Weir Back on Top at Pebble Beach

By Sports NetworkFebruary 10, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Canadian Mike Weir posted a 5-under 67 on Friday to take the lead midway through the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro- Am. The 2003 Masters champion played Poppy Hills Golf Course in round two and stands at 14-under-par 130 through 36 holes.
 
Poppy Hills is one of three courses in the rotation. Pebble Beach Golf Links and SpyGlass Hill Golf Course also host over the first three rounds, while Pebble Beach hosts Sunday's final round.
 
Ozzie Smith
Baseball legend Ozzie Smith is one of the many celebrities in the Pebble field.
Arron Oberholser shot a 4-under 68 at SpyGlass on Friday and is alone in second place at minus-11.
 
Luke Donald, who tied the course record at SpyGlass on Thursday, struggled in the second round. He only managed an even-par 72 at Pebble Beach and is tied for third place with Jonathan Byrd (65) and Fredrik Jacobson (67), both of whom also played Pebble Beach on Friday. The trio is knotted at 10-under-par 134.
 
Weir, who has not finished outside the top four in the last three years here, opened on the back nine Friday with a birdie at the par-5 10th. He played inconsistently from there as he battled a rolling fog, a steep drop in temperature and some swing problems. The Canadian mixed two bogeys and two birdies the rest of the back nine to make the turn at 1-under-par 35.
 
Weir did not get off to a great start on his second nine because he faced an 8-footer for par at his 10th. He drained that putt, then hit a 6-iron to 8 feet to set up birdie at the second.
 
'That really kind of propelled me, got me going,' admitted Weir, who also posted top-10 finishes in 2000 and 2001. 'Today for the first six, seven holes was nice, then the fog rolled in.'
 
He parred his next four holes, but found a fairway bunker on the left side with his drive at the seventh. Weir hit an 8-iron from 150 yards out to 6 feet and converted the birdie try.
 
It certainly did not look like Weir was going to make birdie at the eighth. He hit a solid drive, but his wedge spun back to 50 feet. No matter to the former Masters winner as his putt, which traveled through the fringe, found the bottom of the cup.
 
'It was just a lucky shot,' said Weir. 'Kind of a fluke.'
 
Weir hit another strong drive at the par-5 ninth, then hit an even better 3-wood to 25 feet. His putt narrowly missed left, but Weir tapped in for birdie and a four-shot lead.
 
'I want to keep moving forward,' said Weir. 'I expect to play well tomorrow. I've been close and this tournament has been good to me. It would be nice to win.'
 
Weir endured one of his worst seasons on tour last year, but it came with good reason. He battled a neck injury which saw him to dip to 56th on the tour money list.
 
'I don't feel I've gone anywhere,' admitted Weir. 'I just wasn't healthy last year. You just can't play against these players out here when you are not at full strength, especially a guy with my game, where I rely on preciseness and hitting fairways.'
 
Oberholser collected two birdies and a bogey over his first four holes. His next birdie came at 11, and he came back to birdie the 12th. Oberholser, who has back-to-back top sixes the last two years, traded a birdie and a bogey at 15 and 16, but birdied 18 to move into sole possession of second place.
 
Nick Watney carded a 1-under 71 at Poppy Hills and fell into a tie for sixth place. Davis Love III (67), Mark Wilson (68), Greg Chalmers (70) and Michael Allen (71) all posted their second rounds at Pebble Beach and joined Watney at 8-under-par 136.
 
Defending champion Phil Mickelson did not play well en route to a 2-over 74 at SpyGlass on Friday. He is part of a group tied for 52nd place at minus-3.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Full Coverage - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
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    Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

    Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

    Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

    Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

    Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


    FALLING

    Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

    Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

    Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

    Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

    Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.