Love Exciting and New Again

By Rex HoggardDecember 18, 2008, 5:00 pm
The transformation had been months, if not years, in the making, but it was a single round that ultimately set the wheels of redemption in motion. A second-round 73 at the Valero Texas Open sent Davis Love III back to Sea Island, Ga., for the weekend. But the 44 year-old didnt dash for the comfortable confines of his island home or his hunting cabin or the slopes of Sun Valley.
Instead, he went back to work. Less than 24 hours after posting his 3-over par card in San Antonio, Love settled into a spot on the Frederica Golf Club practice range at Sea Island with nothing but a collection of wedges and a plan as clear as the crisp ocean air.
Davis Love III
Love put together an impressive late-season rally during the Fall Series. (Getty Images)

Id never seen him show up with just his wedges, said Mac Barnhardt, Loves longtime friend and manager with Crown Sports. He knew that if he improved his wedge game everything else would follow.
So the longest player of his ' and the better part of the next ' generation went to the small ball. The result was Tour victory No. 20 and, with respectful apologies to Erik Compton, the most inspiring comeback of the season, non-transplant division.
That Love sealed Tour tilt No. 20 at the Childrens Miracle Network Classic with a pair of buzzer-beating wedge shots only made all that work on the Frederica practice range that much worthwhile. And that he did it a little more than a year after wrenching his ankle and undergoing potentially career-ending surgery is a testament to his drive.
As soon as they give us a ball and club you want to hit it, Love said. I was really doubtful (I could come back) until they got me back out onto the course and started letting me go.
In late September, Love was summoned to the Tour Championship to accept the Payne Stewart Award, which is given to the player who shared Stewarts respect for the traditions of the game. But his day at the podium should have come some 13 weeks later at another dias, on another coast.
Dudley Hart, who was named the Tours Comeback Player of the Year on Dec. 16, is one of the circuits most likeable players. He performed brilliantly in 2008 (six top-10s and a runner-up finish at the BMW Championship) after missing most of 2007 to be at home with his ailing wife. But its hard to imagine a player who rallied from the physical depths that Love had reached.
It was in late September of 2007 when Love stepped in a hole while playing golf in Georgia and ruptured all the lateral ligaments in his left ankle. Surgery, a languid recovery and doubt followed.
We had a rule, no one had ever come back too late from an injury, Barnhardt said.
Love, already one of the Tours most ardent gym rats, added another trainer to his stable and intensified his rehab work.
The results were mixed for much of 2008. Love qualified for the U.S. and British Opens, a pair of marathons that tested his rebuilt ankle more than his retooled game, and he finished tied for 19th at Royal Birkdale. But there were also plenty of missed cuts (five) and pedestrian finishes outside the top 50 (five).
Like Justin Leonard in 2007, Love viewed the Fall Series as a chance to set the stage for 2009. He tied for third, his best finish since 2006, finished tied for sixth in Las Vegas and was under par for 12 of his final 14 rounds to become just the fourth active player to reach the 20-victory club.
People were shocked that heres a guy with his exempt status out here playing six weeks in a row (in the fall), Love said. I gained some confidence. Now Im ready to go for the next year and years after.
But ready is not to be mistaken for appeased. True to form, Love has spent the weeks since his Disney breakthrough preparing for 2009. Late in the day on Dec. 16, not long after the Tour had named Hart the seasons most inspiring reclamation project, Love was back on a Sea Island practice range. This time he was testing new 3-woods and honing that reinvigorated wedge game.
Truth is, Love may have deserved to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award but, after 20-plus years on tour, he has little use for ceremonial accolades. He will begin 2009 with a single minded focus ' win.
He did the same thing at the end of 2002, Barnhardt said. He found motivation in that injury. Hes free and has it all behind him and hes ready to let loose.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''

DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: