One Major Many Stories

By Mercer BaggsAugust 12, 2002, 4:00 pm
When Tiger Woods shot 81 in the third round of the British Open, it closed the door on the seasonal Grand Slam. But while one enormous headline was washed away, several others will take its place this week in the 84th PGA Championship.
Els Seeks Third Leg of Career Grand Slam. Woods Looks to Rebound After Muirfield Misfortune. David Wants to be Goliath Again. Will Mickelson Finally Get His Fill at Hazeltine? Another Major Surprise?
The seasons final major takes place this week at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Its the sixth time the venue has hosted a major championship. Tony Jacklin won the 1970 U.S. Open at Hazeltine, while Payne Stewart did the same in 1991.
Sandra Spuzich won the first major title at this site, in the 1966 U.S. Women's Open, while Hollis Stacy triumphed when the Open returned in '77.
Billy Casper prevailed in the 1983 U.S. Senior Open at Hazeltine.
The par-72 course will play 7,360 yards. Three of the par-5s measure in excess of 585 yards, with the third hole a tournament-record 636.
David Toms won last years PGA Championship by laying up on the 72nd hole and sinking a 12-footer for birdie and a one-shot victory over Phil Mickelson.
It marked Toms first major title, and Mickelsons fifth top-three in a major without a win. The lefthander has since finished third at this years Masters and second in the U.S. Open. He enters the PGA 0-41 in majors played.
Being that this is the first time in 11 years that Hazeltine has hosted a major, several players in the field will be using the first three days to grow accustomed to the layout.
Toms and Woods have already had a sneak peak. Toms played the course on a media day in July and shot 3-under 69.
I know its going to be different, Toms said of the course conditions once the event starts, the greens were not very fast, the rough wasnt up like its going to be and there were no grandstands ' no people.
Woods didnt keep score in his 2 -hour drive-by last Tuesday with Mark OMeara.
More than anything, Hazeltine is a driving golf course. You have to get the ball in play, Woods said. With the rough being up and the greens probably firming up, youve got to get the ball in play in order to attack and make some birdies.
Woods and company will have to re-adjust their games from keeping it under the winds off the Firth of Forth to landing the ball softly onto the greens in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
All of us who played over there started hitting the ball a little lower, little lower, little lower, and sometimes its a little difficult to let it go and get the path and release and get the ball up in the air again, Woods said.
Woods also stated there shouldnt be any tremors remaining from his Saturday earthquake at Muirfield.
The next day I was ready to go. I think the score would indicate that, too, said Woods, who shot a final-round 65. You know, golf is one of those things, youve got to put it out of your head and move on. Its a sport. Its not life or death.'
Woods has won seven of the last 12 majors contested, and fine-tuned his game last week with a win in the Buick Open, though he did battle his swing over the weekend. He will now try and become the first player since Lee Trevino, 31 years ago, to win a regular tour stop and a major championship in back-to-back weeks.
'From what I've heard, some people expect me to have a letdown (at the PGA), which I find amusing. I look at it this way: How can you have a letdown? It's a major championship, and the last one of the year.'
Ernie Els officially killed Tigers Grand Slam run. He said he celebrated with two-time Open champion Nick Price by drinking champagne out of the Claret Jug.
The fruits of victory were sweet, despite the fact that the South African almost spoiled his chance for major No. 3.
Els squandered a three-stroke lead on the back nine Sunday, and won a four-way playoff with five pars.
It might not have been the prettiest of wins, but (I) got it behind me. I think it was a major step, said Els, who also admitted that: If Tiger played on the level that he normally plays I probably would have come in second again. But I found myself there and I took my opportunity, let me put it that way.
I think thats what the guys have to try and do; when it comes your way, you have to try and grab it.
Thats exactly what 155 players will try and do this week at Tiger's expense.
Full coverage of the 84th PGA Championship
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.