Notes Azinger Finding Himself at a Crossroads

By Associated PressJanuary 15, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- Paul Azinger had the best of both worlds last year, working as an analyst in the booth for ABC Sports at a dozen or so tournaments and still having time to play 22 times on the PGA Tour.
Now, this could be the last year of each.

Azinger was disheartened that the PGA Tour's new six-year television contract does not include ABC, as much for friends who will be out of work than his enjoyment as an analyst. And having slipped to No. 34 on the career money list, he is using a one-time exemption for being top 50 in career money to keep his card.
So while the buzz at Waialae has been the new TV contract and a revamped schedule to reflect the season-long points race known as the FedEx Cup, Azinger has a different focus.
'It's hard for me to look at it, because it's looking into a future that I don't have,' Azinger said. 'I don't have any tenure out here. I'm still looking at this week and next week. I'm trying to play good, because I need to play well.'
Azinger first dabbled in TV at the 1995 Ryder Cup with blunt, witty commentary. When NBC showed highlights of a hard-fought draw with Nick Faldo in a 1993 match that didn't have any bearing on the outcome, Azinger said, 'Look at that. I had cancer and he still couldn't beat me.'
He and Faldo became a tandem in the ABC booth at the end of the '04 season, and will continue this year.
Is television in Azinger's future, even if ABC is gone?
'I'm open-minded to what anyone has to say, but I'm not counting on anything,' he said. 'I'm counting on that I'm going to get to play.'
As for the television package, Azinger said he's not sure it matters to the players or the average fan. Starting next year, NBC Sports and CBS Sports will split the FedEx Cup tournaments, with The Golf Channel getting at least five tournaments, including the first three.
'Players don't care who covers the game,' he said. 'I don't think Tiger Woods cares who covers the Masters.'
Nor does he believe players will care that much about the FedEx Cup, which includes three Championship Series tournaments leading to the Tour Championship, with an estimated $10 million going to the winner.
Azinger's first victories came in 1987, the first year of the Tour Championship (then called the Nabisco Championship), which was created to define the end of the golf season.
That didn't work, and he isn't sure this new format will make much of a difference.
'The best players in the world are playing to make history,' Azinger said. 'There are only four tournaments you can win to make history, and TPC (The Players Championship) is not one of them. And neither are those world events. And you're not going to make history winning some kind of FedEx Cup.'
Even with Michelle Wie gone for the weekend, Hawaii has had plenty of cause to cheer one of its own at the Sony Open.
Parker McLachlin got into the tournament through a playoff at Monday qualifying, made the cut on the number, then birdied his last three holes Saturday for a 65 and was headed for a decent paycheck.
And he has some good help on the bag.
His caddie this week should look familiar -- former U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson, who lives in Hawaii and agreed to carry the bag if McLachlin made it through qualifying.
'How do you say 'No' to a U.S. Open champion?' McLachlin said.
Simpson is letting the 26-year-old make all the decisions, although he does help from time to time on the green. Simpson was grateful McLachlin at least used a lightweight bag.
He's not the first U.S. Open champion employed as a caddie.
Corey Pavin was on the bag when former UCLA teammate Jay Delsing got through Q-school. Four-time U.S. Open champion Jack Nicklaus has caddied for son Gary during early stages of Q-school.
And a week after winning the U.S. Open by 15 shots at Pebble Beach, Tiger Woods caddied for buddy Jerry Chang during qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Public Links.
J.B. Holmes became the first player since Willie Wood in 1983 to go from college to winning the PGA Tour qualifying tournament, and he is off to a strong start in his rookie season.
But the road hasn't always been easy.
Golf has been his passion, but Holmes had a tough time getting through school at Kentucky. He found it difficult to read at times, and struggled to complete tests in the allotted time. A counselor suggested he go through some tests, and Holmes discovered he had dyslexia.
'School was just a lot of extra time for me,' he said. 'Where it would take somebody two hours to read something, it would take me four hours. So I always just felt stupid a little bit. I know I wasn't. I made good grades. But just being able to read real slow makes you not feel real good.'
Holmes left Kentucky after four years, about a semester shy of graduating. Golf is what he always wanted to do, and his dyslexia doesn't affect him on tour.
'I'm pretty good with numbers,' he said.
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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.”