Funk Going for Hawaiian Sweep

By Associated PressJanuary 25, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Turtle Bay ChampionshipKAHUKU, Hawaii -- Fred Funk's winning ways in Hawaii continue, even off the golf course.
Fresh of his victory at the MasterCard Championship, Funk is seeking a Hawaiian sweep at the Turtle Bay Championship, where he ran away with a record 11-stroke victory a year ago.
The Champions Tour's first full-field event of the year begins Friday but Funk already created a buzz with a thrilling victory in the turtle race.
'I thought it was a great team win -- me and my turtle,' he said Thursday. 'I really enjoyed it. It was better than the Ryder Cup.'
The only problem is, no golfer has ever won the race and went on to win the tournament. It's become sort of like the Par-3 Contest at Augusta.
'I didn't know that,' Funk said. 'I would've thrown the race.'
The 51-year-old Funk is looking to continue his success in the islands, where he has spent the past month.
On Sunday, Funk won at Hualalai, birdieing the final two holes for a 7-under 65 and a two-stroke victory over Allen Doyle. The victory came after he opened the year by tying for 25th in the PGA TOUR's Mercedes-Benz Championship and tying for 10th in the Sony Open.
'I played really well last week, obviously and I played good at Sony as well,' he said. 'I'm playing well right now.'
Last year, Funk had the most-lopsided victory ever in a 54-hole Champions Tour event, finishing with consecutive 8-under 64s for an 11-stroke, wire-to-wire win. He had a tournament-record 23-under 193 total.
'I like runaways. No question,' he said. 'Birdies are like deposits in the bank. There are always withdrawals, so you can never have too many deposits.'
Funk will be challenged to repeat last year's performance. He caught a sinus infection Wednesday and wasn't feeling well.
Six-time Turtle Bay winner Hale Irwin was feeling good and looking to bounce back from a poor performance at Hualalai, where he finished a career-low 30th in the winners-only field of 41. He won the event last year and in 1997.
The 62-year-old Irwin said his thoughts were with his wife, Sally, who slipped and hit her head in the middle of the night just before the MasterCard. She sustained a concussion and was taken to the emergency room where she received 10 stitches.
'I was kind of concerned about that. My Thursday was very disconcerting and I wasn't ready to play on Friday,' Irwin said.
Irwin said his wife was much better and considers last week a 'dress rehearsal' for Turtle Bay, where he won in 2005 to become the first player to win a PGA Tour-sanctioned event five straight times.
Last year, Irwin tied for 28th at Turtle Bay.
'Having won at Hualalai the week before, I came over here and was a little on the euphoric downside,' he said. 'It's just the reverse this year. I'm looking forward to this week. Last week, my mind was somewhere else.'
Irwin said his goal this year was to play well in the majors. Last season was his worst since joining the 50-and-over circuit. For the first time, he failed to make the cut at the U.S. Senior Open, an event he has won twice and finished runner-up twice.
'I think I lost that intensity and focus,' he said. 'I find that as I get older, it's not so much being physically being able to do it, it's maintaining that level of intensity and concentration.'
Players will need concentration this weekend.
Unlike last week's serene conditions at Hualalai, the wind was whipping at 25 mph at the oceanside Arnold Palmer-designed layout during Thursday's pro-am.
Funk said he doesn't mind a little wind. Besides playing well in the final windy holes at Hualalai, he became the oldest winner of THE PLAYERS Championship in 2005 after overcoming gusts up to 40 mph.
'I don't think of myself as a guy that really enjoys playing in the wind. But I've played really well the last few years in a lot of wind,' he said. 'For whatever reason, I don't know.'
If Funk is able to win Sunday, it will be his second straight win and third Champions Tour title in Hawaii in four starts. He'll also be on his way to dethroning Irwin as the golf king of Hawaii.
'He's got a way to go,' said Irwin, who has nine official and 12 overall victories in Hawaii. 'I won't let him. I'll bushwhack him first.' ^
Irwin was asked by a fan to sign a baseball-type card Thursday that featured his name, but Graham Marsh's photo. 'We all look alike after a while, I guess,' Irwin said. ... Peter Jacobsen withdrew from Turtle Bay because of a knee injury suffered at Hualalai. He was replaced by Walter Zembriski. ... Bob Gilder will make his 95th straight Champions Tour start, the longest current streak. The last event Gilder missed was the 2004 Greater Hickory Classic.
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    Chamblee: Like Tiger in '13, Mickelson should've DQ'd self

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 2:46 pm

    Two days after Brooks Koepka left Long Island with the U.S. Open trophy, the third-round antics of Phil Mickelson are still garnering plenty of discussion.

    Mickelson became a lightning rod of opinion after he intentionally hit a moving ball on the 13th green Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, incurring a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification. In the aftermath, he explained that he made a conscious choice to take the penalty to avoid playing back and forth across the crispy putting surface, and he tied for 48th after a final-round 66.

    Speaking Tuesday on "Morning Drive," Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee shared his view that Mickelson would have been well-served to disqualify himself ahead of the final round. He also compared it to Tiger Woods' incident at the 2013 Masters, when he took an incorrect drop and, like Mickelson, received a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.

    "I think Tiger, at least it's my opinion that his year would have been less distracting if he had done so," Chamblee said. "And I think the same of Phil Mickelson. If he had withdrawn from the championship and said, 'Look. This is a little sketchy. It didn't play out the way I thought. I've given it some thought and it's in the best interest of the championship that I withdraw.'"

    Chamblee added that Mickelson's antics were "really distracting" on a day filled with drama as the USGA lost control of course conditions, noting that Mickelson and playing partner Andrew "Beef" Johnston were the only tee time where both players failed to break 80 despite the difficult conditions.

    But having had time to review the situation and having surveyed a number of peers, Chamblee is as convinced as ever that Mickelson made a mistake by showing up for his final-round tee time.

    "What Phil did, I haven't run into a single person that hasn't said he deserved to be disqualified," Chamblee said. "Under any interpretation, a serious breach - if gaining an advantage is not a serious breach, I don't know what is. And he clearly said he was gaining an advantage and doing it for strategic reasons."

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    Norman to pose in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

    By Grill Room TeamJune 19, 2018, 2:05 pm

    Professional golfers have, from time to time, appeared in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features athletes strategically posed in the nude. The list includes: Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Gary Player, Camilo Villegas, Sandra Gal, Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien, Suzann Pettersen and Sadena Parks.

    And now, Greg Norman.

    Modesty has never been an issue for Norman, who has an affinity for posing without a shirt (and sometimes without pants) on his Instagram account.

    He joins a list of athletes, in this year's edition, ranging from professional wrestlers (Charlotte Flair) to Olympians (Adam Rippon) to WNBA stars (Sue Bird). Click here for a full list of the athletes to appear.


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    DJ listed as betting favorite for The Open

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

    With the U.S. Open officially in the books, oddsmakers quickly turned their attention to the season's third major.

    Minutes after Brooks Koepka holed the winning putt to successfully defend his title at Shinnecock Hills, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published its first set of odds for The Open. Jordan Spieth, who opened at 14/1, will defend his title as the tournament shifts to Carnoustie in Scotland for the first time since 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

    Joining Spieth at 14/1 is 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but they're both listed behind world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Johnson, who was a runner-up at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George's and just finished third at the U.S. Open, opened as a 12/1 betting favorite. Koepka, now a two-time major winner, is listed at 20/1 alongside U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

    Here's a look at the first edition of odds, with The Open just five weeks away:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy

    16/1: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas

    20/1: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    80/1: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry

    100/1: Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker

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    Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

    Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

    Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

    “We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

    “The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

    The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

    (All Times Local)

    Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

    Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

    Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

    Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

    Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

    Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

    NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.