Hooks Cuts on Golfs Winding Trail

By Rich LernerJanuary 22, 2006, 5:00 pm
  • At least golf invented the celebrity play-along concept. Lord knows were inundated with celebrity television vehicles these days -- 'Dancing with the Stars,' 'Skating with the Stars,' 'Celebrity Poker.' Theres no limit to the public's appetite for this kind of fare. I cant wait for Home and Garden Networks new offering, 'Lawn Mowing with the Stars.'
  • I visited Ken Venturi at Rancho Mirage over the weekend. Nearing 75, hes enjoying the desert life with his beautiful wife of three years, Kathleen. His homes a museum of memories, and the takeaway is that from Sinatra to President Reagan to Ben Hogan to Francis Ouimet, Venturi hung out with more legends than Zeus.
  • The PGA Tours bursting at the seams with ball hitting geniuses. But theres really no sign of a modern day Chi Chi Rodriguez or even a Lee Trevino bounding forth from some happy horizon. So twice a year'here and at Pebble Beach'the sport does well to let down its neatly combed hair.
  • Saw Paul Azinger at an early week party packed with A-list luminaries like Matthew McConaughey, Justin Timberlake and Samuel L. Jackson. Zinger reported that he overheard a conversation between two women planning to attend the affair that went like this. Whats the dress code? asked the one woman. Competitive, said her friend.
  • Venturi let me hold the 4-wood that Hogan gave him. Anyone remember playing with a 2-wood, or the brassie as they called it? Kenny pulled that out, too.
  • I asked Anthony Anderson, the bright young star of 'Hustle and Flow,' whats funny about golf. Charles Barkleys swing, he deadpanned.
  • I asked MConaughey if hed rather be Peoples Sexiest Man Alive or a scratch golfer. Not lacking for confidence, the 5-handicap replied, Some days Im both.
  • Why dont we see the likes of Chi Chi or The Merry Mex? The professional grind, for all the riches that lay at the end of the emerald fairways and all the sunshine that greets the players at each dreamy paradise, can be draining. So often a solitary walk, golf breeds more brooders than live wires.
  • Roger Clemens made an ace this week to go with his seven Cy Young Awards.
  • If youre sexiest man alive, theres more pressure to perform than if you had 5 feet to win the Masters.
  • Yogi Berras top salary was $65,000, but claims they still had more fun than the modern millionaires. Now 80 and in the field at the Hope, Yogi says players were close knit in his era because they traveled by train.
  • Mike Weirs healthy and hungry. He played most of 05 in pain with four compressed discs in his neck area.
  • Chris Riley withdrew after a third-round 81. A member of the 04 Ryder Cup team, he plummeted to 184th on the money list last year. He and wife Michelle are expecting their second child, and priorities have changed. Normally quick with a smile and easy going, Rileys body language in round 3 was plainly negative. My attitude hasnt been good, he admitted. No excuses, I just have to work my way out of it. People dont realize how tough it is out here. If youre not sharp, you can get run over.
  • I absolutely love the European Tour. Just as the call for prayer went out across Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, an American dropped in a clinching birdie putt. Chris DiMarco, with wife Amy on the bag, played an 18-hole stretch between Saturday and early Sunday in 14 under par.
  • If Bob Hope were still here, by now hed have visited the men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hed have strolled on stage with his golf club, cracked a few well timed zingers and then thanked the soldiers for their sacrifice. Hed have returned to this beloved Palm Springs area, gathered his pals for his tournament, and reminded one and all that golf is just a game, a game for everyone'comedians, actors, athletes and ball hitting geniuses.
  • Finally, President Ford was a fixture at the Hope for so many years. Bob Hope used to joke that the President made golf a contact sport and that he was easy to spot because he was the one riding around in a cart with the Red Cross emblem on it! Now 92, President Fords recovering from pneumonia, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is also one shot off the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu and Shanshan Feng are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''