Furyk Leads Love Lost at Players

By Sports NetworkMarch 24, 2006, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Jim Furyk, one of Thursday's first-round co-leaders, only managed a 1-under 71 on Friday, but is in sole possession of the lead after the second round of The Players Championship. He stands at 8-under-par 136 and is one ahead at the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass.
Jim Furyk
While Jim Furyk has the title in his sights, Davis Love III was sent packing.
Furyk's co-leader from round one had a much worse day. Davis Love III, a two-time former champion, shot an astonishing, 11-over-par 83 on Friday to finish at 4-over-par 148. He became the first player in tournament history to miss the cut after owning at least a piece of the first-round lead.
Love was 7 over par on his round and needed at least a par on his last hole, the par-5 ninth, to play on the weekend. His drive landed against a tree and he was forced to take an unplayable lie. Love's third landed in a bunker and his fourth found the rough near the green. The 1997 PGA Champion's fifth shot came up short of the green in a bunker.
He blasted out to 10 feet and three-putted for a quadruple-bogey 9.
'I felt bad for Davis. He wasn't playing well,' said Furyk, who played with Love in the first two rounds. 'There's no effect on playing with him, but I think that's because he's such a professional and handles himself so well.'
Adam Scott, the 2004 winner, and Stephen Ames are knotted in second place. Scott posted a 5-under 67 and Ames fired a 6-under 66 to tie at minus-7.
World No. 2 Vijay Singh (70), Sergio Garcia (68) and K.J. Choi (69) are tied for fourth place at 6-under-par 138.
Tiger Woods, the 2001 champion who left midweek to be with his ailing father Earl in California, improved on Friday. He posted a 3-under 69 and is part of a group tied for 20th place at 3-under-par 141.
'I felt like I hit the ball better than the score indicates because I missed a couple of short putts,' admitted Woods, who stated he did not speak with his father on Thursday night because his dad was resting. 'I just felt like I left a couple of shots out there.'
Woods began on the back nine Friday and collected four birdies in his first seven holes. At the famous island green, par-3 17th, Woods gave himself close to 60 feet for birdie. He blew that putt almost 12 feet by the hole and the top-ranked player in the world missed that putt. Woods bogeyed the difficult 18th, but made the stroke up with a birdie at the first.
The reigning Masters and British Open champion had some decent looks at birdie on the second nine, but nothing fell. At the par-5 ninth, Woods drove into the water and eventually hit his fourth over the putting surface. He took much less time than normal over his par chip, but no matter as Woods holed out to stay at minus-3.
'It should have been a seven, but ended up with a five,' said Woods, referring to his chip-in at his last. 'I was a little bit on the run there. As I told Clarkie (playing partner Darren Clarke), if he didn't get out of the way, I probably would have hit him.'
Woods will have to make up ground on the man he successfully teamed with at last year's Presidents Cup.
Furyk two-putted from 25 feet for a birdie at 11, then knocked his approach inside a foot to set up an easy birdie at the par-3 13th. He was 9 under par and two ahead, but the TPC at Sawgrass showed its teeth.
Furyk's second at the 15th missed the green right and he pitched to 10 feet. He missed the par putt, then his 19-footer for par at the closing hole stayed above ground.
At the first hole, Furyk knocked his approach to 2 feet. He tapped in the birdie putt to move back to 8 under par. The 2003 U.S. Open champion had some good looks at birdie on the way into the clubhouse, but parred out for the second-round lead.
'I grinded it out pretty good today,' said Furyk. 'I hit some good shots and maybe left a couple putts out there. I made a few bad swings today and gutted it out in a few spots. I'm happy with the day and have myself in good shape for the weekend.'
Scott, who won by a stroke two years ago, started on the second nine and mixed two birdies and his only bogey of the round, a three-putt from 70 feet at the 14th. He added birdies at two and four, then closed with back-to-back birdies at eight and nine.
'It was a good round today,' said Scott. 'I finished off strong with a couple of birdies on eight and nine. They were kind of a bonus.'
Ames was even on his round through six holes, then rattled off three birdies in a row from seven, all from inside 20 feet. He birdied 11 and 14, then three-putted from 55 feet for a bogey at the 15th.
Ames, who lost to Woods, 9 and 8, in the first round of this year's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, tapped in for birdie at the par-5 16th, then ran home a 12-footer for birdie at the last to reach minus-7.
'I'm hitting the ball very well right now,' acknowledged Ames, who was the runner-up in 2002. 'I'm happy with the way it feels. It's always been a good golf course to my eye.'
Defending champion Fred Funk (69), John Rollins (71), Bo Van Pelt (71), Brad Faxon (69), Steve Flesch (70), Pebble Beach winner Arron Oberholser (71) and two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal (71) share seventh place at minus-5.
Also in that group is Greg Owen, who famously three-putted from 5 feet on the 71st hole last week at the Bay Hill Invitational. He shot a second-round, 4-under 68 on Friday.
Love was not the only big-name player to miss the cut, which fell at even-par 144. Justin Leonard (145), U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell (145), two-time runner-up Padraig Harrington (146), one of last year's runner-up Luke Donald (147) and David Toms (150) all missed the weekend.
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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. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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    Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

    Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

    ''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

    Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

    ''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

    Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

    ''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

    Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

    ''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

    The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Web.com Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

    ''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

    Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

    ''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

    The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

    ''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

    He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

    Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

    ''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

    Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

    ''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.