Watson Open to Another Major Victory

By Sports NetworkJuly 29, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. Senior OpenKETTERING, Ohio -- Tom Watson, last week's Senior British Open winner, fired a 6-under 65 on Friday to grab a piece of the second-round lead of the U.S. Senior Open.
 
First-round leader Craig Stadler shot a 2-under 69 and Loren Roberts, who made his Champions Tour debut last week at Royal Aberdeen, carded a 4-under 67 to match Watson at 9-under-par 133 at NCR Country Club.
 
Tom Watson
Tom Watson had seven birdies and one bogey Friday.
The trio tied the 36-hole record for this tournament. Dave Stockton established the mark originally in 1992 at Saucon Valley Country Club, while Simon Hobday equaled the number in 1994 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. Bruce Fleisher also matched the score five years ago at Saucon Valley Country Club.
 
Wayne Levi shot a 4-under 67 on Friday and is alone in fourth place at minus-7.
 
Raymond Floyd, who won the PGA Championship at NCR in 1969, posted a 4- under 67 and is tied for fifth with Des Smyth, who lost in a playoff to Watson last week at the Senior British Open. Smyth carded a 5-under 66 and joined Floyd at 6-under-par 136.
 
Watson, who collected his second Senior British Open win last week, started on the back nine Friday and collected his first birdie at the 11th when he hit his approach to a foot. His next birdie also was from a foot at the par-3 15th as a result of a spectacular 4-iron.
 
He saved some beautiful pars to close his opening nine, including a tough two- putt from short and right of the hole at 16. Watson also saved four from a bunker at the last to make the turn at 3-under 32.
 
At the par-4 third, Watson hit an 8-iron 20 feet right of the hole and converted the breaking birdie try. He recorded an odd par at the par-4 fifth when he reached in two, but putted off the green with his birdie putt. Watson rolled in a 20-footer from off the green for his par.
 
He took advantage of the back-to-back par-5s at five and six. On the fifth, Watson just missed the green with his second, but pitched to 5 feet and ran home the putt. He hit an awful 4-wood for his second at six, but lagged a 70-footer inside a foot for the tap-in birdie.
 
Watson hit an 8-iron to a foot to set up his third birdie in a row at the seventh. He parred No. 8, but ran into trouble at the ninth thanks to a horrible drive. Watson never recovered, bogeying the hole, but still matched Friday's lowest round.
 
'It was kind of a hot and cold day,' admitted Watson. 'It was very hot, as I hit the ball within a foot of the hole four times today. But my play off the tee was not very good.'
 
Stadler, who finished fourth last week, wasted little time in breaking into red figures on Friday. He hit a 9-iron to 5 feet at the first to set up birdie.
 
He missed the fairway with a 3-wood at the fourth and was forced to pitch into the short grass. Stadler could not save par, then traded one birdie and bogey on the remainder of his front nine to make the turn at even-par 36.
 
At the 202-yard, par-3 13th, Stadler hit a 4-iron to 15 feet and made the birdie try. He closed his round with an interesting birdie. Stadler hit a 3-wood into the rough and was only able to advance his ball 45 feet from the hole. Stadler drained the long birdie putt to join the group in the lead.
 
On Thursday, Stadler matched the competitive course record at NCR with a 7-under 64. On Friday, Stadler thinks he played similarly, except for the flat stick.
 
'It probably played darn near identical to what it did yesterday afternoon. Breeze was about the same, the greens were same speed, as receptive,' said Stadler. 'I made some putts yesterday and I missed a lot today.'
 
Roberts, who played with Watson on Friday, birdied his first, the 10th, when he got up-and-down from a bunker. His ball plugged into a trap at the 13th and he could not save par. Roberts hit a 5-iron to 15 feet at the 18th to set up birdie and a 1-under 34 on his opening nine.
 
Roberts knocked a 7-iron to 6 feet at the third and the 50-year-old rolled in the birdie try. He collected back-to-back birdies when he ran home a 3-footer at the fourth. He laid up with his second at the par-5 sixth, but hit a wedge to 3 feet and holed the birdie putt to join the fray in the lead.
 
'I played really solid the last two days,' said Roberts, who will be one of Tom Lehman's assistant captains for next year's United States Ryder Cup team. 'But the key is that I've driven the ball well. Anybody who's put a low score up has driven the ball in the fairway.'
 
Tom Jenkins fired a 6-under 65 and is part of a group tied for seventh place. Bruce Summerhays (69), Mark McNulty (67) and D.A. Weibring (67) joined Jenkins at minus-5.
 
Greg Norman, who made his debut on the elder circuit last week when he missed the playoff by a stroke, carded a 1-under 70 on Friday. He shares 11th place with Allen Doyle, who posted a 4-under 67, at 4-under-par 138.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over-par 145 and among the notable players who will miss the weekend are: Jim Thorpe (146), Senior PGA Champion Mike Reid (146) and Fuzzy Zoeller (147).
 
Arnold Palmer shot a second-round, 10-over 81 and finished at plus-24. After the round, he announced that he was done with major championship golf.
 
'As far as trying to compete in a major championship such as the Open and other tournaments, this is it,' said Palmer, who won this title in 1981. 'I'm through doing that. I will not be doing it anymore.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Senior Open
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Senior Open
  • Getty Images

    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

    Getty Images

    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

    Getty Images

    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

    Getty Images

    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.