Weather will have big say in PGA result

By Rex HoggardAugust 12, 2012, 12:46 am

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Mother Nature 2, PGA Championship 1, with the rubber match awaiting on what promises to be a marathon Sunday.

Through three days Kiawah Island, site of the famed 1991 “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup, has become home to the Duel against Doppler Radar. Weather reports have replaced leaderboards in importance as winds sent scores soaring to a record stroke average (78) on Friday and on Saturday it was a fast-moving storm that did the damage.

It seemed strangely apropos that Rory McIlroy, who won his first major on a saturated layout (Congressional), roared out of the gates with a 4-under 32 front nine to grab a share of the lead with Vijay Singh almost in tandem with a line of thunderstorms that halted play and set up a 29-hole Sunday to decide the year’s final major.

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Forecast good for Sunday finish

Singh was playing the par-3 eighth hole when the horn echoed through Kiawah’s dunes at just before 5 p.m., while McIlroy had just made the turn on a course softened further by overnight rains and winds that were on the playable side of Friday’s gale.

Round 3 play is scheduled to resume at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday followed by the final turn, which will feature a two-tee start and threesomes.

McIlroy, who hasn’t finished better than 25th in a major since last year’s U.S. Open, likely would have preferred to play on. The Ulsterman birdied three of his first five holes and pulled into a tie with Singh with his fifth birdie of the day at No. 7.

“It was a great start, the start that I was looking to get off to,” said McIlroy, who bogeyed his last hole (No. 9) and avoided damage at the par-4 third when his tee shot nestled into the branch of what can best be described as a Pete Dye tree. “It’s nice going into the final day, if we get it finished, in a great position.”

If McIlroy ultimately emerges from the wind and rain with his second major, historians will likely remember his stellar Saturday start, but it was his persistence on Friday that should receive equal billing.

Four over through 14 holes, McIlroy rallied in the worst of the Round 2 tempest to post a 75 and keep pace with the leaders. In the not so distant past that start may have caused the worst kind of attitude adjustment but his work with short game guru Dave Stockton Sr. has softened that edge in recent weeks.

“We made a slight adjustment to my routine and my stroke, and it made a huge difference last week. I felt so much better on the greens than I did at the Open,” McIlroy said. “(Stockton) sort of just said to me, ‘You know, just go out there and have fun and enjoy it and smile.’ That's something that I've really tried to do the last two weeks, and it's definitely helped.”

On Saturday Singh wasn’t doing much smiling. With all the congeniality of an unwanted blind date the Fijian and Tiger Woods set out in the anchor match. On the 32 occasions Woods and Singh have been paired together on the PGA Tour Woods holds a 21-8-3 advantage.

Although not a complete game, Singh should add one to the “win” column following Saturday’s abbreviated frame. He birdied the first and seventh, had little to say to his playing partner and held a share of the lead when he was whisked to safety. While Woods missed three makeable putts in his first three holes, hit three fans with errant shots and signed almost as many gloves as Phil Mickelson on his way to a 3-over-par start.

To make matters worse, when players retreated to the clubhouse they were greeted by a re-air of the 2009 PGA, exactly what Woods needed: another poor putting performance to watch.

“I got off to a rough start today and couldn’t get anything going,” said Woods, who had an 8-footer for par on the eighth hole and was five strokes back when Mother Nature began turning little puddles into big ones late in the afternoon. “I’ll come back tomorrow morning and see what happens. There are a lot of holes left to play.”

Sunday will not be a two-man race, and Saturday’s delay was a timely TO for the world No. 2, but if a player is going to emerge from a high-profile pack to challenge Singh and McIlroy it seems Stevie Williams’ new boss has a better chance.

Adam Scott matched McIlroy with an outward 32 that featured four birdies over his final five holes of the day. If the Aussie is still reeling from Lytham he’s hiding it well.

Since undergoing an extreme Grand Slam makeover at the start of the 2011 season – new putter, new caddie, new attitude for the majors – the perennial also-ran in the game’s biggest events has four top-10 finishes, and two runner-up showings. In the 38 installments before that shift he had a total of four top 10s and no runner-ups.

His Open meltdown last month hasn’t changed that reality, just the subtext surrounding it.

“I did come down (to Kiawah) last Monday, Tuesday before Bridgestone to play here and felt that was really worthwhile,” said Scott, who opened with a 68 and survived Friday with a 75. “That's part of my thing is coming in before and getting a really good understanding of the course before I get here tournament week.”

The only thing we’ve learned about Kiawah through 2 ½ frames is that Mother Nature, more so than the players, will likely have the ultimate say at “Glory’s Last Shot.”

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.