Notes Kelly Ready for Ryder Cup Push

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill ' Jerry Kelly finished second in Milwaukee and earned enough points to climb to No. 12 in the Ryder Cup standings, improving his chances of making his first team.
 
With only three tournaments left to qualify, he then skipped the next two.
 
Was that a risk?
 
'It was a risk in getting ready for this one to go to one of those two weeks,' Kelly said Monday at the PGA Championship, the final major of the year worth double points toward the Ryder Cup.
 
Kelly believes he is playing his best golf of the year, and he wanted to be sure he was ready for Medinah. Some believe he should have at least given himself a chance at either the Buick Open or the International, but Kelly figures he would have been burned out and miserable had he gone to either one.
 
Having dropped one spot to No. 13, he needs at least a two-way tie for eighth to have any chance of making the U.S. team.
 
'I may be putting all my eggs in one basket, but I don't care,' Kelly said. 'This is my best chance to win a major. I had not taken two weeks off all year, and I needed it. I worked out, I got strong, I had a great time with my son and I'm as fresh as possible. I did it the right way. Other people might not think so, but I couldn't care less what other people think.
 
'I've reached the point in my career that I know what's best for me.'
 
Kelly has never had a top 10 in a major, and his best finish at the PGA Championship came in 1999 at Medinah when he tied for 26th.
 
He was in a similar spot two years ago. He tied for eighth in the Buick Open to move into the 10th spot, took a week off and slipped to No. 11, then missed the cut at Whistling Straits and wound up 13th.
 
As for the Ryder Cup? He says it's the furthest thing from his mind.
 
'I want to win this tournament. Man, I'm telling you, I'm playing great,' Kelly said. 'I'm playing good enough to win this tournament. It's all I think about. And if I do that, the Ryder Cup takes care of itself.'
 
The only time he might consider Ryder Cup ramifications is if he's out of contention for the tournament on the back nine Sunday, knowing a late surge could get him into the top 10 at Medinah to earn enough points to make the team.
 
Kelly's only cup experience came in South Africa three years ago at the Presidents Cup, when he rallied in his singles match to beat Tim Clark with a birdie on the 18th hole, going 2-2 for the week.
 
ON THE MEND
Arron Oberholser won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and a tie for fourth at the Colonial moved him farther up the Ryder Cup standings. He tied for 16th at the U.S. Open, and his game showed no sign of faltering.
 
Then came the cucumbers.
 
'I was slicing cucumbers one night and sliced open my finger,' Oberholser said, showing a small scar from the mishap.
 
It happened right after Winged Foot, and he went 2 1/2 weeks before he could even grip a club. His next tournament was the British Open, his first experience in links golf and the first time he had ever played a tournament on brown grass. It was a crash course, and he crashed with a 73-75 to miss the cut.
 
He finished at the bottom of the pack in the Buick Open, then had an injury in his right hip that forced him to withdraw last week in the International. None of this happened at an ideal time, but he felt good Monday at Medinah and was hoping for the best.
 
Even so, the Ryder Cup has been on his mind.
 
'I've been thinking about it too much, and it has paralyzed my thinking,' Oberholser said. 'When you want something too much, you can get in your own way.'
 
But he was inspired by a recent phone call from U.S. captain Tom Lehman, and he knows Medinah is his last chance.
 
'This week, I've got to show him something,' Oberholser said. 'But first things first. I'd like to win the PGA.'
 
CLUB PRO
Ron Philo Jr. will be playing in the PGA Championship for the seventh time, but he comes to Medinah feeling a little extra responsibility having won the PGA Club Pro Championship earlier this year.
 
The top 25 from the tournament earn spots in the final major of the year.
 
'I'll feel different than I have at previous ones, but I'm not sure if that's because I won the national championship (for club pros) or because I have six under my best. I guess I'll find out on Thursday.'
 
Philo tied for 66th last year at Baltusrol, the first time he made the cut. His father, Ron Philo, played in the 1976 PGA Championship, missing the cut at Congressional.
 
This again will be a family affair.
 
For the third straight year, his little sister will be his caddie, and she brings a wealth of tour experience. That would be Laura Diaz, who plays on the LPGA Tour.
 
'It's an advantage, because she knows what's going to happen to the golf ball,' Philo said. 'She knows what's supposed to happen with the golf ball, where it's supposed to be, and she knows how to help me focus in on making it go there.'
 
Philo will play the first two rounds with former PGA champions Larry Nelson and Wayne Grady.
 
DIVOTS
A tradition at the PGA Championship is to group together the three major champions of the year. That means Masters champion Phil Mickelson and British Open champion Tiger Woods will play together in a major for the first time since the final round of the 2001 Masters, which Woods won for his fourth straight major. Joining them will be U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy. ... Paul McGinley withdrew to be with Darren Clarke, whose wife Heather died Sunday of cancer. He was replaced by Daniel Chopra. Also pulling out was Chris Starkjohn, a club pro, who was replaced by Harrison Frazar. ... Mickelson practiced over the weekend at Medinah after missing the cut in the International, then took the day off Monday.
 
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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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    Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

    Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

    The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

    “Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

    Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

    But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

    Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

    “It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

    There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

    It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

    “It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”

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    Rain expected to shower Carnoustie Friday morning

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:43 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – By the end of the day Friday, we’ll be able to determine which side of The Open draw ended the first two rounds at Carnoustie with more favorable conditions. With rain expected for most of Friday morning, it seems those who played early/late may be more pleased.

    According to Weather.com, there is a 75 percent chance of rain beginning at 2 a.m. local time Friday here in Scotland. That percentage vaults up to 95 percent by 7 a.m., with the first tee time scheduled for 6:35. At 11, the number drops to 55 percent. After 2 p.m., the percentage chances of rain are 25 percent and below for the remainder of the day.

    Temperatures during the day are expected to be from the low 50s to the low 60s and winds will vary between 14-18 mph, again per Weather.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This is The Open’s official weather report for the weekend:

    Saturday: A dull start with some drizzle possible. Staying cloudy for much of the day but gradually becoming brighter with a chance of some sunny intervals during the afternoon and evening. Winds light and variable in direction but should predominantly settle in to a SSE 8-12mph during the afternoon. Max temp 20C (68F).

    Sunday: Often cloudy but mainly dry. A better chance of some decent sunny spells compared to Saturday. Most likely the windiest day of the Championship; SW 12-18mph with gusts 20-25mph. Feeling warm, especially in any sunshine with a max temp of 23C (73F).

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    Bandaged Woods 5 back after even-par 71

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods arrived Thursday with therapeutic tape on the back of his neck.

    Carnoustie’s back nine inflicted even more pain.

    Playing in the most difficult conditions of the day, Woods’ progress was stalled by two late bogeys as he settled for an even-par 71 that left him five shots off the lead at The Open.

    “I played better than what the score indicates,” he said. “It certainly could have been a little bit better.”

    Woods created a stir when he showed up with black kinesiology tape on his neck. Afterward, he said that his neck has been bugging him “for a while” and that Thursday was merely the first time that the tape was visible.

    “Everyone acts like this is the first time I’ve been bandaged up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been doing this for years.”

    Woods said that the discomfort didn’t really affect his swing, other than a few shots “here and there.” It didn’t seem to affect his score, either, as he went out in 2 under before a few stumbles on the back nine.

    On the fast, baked-out turf, he played conservatively off the tee, using driver only once and 3-wood just twice. Apparently he didn’t need the added distance, not with his 6-iron traveling 240 yards. He tried to play to his spots, even if it routinely left him more than 200 yards for his approach.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    That’s the strategy he employed at Hoylake in 2006, where he hit driver just once and captured the third of his Open titles. Despite some of the similarities in firmness, Woods said that Carnoustie presents a different challenge off the tee.

    “These fairways are very small,” he said. “They’re hard to hit right now. They’re so fast, and they’re so moundy.”

    Finding the fairway wasn’t the chief problem for Woods on Day 1, however. He missed just four fairways but found only 11 greens.

    More damaging to his score was his play on the par 5s. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to squander his early momentum.

    Though the draw here won’t be a significant factor – or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon – it’s clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most difficult of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 mph and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon.

    Still, his opening 71 was one of the better scores in the late wave.

    “He hit it good,” said playing partner Russell Knox. “He plotted his way around, which I expected him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest.”

    Even more fun would be a major with Woods in contention.

    He hasn’t broken par in the opening round of his last eight majors. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck.