Players elicit full range of emotion in Australia

By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2013, 9:17 pm

SURFERS PARADISE, Australia – In the closing moments of what turned into a surprisingly tense final lap for Adam Scott at the Australian Masters, a large and boisterous group gathered in a dated clubhouse to cheer on their fellow Queenslander.

“C’mon, Aussie.”

If, as some contend, their Scotty solidified his place as Greg Norman’s equal with his victory at the other Masters in April, exit polling from those caught up in the moment at Surfers Paradise Golf Club on Sunday suggests the soft-spoken superstar is on pace to forge a new legacy beyond that of his idol.

Scott’s come-from-behind victory on Sunday at Royal Melbourne was, by his own assessment, “ugly,” and something of a gift considering that Matt Kuchar stepped to the 18th tee with a two-stroke lead and left with, well ... nothing.

“Even though it wasn’t the prettiest golf today, like I had played the first three, there was enough good stuff to keep me in there and I hit good shots coming down the stretch when I had to, and that is important stuff,” Scott said.

But as the prodigal son forges ahead to an unprecedented “Scotty Slam,” no one – at least no one in this corner of Australia – was interested in style points.

The Australian Masters triumph comes on the heels of Scott’s victory last week at the Australian PGA, which was played just up the coast from Surfers Paradise, about an hour from where Scott learned the game at Twin Waters Golf Club.

A victory this week paired with fellow Queenslander Jason Day at the World Cup followed by another Australian Open title in a fortnight in Sydney would give the world No. 2 an unprecedented four straight.

This isn’t the Grand Slam – with apologies to the faithful gathered at Surfers Paradise, the strength of the Australian fields is best described as suspect – but for a native son who was supposed to be savoring the rewards of a green jacket victory lap, his return has been transformed into a shopping spree.

Scott is collecting champions’ jackets at a pace that may require extra closet space when he finally puts 2013 behind him.

Sunday’s victory at Royal Melbourne was his second consecutive at the Australian Masters, joining Norman as the only player to successfully defend that title, and he added another gold jacket to the green one he never seems to want to take off and the pink one he won at the recent PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

Scott’s closing 71 may have been “ugly,” but for a nation normally caught up in the frenzy of the upcoming Ashes cricket matches with England, it was front-page news, a phenomenon that immediately drew comparisons to Norman in his prime.

“He has the same ability as Greg to transcend golf,” said Peter Claughton, one of Scott’s high school coaches growing up in Queensland who watched Sunday’s give and take from the crowded Surfers Paradise clubhouse. “Everything is there, the ability, the charisma, the sense of timing.”

Scott, however, has another legend caught in his crosshairs. Earlier in the week the normally soft-spoken Scott was asked if supplanting Tiger Woods atop the Official World Golf Ranking was on his agenda and he acknowledged in his own aloof way that it was.

“That comes with winning,” he said. “Right now Tiger is winning a lot, so that sort of dictates what I need to do.”

For the record, Scott now has four international victories, including the Masters, this season to Woods’ five PGA Tour tilts, and two more weeks to separate himself before his season ends. That might explain Scott’s emotion on the 72nd hole on Sunday. It wasn’t the unfiltered joy he demonstrated at Augusta National, but the significance of his victory, not to mention his impact on the game back home, was evident.

It was a fitting conclusion to an emotional week on the sand belt gem.

On Thursday, Jarrod Lyle put on an emotional show in his first event since beating leukemia for the second time. Lyle, who grew up about an hour from Royal Melbourne, opened with a tearful 72 and followed with a second-round 71 to exceed even his own expectations.

“It’s better than I thought it was going to be,” said Lyle, who struggled with fatigue and a rusty swing on Sunday and closed with a 79. “I came here not really thinking I was going to play four days to be honest. So to have three reasonable rounds and one shocker that’s golf.”

A large crowd that included his wife Briony and 20-month-old daughter Lusi gathered around the 18th green on Sunday to cheer Lyle to the finish and he finished the week the way it began – with tears.

This week’s World Cup will likely be just as emotional for Day, who learned last week that eight of his relatives, including his grandmother, died in Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

“I am deeply saddened to confirm that multiple members of my family lost their lives (in Haiyan),” Day said in a statement. “We feel devastated for all who have been affected by this horrific tragedy.”

The news added another layer to an already emotional season in Australia. It was what drew the faithful to Surfers Paradise on Sunday – a champion returns, a comeback begins, a catastrophe cast a pall.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.