Backspin Leftys Loss Car-Nicety

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In our new feature, Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
COMING HOME LATE AGAIN: Phil Mickelson came to the 72nd hole of the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond with a one-shot lead. He then preceded to make a bogey to fall into a playoff with Gregory Havret of France. Another bogey on the first playoff hole cost Mickelson his first official win outside the U.S.
 
BackspinA look at his scorecard shows why Lefty is the most entertaining player in the world. The world No. 3 did not make a single par on the last seven holes he played, going birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey. Buy your tickets now for the roller-coaster ride with Phil at Carnoustie.
 
BYRD SOARS IN TO TAKE TITLE: Jonathan Byrd came from behind on Sunday to win the John Deere Classic, fashioning a bogey-free round which included four back-nine birdies for his third career PGA TOUR victory. In the process, he denied a late-faltering Tim Clark his first TOUR title.
 
BackspinHaving to win the event to even qualify for this week's Open Championship, Byrd didn't even bother bringing his passport along with him in case that happened. He did so partly because he had missed the cut in his last four events, but mainly because he thought it would 'jinx' him. Who says superstitions don't work?
 
ONE FOR THE THUMB: Se Ri Pak joined a select group of golfers when she won the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic this past week. Pak joined Mickey Wright (Sea Island Open) and Annika Sorenstam (Mizuno Classic) as the only LPGA Tour players to win the same tournament five times. Its happened 20 times on the PGA TOUR, with Sam Snead winning the Greater Greensboro Open on eight occasions.
 
BackspinJust another piece of history for one of the more over-looked players of her generation. Pak will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame later this year and will be remembered not only as one of the games greats, but the matriarch of the South Korean influx on the LPGA.
 
NICK'S WORLD: Nick Faldo announced that he was going to return to competition for the Open Championship and then make his senior debut in the British Senior Open at Muirfield, site of his 1987 and 1992 Open triumphs.
 
BackspinPerhaps more interesting than how he fares on the course, will be how he fares in the broadcast booth. Faldo will pull double duty at Carnoustie and will re-join Paul Azinger on air with ABC Sports. The two Ryder Cup captains should provide fans with plenty of entertaining commentary.
 
CAR-NASTY OR CAR-NICETY?: Royal and Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said wet weather over the past two months in Scotland should make for a kinder, gentler Carnoustie than the one players faced eight years ago, when 6 over par was the winning total.
 
BackspinIt wasnt Mother Nature who created the majority of the chaos in 1999; it was an unchecked course superintendent. The field shouldnt be lulled into thinking that Carnoustie will be a pushover like Royal Liverpool, where Tiger Woods won last year at 18 under.
 
FRIDAY THE 13TH: Zach Johnson, competing in what he considers to be his home event, missed the cut at the John Deere Classic. Johnson, who grew up about an hour away, in Iowa, from the Silvis, Ill., site, had three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine en route to missing weekend play by a stroke.
 
BackspinThe Masters winner wasnt the only player who experienced a nightmare Friday the 13th. Defending John Deere champion John Senden missed the cut by five. Fresh off his win in Ireland, Colin Montgomerie missed the cut in the Scottish Open, as did Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and David Howell. Paula Creamer also missed the cut on the LPGA for the first time since May, 2005.
 
E! ENTERTAINMENT GOLF: Chris Chandler went wild in the final round by making seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch to win the American Century Celebrity Championship. Chadler held off six-time winner Rick Rhoden for the win.
 
BackspinNot sure how many people actually tuned in to see the likes of a Chandler and Rhoden battle down the stretch, but the real deal was to see how 500-1 underdog Charles Barkley would fare this time around. Lets just say the 500-1 odds on Barkley winning the event should have been more like, oh we don't know, a trillion to 1. Sir Charles, and his beyond frightening golf swing, finished dead last among the field.
 
HAWAIIAN HONEYMOON: Tadd Fujikawa, 16, who captured the hearts of golf fans with his emotional turn at the 2006 U.S. Open and then when he made the cut at this years Sony Open, announced he was going to turn pro at the Reno-Tahoe Open next month.
 
BackspinAh yes, let the comparisons begin. Young Hawaiian teen turns professional; young Hawaiian professional grabs lucrative company sponsorships; young Hawaiian professional takes PGA TOUR exemptions away from struggling PGA TOUR professionals; young Hawaiian teen eventually gets crushed by unforgivinging media. Well, here's hoping that last one isn't the case.
 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Little-known R.W. Eaks beat out the likes of Craig Stadler and Scott Hoch to win on the Champions Tour; Colt Knost, a recent grad from SMU, captured the 82nd U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship with a 6-and-4 win over Cody Paladino, and in the procees earned a trip to the Masters; Alexis Thompson, who was the youngest qualifier in history for the U.S. Women's Open last month, became the youngest champion in the 32-year history of the Jr. PGA Championship; And Steve Williams denied rumors that he is leaving Tiger Woods' bag at the end of the year.
 
BackspinEaks, who oddsmakers had at 18-1 before they teed off on Friday, finally had his moment in the sun after seven top-5 finishes this year without a win; We'd like to be there when Knost is introduced to former Augusta chairman Hootie Johnson - 'Hootie, Colt. Colt, Hootie.'; Alexis Thompson, 12, probably has more trouble choosing between Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs at breakfast than she does when deciding what club to pull on a par-3; For a brief moment, camera men rejoiced. But then why would Williams leave? He earns more money than most of the guys who play on TOUR.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Barclays Scottish Open
  • Full Coverage - John Deere Classic
  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''