Rookies Secrets Carnival Rides and More

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 19, 2003, 4:00 pm
SANDWICH, England (AP) -- The leaderboard at the British Open has a lot of star power. So what's Ben Curtis doing up there?
 
The PGA Tour rookie has made quite an impression in his first major, shooting a 1-under-par 70 Saturday that left him two strokes behind leader Thomas Bjorn after the third round.
 
Now, he'll compete against the likes of Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh, Kenny Perry and Sergio Garcia, all within two strokes of Bjorn.
 
Ben CurtisIs the 26-year-old Curtis surprised by his performance?
 
'Yes and no,' he said. 'I have been playing a lot better the last three weeks and this kind of golf suits me the best. It's not going to take 10, 15 or 20 under par to win. If you stay around par, you're going to be right in the hunt.'
 
Curtis has done just that, shooting 72 the first two days. He's 1 over after 54 holes at Royal St. George's. While most of the attention is sure to be focused elsewhere in the final round, Curtis won't rule out making a run at the claret jug.
 
'Even if you are like two or three back going into the back nine, you never know what can happen,' he said. 'If I shoot like I did today, like 4 under, you never know. You get a couple of putts to go in and anything can happen.'
 
Curtis, who played the last two years on the Hooters Tour, qualified for the PGA Tour this year. He earned a spot in the British Open by tying for 13th at the Western Open two weeks ago -- the best showing of his young career.
 
He might do even better this week.
 
'There are a lot of heavy guys out there and I'll just do the best I can,' he said. 'It's a dream come true so far.'
 
WATSON'S SECRET
 
Tom Watson won five British Opens, so he had a lot of experience hoisting the claret jug.
 
It turns out he has some experience repairing it, too.
 
Watson said he had the trophy in his office after one win and was practicing his golf swing when he accidentally struck the cup.
 
The 131-year-old trophy, inscribed with the names of all Open winners, hit the floor and its lip was bent by the impact.
 
'It looked like the Concorde,' Watson said. 'I didn't know what to do.'
 
Watson took the trophy to his shop, put some velvet around it and gently lifted the lip back into place with some vice grips.
 
Did anyone ever notice?
 
'Nobody ever knew it -- until now,' Watson said.
 
CARNIVAL RIDE
 
Vijay Singh shot a 33 on the front nine to move into contention, then ran into a stretch that almost ruined his chances of winning the British Open.
 
Singh bogeyed four straight holes beginning with the 10th to go from even par to 4-over.
 
'I wasn't in too much trouble either,' Singh said. 'Just missing the greens, missing short putts, three-putting. But everyone seems to have the same problems. You have to be patient.'
 
Singh followed his own advice. He came back to birdie three of his last four holes for a 69 that put him at 214, just two shots off the lead.
 
'I'm playing really well. I've played well all three days so far,' Singh said. 'Haven't scored the way I want to but hopefully tomorrow it's going to come around.'
 
MY EARS MUST BE RINGING
 
Someone forgot to turn off their cell phone, which may have cost Brian Davis a stroke at No. 16.
 
The English golfer missed a putt to save par after someone's phone began ringing.
 
'Maybe it was a little bit a lack of experience,' the 28-year-old Davis said. 'It wasn't necessarily the mobile phone, but all the people trying to shut the fellow up who had the phone. I should have backed off and I didn't. I regret it now.'
 
Davis made a par at No. 17, then took another bogey at the final hole. Still, he had one of the best rounds of the day, 68, and was just six strokes behind leader Thomas Bjorn going to the final round.
 
On Friday, Davis needed to sink a 12-foot putt on 18 just to make the cut. He took advantage of the second chance with birdies on five of the first 10 holes Saturday.
 
Now, about those phones.
 
Davis said the Royal & Ancient should probably follow the U.S. Open, which doesn't allow fans to carry phones within the grounds. At the British Open, fans can bring their phones to the course but are instructed to turn them off.
 
'All we could hear all day was messages,' Davis said. 'You know when you get a message on your phone? Well, that is what we heard all day. At the U.S. Open, we didn't hear one phone. That was great. I wouldn't mind that. I'm sure it won't kill people not to have their phones for a couple of hours.'
 
Right then, a cell phone rang. Davis laughed, but said it's a serious issue.
 
'A mobile phone ringing could cause someone to lose the Open,' he said. 'It does annoy you on the course, especially when you are trying hard to concentrate.'
 
DIVOTS
 
Because of the odd number of players, Peter Fowler played in the first group with a marker. The honor went to Michael Brooks, the assistant pro at Royal St. George's and son of head pro Andrew Brooks. The younger Brooks played in the 1997 Walker Cup. ... Good news for Thomas Bjorn: Sixteen of the last 33 leaders after 54 holes have gone on to win the Open, including Tiger Woods, David Duval and Ernie Els over the last three years. ... Bjorn has made only one bogey in his last 30 holes.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.