Notes Dismal Showing for Ryder Cup Hopefuls

By Associated PressJuly 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Tom Lehman had plenty of reasons to be disgusted Friday at Royal Liverpool.
He celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his British Open victory by taking triple bogey on the seventh hole to tumble out of contention. Needing a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to make the cut, he took a bogey and was headed home.
Worse yet was the performance of his potential Ryder Cup team.
Of the Americans between Nos. 6 and 18 in the Ryder Cup standings, Vaughn Taylor was the only one who made the cut.
Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink spent two days playing practice rounds with captain Lehman, and neither broke par in the first two rounds. Lucas Glover (No. 10 in the standings), shot 73 and has not made the cut in a major this year.
Perhaps the most troubling was Davis Love III, who is 11th in the standings and is no guarantee to be a captain's pick.
Love went from the lead to missing the cut at The Players Championship. He finished outside the top 20 at the Masters, and now has missed the cut in the U.S. Open and the British Open. He wasn't even close at Hoylake, not making a birdie until the final hole for a 72 that put him at 3-over 147.
Fred Couples is No. 12 and started with a 70, appearing to cope with his ailing back. Then came a 76 in the second round, and he was gone.
Taylor birdied the final hole for a 71 to make the cut on the number.
The other ray of hope came from Chris DiMarco, who shot 65 and was three shots out of the lead. DiMarco started the year at No. 4 in the standings, but only one top 10 -- an eight-way tie for ninth at the Match Play Championship -- has sent him tumbling to No. 21.
'Hopefully, I can get some points,' DiMarco said. 'And if not, at least show Tom that my game is back and I'm ready to go. I know he knows the drive and the competitiveness in me is there, but he has to see some signs of good golf, and hopefully that will carry over to the weekend.'
DiMarco showed Lehman a pulse for two days. The rest of the Ryder Cup wannabes showed a flat line.
Even par wasn't enough to keep playing at Royal Liverpool.
Birdies by Vaughn Taylor, then Andrew Marshall, pushed the cut to 1-under 143 on Friday, the lowest for any major championship since the 1990 British Open, when the cut was 1-under 143 at St. Andrews.
Among those missing the cut were Vijay Singh, who started bogey-double bogey on his way to a 76. It was the first time the big Fijian has played only two rounds in a major since the '02 British Open at Muirfield.
It also was a major disappointment for Padraig Harrington and David Howell, two Europeans expected to contend this week. Harrington shot 75-74 and Howell, who is No. 10 in the world ranking, shot 76 to miss the cut by six shots.
'You have to accept the bad times with a pinch of salt like you do the good times,' said Howell, who won Europe's biggest tournament in May at the BMW Championship. 'I have had some good performances this year, but this one was one of my worst.'
John Daly began his week playing in the same pub that launched The Beatles.
He finished his week at Royal Liverpool on a long and winding road that led to a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole and a surprising departure.
Daly made an eagle on the par-5 16th and was 2 under for the tournament when he hit his driver well to the right and out-of-bounds on the closing hole. He reloaded from the tee and found the fairway, but trying to reach the green to limit the damage to a bogey, he hit fairway wood OB. He hit the green on his sixth shot, then took two putts for an 8.
Daly shot 73 and finished at 1-over 145.
Tom Watson and Fred Funk competed against each other two weeks ago in the U.S. Senior Open.
Now they get to play the weekend at the British Open.
Watson, a five-time British Open champion and the oldest player in the field at 56, was 4 under for the tournament until he stumbled at the end, taking bogey on the 16th and a double bogey on the 17th. Even so, he shot a 70 and goes into the weekend at 2-under 142, the third straight year he has made the cut in the British Open.
'My body is not in very good shape right now, and I'm favoring my back a little bit,' Watson said. 'It has been a struggle. But at least I planned my play pretty well today, and I made the best of it.'
Watson will defend his title in the Senior British Open next week at Turnberry.
Funk, who made his Champions Tour debut at the U.S. Senior Open, showed great fight at the end of a tough day. He opened with a triple bogey, and a double bogey on the 12th left him at 5 over for the round. But he birdied three of his last four holes for a 74 to make the cut on the number.
David Duval wasn't thrilled with Royal Liverpool when he arrived, but the links course is growing on him.
Duval made only one mistake -- a tee shot out-of-bounds at No. 3 for double bogey -- and had four birdies for his second straight 70, making the cut for the second straight major and leaving him in the middle of the pack at 4-under 140.
'I've just gotten very little out of it, but I've played really well,' Duval said. 'I'd be pleased if I could play as well the next couple of days as I have the first two. All I need to do is make a couple of putts and I could put up some good scores.'
Jack Nicklaus, the runner-up in 1967 the last time the British Open came to Royal Liverpool, thought the links course might be too short with bunkers not far enough from the tees to stop low scoring.
Tiger Woods led at 12-under 132, and Nicklaus was surprised the leading score wasn't better.
'I expected scores to be a lot lower than they are,' he said in an interview with TNT Sports. 'When I was here in May, there really wasn't much rough and there's been virtually no rain since. That's probably kept the scores up. If there was a little rain, the rough still probably wouldn't have gotten up very high, yet they could still keep the ball on the fairway and probably stop the ball on the greens.'
Kenneth Ferrie, who played in the final group at Winged Foot in the U.S. Open, withdrew Friday because of a bad back. ... In an unusual move by the Royal & Ancient, tickets for next year's British Open at Carnoustie will go on sale early and offered at 40 percent discounts for weekly badges. The price will be about $270. Tickets will be sold online at ... European Amateur champion Marius Thorp (142) and U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari were the only two amateurs to make the cut.
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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.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    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.