Marathon Now a Sprint

By Rex HoggardJune 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' The U.S. Golf Association managed to play roughly eight hours of uninterrupted golf at a tournament that has had all the cohesiveness of a college frat party and accomplished, well, nothing.
A towheaded kid from California with a long swing and John Dalys pants still leads. A square-shouldered southerner with a John Wayne delivery has joined the fray atop the leaderboard. And the games two most important calling cards are running out of time.
Ricky Barnes
Ricky Barnes became just the fourth player to reach double digits under par in a U.S. Open. (Getty Images)
For the first time in seven days the 109th U.S. Open appears as if it may finally end, albeit on Monday, Mother Nature permitting. Whats not so clear is who will be the last man with dry socks.
Ricky Barnes still leads, despite more missed putts and fairways on Sunday than the golf gods normally tolerate from a front-runner. Lucas Glover, who made a mess of his third-round front nine before remembering that nobody in this weeks field is driving the ball better, is all square with him at 7 under, one-and-a-half holes into the final frame.
And Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the marquee the whole of NYC has been waiting in ankle-deep mud for, are just close enough ' seven and five strokes back, respectively ' to make things interesting.
They both, however, will need help from Glover and Barnes, and the reformed wild child has not tipped his hand to a collapse just yet. In fact, for a time early Sunday it appeared as if the championship had ended, in form if not function.
Hollywood Ricky played his first six holes of Round 3 in 3 under, moved to 11 under to become just the fourth player in 109 national get-togethers to sport a double-digit under-par total and was six up on the field and a cool dozen clear of Woods.
Nothing gives New Yorkers reason to pause like a September swoon by the Yankees and a Bethpage Open turned pincushion by four days of nonstop rain. For a time Barnes and Mother Nature turned the mighty Black into a pitch-and-putt. We imagine the USGA already had Open Doctor Rees Jones charting 18 new tee boxes that stretch the layout all the way to Yonkers.
Sanity seemed restored when Barnes went hay to hay and made a good bogey at No. 10. A hole later he opened the door even further with his second consecutive hook and a momentary request for his second consecutive reload. Worst word an Open leader can mutter? Provisional.
Barnes managed just three pars on his inward nine, an Open antithesis, and seemed pleased to sign for a 70 that could have easily been a 75.
Sunday, even par at a U.S. Open, I cant complain, said Barnes, who showed signs of stress late with a bogey at his 55th hole and a tee shot at the second pulled seven paces into the knee-high fescue to start Lap 4.
After Glover, who posted the type of closing nine (3-under 33) to his third round that wins major championships, and Barnes the board reads David Duval, Ross Fisher, Mickelson, Mike Weir and Hunter Mahan. The year 2003 called, they want their leaderboard back.
Duval, whose longtime swing coach Puggy Blackmon called a new man, birdied the last and is 16 holes away from his most meaningful victory. While Mickelson, who seems to have supplanted Derek Jeter in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers everywhere, left the door open with birdies at two of his final three.
Interestingly, the games ultimate marathon will quickly become a sprint on Monday morning. Barnes and Glover completed just one hole of the final round Sunday before the familiar sound of air horns filled the cool twilight air. Duval, Woods, Mickelson & Co. are running out of at bats.
The situation will be particularly dire for Woods, who played seven holes and is a touchdown back heading into Monday mornings rush-hour finish. Although the world No. 1 offered a glimmer of hope with a chip in at the 17th to finish his third round ' about the only thing all week, other than the weatherman, that has made him laugh ' and a birdie in the growing gloom at the seventh he continues to struggle on the Blacks greens and still has never won a major from behind.
If I can put a number up (Sunday) afternoon ' and Ill probably need a little help, Woods, the 2002 champ, said when asked his chances of scoring the Bethpage double.
Odds are this Open will go to an off-Broadway player given Woods putting woes and Mickelsons inconsistencies. And Barnes is as off-Broadway as they come, having spent the better part of his rookie campaign with weekends off (six missed cuts in 13 events). Hes also become the de-facto favorite of sports most partisan crowd.
Hes got cooler pants than I do, Glover smiled.
Hes also got big shoes to fill and 17 muddy holes to survive if hes going to make this fairytale come true.

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Related Links:
  • Full U.S. Open Scores
  • Full Coverage - The 109th U.S. Open
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    Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

    Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

    Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

    A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

    A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

    Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

    Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

    (More coming...)

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    Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

    By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

    Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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    McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

    McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    “I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

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    “I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

    This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

    A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

    McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

    “It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

    As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

    “It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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    Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

    By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

    PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

    She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

    Her confidence is high.

    “Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

    Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

    Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

    “One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

    “I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

    Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

    “I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

    That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.