Odds and Ends

By Jason SobelAugust 26, 2011, 7:41 pm

EDISON, N.J. – Matt Kuchar has never enjoyed the spoils of returning to the scene of a triumph one year later as defending champion. He’s never relived certain shots he hit during crunch time, never recharged the ol’ memory bank by making another victory lap.

His first career PGA Tour title was the 2002 Honda Classic at TPC-Heron Bay – which just happened to be the final time it played host, giving way to Country Club at Mirasol one year later.

Kuchar’s next win came seven years later at the Turning Stone Resort Championship. He didn’t return for the next edition of the event, though – not by his own volition, but because the event was opposite the more prestigious WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the same week.

And lastly, his third and most recent victory took place at last year’s Barclays, as he edged Martin Laird in a playoff at Ridgewood Country Club, only to return to a brand new venue this week, as Plainfield Country Club gets its turn in the rotation.

He may soon have another title defense at a different course, too. Plainfield gives way to Bethpage Black next year and based on his leaderboard status at the already-shortened tournament entering the final round, Kuchar may have the inside track on returning as a conquering hero to a course on which he didn’t conquer.

“Right now, I'm three for three with not being able to defend on the same course,” Kuchar said. “Somebody told me if I won this week, I won’t defend on the same golf course again next year. But I am a fan of the rotation. I think there are so many great courses in the metro area up here. I think rotation is a good thing.”

Course rotation, that is. As for rotating places on the leaderboard with his fellow FedEx Cup contenders, Kuchar is perfectly fine with his reigning title of Baron of The Barclays, as he attempts to win a second straight on Saturday.

That’s right – Saturday. Due to the impending effects of Hurricane Irene later this weekend, tournament officials elected to shorten the event to 54 holes, the final 18 of which will be played early Saturday morning in an effort to clear the course before the heavy stuff starts coming down.

A lengthy delay on Thursday already meant that more than half of the field was forced to conclude their opening rounds on Friday morning. That group included Kuchar, who polished off a tidy 8-under 63, then turned right around and shot 6-under 65 in his second frame on a short, soft course that has witnessed more birdies over the first two days than the Audubon Society.

“To me, it seems like any time you have soft conditions, it doesn't matter how long, doesn't matter how deep the rough is, some guys are going to figure out a way to make a bunch of birdies,” explained Kuchar, who has already posted 15 of ‘em through 36 holes. “I think the kind of biggest determining factor in how hard a course plays and how difficult it is to make birdies is how firm greens are. I think when you have really firm greens, it becomes difficult to get a ball close to the hole and difficult to chip balls close to the hole. I think the scores are just a lot less under par with firm conditions.”

Don’t expect this course to firm up at all for the final round. The forecast calls for early showers before the deluge, which means plenty of pin seeking in what should ultimately turn into a Saturday shootout.

Though he’s not the typical how-low-can-you-go type of streaky performer, Kuchar isn’t unfamiliar with the occasional birdie barrage, as his average of 3.88 per round ranks 17th this season.

Talk about quixotic statistics, though, and it’s his round-by-round scoring average in which something’s gotta give. Kuchar ranks third on the PGA Tour in Saturday scoring average, but just 46th in the final round. Considering his next 18 holes will come on both a Saturday and in the final round, it’s a mystery as to which one will prevail this time around.

“Good question, good question,” he responded with a laugh. “Right now I'm putting myself in pretty good position and I think the thing I'll try to stay most focused on is just trying to defend The Barclays.”

If he does, once again Kuchar will travel to a venue on which he hasn’t won, but as the defending champion. It’s a strange scenario, but not an unfamiliar one. And certainly not an unwelcome one should it happen again next year.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm