Peers Speak Up for The Quiet Man

By Mercer BaggsJune 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
The Quiet Man sits in his chair, flanked to his right by an official moderator. He resides slightly above his audience on a small platform, looking down as they try to get him to speak.
 
He does speak; usually three or four sentences at a time. Invariably, a question concerning respect will arise. And the Quiet Man will answer.
 
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen has five career PGA Tour victories and at least one each year from 2001-04.
He will say something like: Its your problem if you overlook me, like he did at The Players Championship this year. Or he might respond, like he did at the Masters: No, it doesnt, not at all, when asked if it hurts his feeling that the media talks of a Big 4 and not a Big 5. Or he might just say: I dont really worry about it, like he did at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
 
Just about wherever Retief Goosen goes, he gets questioned about a perceived lack of respect ' in comparison to the top 4-ranked players in the world.
 
Certainly, he doesnt have the charisma of Tiger Woods. He doesnt have the popularity of Phil Mickelson. He doesnt have the worldly appeal of countryman Ernie Els. And he doesnt have the ability to regularly dominate like Vijay Singh.
 
He is simply who he is. Hes a soft spoken, demure and, at times, ignored individual. Hes the fifth man in whats billed as a Big 4 band. For the most part he sits in the shadows, comfortably devoid of attention. But occasionally, he plays his instrument more brilliantly than any of the others ' usually on the biggest stage.
 
Im not really all that bothered about (being overlooked), said Goosen, who will defend his U.S. Open title this week at Pinehurst. I go out there to play my game, and hopefully at the end of the week I win a tournament and that will take care of itself.
 
For as reticent as he is in personality, his resume speaks volumes.
 
He is who he is. Hes a two-time U.S. Open champion, and the reigning title holder. Hes a two-time Order of Merit champion on the European Tour. Hes a winner of more than 20 events around the world. Hes the fifth-ranked player in the world.
 
While he feels a little ill at ease in discussing his accomplishments or his abilities, his peers are quick to praise him ' and defend him.
 
Hes one of the best players in the world, said Woods. You know that if hes in contention, hes never going backwards. Hes always going to keep where hes at, if not go forward. Hes a tough person to beat come major championship time, because he doesnt make a lot of mistakes. And hes one of the best putters out here, too ' he makes everything.
 
Just one of those guys who just goes about his business, just doesnt draw any attention; but hes always there. Any time he tees it up he seems to be in contention.
 
Hes one of the best in the world, said Singh. You dont win two U.S. Opens by being a mug, you know. He can play. When hes on, theres nobody better. Hes just very underrated. He doesnt say much which is why people dont hear of him. But hes one of the best in the world.
 
When the courses get tough, he manages to get around. Hes just an extremely good putter in those types of conditions, said Sergio Garcia.
 
You know, hes a great guy, too. Im fortunate enough to be a fairly good friend of his. You know, hes a really funny guy when he gets going. I really enjoy spending time with him.
 
Hes pretty awesome ' strong player, said Adam Scott. I played the final round with him in China (at the Johnnie Walker Classic) and I started with a five-shot lead. After three holes it was a two-shot lead. I mean, he hit some of the most beautiful long-iron shots Ive ever seen that day. I got the upper hand on him in the end, but, I mean, hes phenomenal, really. Hes so solid. Put those long clubs in his hand, he looks so pure.
 
Possibly by you guys but certainly not by us, responded Darren Clarke when asked if Goosen was overlooked. He's one of the best players in the world. He's won two U.S. Opens. You've got to play some to win a couple of those. He's a world-class player.
 
Winning majors every couple of years is a really high standard ' (hes) last year's U.S. Open champion. I would say there's not a top four, there's a top 5, exclaimed Padraig Harrington.
 
I think looking at a guy like Retief is kind of like a stranger looking at Manhattan; you don't realize how tall the buildings are until you go there, said Joey Sindelar. Retief is a long hitter with a beautiful, fabulous, slow swing and nobody even talks about him. It's like ' it's amazing.
 
You guys don't talk about him too much, Els said to a room full of media members earlier this year. He's obviously got the game. He's proven that; he's won Tour Championships and U.S. Opens and who knows what. He's won everything. He's done just about everything, too, already. He's been No. 1 in Europe and he's done what he has to do to be a top-ranked player.
 
I don't know; I've got to ask you guys, why you guys don't write about him, because we regard him as definitely a real star player.
 
And that kind of peer respect ' along with winning ' means more to Goosen than he could ever say.
 
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Related links:
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  • Photo Gallery from Pinehurst
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    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 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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    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.