Dufner will try to turn around down year at Nelson

By Associated PressMay 15, 2013, 10:00 pm

IRVING, Texas – Jason Dufner outwardly showed little emotion last year when he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship in the midst of his incredible stretch of golf.

The same goes for Dufner when things aren't going as well, such as this season.

''I don't show it, but obviously it's going on inside. I played a lot of rounds this year with frustration and anger on my mind,'' Dufner said on Wednesday. ''I've got a good way of hiding the good and the bad. But there has been more anger and frustration this year than there was last year, for sure.''

His victory at the Nelson, after which there was no overwhelming outburst of excitement, capped a four-week span in which Dufner got his first two PGA Tour victories and also got married. He followed that up with a runner-up finish at Colonial, a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open and made 21 consecutive cuts to end the season.

''I don't reflect on it very much at all,'' he said. ''Nothing is staying the same in golf. You're either getting better, or you're getting worse. At this moment in time, I'm a little bit worse than I was last year.''

Heading into Thursday's opening round of the Nelson, Dufner hasn't had a top-10 finish this season and has already missed two cuts – twice as many as last year. He is coming off his worst round of the season, a closing 80 at The Players Championship with three double bogeys, while never hitting a ball in the water.

The last person to win consecutive Nelsons was Tom Watson, who won three in a row from 1978-80. The only other back-to-back winners are Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead.

A week after The Players, the Nelson field includes only six of the top 25 players in the world ranking, led by No. 7 Louis Oosthuizen – who missed the cut last year in his only previous Nelson appearance.

''I would rather come in a bit more in form than coming in the top-ranked player (in the field),'' said Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, who tied for 19th last week but hasn't made consecutive cuts in his seven Tour events this year.

Playing on Nelson sponsor exemptions are Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China in his second Tour event since making the cut at the Masters, and 19-year-old Jordan Spieth.

Spieth is playing in the Nelson for the third time, this time as a pro who has made six of nine cuts and already won nearly $700,000 this season. As an amateur at the Nelson, he tied for 16th as a 16-year-old in 2010, then played on the same day as his high school graduation two years ago, when he tied for 32nd.

''This tournament is dear to my heart, and it gave me a big bump when I was able to get the exemption and take advantage, when I was 16 and 17,'' said Spieth, who played one season at the University of Texas before turning pro. ''Now back in a little different position now, not in school anymore, but I couldn’t be more excited to be back here. This is my favorite event of the year.''

While Dufner might not reflect on that impressive stretch last season, the TPC Four Seasons conjures up good memories, and those couple of months did give him a good perspective on his potential level of play.

His return to North Texas also could revive the viral sensation of ''Dufnering.''

When Dufner made an appearance two months ago to promote the Nelson, there was a picture tweeted of the sleepy-eyed golfer sitting on the floor and slouched against a wall in a school classroom with kids.

Fellow golfers and others mimicked the shot with their own poses posted on Twitter. The hashtag “Dufnering” emerged, and there are still people posting their own version.

''I was just sitting, and somebody decided to take a picture and put it on the Internet. ... The guys on Tour had a go at it with me, and then it went viral,'' he said. ''I didn't take it too seriously. Like most things in my life, I don't take things too seriously. But it's been a good response, and I think people have had a kick out of it.''

Dufner said it's ''extremely weird'' to him to see people having their dogs and cats ''Dufnering'' but said the response has been good. He has seen many of the posts, and there is one that stands out.

''One guy did it up in, I think it was a C-130, where they transport tanks for the military. They had the back hatch down and he was sitting on the edge, and they were up 20, 30,000 feet in the air,'' he said. ''That was a unique spot to do it.''

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Man bites off finger during golf course brawl

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 3:45 pm

PLYMOUTH, Mass. – A man has bitten off another man’s finger during a fight at a Massachusetts golf course.

WCVB-TV reports a 47-year-old man was arrested at the Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth Friday after he apparently got into a fight with another golfer and bit off a part of his thumb.

The station reports the victim’s thumb had been bitten off to his knuckle and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident happened around sunset.

The attacker was arrested and charged with mayhem. A police dispatcher declined to comment Saturday and Chief Michael Botieri didn’t immediately return a call seeking more information.

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Snedeker leads by one heading into final round

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 3:26 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Brandt Snedeker took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the weather-delayed Wyndham Championship after finishing the third round Sunday with a 2-under 68.

Snedeker was at 16-under 194 through three rounds of the final PGA Tour event of the regular season. Brian Gay and David Hearn were at 15 under, with Gay shooting a 62 and Hearn a 64.

Thirty players were on the course Saturday when play was suspended because of severe weather. After a delay of 3 hours, 23 minutes, organizers chose to hold things up until Sunday morning.

Snedeker, who shot an opening-round 59 to become just the 10th tour player to break 60, is chasing his first victory since 2016 and his second career win at this tournament.

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Olesen edges past Poulter in Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 3:10 pm

With only two weeks left in the qualification window, Thorbjorn Olesen is now in position to make his Ryder Cup debut.

Olesen finished alone in fourth place at the Nordea Masters, two shots out of a playoff between Thomas Aiken and eventual winner Paul Waring. Olesen carded four straight sub-70 rounds in Sweden, including a final-round 67 that featured three birdies over his final seven holes.

It's a tight race for the fourth and final Ryder Cup spot via the World Points list, and Olesen's showing this week will allow him to move past Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, both of whom didn't play this week, into the No. 4 slot. Olesen is now also less than 40,000 Euros behind Tommy Fleetwood to qualify via the European Points list.

The top four players from both lists on Sept. 2 will qualify for next month's matches, with captain Thomas Bjorn rounding out the roster with four selections on Sept. 4. Poulter and Casey will both have a chance to move back in front next week at The Northern Trust, while the final qualifying week will include the PGA Tour event at TPC Boston and Olesen headlining the field in his homeland at the Made in Denmark.

Even if Olesen fails to qualify automatically for Paris, the 28-year-old continues to bolster his credentials for a possible pick from his countryman, Bjorn. Olesen won the Italian Open in June, finished second at the BMW International Open three weeks later and has now compiled four top-12 finishes over his last five worldwide starts including a T-3 result at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this month.

In addition to the players who fail to qualify from the Olesen-Poulter-Casey trio, other candidates for Bjorn's quartet of picks will likely include major champions Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.

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Thompson bounces back from rule violation

By Randall MellAugust 19, 2018, 2:22 am

If Lexi Thompson’s trouble in the sixth fairway brought back any painful memories Saturday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, she shook them off in a hurry.

If the approach of another rules official amid a spirited run of brilliant play rattled her, she didn’t show it.

Thompson posted an 8-under-par 64 in the third round despite another awkward rules infraction.

Her round was impressively bogey free but not mistake free, and so her work will be a little harder Sunday chasing Lizette Salas.

After incurring a one-shot penalty for violating a local rule in effect for preferred lies, Thompson will start the final round five shots back instead of four.

She knows she’s fortunate she isn’t six back.

If a rules official hadn’t witnessed Thompson in the middle of committing the infraction, she could have been assessed an additional penalty shot for playing from the wrong spot.

Thompson got the penalty after stepping on the 10th tee and blowing her drive right, into the sixth fairway. She got it after picking up her ball over there and lifting, cleaning and placing it. She got it because she wasn’t allowed to do that in any other fairway except for the fairway of the hole she was playing.

The preferred-lie rule was distributed to players earlier in the week.

The story here isn’t really the penalty.


Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship


It’s Thompson’s reaction to it, because she opened this week in such heartfelt fashion. After skipping the Ricoh Women’s British Open to take a month-long “mental break,” Thompson revealed this week that she has been struggling emotionally in the wake of last year’s highs and lows. She opened up about how trying to “hide” her pain and show strength through it all finally became too much to bear. She needed a break. She also candidly shared how the challenges of being a prodigy who has poured herself into the game have led her to seek therapists’ help in building a life about more than golf.

That’s a lot for a 23-year-old to unload publicly.

Last year may have been the best and the worst of Thompson’s career. She said dealing with that controversial four-shot penalty that cost her the ANA Inspiration title, watching her mother battle cancer and losing a grandmother were cumulatively more difficult to deal with than she ever let on. There was also that short missed putt at year’s end that could have vaulted her to Rolex world No. 1 for the first time and led to her winning the Rolex Player of the Year title. She still won twice, won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average and was the Golf Writers Association of America Player of the Year.

That’s a lot of peaks and valleys for a young soul.

That’s the kind of year that can make you feel like an old soul in a hurry.

So seeing a rules official approach her on Saturday, you wondered about Thompson gathering herself so quickly. You wondered what she was thinking stepping up and ripping her next shot 215 majestic yards, about her hitting the green and saving par. You wondered about how she  bounced back to birdie 13 and 14 and finish bogey free.

With this week’s soul bearing, you wondered a lot about what rebounding like that meant to her.

We’re left to wonder from afar, though, because she wasn’t asked any of those questions by local reporters afterward. The transcript showed three brief answers to three short questions, none about the penalty or the challenge she met.

Of course, there were other questions to be asked, because local rules have been an issue this year. Did she read the local notes with the preferred lies explanation? She got hit with another local rules issue in Thailand this year, when she hit her ball near an advertising sign and moved the sign, not realizing a local rule made the sign a temporary immovable obstruction.

Of course, there were other good stories in Indy, too, with Sung Hyun Park poised to overtake Ariya Jutanugarn and return to Rolex world No. 1, with Salas holding off Park so brilliantly down the stretch Saturday.

Thompson, though, is the highest ranked American in the world. She’s the face of American women’s golf now. A face more tender, resolute and vulnerable than we have ever seen it.

Folks along the ropes watching her on the back nine in Indy Saturday got to see that better than any of us.