Medinah to Present Glorys Last Shot

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipThe PGA Championship is known as 'Glory's Last Shot,' a reminder to the strongest field of all Grand Slam events that this is the last chance of the year to capture a major championship.
For Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, it takes on a slightly different meaning.
Medinah is where they can make their last statement.
They have been the dominant players on the PGA Tour this year, reducing any notion of a Big Five to the definitive Big Two.
Mickelson won his second green jacket at the Masters, using two drivers as he dissected Augusta National and won comfortably by two shots. Woods collected his third claret jug at the British Open, his one driver more of a hood ornament than a weapon. He used it only once in 72 holes on the baked links of Royal Liverpool, winning by two shots.
In between, Geoff Ogilvy captured the U.S. Open, although Woods and Mickelson still managed to grab headlines - Woods by missing the cut for the first time in a major, Mickelson by throwing away a chance at his third straight major by making double bogey on the 18th hole at Winged Foot to lose by one.
In some respects, Medinah is for all the marbles.
A victory by either one likely would lock up player of the year. Mark O'Meara showed the value of two majors in 1998 when his Masters and British Open titles trumped David Duval winning four times and the money title.
The award would mean more to Mickelson because he never has won it in his 15 years on the PGA Tour, and it's been 10 years since he has had a chance as good as this one.
Woods, however, comes to Chicago with more confidence.
After taking two months off when his father died, then missing the cut at Winged Foot, Woods was nearly flawless at Hoylake in winning his 11th major championship. Two weeks later, he collected his 50th career title on the PGA Tour with a two-shot victory in the Buick Open, his fourth win this year.
But his work is not done.
'Having two World Golf Championships, the Tour Championship and a major championship ahead of us - four big events - anything can happen,' Woods said. 'Hopefully, I can get it done in those four events, especially in a couple of weeks.'
That was a reference to Medinah, a course that brings back good memories.
Seven years ago, Woods ended his longest drought in the majors with a one-shot victory in the PGA Championship. That set off an explosive romp that lasted three years, including a stretch when he won 18 of 36 tournaments and went seven of 11 in majors.
It's too early to tell whether this latest round of swing changes has prepared him for another big run, but considering how his last two starts have gone, Woods is on a high.
'Playing the way I played the last two tournaments is a lot more satisfying than hitting it all over the lot and contending, and if you're lucky enough, to win the tournament,' he said. 'Playing this way is a lot more fun. A lot less stress, too.'
Mickelson's best two years were not good enough to be player of the year.
He won four times in 1996 - remember, no majors until 2004 - and was leading the money list until British Open champion Tom Lehman won the season-ending Tour Championship to claim the money title, and the vote for player of the year. In 2004, when Lefty broke through with his first major and went 1-2-3-6 in the majors, he was trumped by Vijay Singh and his nine victories.
His hope is to hoist the heavy Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday, although Mickelson isn't willing to look too far ahead in the race for player of the year.
'You're way ahead of me,' said Mickelson, whose other victory this year was by 13 shots at the BellSouth Classic. 'I have a couple of tournaments here, and I'm just trying to play well.'
Not to be forgotten is Ogilvy, the 29-year-old Aussie with no weakness and his first major. He didn't get much credit for winning at Winged Foot, especially with Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie each taking double bogey on the last hole. But he did get up-down for par on the final hole, and his credentials include a World Golf Championship for winning the Match Play title at La Costa in February.
But, going into the PGA Championship, even Ogilvy says it's all about Woods and Mickelson.
'I wouldn't vote for me at the moment,' he said. 'I would vote for Phil or Tiger at this point. Tiger at the British Open, and Phil's performance was impressive. I'd have to win the PGA or Firestone or The Tour Championship. It would have to be a a really big one because I think Tiger would definitely be in front of me at the moment.'
Don't forget the other guys.
'Glory's Last Shot' takes on a literal meaning for the likes of Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Singh, all of whom would love to add to their collection of major titles; and for Sergio Garcia, Chris DiMarco and Adam Scott, all desperate for their first major.
Furyk also had a chance to win at Winged Foot until missing a five-foot par putt on the 18th hole. He was two shots behind going into the last round at the British Open, stumbled early and never recovered on his way to a fourth-place finish.
Singh has only one victory this year (Barclays Classic) and has not been a serious factor at any of the majors. Els looked lifeless until a bold attempt at Royal Liverpool, holding his own against Woods while paired in the final group of the third round, before stalling in the fourth round to finish third. Even so, his hopes are high.
'I'm playing good, I'm swinging well,' Els said at the International. 'I haven't given too much thought to next week yet. I just want to play well this week and go into next week in a positive frame of mind.'
The PGA Championship has the strongest field of all the majors, limited only to professionals - 131 tour pros and 25 club pros - and usually getting about 90 of the top 100 from the world ranking.
All of them will face the longest course ever in a major championship, a record that seems to get broken by some major every year. Woods led the field in driving distance at Medinah in the '99 PGA Championship at 308.3 yards, the only player to average more than 300 yards that week. That probably won't be the case this time, not with so many big bashers on tour.
And it's a safe bet the head cover will come off Woods' driver more than once.
Medinah has been stretched to 7,561 yards and plays as a par 72. The humidity of late summer generally keeps the PGA Championship from playing as firm and fast as a U.S. Open.
Mickelson kept to his routine of studying every facet of Medinah during long practice sessions, just as he did at Augusta National, Winged Foot and Royal Liverpool.
The only surprise was the traffic at Medinah.
'There were a lot of guys over there,' Mickelson said.
He has learned that knowing a course means nothing without good play. This being the final major of the year, Mickelson would like nothing better than for his game to hit its stride.
'There is never a secret,' he said. 'It always comes down to execution.'

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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”