Keep Going Forward

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
Their Ryder Cup rivalry was so fierce that Seve Ballesteros once referred to the U.S. team as 11 nice guys and Paul Azinger.
But when Azinger was stricken with cancer in 1993, Ballesteros was among the first to call.
He called the house a couple of times and my parents relayed the message, Azinger recalled Tuesday morning. That shows you what kind of guy he is. We had an intense rivalry, but you reach beyond that. Rivalries can be healthy, and maybe they cross the line on occasion. But when real life things happen, people reach out to each other.
Ill try to call Seve once things calm down.
Azinger can only hope that Ballesteros can find a way out, as he did so often in a career defined by amazing recoveries. The five-time major champion was diagnosed with a brain tumor over the weekend, and he was in a Madrid hospital awaiting results of a biopsy to determine the scope and severity.
No matter what it is, hell take a positive outlook and be thorough and do everything right, Azinger said. But its scary.
Azinger was diagnosed with lymphoma at the end of the 1993 season, after winning his only major at the PGA Championship and battling Nick Faldo to a draw in a memorable singles match in the Ryder Cup.
He overcame cancer in the peak of his career, but his only role in the next Ryder Cup at Oak Hill was as a television analyst. Even then, he wound up in the same match with Ballesteros ' holding a microphone as the Spaniard performed one magical escape after another against Tom Lehman in the leadoff singles.
On the opening hole, Ballesteros hooked his tee shot some 30 yards left of the fairway. The gallery circled around Ballesteros as he played his approach, prompting Azinger to say, They might want to be careful. You know, he didnt hit over here on purpose.
Later in the match, Ballesteros was stymied by a massive tree on No. 5, and Azinger reported that his options were to pitch sideways or to play a sharp hook through a gap in the trees to the right. Defying logic, Ballesteros took it over the tree, with enough power to reach the green. He halved the hole with a par.
That all took place in one hour.
Consider the better part of three decades, and the stories of spectacular shots by Ballesteros are endless.
There was the bump-and-run that threaded the bunkers on the final hole at Royal Birkdale when Ballesteros was 19 and tied for second. He won three years later with a shot from the car park. One of the greatest shots Jack Nicklaus ever saw was Ballesteros hitting 3-wood from beneath the lip of a bunker and reaching the green from 245 yards away in the 1983 Ryder Cup.
Years later, he put on a clinic in the short game at The Players Championship.
He was hitting these 3-irons from a greenside bunker closer than Nicklaus could hit his sand wedge, Azinger said. Jack got up there with a 3-iron and was skulling it into the bank. I dont even think its arguable that Seve had the best hands of anyone who ever played.
Hell get no argument from Brad Faxon, who wont forget his first Seve moment.
Faxon was 26 and playing only his second British Open in 1988, elated that his closing 71 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes put him a tie for 11th and made him exempt for next year.
He pulled up a chair in the clubhouse to watch through a tiny window as the final group came up the 18th fairway. Ballesteros was one shot ahead of Nick Price, but the Spaniard was in trouble, some 50 feet from the flag in an awkward lie in the rough.
He was long and left and needed to get up-and-down, Faxon said Tuesday. And he almost holed it. It stopped 2 inches away, and that pretty much knocked out Prices chances. I was young, and watching him do that up close, the way he reacted and the way the crowd reacted to him I dont think its the best shot I ever saw him hit, but it was the most impressionable.
The best shot Azinger saw came during an exhibition at the Old Course in St. Andrews for a Shells Wonderful World of Golf match.
He was in a fairway bunker on No. 4, Azinger said. It was only a 9-iron, but he cooked it out of the bunker, straight up in the air and onto the green. I walked over to the bunker, and realized it was absolutely impossible for me to do that.
Bobby Jones once famously said of Nicklaus, He plays a game with which I am not familiar.
Ballesteros played shots that no one knew existed.
He was special, said two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange, who lost all five times he faced Ballesteros in the Ryder Cup. He truly saw shots that nobody else would see. Hed see a hole in a tree, a run-up on a links.
What was the best shot he saw?
Put it this way, Strange said with a laugh. He chipped in on me more than once. You almost applauded at times, because in a situation like that, you knew it was coming.
Mark Garrod, the golf correspondent for PA Sports the last three decades, remembers Ballesteros hitting one shot so far right during the 93 European Masters that he was 3 feet away from a wall with a swimming pool on the other side. The situation looked hopeless until Ballesteros saw enough of a gap in the trees that he hit pitching wedge to the fringe, then chipped in for birdie.
Garrod later asked Ballesteros about the shot, and the response is worth remembering now.
I just like to keep going forward.
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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.