Giving new definition to being on tour

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2009, 8:22 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Tiger Woods first made his move in the AustralianMasters in the middle of the opening round, getting his name on the leaderboardnext to a player named “Jordan” that even some of the local fans did notrecognize.

Damien Jordan , the last player to get into the field, was worth getting toknow.

The 29-year-old rookie fulfilled one part of his dream by making it throughQ-school last year on the Australasian Tour, a goal that had been put on holdwhen he enlisted in the Army and served two tours in Iraq.

The first tour was for five months in 2002, and he returned in 2005 for aseven-month tour of more heavy combat. He left the Army a year later, and tooktwo years to polish his game. If anything, it has given him a differentperspective than most.

“Regardless of what happens, I know I’ll go home at the end of the day andhave a hot shower, have a good feed,” he said. “Half the time you’re overthere, you’re thinking, ‘This could be the time when an IED goes off and I’m notgoing home.”’

Jordan’s parents introduced him to golf at a young age, and he was slowlydeveloping into a decent golfer when he felt compelled to join the Army at age,serving in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment.

“A lot of people before me have given their lives for the country, and Ithought, ‘Why should I be different and not put my end up?”’ Jordan said.“That’s what I did. I met a lot of good mates, a lot of friends for life, andit made me stronger out here.”

Even now, he faces a struggle different from most.

He said his time in the Army cost him his marriage, which Jordan said wasone of the untold statistics of Army life. He spends as much time as he can withhis two daughters, ages 2 and 3.

Jordan said he will take medication the rest of his life to cope with thedreams, and he continues to see a psychiatrist twice a month.

“Even smells can bring it back,” he said. “I walked into a fruit andvegetable shop, and there had been an Iraqi shop that had the same incensegoing,” he said. “That made it tough. It was exactly the same. I’m trying toget away from stuff like that.”

Jordan mostly played the pro-am circuit this year in Australia, in whichamateurs put up the purse while playing with the pros. It would be comparable toa mini-tour in the United States, and Jordan won eight tournaments.

The Australian Masters was his first event that counted on the worldranking. He opened with a 69 before falling well back and finishing toward thebottom of the leaderboard.

Asked for his greatest moment in golf, he smiled.

“Playing here, mate,” he said. “It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done inmy golf career. To make the cut, and to be out here, is just brilliant. And Igot to see Tiger. To play in the field with anyone of that stature isphenomenal.”

Jordan was not sure if he would get into the Australian Open or theAustralian PGA Championship next month. Asked for his ultimate goal, he did notmention winning or even playing a particular tournament.

“Just keep living the dream, doing what I’m doing,” Jordan said. “Everyday is a win for me.”

RACE TO DUBAI: The European Tour has four players in position to win theRace to Dubai, which features a $7.5 million bonus pool in addition to the $7.5million purse this week at the Dubai World Championship.

Rory McIlroy , the 20-year-old from Northern Ireland, moved atop thestandings with his runner-up finish last week in Hong Kong, putting him about$190,000 ahead of Lee Westwood . They are followed by Martin Kaymer and RossFisher .

Paul Casey is fifth in the standings, but has withdrawn with a recurring ribinjury.

PRESIDENTS CUP: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the tour has agreedto look into the possibility of staging the Presidents Cup in China in 2019,which he said might be enough time for China to set a goal of having a playercapable of competing in the matches, or worthy enough to be a captain’s pick.

If that’s the case, it would leave 2015 open for an international venue.

Finchem is intrigued by the idea that the Presidents Cup head to SouthAmerica in 2015, one year before golf returns to the Olympic program in Brazil.Golf is only guaranteed the 2016 and 2020 Olympics before another vote ofconfirmation. It is important that golf put on a good show in Rio.

“We can’t just show up and say, ‘We’re here,”’ Finchem said.

The Nationwide Tour is headed to Colombia next year, home country of CamiloVillegas . One problem is that the best players from South America are comingfrom Argentina—two-time major champion Angel Cabrera , Andres Romero , RicardoGonzalez , Daniel Vancsik and Estanislao Goya. Argentina held a wildly successfulWorld Cup, won by Tiger Woods and David Duval , in 2000.

“Will that help with an Olympics in Brazil? I don’t know,” Finchem said.

He said the first priority before South America—perhaps Brazil, in thiscase—can be considered for a Presidents Cup is getting more golf coursesbuilt.

TIGER’S CHECK: Depending on the exchange rate when the check was written,Tiger Woods earned a little more than $250,000 for his victory in the AustralianMasters, which was the sixth-lowest winning check of his career.

Two of those checks came on the PGA Tour.

Woods earned $216,000 for winning at Disney in 1996 and the MercedesChampionship at La Costa to open the next season. The tour negotiated its new TVdeal later that year, and prize money took off a few years later.

The smallest check was $48,450 in 1997 for winning the Asian Honda Classic,followed by $190,798 for winning the Johnnie Walker Classic in 2000. Woods alsoreceived only $223,061 for winning the Johnnie Walker in 1998.

Of course, he received appearance fees that dwarfed the total purse in thoseoverseas events.

DIVOTS: Tiger Woods earned 28 world ranking points with his victory in theAustralian Masters, the fewest for any victory since he received 24 in the 2000Johnnie Walker Classic. … There were 91 players who earned over $1 million onthe PGA Tour, the fewest since 78 players in 2005. … The PGA Tour had 13playoffs this year, three short of the record last set in 1991.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Adam Scott tied for third in Singapore and tied for sixthin Australia. It was the first time he had top 10s in consecutive tournamentssince May 2008.

FINAL WORD: “I’m definitely playing well. I haven’t missed a cut sinceTiger invited me to his tournament. But unfortunately, it’s not about missingcuts out here.”—Chris Riley , who failed to finish inside the top 125 on thePGA Tour money list to keep his card.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.