Webb Leads Rain Rules at US Womens Open

By Martha BrendleJune 1, 2001, 4:00 pm
Karrie Webb set a new women's competitive course record during the second round of the 56th U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.

Webb shot 5-under-par 65 to move to 5-under for the tournament and grab hold of the lead. In the process, she broke the old course record of 66 set by Annika Sorenstam and Kris Tschetter during the 1996 Women's Open.
Webb entered the clubhouse early in the second round, a round that was eventually suspended for the day due to continual thunderstorms.
'Well, I really just took off - took up where I left off yesterday, just really a lot of good, solid ball-striking again,' Webb said.
The defending champion teed off on the backside, birdieing the 2nd hole right out of the gates.
She made no bogeys and five birdies to complete what she called a very solid round of golf.
'Well I think - I've said many times this year, I've been working on a few things, and I felt the weeks leading up to this that every day it was coming around a bit more,' said Webb.
'And I put in a hard week's work last week and really felt good about where my game was, enough to think that I had a chance at the Open and at least put myself into contention for the weekend.
'And that was my main goal was to - not put myself too far out of it Thursday and Friday, to give myself a shot on the weekend.'
Webb reminded everyone why she had held the No. 1 position on the money list for two consecutive years on the 413-yard par-4 2nd where she masterfully chipped the ball in the hole from 60 feet with her sand wedge.
'It was just one of those shots that I had plenty of green to work with, but it was one of those chip shots that if you got it to within five feet and got it up-and-down you would be pretty happy,' she said.
'It was fortunate that I landed it exactly where I wanted it to and rolled out the way I planned. It's a bonus when you're playing well, some of those things happen.'
The skies opened up prompting a second rain delay (2:36 p.m.) to be called just moments after Webb and her playing partners walked off the course.
'I looked at the weather last night and this morning and thought no matter what I had from 8 o'clock this morning, I had 12 hours to finish my round,' Webb said.
'Even if we had storms this morning, I still had a pretty good shot at finishing my round today. And that's what I wanted to achieve, hopefully, if Mother Nature was going to let us.'
Webb was paired with Juli Inkster (72) and Laura Davies (73) for the first two rounds of the event.
'When I saw my pairing last week, I probably couldn't have asked for a much better pairing, I think. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Juli and Laura. You pretty much know that you're going to see some good shots and some good golf in that group.'
There is mutual respect between the players. Karrie is playing great, Juli said of her playing partner. I played with her today and she played awesome.
Webb currently leads the rest of the field by two strokes and having finished up prior to the final delay she is sitting pretty on the lead.
Thirteen-year-old Morgan Pressel is among those who will not make the cut. She shot a 39 on the back nine Friday and had a hole and a half to finish on the front side when play was suspended.
Pressel received some advice from her Grandfather after making bogey on the 401-yard par 4 14th for the second consecutive day.
He just said youre not going to make the cut. But that was half obvious ' completely obvious.
Although competitors dont have to show up tomorrow to finish playing 36 holes, Pressel will be here.
I want to finish my experience here. I want to finish my round. said Pressel, who has a 12-footer on the 8th for birdie remaining and one hole after that, the par-4 9th.
The 9th hole is not easy. Its right on the ledge or close to it. So that might be a bogey hole. But Id still shoot 78. And I might birdie 8, because Im right there by the pin.
3:30 p.m.
The third and final suspension of the day left 11 morning groups on the course, along with 10 afternoon groups that had not even teed off.
4:30 p.m.
USGA Director of Womens Rules and Competitions Kendra Graham gave some insight to the potential scenarios that may follow based on the weather delays.
Well interestingly enough we dodged several bullets this morning, despite the three suspensions that weve had. I dont know if youve heard, but there have been tornados and golf ball size hail in Raleigh, N.C., so it could have been worse, Graham said.
Right now there is heavy rain and the storm has a lot of lightning in it, which is obviously such a huge concern for us. It should be through here at about 5:30 p.m.. We told the players at 3:30 p.m. that we would give them another update a 5:30 so we gave them two hours to go back to their rooms if they want to.
'Now at 5:30 p.m., although we should still have some rain, it should be much lighter in nature. At the time we made the announcement for the two-hour window we didnt know how much rain would come down - and weve had a lot so far. Our plan was at 5:30 p.m. to assess the golf course. Unfortunately there is more rain than we expected.
'Its a possibility that we would have to go to (groupings of) threes in round three, but well do everything we can to go in twos. But there are still so many ifs because we dont know how much rain well get tonight. Our plan is to play in twos off of one tee. Thats our hope.
This is not the first time the Open has suffered from weather delays. During the 1987 Championship at Plainfield Country Club play was completed on Tuesday because of weather and a playoff.
The USGA follows strict criteria when assessing the condition of a golf course. When play is suspended due to weather the officials along with the superintendent will take a look at the golf course to ascertain what condition it is in and the amount of work necessary to make it once again playable.
The first and foremost (criteria) is to play under the rules of golf. What we will look at first is the bunkers as far as how much washout there is and how much work it will take to make the course playable again, said Graham. 'On Monday, with the rain we had, the bunkers drained very well.
I was just with the golf course superintendent, Dave Fruchte, and I can tell you already weve had more rain than we had on Monday. I mean the driving range right now is just totally under water. I will tell you initially we had hoped to assess the golf course at 5:30, and (Fruchte) felt like he could, at the time we talked, that we could resume play at 6:15 or 6:30 p.m.. Im not sure thats possible now, with the amount of rain thats fallen.
Two inches of rain had been recorded by 4:45 p.m. with more falling.
5:30 p.m.
Play was officially suspended for the day at 5:30 p.m. The driving range will open at 5:45 a.m. Saturday while the completion of round two scheduled to resume on Saturday at 7:00 a.m. Currently the cut is projected to be 8-over par.
Full-field scores from the 56th U.S. Women's Open
Getty Images

Teenager Im wins Web.com season opener

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Web.com Tour.

Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Web.com Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Web.com Tour event at age 20.

Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Web.com Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

Getty Images

Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.

11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.

11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.

1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

Getty Images

Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.

Getty Images

The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

Yeah, you heard that right.

“I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

“I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

Here's two more just for good measure.

Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.