Faxon Regrets Not Having Surgery

By Associated PressMay 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
IRVING, Texas -- Brad Faxon decided not to have surgery after tearing ligaments in his right knee toward the end of 2003. He had only two top 10s last year and wound up 76th on the money list, his lowest position since 1990.
 
Any regrets about surgery?
 
Every day, Faxon said candidly.
 
A recent MRI showed the ACL is completely torn with no hope of healing on its own. It feels OK, and Faxon said it doesnt bother him swinging the club. Its not a hindrance to golf, he said.
 
What he believes set him back was being unable to play other sports.
 
Faxon lives in Rhode Island and puts his clubs away for the winter. He has a history of doing well on the West Coast because he stays competitive in the offseason by playing squash, table tennis and working out.
 
I couldnt do any of that, Faxon said. I think that competitive stuff I missed from playing those sports has hurt. Every year, after I moved back to Rhode Island, I always got off to great starts on the West Coast having not touched a club ... I literally played two days before going to Hawaii.
 
The last two years, I havent done anything competitively off the course. I think its interesting.
 
Faxon had at least two top 10s on the West Coast every year since 2000, including his victory at the 2001 Sony Open. Since injuring his knee, he has made it to the weekend only once in two years on the West Coast'a tie for 29th this year at the Nissan Open.
 
Faxon felt like he turned the corner at Quail Hollow, where he played the weekend at 1 under par and tied for 44th. Confidence-wise, I made a huge step in two days, he said.
 
As for that surgery?
 
I think Im going to take care of it this fall, Faxon said.
 
ROYAL ARRIVAL
Retief Goosen is playing the Byron Nelson Championship for the first time, and while he didnt get the red-carpet treatment at the airport, he got something even better.
 
The 93-year-old tournament host was there to pick him up.
 
His wife was standing there and I thought, Well, its nice of her to greet me, Goosen said. And then we walked up to the car and she said, Ive got somebody waiting in the car for you. I thought maybe it was my caddie. And it was Mr. Nelson sitting in the front seat.
 
I was a bit surprised, Goosen said. It was a great way to arrive at a golf tournament.
 
THE MAD SCIENTIST
Davis Love III recently pulled his old persimmons driver out of the closet, not out of curiosity, but as the guinea pig for his 11-year-old sons science project.
 
The hypothesis was which driver'wooden or titanium'hits the new golf balls farther. Love used the MacGregor driver he hit in college.
 
Downwind, it was OK, Love said. But anything into the wind, or any crosswind, it was a joke. You couldnt put any spin on it, and it would just nosedive. You had to hit hard and put spin on it. These balls dont spin.
 
The last time Love used a wooden driver, he had the Titleist 384, a wound ball. The long hitters generated plenty of spin, which enabled the ball to rise and carry. With titanium drivers and multilayer balls that dont spin as much, the idea is to launch the ball higher.
 
If you took Lanny Wadkins ball shape, and Vijay Singhs, it would make an egg shape, Love said.
 
He didnt disclose the results, but it sounds as though he helped his son with a dynamite graphic.
 
OPEN SCOUTING REPORT
A cool spring meant there was hardly any rough at Quail Hollow for the Wachovia Championship. Apparently, its not much better down the road at Pinehurst No. 2.
 
Chad Campbell was among those who took a detour to Pinehurst for a practice round before the U.S. Open next month. Along with noticing some tee boxes moved back, Campbell said the rough was down and the grass sparse in spots.
 
Theres a little work that needs to be done, Campbell said. Theyre sodding around some of the greens. The Bermuda (grass) didnt come in because of all the weather, so theres not much rough right now. They need some rain and hot weather.
 
Temperatures were in the 80s during the final round at Quail Hollow. Help might be on the way.
 
DOWN FROM THE BOOTH
The results might not show it yet, but Paul Azinger says he is having no trouble making the transition to the broadcast booth as an analyst for ABC Sports.
 
Azinger has played 10 times and made six cuts, and his best chance was his first tournament, when he started the final round of the Sony Open three shots out of the lead and tied for 17th.
 
But he was encouraged by his last four weeks, where he made the cut each time and tied for 21st in New Orleans.
 
What Im finding is that I found my golf swing, Azinger said after a tie for 56th in the Wachovia Championship. Ive just got to figure out how to score. I three-putted nine greens this week. Its too bad, because I struck it really well. I just putted like a donkey.
 
ABC has not televised a PGA Tour event since the Match Play Championship the last week of February. Azinger, who is 137th on the money list, will play Memphis and Memorial before ABC resumes its coverage at the Booz Allen Classic, and he plans to play Congressional, too.
 
Ive had no trouble compartmentalizing the two, Azinger said. Shifting gears, initially, was tough. But once Im doing the golf, Im completed engulfed in golf. And broadcasting is another entity. Its not like I finish my round, put on a tie and go into the booth.
 
DIVOTS
Jack Nicklaus will be playing tournament golf in consecutive weeks'first at the Memorial, beginning June 2, then the Bayer Challenge outside Kansas City, Mo., on the Champions Tour at a course he designed. ... Fred Couples tied for second in the SK Telecom Open in South Korea and moved up to No. 35 in the world. Couples will lose points over the next month, and he needs to stay in the top 50 to be exempt for the U.S. Open. ... Annika Sorenstam not only lost her streak of 43 rounds at par or better, it was her first finish over par in a 72-hole event in 25 tournaments dating to the 2003 John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic in Tulsa, Okla.
 
S TAT OF THE WEEK
The last 12 stroke-play events on the PGA Tour have been decided on the last hole, eight of them in playoffs.
 
FINAL WORD
There are plenty of big hitters that arent good players.'Padraig Harrington, asked whether golf was all about power.
 
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

“This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

“I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

“I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

“We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”