Haas Roberts Resume Their Duel in Hawaii

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2007, 5:00 pm
MasterCard ChampionshipKA'UPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii -- Jay Haas stepped up last season just when it seemed as if Loren Roberts was hoisting a trophy every week.
 
Haas won four events on the Champions Tour, including three straight, edging Roberts for the $1 million Charles Schwab Cup and the money title.
 
'It was a hard-fought year. Jay and I were going at it all year long, back and forth,' said Roberts, who won his first three starts.
 
'I'm not going to look at it as a disappointment. Obviously, I would've liked to have won the Schwab Cup, but we had a great battle.'
 
They will resume their duel Friday at the MasterCard Championship, the first of 29 Champions Tour events this season.
 
'Hopefully, Loren won't get such a big lead like he did last year,' Haas said. 'He played awfully well.'
 
The 54-hole, $1.7 million event is being played at Hualalai, known for its generous greens, reachable par-5s and black lava rock surroundings. No winner has ever had a round of 70 or higher in the last six years.
 
'I feel when I step on the first tee tomorrow, I'm going to have to be firing at the flags all day,' Haas said.
 
Last year, Roberts made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a course-record 11-under 61 and a one-stroke victory over Don Pooley. Roberts had a 25-under 191 total to break the tour record for relation to par in a 54-hole event and tie the stroke mark. He also broke the record for birdies in a three-round tournament with 26.
 
Roberts made it a Hawaiian sweep, taking the Turtle Bay Championship. He also won the ACE Group Classic to become the first Champions Tour player to win the first three events of the season. His fourth win came at the Senior British Open.
 
Nicknamed the 'Boss of the Moss' for his sweet putting, Roberts had 18 top-10 finishes.
 
'The first part of the year, I did everything right,' he said. 'I putted really well. I think I probably got a little tired by the end of the year.'
 
Haas, who tied for third at the MasterCard, won the Senior PGA Championship en route to his career-best $2,420,227, claiming the money title by $54,832. He had 16 top-10 finishes and won the Schwab Cup by 20 points when Roberts missed a short par putt on No. 18 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
 
'I know the window of opportunity is closing fast, so I don't want to live on what happened last year,' Haas said. 'I want to continue to go forward.
 
'There's a target on a lot of guys' backs. There's some studs out here this year. If you start guarding one or two people, four or five others are going to pass right by.'
 
Haas, who turned 53 in December, said he's pretty much done with the regular tour and plans to play about two dozen tournaments on the 50-and-over circuit.
 
'Thirty years. I think that's enough,' he said. 'I enjoy it. I played seven events (last year), but I just didn't play as well as I wanted to.'
 
The 51-year-old Roberts, meanwhile, has spent the offseason working out with a trainer, lifting weights and running.
 
'I want to play a few more events on the regular tour just to kind of get it over with -- so I'm not tempted,' he said.
 
But he skipped the Sony Open in Honolulu last week to play in the Champions Skins Game at Wailea, where he teamed with Arnold Palmer.
 
'I wasn't going to turn down a chance to be with the legends,' Roberts said. 'No way I was going to turn that down.'
 
The 41-player MasterCard field includes major champions from the last five years and other tournament winners in the last two years, plus invitees Gary Player, Ben Crenshaw, Raymond Floyd and Lanny Wadkins.
 
Among the players to watch are Hale Irwin and Dana Quigley.
 
Quigley won the MasterCard in 2003 and '05 and was a runner-up in '00 and '04. He also has a string of 14 straight scores in the 60s at Hualalai.
 
Irwin is trying to get back on track after going winless for the first time in 12 seasons. If there's a state to turn it around, it's Hawaii where Irwin has won six times on the senior tour and once on the regular tour.
 
DIVOTS
Gary and Vivienne Player will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Friday. The two met at Virginia Park Golf Club in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Vivienne worked part-time at the pro shop. Before competing in the 1957 Ampol Golf Tournament in Australia, Player declared he would marry Vivienne if he won. And he did. They have six children and 18 grandchildren. 'Behind every successful man is a woman,' Player said. 'But behind every successful professional golfer is an exceptional woman.'
 
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    Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

    Bernhard Langer did not.

    The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

    "You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

    Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

    "I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

    Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

    As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

    "I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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    Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

    Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

    Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

    Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

    “To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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    Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

    Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

    Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.

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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”