Haas seeks fourth Principal Charity Classic title

By Associated PressMay 30, 2013, 9:03 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa – Jay Haas has experienced unprecedented success in Iowa during his Champions Tour career.

If Haas can win a fourth Principal Charity Classic title in his first trip to the event's new home, he'll join a pair of Hall of Famers in the senior circuit record book.

Set to start play Friday at the Wakonda Club, Haas is trying to join Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin as the only Champions Tour players to win the same event four times.

Haas won in 2007-08 and cruised to a five-stroke win at the Glen Oaks Country Club last spring. He's fourth in the Charles Schwab Cup and tied for second last weekend in the Senior PGA Championship.

''I don't think of it in those terms. I think of it as, 'What have you done for me this week?'' Haas said. ''But the fact that I could join those two guys in anything that they did would be pretty special.''

But the 59-year-old Haas, the only player to win the Iowa tournament more than once, won't enjoy the advantage of playing a course that suited him so well for years.

The Iowa event has moved to Wakonda after 12 years at Glen Oaks, except for a stint at nearby Polk City in 2005. The 91-year-old course sits a couple miles from downtown Des Moines, and views of the capital city's modest skyline abound through scores of hill-perched tee boxes, sloping fairways and mature trees.

Wakonda looks as much like upstate New York as the upper Plains, and the multiple changes in elevation won't make it an easy walking course either.

Japan's Koki Idoki, the surprise winner of the Senior PGA event in St. Louis last week, won't play this weekend in Iowa. But nearly every other player who has made an impact on the Champions Tour this season will be in Des Moines.

Haas will play alongside tour leader Bernhard Langer and Mark O'Meara, who has six top-10 finishes in nine starts. Langer has two wins, two second-place finishes and a third this season – but he also has failed to crack the top 10 in three consecutive events. Still, Langer has a 172-point lead over Idoki in the points chase.

David Frost is third in the Schwab Cup race, despite notching his only finishes outside the top 10 twice in three events.

One major factor this weekend could be the weather.

The nasty conditions that have plagued the Plains don't figure to clear out for good until Sunday. The weather will likely leave the course playing soft and slow, but Haas said he feels about as comfortable at Wakonda as he did at Glen Oaks.

''I had some second thoughts, moving from Glen Oaks where I had some great success. But the golf course is in great condition, considering all the rain we've had. I love the layout, all the ups and downs, the tightness, all the things like that.''

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Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

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Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

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McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

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Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.