Alviro Quiros a lonely figure on trips to US

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio ' Alvaro Quiros is caught between continents.
 
The 26-year-old Spaniard (whose surname is pronounced kyeer-OHZ) is one of the rising stars on the European Tour, winning once this year with a tie for second in another start.
 
At No. 37 in the world rankings, he also realizes that there is more money, more prestige and perhaps more fame awaiting him should he move across the Atlantic Ocean and play at least part of the year on the PGA Tour.
 
But he knows that means a lonely existence.
 
The only difference between Europe and America is the company outside the golf course, said the bachelor. I mean, inside the golf course Im very happy. Im comfortable. But outside (the course), Im too alone, which is a difficult situation to manage.
 
Quiros is one of the longest hitters anywhere in the world. He was paired with one of the longest U.S. players, J.B. Holmes, and the two had to work to not get caught up in a can-you-top-this contest off the tees.
 
After an opening 72, Quiros matched Jerry Kelly for the low round of the day with a 65 in Fridays second round. He stands at 3-under 137, just four shots back of leader Padraig Harrington.
 
He soon faces a decision, the same one that players such as Harrington, Ernie Els, Camilo Villegas, Retief Goosen and Angel Cabrera have already made.
 
I should do it now, he said of the move to playing 15 or so times in the States. Im 26. If I dont do it now, when am I going to do it? Im not going to come back to America, if its not my home, at 35. So it would be a good idea to come now.
 
Still, there is the solitary lifestyle. Hes not sure if he can continue to spend most of his time in a hotel room, a prisoner from a foreign land.
 
If I want to play here, I have to be able to manage, he said. We will see.
 

 
SPRING CLEANING: In case you wondered, Tiger Woods does have a garage at his home in Windermere, Fla. And, yes, he does have to clean it from time to time, just like the rest of us.
 
Only when the worlds No. 1 player cleans out his garage, he comes across something better than broken garden implements, mismatched sets of gloves and a large oil spot in the middle of the floor.
 
Beginning of this year I was just rummaging through my garage and cleaning it out a little bit, Woods said after a round of 70 on Friday at the Bridgestone. Over in the corner was this putter and I said, Oh, what is this putter? Oh, its the one I won the Masters with. Its just sitting over there.
 

 
LAST CHANCE: The PGA Championship is billed as Glorys Last Shot. Defending champ Padraig Harrington believes that a few non-winners will straggle off the course at Hazeltine convinced that theyve had a bad season.
 
Certainly there will be as many as 10 players who will walk away from the PGA next week feeling like theyve had a lost year, said the Bridgestone leader. I wont be alone if that happens next week.
 
Harrington, at least, has persevered through a swing change that has prevented him from winning since last years PGA at Oakland Hills.
 
I have a purpose this year, he said. I was doing some work and Im quite comfortable where Im at and where I am going.
 

 
OLD TOM: Stewart Cink is still getting heat from fans who were pulling for the 59-year-old Tom Watson to pull off a stunning victory at the British Open two weeks ago. Cink beat Watson in a playoff for his first major championship.
 
Today one guy says, How could you do that, beating up on the old guy like that? recalled Cink, who shot a second 69 on Friday. I turned to him and I said, Im just a mean dude. I cant help it.
 

 
ADD ONE: Stuart Appleby was assessed a one-shot penalty on Friday for a violating a rule a day earlier.
 
On the 15th hole of the first round, Appleby had not addressed his ball but had placed his putter behind the ball when he noticed the ball move slightly. He asked an official and it was determined no penalty was necessary.
 
But after receiving phone calls from viewers of Thursdays telecast, officials took another look at footage and decided Appleby had indeed violated rule 18-2a.
 
Applebys first-round score was changed from 73 to 74.
 
He followed that with a 68 in the second round.
 

 
NEW ON THE BAG: Scott Verplank fired his caddie to save a friendship.
 
For much of the last decade, Verplank has employed Scott Tway, the younger brother of former PGA champion Bob Tway. Their families have been longtime friends, but the player-caddie relationship began to reach a point of getting testy.
 
Verplank gave Tway a few weeks off last year as he tried to make a push for the Ryder Cup team, and he cut him loose for good last week at the Buick Open.
 
I didnt want to wreck a friendship, and it was heading in that direction, Verplank said.
 
He said Tway might caddie for his brother next week at Hazeltine. In the meantime, Verplank said he would recommend Scott Tway for some of the younger players looking for an experienced looper.
 
Verplank, meanwhile, is using Craig Cimarolli, who previously caddied for Dudley Hart.
 
As a side note, Verplank must feel as though hes spinning his wheels. He had fallen to No. 99 in the world ranking when his game started to turn around. He had three straight top 10s on the PGA Tour, followed by a missed cut at the Buick Open. And when he checked the world ranking this week, he had only improved to No. 93.
 

 
DIVOTS: The last time Tiger Woods played Firestone Country Club two years ago, he also opened with rounds of 68 and 70. He ended up winning by eight strokes. Englands Oliver Wilson got to 5 under for the tournament with six holes left in his second round, then posted three bogeys on the way in. Harrington had not led a tournament since the 2008 PGA and has never won when leading after 36 holes. Woods is tied for 12th heading into the third round. The only previous time Woods wasnt in the top 10 through the first two rounds at the Bridgestone (tied for 17th in 2002), he finished fourth.
 
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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

    Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.


    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


    The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

    McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.

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    Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

    By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

    SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura's main focus going into the Marathon Classic was trying to put together four solid rounds that would help her keep her LPGA card.

    She doesn't have to worry about that any longer.

    Suwannapura picked up her first win on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at Highland Meadows.

    In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

    ''I never expect it was going to be today at all. I've just been struggling the whole year,'' said Suwannapura, whose previous best finish was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship. ''Finally all my work I've been doing has come out and shown up today. After I knocked that last putt in, it just felt like a dream come true.''

    With the win, the 25-year-old Thai player has an exemption through the 2020 season. She is also the sixth first-time winner on tour this year

    Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th to finish at 14-under 270. She then had to wait for the final seven groups to finish.

    ''I did not think or expect that 14 would be good enough, because I know there were two par 5s coming in on 17 and 18, and it's a good opportunity for players to make birdie,'' Suwannapura said. ''I was just chilling in the clubhouse, you know, being silly and stuff, trying to relax, and see what they're doing. Now, like, 'Oh, I have to go warm up and try to win the tournament.'''


    Full-field scores from the Marathon Classic


    Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out.

    Despite having eight career victories, including this season's opener in the Bahamas, the 32-year-old Lincicome said she was extremely nervous standing over that putt.

    ''I was shaking so bad. I had to take so many deep breaths. So it's kind of cool to have those nerves, but learning how to play through them after 12 years of being a pro ... 14 years of being a pro, I still haven't figured it out, so that's a little disappointing,'' she said. ''(The putt) caught a lot of the hole, so I feel like I hit a pretty good putt for how nervous I was. I really haven't seen one that aggressive in a long time, so that was just unfortunate, really.''

    Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship in Kentucky. She will become the first woman since 2004 to play in a PGA Tour event.

    Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

    ''Sometimes golf is weird. Sometimes it just doesn't go your way, and that was kind of me the last four holes,'' said Henderson, who lost for only the second time in six occasions she has led after 54 holes.

    Besides the tour exemption, Suwannapura's win came with another bonus. She was one of five players to earn a spot in the Women's British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

    The top five players not already exempt earned spots. The other qualifiers were Daniela Darquea, Celine Herbin, Mina Harigae and Mel Reid.