Maruyama Masters Milwaukee

By Mercer BaggsJuly 15, 2001, 4:00 pm
Shigeki Maruyama became the first Japanese player to win on the U.S. mainland by defeating Charles Howell III on the first hole of sudden death in the Greater Milwaukee Open.
So whats next?
Beat Tiger Woods! Maruyama said, flashing his trademark smile.
Free Video - Registration Required Shigeki comments on his first PGA Tour win
Maruyama led by as many as three shots coming down the stretch in Milwaukee, Wis., but was caught by a surging Howell, who birdied six of his final seven holes.
The 31-year-old Chiba native could have avoided a playoff by birdieing the 72nd hole, but an errant second shot that landed in the greenside grandstand eventually led to a par-5.
The two men finished regulation at 18-under-par 266.
Back to the 18th the two combatants went. Maruyama successfully found the fairway, while Howell hooked his tee shot into the left rough. Howell was forced to lay-up and then came up short of the green on his third shot, as well.
Maruyama placed his second shot through green and chipped to within five feet of the hole. When Howell missed his par save from seven feet, Maruyama had two putts to win the tournament, but did so in just one.
Maruyama first made a name for himself stateside by going 5-0 for a victorious International Team in the 1998 Presidents Cup. Hes a nine-time winner in Japan, whose previous best finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for second in the 2000 Buick Invitational.
Howells previous best was a third-place finish in the John Deere Classic last year. Despite not winning, the 2000 NCAA champion easily secured his 2002 playing privileges by earning $334,800.
Its nice to know you have a job, Howell said. Its a huge relief.
Said Howell of his counterpart: Shigeki is a great player. Hes probably the nicest guy out here. Hes always smiling. But now hes obviously got a reason to smile.
Though Maruyama is the first from his country to win on the mainland, he is not the first Japanese-born player to win a PGA Tour event.
Isao Aoki captured the 1983 Hawaiian Open when he holed a pitching wedge from 128 yards for an eagle-3 on the 72nd hole.
Maruyama started the final round at Brown Deer Park one shot off the 54-hole lead, held by Jeff Sluman. Sluman struggled to a 1-over-par 72 to finish in a tie for 10th at 13-under.
On the other hand, Maruyama birdied both par-5s on the front nine to move into first place at 15-under. He then took control of the tournament by holing a 7-iron from 173 yards for an eagle-2 at the par-4 8th.
A birdie at the par-4 10th gave the Maruyama a three-stroke cushion at 18-under; though, he gave that shot back on the very next hole.
Playing a couple of groups in front of Maruyama, Howell started his scoring barrage after a bogey at the par-3 11th.
The 22-year-old birdied Nos. 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18 to enter the clubhouse at 18-under.
I didnt know if I had a chance to win, he said. But I tried to make as many birdies as I could to put some pressure on him.
Maruyama made his way back to 18-under with a birdie on the par-5 15th, and could have won the tournament in regulation had he done the same on the 18th.
Following a perfect drive on the home hole, Maruyama seemed to rush his second shot and nearly injured a handful of spectators.
Maruyama took relief from the grandstand, played his third shot 15 feet past the hole, and two-putted for par. Of course, he atoned just minutes later.
'This is a great country,' Maruyama said through a translator. 'This is the land of dreams. My dreams have come true.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*J.P. Hayes, of Appleton, finished in a tie for third with Tim Herron at 15-under. Hayes was trying to become the first Wisconsin native to win in the GMOs 34-year history.
*Skip Kendall, playing in his hometown, tied for 15th at 12-under. Kendall was fulfilling his dying fathers wish by playing this week. Kendalls father passed away Wednesday.
Full-field scores from the Greater Milwaukee Open
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Watch: Tiger highlights from Round 2 at Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

Tiger Woods started at even par in Round 2 of the Honda Classic. Friday began with a bogey at the par-4 second, but Woods got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:

Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.

At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. And the crowd is loving it.

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Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

“I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

“It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

Made Cut

Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

“What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

#MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

“I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

“Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

Stay tuned.

Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.

Missed Cut

West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.