Scott looks to continue his mastery of 2013

By Rex HoggardNovember 13, 2013, 1:53 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – The old journalistic saw figured that if the headline was big enough, the story was big enough. But as winter turned to summer on Adam Scott’s Australian homecoming it seemed the scribes and headline writers had pretty much nailed it.

“Storming home,” announced The Age.

“Welcome to Scot-land,” The Courier claimed.

“To greatness,” was The Telegraph’s take.

And, perhaps in the most ambitious of this week’s offerings, The Age added, “Scott may spark golden age.”

If the Australian media sounds a tad hyperbolic they’ve come by it honestly.

Scott’s return to Australia was always going to be a celebration. After 76 attempts, the sporting nation finally can claim a Masters champion, and, to Scott’s credit, he has not soft-peddled the accomplishment or shrunk from the spotlight.

At last week’s Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast, “Scottie” took hundreds of photos with fans while wearing the green jacket and officials proclaimed last Friday green day, with fans and players donning said color to honor the prodigal son’s return with his well-earned spoils.

“Hopefully the weather improves a little and I can bring it out so everyone can see it,” said Scott on Wednesday at Royal Melbourne after a steady downpour cut short the pro-am for this week’s Australian Masters. “It doesn’t get seen too much down here.”

Through all of Greg Norman’s near misses at Augusta National and countless other close calls, the Masters was the one major event that eluded Australia. When Scott proclaimed, “C’mon Aussie!” this spring at Augusta National it was more than a champion’s celebration. It was the ultimate group therapy.

Scott, soft-spoken to the extreme and not prone to histrionics, figured the Masters green jacket is “the holy grail of golf.” So when he arrived home for the first time since that historic Sunday last spring he knew the trip would be much more than another victory lap.

What no one could have known, however, was the measure of Scott’s resolve not to toil in accomplishments. When he opened with a 65 at the Australian PGA most of the fan base was still distracted by Augusta National’s green glare.

By the time he waited out a weather delay on Sunday and lapped the field by four strokes the fan base had finally realized that their Scottie wasn’t finished. The victory secured Scott the Australian Slam with victories in his country’s Open, Masters and now the PGA.

On Wednesday, Scott fed the frenzy even more when he suggested he still had work to do before calling it a calendar.

“People say, as a professional golfer, you haven’t achieved everything if you haven’t won an Open (Championship) at St. Andrews (Scotland). But for an Australian the same can be said for winning an event at Royal Melbourne,” he waxed.

Last year at Kingston Heath, another sand belt gem not far from Royal Melbourne, Scott outlasted Ian Poulter to win his first Australian Masters (officially known as the Talisker Masters). It was the harbinger of what was to come in Georgia the following April, or maybe it was the metaphorical line in the sand following his heartbreak at Lytham when he lost to Ernie Els.

Either way, Scott’s victory on Sunday on the Gold Coast, where he was raised, is the ultimate proof that he has little interest in sentimental swings and ceremonial starts.

“There’ll be time for stopping and reflecting, but I don’t think I really have yet,” he said. “I will get my chance in December to reflect.”

Before that another threshold awaits. A victory at Royal Melbourne would turn a dream season into something that may take longer than a month to digest.

Yet beyond his play, Scott’s greatest accomplishment during his trip home may be that he realizes the gravity of the moment. In a move that is utterly out of character for a player who long ago adopted a less-is-more approach, Scott plans to play four consecutive weeks in Australia.

After this week’s Masters he will team with Jason Day at the World Cup, which will also be played at Royal Melbourne, and finally the Australian Open. A country that idolized Norman in his prime now has a new hero, and despite Scott’s normal inclination to deflect praise he’s embraced the moment in every way.

“With Norman, I felt he was larger than life and I don’t feel like that’s what I’m doing, but I did enjoy seeing so many kids out there (at the Australian PGA),” Scott said. “Hopefully I can help the next bunch of guys come along.”

When Scott arrived in Australia last year there were still demons to be dealt with following his collapse at Lytham, where he squandered a four-stroke lead with four holes to play, and when things got tight against Poulter at the PGA his mind flashed back to that troubled Sunday.

“I didn’t want to make a habit of tournaments slipping away,” he said.

Scott pulled away with a Sunday 67 to win by four and collect the champion’s gold jacket. Before he bolted Kingston Heath he told the assembled masses, “The next jacket is a different color.”

Since then Scott has elevated his game and his accomplishments to justify even the biggest headlines.

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: