Hooks Cuts From Sony

By Rich LernerJanuary 15, 2009, 5:00 pm
  • I visited Olomana Golf Links Tuesday morning, where President-elect Barack Obamas played on several occasions. Its a pretty 40 year-old public track, 5,900 yards from the white bays and 42 bucks a round, including cart. The course is only 12 miles from his boyhood home in Honolulu.
  • Last week Boo Weekley introduced us to the camouflage Aldila shaft in his driver. Normally called the VooDoo, his is tagged, what else, the BooDoo shaft. Now I get word Clevelands unveiling camouflage wedges. They sold 20 in a day and a half at the companys eastern test site, Cartersville Country Club, north of Atlanta. What the hells camouflage got to do with golf? That question came from Boos caddie, Joel Pyland.
  • Tadd Fujikawa is back in the Sony Open field. His Friday finish in 07 was one of the happiest single days Ive ever witnessed in golf. Tadd joked that hes seen the replay too many times. Ive memorized every word. It was a fun time for all of us. Yes, all of us.
  • Jeff Sluman, tuning up for his Champions Tour season with a start at the Sony said, Ill be a young man next week but this week Im an old S.O.B.!
  • Peter Lonard on fellow Aussie Geoff Ogilvy: Hes a great chipper and putter and hits it miles. Thats a pretty good combination when you get your brain right.
  • Jeff Klauks beginning his first season on Tour just as dad Fred starts his retirement after two decades as superintendent of TPC Sawgrass. Hes so much more relaxed, said Jeff. Fred and wife Peggy are in Honolulu watching Jeff this week.
  • Rick Price is a rookie at age 40. He went through Q-School 19 times and beat the bushes on the old Space Coast Tour, Tommy Armour Tour, Gateway Tour and Golden Bear Tour. Did he ever get discouraged and think about quitting? No, because I figured I get to get up every day and do what I love to do.
  • Slumans advice for first timers: Watch the better players and see what theyre doing right ' and youre doing wrong.
  • Lonards caddie Scott Martin, who carried Fujikawas bag at Disney in 07, still believes in the mighty little Hawaiian: His martial arts background will be a huge factor in the long run. Hes physically and mentally tough.
  • Zach Johnson on the Sony Open: Its one of the more underrated tournaments we play ' nice amenities, classic golf course and great greens. And if theres any wind its difficult.
  • I asked Boo if hes surfed since landing on Waikiki. No way man, said big Boo.They got sharks out there. Im in the eatin business. I aint into gettin eatin.
  • Klauk likes the advice from Johnson, a Masters champ: Its just golf.
  • As for the President-elects famously cool, laid back demeanor, it is in part the result of his Hawaiian background. We call it local style, said the head pro at Olomana, Norman-Ganin Asao. In August, the President-elect showed up in shorts and sandals before putting on the golf shoes. Thats local style.
  • Look for a very funny ad from Srixon featuring Boo and Vijay Singh sometime during the Florida swing.
  • Watched something damn near as beautiful as the Waikiki sunset on Tuesday ' Brad Faxon on the putting green from 25 feet. No tension. So pure. So free.
  • The plan for Fujikawa, now 18, is to play mini-tours on more of a full-time basis. Its hard to get momentum when you only play one tournament a month, he explained.
  • Scotty Cameron, hanging at Waialae, has been making putters for a quarter century. His off-the-top-of-his-head list of best rollers of the rock hes ever seen, in no particular order: Tiger Woods; David Frost; Brad Faxon; David Graham; and Mark OMeara, pre-claw.
  • Five years ago Casey Wittenberg was being touted as a cant-miss star. He struggled, but here he is at 24, ready to start his first full season on Tour. Those days on the Hooters Tour make you appreciate this, he told me Tuesday.
  • Former Big Breaker Kip Henley, now on the bag for Brian Gay, marvels at his bosss ability to carve out a great living in the power era. Gay barely flies it 245-250 yards while the big boys blow it out there 290 plus. But man, from 110 yards and in, Henley tells me, this guy can really cover it.
  • Camerons a huge Fujikawa fan. Hes a grinder with a huge heart, a bulldog, said Cameron.
  • President-elect Obama shot in the high 90s at Olomana on December 21, according to the clubs pro, Asao, with a handful of pars to go with some big numbers. Someday the President-elect, a solid basketball player who came off the bench for the Punahou High team that won the Hawaii state title in the late 70s, would like to become a single-digit handicap in golf. For now, with the economy in a shambles and war on two fronts, he is, politically speaking, playing a 650-yard, uphill par-5 into a two-club wind... with hickory shafts.
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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 tied for 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, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson 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.''