Long Waite at the Top

By Mercer BaggsAugust 16, 2001, 4:00 pm
With 95 of the top 100 players in the world in this weeks PGA Championship, its No. 101 whos leading the way in Duluth, Ga., after the first round.
Grant Waite birdied the 490-yard par-4 18th to shoot a 6-under-par 64 and take a two-shot lead over a host of other players.
Nine players are tied for second place at 4-under. That list includes Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Fred Funk, David Toms, Niclas Fasth, Stuart Appleby, K. J. Choi, Brad Faxon and Dudley Hart.
Faxon and Toms are 13th and 14th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings, respectively. The top ten on the points list at the end of the PGA Championship earn an automatic berth on the American squad.
Click here to see how potential Ryder Cuppers fared in Rd. 1
In 1995, Faxon shot a final-round 63 in the PGA Championship to secure a spot on the team.
However, not everyone was happy with their first round scores, none more so than the two-time defending champion.
Tiger Woods recorded a pair of double bogeys en route to a 3-over-par 73.
Woods, this years Masters winner, played alongside British Open champion Duval and U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen on Thursday. Goosen shot 1-under 69.
The major trio began the day at the par-4 10th. It marked the first time since 1977 that the PGA Championship used split tees. The PGA of America wanted to avoid the six-hour rounds experienced last year at Valhalla.
Woods day started with a bogey and only got worse form there. Woods dropped another shot at the par-4 14th and made a double bogey at the par-3 15th. Tiger missed the green left at No. 15 and then pitched his second shot over the green and into the water.
After making the turn in 3-over 38, Tiger birdied the par-4 2nd, but once again made a double bogey at the par-4 3rd.
Tiger did manage to birdie the 5th and 7th holes; yet three-putted the par-4 9th (his 18th) for a bogey.
I just need to make a few more putts, eliminate a couple of mistakes and Ill be right back in it, Woods said.
Woods is trying to become the first player since Walter Hagen (1924-27) to win three straight PGA Championships, and the first man to win any major on three consecutive occasions since Peter Thomson in the British Open from 1954-56.
If I play a good round tomorrow, I should get right back in the tournament, he said. Thats the good thing about a major tournament. If you play well, youll be rewarded for it. Ive just got to play well.
Thats exactly what Waite did on Thursday.

The 37-year-old Kiwi carded six birdies to no bogeys in the first round.
Waite is competing in his fifth career PGA Championship. He missed the cut in his previous four starts. In fact, he has missed his last six cuts on the PGA Tour in 2001.
'It's an adventure. That's the way I look at it,' said Waite, who is best known for losing to Woods in the 2000 Bell Canadian Open.
'I want to look back at the end of the week and say I enjoyed it.'
When David Duval won the Open Championship a few weeks back he gave Mickelson the undisputed title of best player never to win a major.
Mickelson would now like to pass that on to someone else.
The lefty played 17 bogey-free holes at the Highlands Course, before bogeying the 18th. Mickelsons round included four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 5th.
Likewise, Duval only recorded one bogey in his first start since winning his first major championship.
I havent felt this good about my golf or as confident in my abilities in a long, long time, said Duval.
Duval is no stranger to streaks. He went 0-fer in his first 86 PGA Tour starts as a professional, before breaking through and winning the 1997 Michelob Championship. Duval went on to post 11 victories in a 34-start stretch and become the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
A year ago, Duval was forced to skip the PGA Championship due to a bad back.
I was in Ketchum, Idaho last year lying on the floor of my living room watching it, Duval recalled. I watched all the coverage. Its a lot more fun being here and playing.
Full-field scores from the PGA Championship
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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods tees off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.