Notes Goosen Making Changes

By Associated PressNovember 2, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Retief Goosen made it sound as though he was making minor adjustments in his swing when he hired a coach for the first time in nine years. Turns out those changes are closer to an overhaul.
 
Goosen did not want to go into great detail, but he said some major flaws have crept into his game the last few years.
 
'At normal speed, it's hard to see them,' he said. 'But when you slow it down, you can see the problems.'
 
Thursday at the TOUR Championship was a small hurdle. He hit eight fairways in blustery conditions, and the ones he missed were not off by much. The result was a 68 that left him tied with Joe Durant.
 
'I've been trying to work on a few things,' he said. 'It's obviously not easy going out there and trusting it, but today in these conditions to get a good round in sort of gives you a bit more confidence going into the next few days.'
 
Goosen said last week he has hired Gregor Jamieson, a pro at Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., where Goosen has a house for about 50 days a year. One reason he chose Jamieson is their relationship, and the fact that Jamieson doesn't have a lot of other clients.
 
The South African said his swing started to break down in 2004, when he won the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and closed with a 64 at East Lake to become one of only three players to win a tournament in which Tiger Woods had a share of the 54-hole lead.
 
What saved him two years ago was his putting, although he hasn't hit it close enough to the flag to make many putts this year.
 
'It's going to be a slow process,' he said. 'It's something I decided on a couple of months ago to start working with somebody, and I want to do it now until the end of the year so when I start next year it's not all that new to me.'
 
FLUFF AILING
Mike Hicks, the former caddie for Payne Stewart who now works for Jonathan Byrd, was hopeful of getting to the TOUR Championship. Byrd needed to win last week at Innisbrook, and he had a good chance until stumbling to a 73 in the third round.
 
Turns out Hicks made it to East Lake, anyway -- working for Jim Furyk.
 
Mike 'Fluff' Cowan, the regular looper for Furyk, called last week to say he had traces of pneumonia and couldn't make it to the TOUR Championship. Furyk gave Hicks a call, then had to make sure he was still available.
 
TOUGH FINISH
East Lake is the only PGA TOUR course that closes with a par 3 -- except when Congressional hosts the U.S. Open -- and it's no picnic.
 
The scorecard has it at 235 yards from an elevated tee, with bunkers guarding both sides. No one made birdie on the final hole Thursday until the last two groups, when Adam Scott and Jim Furyk each holed putts.
 
'You come into that hole on Sunday, you'd like to have a two-shot lead,' Joe Durant said. 'That's just a hard hole.'
 
It has settled the TOUR Championship only once -- the first year, in 1998 -- when Hal Sutton saved par from a bunker to force a playoff, then hit 4-wood to 6 feet for birdie on the first extra hole to defeat Vijay Singh.
 
Phil Mickelson (2000) and Singh (2002) each won by two shots, while Retief Goosen won by four shots in 2004 and Bart Bryant won by six shots a year ago.
 
Goosen lost the outright lead on Thursday when he tried to hit a hard draw with a 3-iron, but blocked it into the bunker and blasted out to about 4 feet, missing the putt. Still, he likes the finish at East Lake.
 
'It's different to have a par 3 as a finish,' he said. 'I think it's better than having a par 5 as a finishing hole.'
 
ON THE BUBBLE
There aren't many bubbles at East Lake, but Dean Wilson is on one of them.
 
Hawaii's best player is No. 20 on the money list, and staying there means an exemption to the British Open next year, along with an incentive from one of his endorsement contracts.
 
Playing in his first TOUR Championship, he struggled with six bogeys against one birdie, giving him a 75. That projects to a finish at No. 23 on the money list. Even if that happens, it would be tough to call this a disappointment. He has never finished higher than 98th on the money list, and he won for the first time on tour this year at the International.
 
FORGOTTEN ABSENTEE
With so much focus on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson skipping the TOUR Championship, also missing is Stephen Ames, who won The Players Championship this year.
 
Ames had to miss the last two weeks of the season with a back injury.
 
Unlike the other two players, however, Ames will get last-place money of $106,500 because he withdrew with an injury. The earnings will not count toward the money list.
 
DIVOTS
David Toms and Vijay Singh are the only players to have teed it up in the last eight TOUR Championships. ... Jim Furyk was the only player to make birdie on the 520-yard fifth hole, which plays as a par 4. No one made birdie at No. 16, and those two holes played the toughest Thursday with an average score of 4.419. ... Stewart Cink had the most consistent round at East Lake, making only two bogeys in his round of 69.
 
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”