Lehman in front of Insperity Championship field after Day 1

By Associated PressMay 4, 2012, 10:08 pm

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Tom Lehman used to hate the Tournament Course at The Woodlands Country Club. Now, he's wondering why he ever felt that way.

The 53-year-old Lehman had an eagle and five birdies on the first eight holes on the back nine Friday, then bogeyed the par-4 18th for a 7-under 65 and a one-shot lead after the first round of the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.

Fred Funk and Houston native Tom Jenkins were tied for second, and past winners John Cook and Bernhard Langer topped a large group at 68.

Michael Allen, coming off consecutive victories at TPC Tampa Bay and the Legends of Golf better-ball event with David Frost, opened with a 69.

Lehman, the player of the year last year after winning three times, shot his ninth straight sub-par round at the Woodlands, a venue that used to conjure nothing but bad memories.

He played in the 1985 Houston Open, the first year it was contested here, and missed the cut. In December 1989, Lehman finished ''nearly dead-last'' here in PGA Tour qualifying school on a cold, rainy weekend.

''It was a horrendous experience,'' he said. ''I played poorly and because it was such a big deal, I hated the golf course and I thought I'd never come back.''

But Lehman has top-10 finishes in each of his three Champions Tour starts at the course since 2009, and he was reminded again Friday how well the course actually suits his game.

He hit approach shots close all day, and sank 6-foot birdie putts on Nos. 10 and 11 to get going. He holed a 12-footer on the 13th hole, reached the par-5 15th in two shots to set up the eagle and then tacked on two short birdie putts on Nos. 16 and 17.

''I think to myself, 'Why did I not come back here? I love this course,''' Lehman said. ''It's just a testimony to how you can get something in your head, when things aren't going well. It's easy to say, 'I don't like the golf course.'''

Funk, meanwhile, is back at a venue he's always loved.

He played in that same 1989 qualifying tournament here, but played well and earned his card. Funk then earned his first Tour victory here at 1992 Houston Open, also the year he shot a course-record 62. And he met his second wife, Sharon, at a post-tournament party that year.

''A lot of good things here,'' Funk said, ''plus I love the golf course. It's a good spot.''

The 55-year-old Funk is coming off a tie for 30th at the Zurich Classic on the PGA Tour, where he finished with a 68. He has played in four Tour events this year and hopes to qualify for next month's U.S. Open.

''I still enjoy playing with the young guys,'' Funk said. ''I love those guys. It's just great to see them, and to try to stay in touch with what they're doing.''

The 64-year-old Jenkins played on the University of Houston's 1970 national championship squad. He's staying at his childhood home this week with his 92-year-old mother, Martha, and sleeping in his old bedroom.

''It's like going back in time,'' he said. ''You look up and you've got all the trophies in the cubby holes up there from when you were 15. It's kind of a special time. It's always great to be back and kind of kindle some of those memories.''

Winless since 2006, Jenkins felt totally relaxed as he began his round. He was 4-under par at the turn, then reached the par-5 first hole in two for another birdie. He added another birdie on the par-5 sixth to match his best round at The Woodlands.

Jenkins never felt comfortable in previous professional starts in Houston. His best finish in 15 appearances in the regular tour's Houston Open was a tie for 30th in 1983.

''Usually, in my past, it's always been more difficult to play at home, because all the distractions, you're having to get tickets for everybody,'' Jenkins said. ''Everybody wants to invite you to dinner. There's a lot of stuff. It doesn't happen now, it's just a little bit different now.''

Jenkins has won seven Champions Tour events, but none since October 2006. He had five top-25 finishes last year, including a tie for 16th at this event, when it was held in October.

He's quietly confident about his chances here this weekend.

''I still feel like I can play,'' he said. ''If I get in the hunt, I still feel like I can do it.''

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Watch: On 59 watch, Sneds dunks approach for eagle

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

Brandt Snedeker was having a good day in Round 1 of the Wyndham Championship. And then he reached the green a the par-4 sixth at Sedgefield Country Club and his day got even better.

Snedeker holed a 7-iron from 176 yards, on the fly, for an eagle-2. Playing his 15th hole of the day, Snedeker vaulted to 9 under par for the tournament.



With Sedgefield being a par 70, Snedeker needed two birdies over his final three holes to shoot 59 and he got one of them at the par-3 seventh, where he hit his tee shot on the 224-yard hole to 2 feet.



Snedeker actually had 58 in his crosshairs, but missed an 8-foot slider for birdie at the par-4 eighth.

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Rosaforte Report: A tale of two comebacks

By Tim RosaforteAugust 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Comeback (noun): A return by a well-known person, especially an entertainer or sports player, to the activity in which they have formerly been successful.

Even by definition, the word comeback is subjective.

There is no question that Brooks Koepka has completed his comeback. With two major championship victories that encompassed wins over Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods, Player of the Year honors have already been locked up for the 2017-18 season.

But knowing Koepka, he wants more. A No. 1 ranking, topping his boy D.J., is a possibility and a goal. A Ryder Cup is awaiting. By all rights, Koepka could be Comeback Player of the Year and Player of the Year all in one, except the PGA Tour discontinued its Comeback honor in 2012. Even without an official award, it’s fun to compare the cases of Koepka and Woods.

What Woods has recovered from is remarkable, but not complete. He hasn’t won yet. With triumphs in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, Koepka has completed his comeback from a pair of wrist injuries that could have been equally as career-ending as the physical issues that Woods had to overcome just to contend in the last two majors.

“There was a question on whether or not I’d ever be the same,” Koepka said Sunday night in the media center at Bellerive, following his third major championship victory in six tries. “Whether I could do it pain-free, we had no idea.”



The wrist traumas occured five months apart, with the initial issue, which occured at the Hero World Challenge in December (in which he finished last in the limited field), putting him in a soft cast with a partially torn tendon. That cost the reigning U.S. Open champion 15 weeks on the shelf (and couch), including a start in the Masters.

His treatment included injecting bone marrow and platelet-rich plasma. When he returned at the Zurich Classic in April, Koepka revealed the ligaments that hold the tendon in place were gone – thus a dislocation – and that every time he went to his doctor, “it seemed like it got worse and worse.”

Koepka’s second wrist injury of the season occurred on the practice grounds at The Players, when a cart pulled in front of Koepka just as he was accelerating into the ball with his 120-plus mph club-head speed. Abruptly stopping his swing, Koepka’s left wrist popped out. His physio relayed a story to PGA Tour radio in which he advised Koepka before he reset the wrist: “Sit on your hand and bite this towel, otherwise you’re going to punch me.”

Koepka admitted that he never dreamed such a scenario would threaten his career. He called it, “probably the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, setting that bone back.” But, testament to Koepka's fortitude, four days later he made an albatross and tied a TPC Sawgrass course record, shooting 63.

Woods’ physical – and mental – recovery from back surgery and prescription drug abuse was painful and career threatening in its own way. As he said in his return to Augusta, “Those are some really, really dark times. I’m a walking miracle.”

As amazing as it has been, Woods, by definition, still hasn’t fully completed his comeback. While he’s threatened four times in 2018, he hasn’t won a tournament.

Yes, it’s a miracle that he’s gotten this far, swinging the club that fast, without any relapse in his back. As electric and high-energy as his second-place finish to Koepka was at the PGA, Woods has made this winning moment something to anticipate. As story lines go, it may be better this way.

Coming off a flat weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone, Woods was starting to sound like an old 42-year-old. But instead of ice baths and recovery time, the conversation was charged by what he did on Saturday and Sunday in the 100th PGA.

A day later, there was more good news. With Woods committing to three straight weeks of FedExCup Playoff golf, potentially followed by a week off and then the Tour Championship, that moment of victory may not be far away.

Scheduling – and certainly anticipating – four tournaments in five weeks, potentially followed by a playing role at the Ryder Cup, would indicate that Woods has returned to the activity in which he was formally successful.

There were times post-scandal and post-back issues, that Woods stuck by the lines made famous by LL Cool J:

Don’t call it a comeback
I’ve been here for years
I’m rocking my peers

Not this time. As he said Sunday before his walk-off 64 in St, Louis, “Oh, God. I didn’t even know if I was going to play again.”

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Actor/Comedian Kevin Nealon Joins "Feherty," Monday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

Actor/comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live) will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

Filmed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last month, the episode will focus on numerous topics, including:

  • Nealon discussing his start in comedy in Los Angeles, where he worked as a bartender and filled in for comics who failed to show up for their act.
  • Reminiscing about his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984.
  • Reflecting on his nine-year run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
  • Recounting the time when his golf ball struck Adam Sandler during a round they were playing with filming Happy Gilmore.
  • Recalling time spent with Arnold Palmer during the filming of a commercial a few years ago.

The following Monday (Aug. 27), Feherty will be joined by 20-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr at 9 p.m. ET, and then on Monday, Sept. 3 (9 p.m. ET), major champion Jimmy Walker will join as a guest for the series’ season finale.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver, Golf Films as well as the network’s instruction platforms.

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Thomas talks Tiger, plays 'Facebreakers' on 'Tonight Show'

By Grill Room TeamAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 pm

Justin Thomas didn't successfully defend his title at last week's PGA Championship, but he did get a guest spot on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

Thomas appeared on the talk show Wednesday night and, of course, a primary topic was Tiger Woods' run at the Wanamaker Trophy.



Thomas also played a game of "Facebreakers" with host Fallon, in which both men tried to break panes of glass emblazoned with the other's face with golf shots. Thomas nearly took out the real Fallon on his first shot, and after several uncessful attempts by both men, massive cheating ensued.