of the game. There's so much pressure involved that you have to be levelheaded out on the golf course, so that you can perform.'
 
Pampling is levelheaded enough to know there are still three days left at Oak Hill.
 
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x