Its Getting Hot in Here

By Mercer BaggsAugust 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' J.L. Lewis signed his scorecard and then hesitantly emerged from the air-conditioned facility.
Geez, its hot, he said in exasperation.
The heat beat down on players Saturday at Baltusrol Golf Club like the LAPD.
Jerry Kelly
The heat index reached 105 degrees Saturday at Baltusrol.
It was so hot that Hal Sutton looked like some kid had taken him down in a dunking booth. His shirt was drenched from his belt buckle to his chest ' and he hadnt even started his round.
It was so hot that Joey Sindelars dry-cleaner thanked him for not making the field.
It was so hot that John Daly drank ' gasp! ' water.
Not that he completely forsook his Diet Cokes. A member of Dalys gallery, one of his club manufacturers, carried a portable cooler full of water and the soda that has become his lifeblood.
He needs his Diet Cokes, the tag-along said. But in this weather
By the time Daly teed off at 12:50 p.m., the heat index had already exceeded 100 degrees, and was rising faster that the price of gas.
Vaughan Taylor was in the first group out at 8:00 a.m. He played alongside a marker, Mike Sparks, head pro at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, N.J., and completed play a little over four hours later, shooting a 1-over 71. When asked if there was any advantage to going out early he said, Not really. Hot is hot. As soon as you wake up in the morning the humidity just hits you.
Tiger Woods was in the third group out. His shirt, which was a faint yellow when he first donned it, had turned a mustard color due to sweat by the time he walked off with his 66. He spent most of the day tugging on it, trying to detach the soggy micro-fibers from his skin.
In his post-round interview, he rested his left arm on a towel, which absorbed a waterfall of perspiration, while his right hand hugged a bottled-water.
Its hot out there, but its not brutal, he said. The worst weather I ever played in was Malaysia. Nothing could be as bad as that.
Thomas Bjorn, who tied a mens major championship record with a 63, said the same thing: Oh, you try and play in Malaysia and Singapore and Australia and its going to get a lot worse than this. Malaysia this year is probably the worst Ive ever been on a golf course.
New Jersey in the summertime might not be South East Asia, but it was awfully hot this Saturday. And hot is hot.
Its just like home, added Woods, an Orlando, Fla., resident. Unfortunately, we cant wear shorts.
Caddies could wear shorts, and each and every one did. Damon Green, Zach Johnsons looper, wasnt looking forward to lugging the industrial-sized tour bag around the 7,400-yard layout.
I was hoping theyd give us a cart, he joked while bathing himself in sunscreen.
LPGA professional Laura Diaz is caddying this week for her brother Ron Philo, Jr. Philo mercifully allowed his four-month pregnant sibling to carry a light-weight, kick-stand bag.
Phew, was about all she could manage after the round, before going into the players dining area for refreshments and a more comfortable environment.
The heat was a huge factor for me, said club pro Darrell Kestner, who shot 78. I felt dizzy and you get sweat pouring out of your eyes. Its a factor.
It was for Daly, and not just because he's a chain-smoker with a Buddha belly. The heat and humidity loosened the epoxy holding his putter head to the shaft, forcing him to belly an L-wedge on the greens over his final eight holes.
Outside of the ropes, patrons not only gulped down gallons of water but some carried umbrellas and parasols for protection. Others found shade among the oaks, which may not have been the safest place considering that a massive limb fell Friday on the fourth hole and broke a mans leg, but it was certainly worth the risk.
A better bet may have been the multiple misting stations.
Everyone needs to take precautions, said Dr. Norman Luka, who was heading one of the first-aid stations on site. You need to drink a lot of fluids and that means more than just water. (Sports drinks) provide glucose and potassium. And you need to eat; thats very important. People forget to eat when its hot.
Woods echoed that last statement. When asked if there was anything that he was going to work on after his round, he said: Yeah, eating. When its this hot, you dont want to eat much, and I need to get the calories in so I (can) keep my weight up.
While the players and caddies cant do much to avoid the menacing sun during the course of competition, they are able to replenish much of what these oppressive conditions take from their bodies.
Coolers are set up on every tee box, filled with water and sports drinks, as well as candy bars, granola bars, crackers and fruit. Sandwiches are also available.
Dr. Luka wouldnt offer any advice to the players. Theyve done this for so long, they know what theyre doing out there, he said.
'I think I pretty much drank a bottle of water on every hole,' said Bjorn, who teed off at 11:20. 'I've eaten a couple of bananas and a couple of energy bars in the round, and I made sure that I had a good breakfast.'
Saturday was an endurance test for all those doing the carrying, the swinging, the walking and the watching.
Thats why I run in the heat, said Woods. Thats why I run all those miles down there in Orlando.

But for Woods and the rest of the 79 men who made the cut, it wasnt just a physical test; it was mental and emotional one as well.
If you play well, youll be cooler, Davis Love III said, implying mind over matter.
He might have even felt a bit nippy after his 2-under 68 earned him a share of the 54-hole lead.
Love was among the afternoon participants. They received a bit of a reprieve when clouds masked the sun around 4:00. A weather warning was posted, but it proved only an innocuous threat.
'That almost-storm we got cooled it down about 10 degrees on the back nine,' said Steve Elkington, who shot 5-under 31 on the inward half en route to a 68.
Sundays forecast calls for less extreme conditions, with the mercury rising into the upper-80s to lower-90s. Theres also a 60-percent chance of scattered thunderstorms throughout the day.
After a day in which the heat index maxed out at 105 degrees, it shouldn't be quite as hot temperature-wise. But on Sunday of a major championship, thats when the heat is really turned up.
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    After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

    Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

    On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

    Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

    After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

    Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

    A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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    Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

    At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

    “The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

    Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

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    Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

    Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

    “Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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    Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

    PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

    Laura Davies won the day.

    It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

    Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

    Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

    For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

    In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

    “I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

    At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

    “It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

    Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

    “It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

    With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

    “People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

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    Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

    “Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

    She also relished showing certain fans something.

    “Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

    Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

    In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

    Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

    “The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

    After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

    “I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

    Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

    In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

    “I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

    And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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    Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

    The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

    “Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

    After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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    Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

    “Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”