Second Round Suspended at Hazeltine

By Mercer BaggsAugust 16, 2002, 4:00 pm
Once again, lightning has suspended play in Chaska, Minn.
Fred Funk leads the way in the 84th PGA Championship, at 7-under-par through 13 holes. Retief Goosen (69), Justin Leonard (66), Mark Calcavecchia (68) and Rich Beem (66) are all in the clubhouse, tied at minus 6.
Officials suspended the second round at 6:21 PM local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 AM Saturday, with 41 players still on the course.
This is the second straight day that lightning has factored at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Thursday, the elements postponed play for nearly three hours, forcing 39 players to complete their opening rounds Friday morning.
In 1991, lightning killed one spectator and sent six others to the hospital in the first round of the U.S. Open at Hazeltine.
More bad weather is anticipated Saturday. The rain and lightning are expected to subside in the morning, but may leave 30-40 mph winds in its wake.
'I can't imagine that kind of wind and playing this golf course and trying to get the ball to stay in the fairway,' said Funk, one of the most accurate drivers on the PGA Tour.
If thats the case, it will be similar to the conditions faced in the third round of the preceding major.
At Muirfield, 40 mph gusts blew away Tiger Woods chance for a seasonal Grand Slam. He shot 81 under treacherous conditions to fall out of contention in the British Open.
Hes once again in contention this week, at 3-under-par for the tournament through 16 holes.
After starting his second round with a 15-foot par save at the first, Woods made three birdies in a four-hole stretch to get to 4-under for the tournament. But after missing a seven-footer for birdie at the eighth, Tigers round stalled. He made five straight pars before three-putting for bogey at the 13th.
Funk began the round tied with Jim Furyk. But while Furyk shot 73 to drop to 3-under, Funk continued to progress.
The five-time PGA Tour winner started on the back nine and birdied Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to take sole possession of the lead at 7-under.
Funk missed the fairway at the par-4 first and had to pitch out into the fairway. He was left with a 10-footer for par, but made the save.
Funk took a two-shot lead with a birdie on the par-5 third, but gave it right back with a bogey at 4.
He was quite animated throught the round, swinging his putter when left a ball short of the hole, pumping his fist when they fell, and hi-fiving everyone with an extended hand.
'I wasn't scared of the atmosphere I was in,' said Funk. 'I was having fun. I was enjoying being in the lead at the PGA.
'I'm not going to back down.'
The quartet of players at minus 6 all posted their numbers in the morning, and all but Beem are past major champions.
Calcavecchia is making his 50th major start since winning the 1989 British Open, and the big events have seen little results. The 42-year-old has but three top-10 finishes in majors since his British triumph, two of which came last year. He tied for fourth in the 2001 Masters and recorded the same result later that year at the PGA in Atlanta.
This year, he missed the cut in both the Masters and U.S. Open, and tied for 80th ' out of 83 to make the cut ' at Muirfield.
'That'd be the ultimate,' he said about winning a second major. 'I wouldn't think coming into this week that it was looking too good; certainly my form hasn't been great. But that's the way I play. Any given week I show up and I hit three or four good iron shots in a row and make some putts, I can get hot, get going.'
Leonard and Goosen have both fared better since their major triumphs.
Since winning the 1997 British Open, Leonard lost in a playoff to Paul Lawrie in the 1999 British, and has finished in the top 20 in all three majors this season. He also won the '99 Players Championship.
Goosen, the 2001 U.S. Open champion, finished second this year at Augusta and tied for eighth at Muirfield.
Beem, on the other hand, is making just his fourth career major appearance, and first of the season. He has two missed cuts and tie for 70th (1999 PGA) in his three previous starts.
'I didnt come into this tournament expecting anything. Im just as surprised as you all that Im sitting here, Beem told the media. What Im not surprised is that Im playing well. I know Im good, I know Ive got some game, but at the same time this is a major championship and I havent really done anything in majors yet, so Im pleasantly surprised.
As is Funk, who is also making his first major start of the season. The 46-year-old has only two top-10 finishes in 36 prior majors played.
Full-field scores from the 84th PGA Championship
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Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

"As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.

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Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

“Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

“Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

“And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

“So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1, leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

8/1: Tiger Woods

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

50/1: Alex Noren

60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner