Fantasy Island US Open

By Rex HoggardJune 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
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A Bethpage Open deserves a working class champion and while Tiger Woods may not exactly fit the salt-of-the-earth bill he grew up hustling games on Southern California munis and has paid his share of $10 green fees.
Besides, theres no way Rocco Mediate, as blue collar as they come, can hope for consecutive lightning strikes, and neither Paul Goydos nor Jason Gore qualified for this years championship.

2009 U.S. Open

Pick a Foursome: Tiger Woods may be the obvious choice. He may even be a bit of clich, but at this ballpark, with this trophy on the line, theres too much arithmetic to add up to anything but a Woods victory.
He won the 02 Open at Bethpage in clinical fashion, plays courses where par is important better than anyone and missed just seven fairways for the week in his Open tune up at Muirfield Village.
Picks: Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, Nick Watney
Note: One player from four categories based on the World Golf Ranking (1-10, A; 11-20, B; 21-30, C; 31-40, D). Points awarded on money earned ($1 = 1 point).
Salary Cap: Woods burns more than half your cap ($5.77 million) ' it is the way of a U.S. Open at Bethpage ' so the rest of your lineup has to be sleepers and long shots.
Mathew Goggin has been playing solid and has the same swing coach as Geoff Ogilvy, the Australian who won the last Open played in New York, while McIlroy, Tomasulo and Sim are young but full of major potential.
Picks: Tiger Woods, Mathew Goggin, Michael Sim, Peter Tomasulo, Rory McIlroy ($9.24 million)
Note: Five players with a $10 million cap based on 2008 earnings. Rookies without 2008 earnings will be priced at $250,000. Standings based on overall team earnings.
Pick One: Tiger Woods. Forget knee surgery, new swings, rehab or expectations run amok, the world No. 1 and the 109th U.S. Open were always going to be the closest thing to a lock in golf. Besides, with all due respect to Turnberry and Hazeltine National ' site of the seasons final two Grand Slam events ' they just dont move the needle like the Black Course.
Note: Players must be picked before the start of the season and used only once. Standings based on total earnings.
In addition to my picks, the staff will be offering up their picks. A player can be picked to win a maximum of five times. We will be keeping a running tally of the monies earned each week. The participants include: Jay Coffin, Editorial Director; Mercer Baggs, Editorial Manager; Brian Koressel, Senior Producer; Dena Davis, Assistant Editor; Erik Peterson, Travel Editor; Jerry Foltz, special contributor.

NamePlayer PickReasonMoney
Rex HoggardWinner:
Tiger Woods
If theres a better way to make a wheel, we havent heard about it. Bethpage may as well be Woods backyard and that Memorial tune up was too good to ignore. $2,475,252
Jim Furyk
Forget that two-year title drought, the man with the phone-booth swing has an Open game and an Open title to show for it. Hes also on form with top-10 finishes in his last three starts.
Dark Horse:
Michael Sim
The best player on the planet right now without a Tour card has been on a tear on the Nationwide Tour, finishing no worse than 30th in his last five starts that include two victories and a playoff loss.
Jay CoffinWinner:
Tiger Woods
Geez, werent we wondering what was wrong with this guy after The Players? Not anymore. Hes as overwhelming of a favorite here as hes ever been for a major.$4,350,748
Sean O'Hair
Hits it long enough to contend and has been fairly steady during the year. The falter at Bay Hill was disappointing but he backed it up with a solid victory at Quail Hollow.
Dark Horse:
Nick Watney
Another guy who hits it a mile, which will serve him well. His success this week will be contingent upon the flatstick.
Mercer BaggsWinner:
Tiger Woods
We get to pick him five times; this will be No. 3 for me. This is the safe pick ' and the proper one.$5,192,461
Angel Cabrera
He could take a mental break for the next couple of years after winning the Masters, but this course is right up his alley.

Dark Horse:
David Duval
He made his way in through qualifying and I could see him making some noise over the first couple of days.
Erik PetersonWinner:
Tiger Woods
How is it that at each major Tiger seems to be more heavily favored to win than he was before?$3,783,852
Angel Cabrera
Thrives under the No one wants me to win tag.

Dark Horse:
Rickie Fowler
This amateur is a tough competitor, which will serve him well at the ultimate Grinders tournament.
Brian KoresselWinner:
Geoff Ogilvy
Big, bad golf course versus one cool customer. I'm taking the Aussie.$4,792,225
Paul Casey
The only problem with this pick is that he could easily be the winner.
Dark Horse:
Alvaro Quiros
Long golf course versus long off the tee. But in the end, sideburns just too long.
Dena DavisWinner:
Tiger Woods
Seriously. Why are we even playing the tournament? We all know who'll win. Oh, because it's so much fun to watch him do it? Yep.$3,465,372
Henrik Stenson
This guy seems to rise to the occasion in big tournaments. He'll do it again this week.
Dark Horse:
David Toms
Coming off a T2 at the St. Jude, DT is having a super year with six top-10s, bouncing back from his injury-plagued 2008 season.
Jerry FoltzWinner:
Tiger Woods
No explanation necessary.$2,760,957
Steve Stricker
Don't think he'll win, but it certainly isn't a stretch thinking he'll be on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Dark Horse:
Dustin Johnson
He's ridiculously long and more accurate than most bombers, and won't be intimidated by the surroundings to which he's oblivious.


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    After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

    Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

    On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

    Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

    After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

    Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

    A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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    Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

    At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

    “The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

    Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

    Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

    “Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

    Getty Images

    Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

    PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

    Laura Davies won the day.

    It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

    Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

    Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

    For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

    In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

    “I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

    At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

    “It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

    Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

    “It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

    With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

    “People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

    “Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

    She also relished showing certain fans something.

    “Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

    Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

    In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

    Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

    “The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

    After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

    “I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

    Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

    In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

    “I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

    And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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    Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

    The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

    “Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

    After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

    Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

    “Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”