The TOUR Needs 40Somethings

By Kraig KannJune 2, 2006, 4:00 pm
This weeks Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley has a field of 106 players. Superstars are here in the name of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen.
Young stars are here, too. Sergio Garcia still qualifies, and Sean OHair, who shot 5-under 67 on Thursday, also comes to mind. Camilo Villegas and Adam Scott are also hot-shots in their 20s who bring any tournament the proper power and flair.
Given the fact that I turned 40 early last month, Ive now got this certain affection for the 40somethings.
Cmon, you like em, too, dont you?
In the last few years, Singh has given every man over 40 years of age reason to keep the faith. A truckload of victories, a few majors, too, and the wins necessary to earn him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Last year here, Bart Bryant walked away as a surprise winner. He later won THE TOUR Championship, making for his greatest season in professional golf. This November, Bryant will turn 44 and hes in the prime of his career, and certainly the prime of his life.
This week, Ive talked to John Cook, Joey Sindelar, Brad Faxon, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Bryant and a few others who seem to be as motivated as they were in their 20s. Not a single one seemed the least bit down about his lot in PGA TOUR life.
The challenge of competing might be greater than ever before. And perhaps thats what keeps these guys driving to stay in the game and keep their game.
On a given course we can play with anybody, Cook said.
Maturity means so much in this game, Bryant quipped.
Theres still plenty of reason to stay competitive. Plus, its still fun to be out here, Faxon added.
Faxon, who won last years Buick Championship in Hartford, admitted that hes been watching the likes of Villegas and J.B. Holmes and using them as motivation. If they can win in their 20s, then why cant we win in our 40s? said Faxon. True, and Faxon added that staying fit might be the biggest thing to help confidence to accomplish the goal.
Last week, Jeff Maggert won the FedEx St. Jude Classic, ending a winless drought and keeping the older guys/seasoned vets in our mind.
To me, Cook is right when he says that fans like a PGA TOUR where its not just about one player. And the fact that he and others still feel like they can compete is good medicine. Suddenly Nick Price, at 49 years of age, is finding form.
Kirk Triplett won earlier this year in Tucson. And given that four of the PGA TOURs more recent winners include Chris Couch, Brett Wetterich, Jeff Maggert and Tim Herron ' who knows whos next.
Couples told me that its one thing for a 40something whos a very good player to be in the mix. Its another thing to be there consistently. Im not out here to finish fifth or third or second, Couples said.
So what does the 40-crowd bring to the TOUR? Perspective for one thing. Experience for another. A large fan base is another added bonus.
It might just be me, but I like a mix in my PGA TOUR winners. Id love to see Couples win another big one. Ive enjoyed Jay Haas still mixing it up with the flat-bellies.
So keep on keepin on. The Champions Tour can wait. Lets get a few victories along the way.

Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann

Simpson WDs from RSM, tweets his father is ill

By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2017, 10:45 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Following rounds of 67-68, Webb Simpson was in 12th place entering the weekend at the RSM Classic before he withdrew prior to Saturday’s third round.

On Saturday afternoon, Simpson tweeted that he withdrew due to an illness in his family.

“Thanks to [Davis Love III] for being such a great tournament host. I [withdrew] due to my dad being sick and living his last days,” Simpson posted on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Simpson’s father, Sam, caddied for his son during amateur events, and Webb Simpson started playing golf after following his father to the course on family vacations to North Carolina.

“My dad is probably the kindest man I know. He’s always been the guy who knew everyone, everyone knew him, everyone wanted to be around him,” Simpson said in a 2015 interview with David Feherty. “He taught me the game. He’s always been one of those dads who loved to be active with their kids.”

Before play began on Thursday, Luke Donald withdrew after being hospitalized with chest pain. Tests indicated the Englishman’s heart was fine and he returned home to undergo more tests.

New old putter helps Kirk (64) jump into contention

By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2017, 10:43 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Chris Kirk’s ball-striking has been nearly flawless this fall. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for his putting.

In four events this season, Kirk ranks 143rd in strokes gained: putting, but his fortunes have changed this week, thanks at least in part to a return to something familiar.

Kirk switched to an older style of putter similar to the one he used on the Tour in 2010 to earn his PGA Tour card.

“It's nice to be back in contention again,” said Kirk, who is alone in second place, three strokes behind front-runner Austin Cook. “It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Kirk is 25th in strokes gained: putting this week and has converted several crucial putts, including a 30-footer for birdie at the 17th hole on his way to a third-round 64.

His putting is similar to 2013 when he won the RSM Classic, and his improved play on the greens has given the 32-year-old confidence going into Sunday’s final round.

“I'll probably be relatively comfortable in that situation, and thankfully I've been there before,” Kirk said. “It's still not easy by any means, but hopefully I'll be able to group together a bunch of good shots and see what it gives me.”

Rookie Cook (66) handling RSM like a pro

By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2017, 10:24 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Of all the impressive statistics Austin Cook has put up this week at the RSM Classic – he is first in strokes gained: tee to green, strokes gained: approach to the green and scrambling – the one number that stands out is 49.

That’s how many holes Cook went this week without a bogey or worse, a moment that prompted his caddie, Kip Henley, to joke, “The dream is over.”

That loss of momentum at the 14th hole didn’t last long, with the PGA Tour rookie making birdie at the next hole on his way to a third-round 66 and a three-stroke lead.

“Bouncing back from any bogey with a birdie is nice and helps get the number right back. Being my only bogey of the week so far, it was really nice to be able to get that back on the next hole,” said Cook, who leads Chris Kirk at 18 under par. “Going into tomorrow with a three-shot lead instead of a two-shot lead I think is crucial.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Although this is the first time Cook has held a 54-hole lead on the Tour, in fact it’s just his fourth start as a Tour member, he has experienced Sunday pressure before. In 2015, he began the final round at the Shell Houston Open one stroke off the lead held by Jordan Spieth.

“Back then my game was good as well, but mentally I've grown a lot and matured a lot and been able to kind of just let small things on the golf course roll off my shoulder instead of getting tied up in one little small mistake,” said Cook, who closed with a 75 at the ’15 Shell Houston Open to tie for 11th.

Park collapses; leaderboard chaos at CME

By Nick MentaNovember 18, 2017, 8:47 pm

Sung-Hyun Park started the day with a three-shot lead and slowly gave it all back over the course of a 3-over 75, leaving the CME Group Tour Championship and a host of season-long prizes up for grabs in Naples. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the LPGA finale, where Michelle Wie, Ariya Jutanugarn, Suzann Pettersen and Kim Kaufman share the lead.

Leaderboard: Kaufman (-10), Wie (-10), Jutanugarn (-10), Pettersen (-10), Stacy Lewis (-9), Karine Icher (-9), Austin Ernst (-9), Lexi Thompson (-9), Jessica Korda (-9), Pernilla Lindberg (-9)

What it means: It wasn’t the Saturday she wanted, but Park, who already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year Award, is still in position for the sweep of all sweeps. With a victory Sunday, she would claim the CME Group Tour Championship, the Race to CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and the money title, as she ascends to No. 1 in the Rolex world ranking. Meanwhile, Thompson, too, could take the $1 million and Player of the Year. As those two battle for season-long prizes, a host of other notable names – Wie, Jutanugarn, Pettersen, Korda, Lewis and Charley Hull (-8) – will fight for the Tour Championship.

Round of the day: Kaufman made four birdies on each side in a bogey-free 8 under-par 64. A lesser-known name on a stacked leaderboard, she seeks her first LPGA victory.

Best of the rest: Amy Yang will start the final round two behind after a 7-under 65. The three-time LPGA Tour winner could pick up her second title of the season after taking the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.

Biggest disappointment: On a day that featured plenty of low scores from plenty of big names, Lydia Ko dropped 11 spots down the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd with a Saturday 72. The former world No. 1 needed two birdies in her last five holes to fight her way back to even par. Winless this season, she’ll start Sunday four back, at 6 under.

Shot of the day: I.K. Kim aced the par-3 12th from 171 yards when her ball landed on the front of the green and tracked all the way to the hole.

Kim, oddly enough, signed her name to a scorecard that featured a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. It was all part of a 1-under 71.