Notes New Hall of Famers Lefty No 1

By Associated PressJune 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
EDINA, Minn. -- He was the first of only five players to capture the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year. He was the first player to lose all four majors in extra holes. Finally, Craig Wood is getting his due.
 
Forty years after he died, Wood was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame by earning the minimum 65 percent of the vote, making him the only player this year to be get in through the PGA TOUR ballot.
 
Wood will be inducted Nov. 10 at the World Golf Village along with a class of 2008 that was expanded to five Tuesday.
 
Denny Shute, who won a British Open at St. Andrews and won back-to-back years at the PGA Championship, was selected through the Veterans Category, while golf writer Herbert Warren Wind and seven-time USGA champion Carole Semple Thompson were selected through the Lifetime Achievement category. Golf course architect Pete Dye was selected earlier in the Lifetime Achievement category.
 
Wood won 21 times on the PGA TOUR and became the first wire-to-wire winner of the Masters in 1941. He was poised to win the second edition of the Masters in 1935, safely in the clubhouse until Gene Sarazen holed out for double eagle on the 15th hole, then defeated Wood the next day in a playoff.
 
Shute had 15 TOUR victories, including the British Open at St. Andrews in 1933. He won the PGA Championship in 1936 and 1937, and for 63 years was the last man to win consecutive PGA titles until Tiger Woods in 1999-2000.
 
Wind wrote for The New Yorker from 1947 to 1953, then a 30-year stretch until he retired in 1990. He was covering the Masters in 1958 for Sports Illustrated when he described the 11th, 12th and 13th holes as Amen Corner. His books on golf include The Story of American Golf and Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf that he wrote with Ben Hogan.
 
Thompson has played in more than 100 USGA events, winning the U.S. Womens Amateur in 1973, four straight years in the U.S. Womens Senior Amateur and the twice in the U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur. She played on 12 Curtis Cup teams and was captain twice.
 
WHOS NO. 1
Even without playing the rest of the year, Tiger Woods has clinched the Mark H. McCormack Award for being No. 1 in the world ranking for the most weeks during a season.
 
No surprise there'Woods has won the award every year since it began in 1998.
 
The question is whether he can stay No. 1 the rest of the season. Woods is at 21.14, more than double that of Phil Mickelson at No. 2. Points are gradually reduced, and without earning any more points, Woods will finish 2008 with an average of 11.97.
 
That leaves him in range of Mickelson, who likely will need to win a major, a World Golf Championship event and perhaps two other events to replace Woods at No. 1.
 
Since the world ranking became official in 1986, Mickelson and the late Payne Stewart are the only players to win three majors without ever reaching No. 1.
 
INTERLACHEN 5s
For those pleasantly surprised to see the USGA keep the 18th hole at Torrey Pines as a par 5 at the U.S. Open, it went a few steps further for the U.S. Womens Open. Interlachen will have five par 5s and play as a par 73.
 
Not that Mike Davis, senior director of rules and competition who sets up the course, didnt think about it.
 
None of those holes made sense as a par 4, Davis said.
 
It will be the second LPGA major in the last four events that par was 73. The Road Hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews was changed from a par 4 to a par 5 for the Womens British Open.
 
Davis said the nines at Interlachen also have been flipped, making it the same routing as when Bobby Jones won the 1930 U.S. Open on his way to the Grand Slam.
 
I checked the records, and they played it as a 72 for that Open, Davis said. The 10th hole was a par 4. I looked at that for the women, but it just didnt make sense.
 
COLLEGE COMBINE
For those who want to play college golf, there might be a cheaper way to get noticed by coaches than an expensive summer on junior golf circuits.
 
There will be two College Golf Combines this summer, in South Carolina and California, where kids from the eighth grade through seniors in high school will spend one day going through various skills tests, followed by an 18-hole tournament.
 
The International Junior Golf Tour and Hank Haneys golf academy are sponsoring the combine, which has signed up Under Armour as a title sponsor. The East combine will be held July 28-29 at Tradition National in Hardeeville, S.C., with the West combine scheduled for Aug. 4-5 at East Valley Golf Club in Beaumont, Calif.
 
Its going to give these kids some good exposure, Haney said. It allows coaches to get a close look at potential players. This is something thats going to grow each year. Its already to the point where were doing it on both coasts.
 
Already coaches from 40 colleges, from NAIA to Division I, have signed up for mens and womens combines on both coasts. Tournament director Stephanie Gelleni said more than 175 recruits have registered.
 
Combines have proven to be very successful for many other sports in the college ranks, Long Beach State womens coach Sue Ewart said. For golf, this will be the one time where we can compare athlete to athlete on various shots.
 
MONEY MATTERS
With a tie for sixth last week, Lorena Ochoa set an LPGA Tour record by reaching $2 million in earnings in just her 11th tournament this year. The previous record was Annika Sorenstam, who took 15 events to reach $2 million in 2004.
 
Ochoa also holds the record for fastest to reach $1 million (five events), and she is the only LPGA player to surpass $3 million and $4 million in a single season (2007).
 
DIVOTS
Three players shot 62 in the third round of the Travelers Championship. None of them broke par the next day. Two days before Tiger Woods teed off in the U.S. Open, Shaun Micheel had season-ending surgery on his left should to repair a torn labrum and remove a bone spur. The Walker Cup will be played in 2013 at National Golf Links, site of the first Walker Cup in 1922.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
The U.S. Womens Open includes 27 amateurs. The U.S. Open had 11 amateurs in the field.
 
FINAL WORD
I talk a lot.'LPGA champion Yani Tseng of Taiwan, on how she learned to speak English.
 

Related Links:
Related Links:
Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
  • Full Coverage - Buick Open
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”

    Getty Images

    Day (66) only star to shine Saturday at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:01 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – With an early rain softening an already vulnerable course, there were plenty of birdies to be had during the third round of the Travelers Championship. They were few and far between, however, for some of the biggest names in the field.

    On the same TPC River Highlands layout where Paul Casey took control of the tournament with an 8-under 62, the decorated quartet of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka combined to shoot 1 under with no single score better than a 1-under 69.

    Spieth’s dim hopes of back-to-back titles were effectively ended with a 1-over 71, while McIlroy’s second straight 69 dropped him from three shots off the lead to outside the top 10.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Thomas (70) and Koepka (69) are now 11 and 12 shots back, respectively.

    Among the top-ranked contenders, the only player to make a modicum of a move was Jason Day, who shot a 4-under 66 and heads into the final round in a tie for sixth, six shots behind Casey. The Aussie made four birdies over his first nine holes, but he stalled out on the more gettable inward half.

    “I’m happy with the way I’m playing right now. I played well today from tee to green,” Day said. “Tomorrow it all depends on how Paul plays.”

    Day has won twice already this season, but facing a significant deficit against a seasoned veteran he realizes that a quick start will be necessary to retain any hopes for a third title.

    “This course can yield some birdies, which is quite nice,” Day said. “Get through tomorrow in a couple under on the front side, and then try to let things go a little bit on the back side if you can.”

    Getty Images

    Monkey off his back, Casey freed up to win again

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 10:49 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Paul Casey is flushing his irons, rolling in putts and no longer fielding questions about a lengthy victory drought. For the remaining players looking to chase him down at the Travelers Championship, it adds up to a terrifying combination.

    The Englishman felt right at home on a gray and dreary afternoon at TPC River Highlands, vaulting to the top of the leaderboard with an 8-under 62. It was the lowest round of the week, two shots better than the next best effort Saturday, and it turned a two-shot deficit into a four-shot lead heading into the final round.

    After enduring an afternoon logjam, with as many as five players sharing the lead at one point, the tournament is now Casey’s to lose – and he’s not shying away from the burden.

    “You’d always rather have a lead,” Casey said. “When you’re behind, there is no room for error. No, I’m excited. I’ve got confidence in my game. I’ve got confidence with the man standing next to me (caddie John McLaren), confidence in the gameplan of how to get around this golf course.”

    That approach is undoubtedly aided by the magic act Casey pulled off in March at the Valspar Championship. Teeing off well before the tournament leaders, he shot a final-round 65 and watched as the likes of Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed were unable to match his number.

    Without having to field a single question about the weight of the burden he shouldered, about ending a PGA Tour victory drought that extended back to the 2009 Houston Open, Casey launched the monkey off his back and into the trees lining the 18th fairway at Innisbrook.

    While Casey has won 13 times on the European Tour, including five times from 2009-14, his dry spell on this side of the Atlantic had become a point of discussion and one that wore on the affable veteran. But one sublime round in Tampa rendered it moot, and it will also grant him an extra sense of calm heading into the final round outside Hartford where only Russell Henley will start the day within five shots of his total.

    “If I hadn’t won in a while, then yeah, there would be more pressure. I sit here right now with no nerves,” Casey said. “I’m sure there will be tomorrow, but no nerves now. I’m very happy with what I’ve done. In years past maybe that wouldn’t have been the case because there hadn’t been enough wins.”


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Granted, this is an event that often doesn’t follow the script. Birdies will be there for the taking on a course softened by light rains, and low scores shouldn’t be hard to find. This is, after all, where Jim Furyk shot a 58 two years ago and where Kevin Streelman ended his comeback victory in 2014 with a run of seven straight birdies.

    Trailing by six, Bubba Watson floated the notion of needing a 60 to catch Casey without any hint that the score is out of reach. Jason Day, who like Watson trails by six at 10 under, quickly sniffed out Casey’s long-term track record like a shark seizing on a droplet of blood.

    “Tomorrow it all depends on how Paul plays,” Day said. “I know that he in the past hasn’t quite got over the line with some of the wins that he possibly could have won, and that’s kind of a positive in my mind knowing that.”

    But the look of calm confidence that emanates from Casey is that of a man who no longer has to answer questions about when The Win will come. His next victory will be just that, the next one. Another trophy to add to the decorated credentials of a player who has re-established himself in the game’s upper echelon over the past three years.

    He’s back on a course he has thrived on from the very first time he set foot on the property, losing in a playoff to Watson in 2015 in his tournament debut. He has returned each year since, finishing T-17 and T-5.

    His final-round 71 in 2016, carded the same day Furyk shot his 58, is proving more and more to be an aberration since each of his other 14 competitive rounds in Cromwell have ended up in the 60s. That includes three straight this week, capped by Saturday’s effort where he hit every green in regulation and tied his career low score on Tour.

    Yes, the tournament is Casey’s to lose. But liberated by a recent win and playing some of his best golf at one of his favorite venues, there’s little reason to expect him to do anything but lift the trophy he barely missed out on three years ago.

    “If I go out there tomorrow and I hit it the way I normally hit it, and I putt it well,” Casey said, “then I’m fairly confident.”

    Getty Images

    Couples one behind Toledo; Sticker struggles in Wisc.

    By Associated PressJune 23, 2018, 9:51 pm

    MADISON, Wis. – Esteban Toledo birdied four of the last six holes for a 6-under 66 and the second-round lead Saturday in the American Family Insurance Championship.

    Five strokes behind tournament host Steve Stricker after an opening 69 in rain Friday at University Ridge, Toledo had six birdies in a bogey-free round to reach 9-under 135. The 55-year-old Mexican player won the last of his four PGA Tour Champions titles in 2016.

    Defending champion Fred Couples (67), David Toms (66), Kent Jones (67) and Billy Mayfair (68) were a stroke back.

    ''I'm surprised that someone isn't 11 or 12 under, but the greens picked up a lot of pace today,'' Couples said. ''I think maybe the scoring was a little easier yesterday because we got to clean the ball in the fairways, but it's not easy out there.''

    Bernhard Langer (69) was 8 under with Madison player Jerry Kelly (69), Scott McCarron (67), Mark Calcavecchia (68), Paul Goydos (68), Joey Sindelar (68), Glen Day (69) and Brad Bryant (72).


    Full-field scores from the American Family Insurance Championship


    ''The conditions haven't been that easy,'' Kelly said. ''The pins are in some spots where you can't spin it and you have to hit them firm out of these kind of soft fairways, otherwise you could chunk it. It's not that easy even though the course is gettable. There's just a few things going on out there to keep the scoring from going too low like it normally does.''

    Stricker followed his opening 64 with a 74, ending his Champions under-par streak at 30 rounds - the fourth-longest streak in tour history.

    ''It just was one of those days where I didn't have a lot of energy,'' Stricker said. ''Nothing - hit very few good shots, really. The couple that I did hit well, I was in bad spots, and a couple bad shots even got worse.''

    He had three bogeys and a birdie - on the final hole.

    ''That was a big birdie in my mind,'' Stricker said. ''It kept me a little bit closer. No one ran away with this thing today and three shots back, a lot of guys in between me and the lead. It was a good putt to make and finally get a birdie. That was my only one today.''

    Stricker won in Arizona and Mississippi in consecutive starts in May for his first senior victories. The 12-time PGA Tour winner played the big tour the last two weeks, tying for 18th in Memphis and tying for 20th in the U.S. Open.

    John Daly matched Stricker at 6 under with a 70.