Sutton Ready for Rest Not Ryder Cup

By Mercer BaggsOctober 18, 2002, 4:00 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- You cant mention the 2004 Ryder Cup without Hal Suttons name surfacing. The 44-year-old is the rumor-mill choice for U.S. captain. But mention it to him and youll get a sly smile and a succinct response.
 
Thats two years away, he said firmly after his opening-round 67 ' which matched his lowest score of the season ' in the Disney Golf Classic.
 
For now, Sutton has other things on his mind ' like his play.
 
The barrel-chested baritone is in the process of wrapping up one of his worst seasons ever as a professional. He shot 71 Friday to make his 11th cut in 26 starts this year, and has yet to record a top-10 finish.
 
This weeks event will be his last until 2003.
 
Im working on losing weight, spending time with my kids, he said.
 
The extra poundage Sutton has accumulated around the waist is due to his sleep apnea, a medial condition in which breathing stops repeatedly during sleep. Sutton is afforded rest by sleeping hooked up to a portable oxygen tank.
 
He said his sleeping has improved, which has added to his energy level, which, in turn, means its time to get in shape for next season ' his 22nd on the PGA Tour. Hes played at least 25 events since his first full season, in 1982, and has no plans of reducing his schedule.
 
Ill probably still play 25. At my age you cant play 15 or something like that and stay very competitive. I had to play 25 and havent been very competitive this year, he said.
 
The highlight of Suttons season was his four-ball victory with Scott Verplank on Day 1 of the Ryder Cup. He competed in only two matches, losing in the singles to Bernhard Langer, 5-and-4.
 
One of the reasons many believe Sutton will be the perfect captain for 04 is due to his thick skin and palpable patriotic pride.
 
Curtis Strange, the most recent U.S. captain, was heavily criticized for his Sunday singles line-up, in which he back-loaded his team ' with Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods as the final three men out ' and lost the session, 7 - 4 . Consequently, the Europeans won back the Cup.
 
I thought Curtis did an excellent job, Sutton said. It was a 14-man decision where everybody went (on Sunday). He and Hubbie (vice captain Mike Hulbert) and all 12 guys ' you know, my name changed four positions while discussing it.
 
I felt like Curtis was stern when he needed to be and open-minded when he needed to be.
 
A four-time Ryder Cup member, Sutton is well aware of the slings and arrows fired into the captains lofty perch. He doesnt like the negativity, but hell be ready for it should he be next in line.
 
Probably the worst part about being captain is youre subject to all kinds of criticism ' everybody second-guesses every decision that you make.
 
If youre afraid to be second-guessed then you better not make any decisions, cause theres a whole bunch of second-guessers in the world.
 
But more worrisome than the attacks from armchair golfers is the fact that his country doesnt have the Cup, and its hard for him to explain why.
 
We need to, as a team, focus a lot more, he tried to explain. We shouldnt lose these things the way we lose them. Theres way too much talent over here.
 
Full-field scores from the Disney Golf Classic
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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.