Notes Big Things for Toms On and Off Course

By Associated PressJune 1, 2005, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Not long after winning his first pro title at the 1997 Quad City Classic, David Toms became a father for the first time.
 
He's hoping to follow that formula again this year -- either winning this week's Memorial Tournament or possibly the U.S. Open in two weeks -- before wife Sonja has a daughter to go with son Carter.
 
'She's actually not due until midweek after the U.S. Open, somewhere in there,' Toms said Wednesday. 'She's got a C-section scheduled for Monday after the U.S. Open, so that gives me enough time to get home (from the Open). Maybe we'll move it to Tuesday if I'm in a playoff.'
 
Toms has not played at the Memorial since 1999. It's not because he doesn't like the tournament or the Muirfield Village layout.
 
'The reason I haven't been here the last five or six years is it just didn't quite fit my schedule,' said Toms, never higher than a tie for 26th in his three previous appearances. 'I played about five or six tournaments in a row almost every year leading up to this event. This year, I changed a little bit.'
 
He skipped the Byron Nelson, freeing him up to play at the tournament founded by Jack Nicklaus.
 
Toms has won 11 times on the PGA Tour, including this year's Match Play Championship. The winner of the 2001 PGA Championship said his return to Ohio has been an eye-opener.
 
'Now I see what I was missing,' he said. 'It's a great place and a great tournament, which I knew because I had played here before. But just the last couple of days around here, with the people being excited about this tournament, reminded me of what a great tournament it is.'
 
HONOREES:
Each year the Memorial Tournament remembers those who have made great contributions to the game. The 2005 honorees are Betsy Rawls and the late Carey Middlecoff.
 
Rawls won 55 LPGA events, including eight major championships, from 1951-75. In 1959, she won 10 tournaments, had the lowest stroke average and led the tour in earnings.
 
'Betsy's legacy is not only her record, but the people she has touched and her dedication to the game,' said fellow hall of famer Kathy Whitworth, who introduced Rawls on Wednesday to a large gallery surrounding the 18th green.
 
After picking up the game at 17, Rawls traveled the world as a successful pro.
 
'I guess you can tell I really love the game,' she said. 'I can't imagine any other way I would have spent my life.'
 
Middlecoff, who died in 1998, was the top PGA Tour money-winner of the 1950s. He captured U.S. Open titles in 1949 and 1956, and won the Masters by seven strokes in 1955.
 
Memorial Tournament founder Jack Nicklaus, who like Middlecoff was known as a methodical player, said he was paired with Middlecoff only once.
 
'We both got penalized two shots,' Nicklaus said, joking. 'That's how slow we were.'
 
The media honoree was longtime sportscaster Jim McKay.
 
NO PAIN IN THE NECK:
Davis Love III is back and feeling good heading into Thursday's opening round of the Memorial Tournament.
 
Love said he has regained his confidence after overcoming an injured disk in his neck that caused him pain and altered his swing.
 
'I've let it progressively get me weaker, and now I'm progressively getting stronger,' he said of his exercise regimen. 'I seem to swing better if I'm in the gym and stretching and working out rather than hitting balls. That tells me I've done enough ball hitting the last couple years. I just haven't done enough strengthening.'
 
Love tied for fourth at last week's FedEx St. Jude Classic.
 
CHANGES OF COURSE:
The major change at Muirfield Village, site of this week's Memorial Tournament, is that the par-4 10th hole has been lengthened by 31 yards.
 
'It's a better hole now than it was,' said Vijay Singh, the 1997 Memorial winner. 'I was always very uncomfortable playing off the old 10th. Now it's much longer but much better to play. It's a much better golf hole.'
 
Course designer Jack Nicklaus said the big hitters on tour were not challenged by the uphill hole tilting toward a green surrounded by deep bunkers. The tee was moved back and the landing area was tightened.
 
'I heard Tiger played it with a driver and a 9 iron, and that someone else hit wedge into the green,' Nicklaus said Wednesday. 'I've played it three times and I've hit two 3 woods and metal 2 (to the green). I think it (the added length) has made a LOT of difference.'
 
DIVOTS:
The 108-player field includes 22 players who have won a major championship, and 41 international players from 19 countries. ... Nicklaus is the only person to have played in each of the 29 previous Memorials. ... The defending champion is Ernie Els, who finished with a pair of 66s on the weekend to win by four shots over Fred Couples. ... No. 2 Phil Mickelson is the only of one of the top seven on the 2005 money list who is not playing the Memorial. He bypassed the tournament for the third year in a row so he could prepare for the U.S. Open in two weeks at Pinehurst No. 2.
 
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.