Birdies Abound Yet Still Major Feel

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- The volunteers manning the scoreboard just off the third green at Medinah Country Club didn't stand a chance.
It wasn't just that they were running out of red numbers, which they were. So many players were going so low that there wasn't enough room for all of them on the board.

Not that you could blame the people keeping score.
They came here expecting to work a major championship. Instead, a Bob Hope Classic broke out.
About the only thing missing was the late comedian and his buddies playing alongside Tiger Woods.
As easy as Medinah was playing, they might have had a chance to get under par, too.
Everybody else seemed to be on a humid Saturday in the third round of the PGA Championship, where birdies were flowing more freely than the beer in the corporate hospitality tents.
It was so easy that even Woods couldn't bring himself to say he grinded this one out.
'In most major championships, you make pars and sprinkle in a couple birdies here and there, you're looking pretty good,' Woods said. 'Today you would have just been run over.'
Woods, of course, was doing a lot of the running. His 65 seemed effortless, which had to give pause to Luke Donald, who shares the lead with him at 14 under after three rounds.
By now we expect that kind of thing from Woods. He is, after all, arguably the greatest golfer ever.
Mike Weir is another matter. Sure, he's got a green jacket, but the short-hitting Canadian wasn't supposed to be flirting with a major championship record or shooting a round of 65 himself on a course stretched out to 7,561 yards.
Golf purists had to be aghast. Major championships are supposed to be tests of survival, with the winner dripping in sweat and caked in dirt after navigating his way through thin fairways, thick rough and hard-baked greens.
That's the way they do it at the U.S. Open, where Geoff Ogilvy never sniffed a round in the 60s and won despite shooting 5-over-par at Winged Foot. The 18th hole was so hard that Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie almost didn't finish it.
The folks at the U.S. Golf Association like that kind of thing because it tends to separate the Tigers and Phils from the Shaun Micheels and K.J. Chois, who, not surprisingly, are on this leaderboard.
'We're not trying to embarrass the best players in the world,' former USGA official Sandy Tatum once famously said. 'We're trying to identify them.'
The stuffed shirts who run the Masters feel the same way. They began growing rough and injecting holes with steroids after Woods and his fellow long hitters began taking advantage of a course that offered little resistance to modern balls and titanium drivers.
Bobby Jones wouldn't recognize the par-4 11th hole at Augusta National, which has now grown to 505 yards. The way things are going, they'll have to knock down a few Waffle Houses on the main road next to the course to keep the long knockers at bay.
There aren't any such worries at the PGA Championship, which welcomed players this week with a course almost as accommodating as the catered suites that line fairways to give the wealthy a spot to get away from the unwashed masses.
The rough was respectable, but it wasn't that difficult to find a golf ball in it, assuming you somehow missed the wide fairways. The greens were soft to begin with, but rain on Friday made it look as though players were shooting Velcro balls from the fairway.
Conditions were ripe for scoring. And the best players in the world didn't wait long to take advantage of them.
A record 60 of them were under par the first day. That record lasted until the second day, when 61 were in red numbers.
On Saturday, there were so many good shots that CBS had trouble keeping up with them. On the course, roars came from so many corners that fans looked like bobble-head dolls trying to follow the action.
And you know what? It didn't cheapen the last major of the year a bit.
The best player in the world was still on top of the leaderboard, a good indication that the game of golf was somehow still intact. Apparently you can identify the best players by letting them make birdies as well as you can by forcing them to grovel for pars.
Know something else? It was fun.
Fans like seeing players at their best. They want to see Woods hit a 3-iron 250 yards over water to within 8 feet of the hole, as he did on the par-3 13th. They enjoy watching Mickelson making four birdies in the first seven holes to get in contention.
The drama on Sunday figures to extend deep into the back nine because everyone who tees it up believes he has a chance to shoot 65. Someone will win this major championship, rather than losing it the way Mickelson did with a double bogey on 18 at Winged Foot.
When it's all over, it won't matter whether the winner is 20-under-par or 5 over.
The only thing that will count is who has the lowest score.
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    Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

    By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

    GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

    Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

    The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

    Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

    Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

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    Peterson confirms plans to play Finals

    By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

    After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Tour Finals.

    Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.

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    But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

    Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

    The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.

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    Lyle honored with sand sculpture at Wyndham

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 9:00 pm

    Jarrod Lyle passed away last week at the age of 36 after losing his third battle with cancer.

    And after a PGA Championship filled with tributes to the Australian, the Wyndham Championship found its own way to keep his legacy alive at the North Carolina Tour stop.

    Next to the Wyndham Championship and PGA Tour logos carved into the sand on site at Sedgefield Country Club is Lyle's name and the "Leuk the Duck" mascot. The duck has become synonymous with Challenge, an organization that supports kids with cancer.

    Fellow Aussie Stuart Appleby posted the display on social media:

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    Lyle was also remembered in a more traditional manner on the first tee, where his bag and trademark yellow bucket hat were prominently displayed.

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    Yin (64) steps into spotlight on Day 1 in Indy

    By Randall MellAugust 16, 2018, 7:49 pm

    American fans will be quick to embrace a young new winner with the U.S. ranks shrinking in women’s golf this summer.

    With some of its biggest stars dealing with injuries, swoons or away on maternity leave, the American game could use a boost.

    And here comes Angel Yin . . .

    She is a major talent looking to break through this week at the Indy Women in Tech Championship. Still a teenager at 19, she moved into early position Thursday to try to win her first title.

    With a spectacular start, Yin looked as if she might give the game a pair of 59s on the same day, with Brandt Snedeker posting one at the Wyndham Championship. Yin birdied eight of the first nine holes at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis before cooling on the back nine. She still shot 8-under-par 64, good for the early lead.

    “It just felt good,” Yin said. “Everything was working.”

    Yin was knocking down flagsticks on the outward nine.

    “I had nine putts on the front nine, which is incredible,” Yin said. “Never had that many little putts.”

    With Brickyard Crossing a big hitter’s park, Yin took advantage. She’s one of the longest hitters on tour, ranking fifth in driving distance (272.2 yards per drive).

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    Yin has made runs at winning this year. She tied for fourth at the Mediheal Championship in April. She finished third at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the end of June, but then missed the cut in three of her next four starts, including the Ricoh Women’s British Open in her last start.

    “I was really happy how everything came together [today], because I have been playing well,” Yin said. “I just haven't been scoring.”

    Yin introduced herself to the world stage making the American Solheim Cup team last year. She wowed fans and teammates alike bombing her driver in an impressive rookie debut.

    “She is fearless,” two-time Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis said going into last year’s Solheim Cup. “The shots she can hit, nobody else can hit. She probably doesn’t quite know how to manage it yet, is the only thing holding her back.”

    While Yin is seeking her first professional title, she has won as a pro. She claimed the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic on the Ladies European Tour at the end of last season.

    Ying has been a big deal in Southern California for a while now. At 13, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run. At 14, she won a junior qualifier to get into the ANA Inspiration and made the cut. At 15, she Monday qualified to get into the LPGA’s Kia Classic. At 16, she won the AJGA’s Annika Invitational, finished runner up in the U.S. Girls’ Junior and played on the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team.