Name by Definition

By Rex HoggardJuly 5, 2010, 5:11 am

2010 AT&T NationalRose [royz] v.: to get up from a lying, sitting, or kneeling posture; assume an upright position; to get up after falling or being thrown down.

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Webster’s has never been so on the mark. Not on a steamy Fourth of July when the path laid out before Justin Rose was diabolically simple.

Close out his second tournament in just over a month and be dubbed the hottest thing since vuvuzelas. Blow the save and start collecting pension points toward Jean Van de Velde status.

But then the easily likeable Englishman has dealt with those types of results-oriented thoughts before. A lifetime, really, and Aronimink was poised as the ultimate career crossroads.

Seven days removed from his Sunday collapse at the Travelers Championship, a decade clear of the type of occupational initiation that sends people looking for a new line of work, Rose held on to win the AT&T National, and a long-awaited spot among the game’s elite players.

In Philly speak, this was Apollo Creed going hard to the mat and Rocky hoisting an oversized check instead of Adrian.

The ultimate reclamation project, pulled from the depths of a dismal indoctrination to the game that featured 21 consecutive missed cuts that spanned three hopeless years (1997-99) in Europe.

In a game that requires more dusting off than a renaissance fair, Rose was the ultimate survivor, having gone 161 Tour starts before breaking the seal last month at the Memorial. At Aronimink the picture of competitive perseverance was quick to realize how far he has traveled.

“It's been a long, hard road, really. But I think I have learned more in the tough times,” said Rose, who closed with 70 for a 10-under 270 total and a one-stroke victory over fast-closing Ryan Moore.

“It does seem like a lifetime ago now, I've got to tell you. I feel like I've had two or three careers. I feel like I'm two or three different people, I really do. You know, the young kid, and then the journeyman, and then the working my way back to being the player I wanted to be in the first place.”

AT&T National, along with last month’s Memorial victory, is redemption that Rose came by honestly. Always a superior ballsriker with a deft touch, the final pieces began falling into place 12 months ago just down the road at Congressional when he began working with swing coach Sean Foley.

“How about that for a one-year anniversary present,” Foley said.

The final piece of the puzzle occurred six months later when Rose, at the urging of Foley, began working with central Florida sports psychologist Gio Valiante.

“He would have a bad round and a bad score and wouldn’t react well. I told him last Sunday night, you’re going to be better at this time tomorrow than you are today,” Valiante said. “It’s a cause and effect game, the golf gods aren’t against you it’s a cause and effect.”

Those lessons were put to the test on Sunday. Four strokes clear to start the day, Rose missed a 6 footer for par at the first, the first putt from 5 to 6 feet he’d missed all week, and suddenly his lead was two.

Even when he eagled the par-5 ninth hole from 4 feet to go 5 up with nine to play, Rose knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It was a reality that made his Hartford meltdown that much more important.

Rose had gone 63 holes without a three-putt on the hardest greens this side of Magnolia Lane, but within 15 minutes he carded two three putts, at No. 10 from 35 feet and the 11th from 44 feet to slip back to within two shots of the field.

The rest of the afternoon, however, was a study in poise and execution. Rose hit a Mariano Rivera-esqe 9-of-9 greens in regulation to close out his week, was first in putts made distance and tied for 15 in fairways hit.

Following his round Rose called AT&T National his U.S. Open. With numbers like that he would have easily collected a major of the proper variety.

Not that Rose’s caddie Mark Mulcher was surprised by his man’s finish. Not after what happened late last Sunday shortly after Rose had signed for his closing 75 and tied for ninth.

“I was driving to New York and he called me and said, ‘Mulch, I’m on the ninth green (at TPC River Highlands) and I’ve got things sorted out,’” Rose’s caddie Mark Mulcher said. “And that was two hours afterward.”

Two hours after his round on Sunday at Aronimink Tiger Woods was bound for Ireland to play in this week’s J.P. McManus Pro-Am, but he’d found no secret to his putting or iron woes.

Woods, who tied for 46th, spent the better part of the week telling the assembled scribes he is close, or maybe he was telling himself. Either way, St. Andrews no longer has the look of a foregone conclusion despite the world No. 1’s 2-for-2 record on the Old Course.

“I hit driver as many times as I possibly could because it felt so good. I just wanted to keep hitting it,” said Woods, who hasn’t been winless this deep into a PGA Tour season since 2002. “That hasn't been the case lately. So it was nice to get back dialed in and obviously I need to get my putter working a little bit better and get rolling.”

Fittingly, Moore played his final round like a man with a plane to catch, birdying three of his last six holes, including a 13 footer at the 17th hole to pull within one shot. Although he came up a stroke shy, Moore’s 12 footer at the 18th to save par earned him his second trip to the British Open.

As the top finisher not otherwise exempt, Moore earned his trip to St. Andrews, along with Bubba Watson and Rose via a special mini-money list that began at The Players Championship and ran through this week.

St. Andrews is a fitting reward for Rose, who dubbed the ancient links his “Bogey Open” after having not qualified for the championship when it was played on the Old Course in 2000 and again in 2005.

Not that it was on his mind coming down the stretch. Not after everything he’s gone through.

As he approached the 17th tee clinging to a one-stroke advantage Rose ducked into a portable bathroom, some in the crowd guessing to use the facility for its alternative purpose. But it was the wrong Sunday for that. A nervy two-putt at the 17th was followed by a textbook finish, fairway, green, trophy presentation.

“A lot of questions got asked about him last week. They were all answered today,” Mulcher said.

Some questions, it seems, take longer to answer than others.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.