After Making Cut Weather Halts Wies March

By Sports NetworkMay 6, 2006, 4:00 pm
INCHEON, South Korea -- Michelle Wie accomplished something in her ancestral homeland she failed to do in seven previous tries elsewhere: The American teenager made the cut in a men's professional tournament.
Michelle Wie had four birdies and only one bogey Friday in the second round.
With huge crowds cheering for the player they cherish as 'big sister,' Wie was at 5-under 139 after two rounds, tied for 17th in the Asian Tour's rain-shortened SK Telecom Open. She shot a 3-under 69 in the second round Friday to make the cut by five strokes in the event that was cut to 54 holes after rain wiped out play Saturday.
'It's just wonderful. Great. I feel really, really happy,' the 16-year-old said Friday.
Wie was at the tee Saturday when the rain hit. After a delay of almost three hours, the course was declared unplayable and tournament officials decided to shorten the event from 72 holes.
The SK Telecom Open is the eighth men's professional event for Wie. She has played in four PGA Tour events and has competed on the Japan, Nationwide and Canadian tours, missing the 36-hole cut in all seven tournaments. No woman has made the cut on the PGA Tour since Babe Zaharias at the 1945 Tucson Open.
'In the future, I still want to challenge the PGA Tour and make the top 10,' Wie said.
When Wie played the third hole Friday, a toddler in a flowery dress shouted 'on-ni [big sister] fighting!' as Wie strode by.
Galleries of at least 1,000 people gathered around each hole she played, and police controlled traffic clogging an expressway that passes along the Sky 72 Golf Club course as onlookers cheered her bunker shot over a bluff on the 16th.
'I really enjoy that kind of thing,' Wie said. 'Police officers came to the people who stopped their cars and told them to move. The gallery was crowded and they made so much noise. It made me laugh a bit.'
The Hawaiian-born teenager became the second woman to make the cut at a men's tournament in South Korea. LPGA star Se Ri Pak finished tied for 10th in the lower-tier KPGA Tour SBS Pro-Golf Championship in 2003.
Wie improved on her opening 70 with a nearly flawless round Friday, making four birdies and one bogey -- on the 16th hole. With one round left, she was six strokes behind leaders Iain Steel of Malaysia (66) and Prom Meesawat of Thailand (64).
'My putting was good,' Wie said Friday. 'Yesterday was pretty good, but today was better. I was more confident today.'
Annika Sorenstam, the top women's player in the world, became the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour when she missed the cut at the Colonial in 2003, shooting rounds of 71 and 74. She has played in men's Skins Games the last two years.
Wie's parents were born in South Korea, and her visit has generated intense media coverage and large crowds.
'I'm really happy to make the cut in Korea, and I had such big galleries,' she said. 'Plus, I really love children and there were lots of young fans here today.'
SK Telecom Open
Event Reduced to 54-Holes
At Sky 72 Golf Club - Incheon, South Korea
Purse: $600,000 Yardage: 7,152; Par: 72
Prom Meesawat, Thailand 69-64--133
Iain Steel, Malaysia 67-66--133
Jeev Milkha Singh, India 68-66--134
Lee Seong-ho, South Korea 67-67--134
Chapchai Nirat, Thailand 68-67--135
Brad Kennedy, Australia 67-68--135
a-Lee Won-jun, South Korea 69-67--136
Adam Le Vesconte, Australia 65-71--136
Hong Soon-sang, South Korea 71-66--137
Kang Kyung-nam, South Korea 69-68--137
Choi Ho-sung, South Korea 70-68--138
Terry Pilkadaris, Australia 69-69--138
Mo Joong-kyung, South Korea 70-68--138
Anthony Kang, United States 70-68--138
Lu Wei-lan, Taiwan 72-66--138
Choi Jin-ho, South Korea 70-68--138
Harmeet Kahlon, India 70-69--139
Michelle Wie, United States 70-69--139
Hwang In-choon, South Korea 69-70--139
Bryan Saltus, United States 70-69--139
Park Boo-won, South Korea 71-68--139
Chinarat Phadungsil, Thailand 71-68--139
Kim Hyung-tae, South Korea 69-71--140
K.J. Choi, South Korea 68-72--140
Michael Wright, Australia 73-67--140
Angelo Que, Philippines 71-69--140
Lee Sung, South Korea 69-71--140
Lu Wei-chih, Taiwan 69-71--140
Park Yong-soo, South Korea 71-69--140
Ron Won, United States 69-71--140
a-Mang Dong-sub, South Korea 68-73--141
Jang Ik-jae, South Korea 70-71--141
Gary Rusnak, United States 69-72--141
a-Hur In-hoi, South Korea 68-73--141
a-Kang Sung-hoon, South Korea 72-69--141
David Oh, United States 69-72--141
Moon Ji-wook, South Korea 70-71--141
Kong Young-joon, South Korea 71-70--141
Kim Hong-sik, South Korea 70-71--141
Ari Savolainen, Finland 69-72--141
Simon Nash, Australia 70-71--141
Ahmad Bateman, Canada 71-70--141
Adam Blyth, Australia 69-72--141

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McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.