Notes No Caddies Needed

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Lee Westwood and Greg Owen didn't need caddies Monday.
 
When the threat of severe weather late Sunday afternoon forced PGA Championships officials to suspend play for the day, Westwood was on the 18th green waiting to take a 10-foot putt for birdie.
 
He waited a long time. Just over 15 1/2 hours. More than an hour per foot.
 
``I suppose it is nice that I came back for one shot, not two,'' he said Monday after making the birdie 4 that closed a 5-over 75 that gave him a 2-over 282 total, six shots behind champion Phil Mickelson.
 
``My clubs are already on the way to Akron, I just came back with a putter, a ball, a hat and some shoes,'' Westwood said, referring to this week's tournament, the WGC-NEC Invitational in Ohio.
 
He did get a scare when he arrived at Baltusrol Golf Club on Monday.
 
``My putter was missing when I got to the locker because they had tidied out my locker, but I found it -- they had tidied it away for safekeeping.''
 
Paired with Westwood, Owen came back to face an 8-foot birdie putt on the closing hole. He couldn't follow Westwood's lead, however.
 
``I think to come back and horseshoe out for a birdie summed up my week really,'' said Owen, who closed with a 10-over 80 and finished at 287. ``I don't know whether it was the heat or the long week, but I had just no good feelings at all. I couldn't get anything going, but hopefully I can learn from it.''
 
MISSING CLUB
Phil Mickelson was asked what club he hit on the 230-yard 16th, a hole he bogeyed to drop into a three-way tie for the lead at 3-under.
 
``Four-iron,'' he said. ``That was all I had.''
 
It wasn't that Mickelson's caddie lost any clubs or there was a low-iron thief on the loose. He took it out of the bag before Sunday's final round started because of the wind.
 
``I have a 3-iron and a sand wedge that I have in my bag, and yesterday I took out the 3-iron based on the wind, mainly because of No. 16,'' he said. ``And today, the wind did a 180. It was straight into the wind and I didn't have my 3-iron, which I desperately needed. So I knew I was going to struggle with that particular hole, and you've just got to fight it out.
 
``I hit a good shot, the ball plugged in the bunker. Hit a decent shot out to about 18 feet and missed that. Sometimes things don't always go your way and you just have to gut it out.''
 
LAST OUT WINS
Steve Elkington was trying to end a 10-year run in which the PGA champion came from the last group in the final round.
 
Elkington, who finished one shot behind champion Phil Mickelson, was in the third-to-last twosome this year.
 
The last player to win the PGA and not play in the final pairing was Elkington in 1995.
 
TOP TENS
Vijay Singh was the tournament's defending champion and the two-time PGA winner had a final-round 74 that left him at even par for the 72 holes, six strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson and tied for 10th.
 
It did mean he and Tiger Woods were the only players to finish in the top 10 of all four majors this year.
 
Woods won the Masters and British Open and was second to Michael Campbell in the U.S. Open. He finished at 2-under 278, tied for fourth in the PGA.
 
Singh tied for fifth in the Masters and British Open and was tied for sixth at the U.S. Open.
 
By bogeying the 18th, Singh missed a chance to join Woods, Campbell and Mickelson in the Grand Slam of Golf later this year. Retief Goosen will fill out the foursome instead.
 
TEE SHOTS
The holes used to measure driving distance this week were the 482-yard 6th and the 505-yard 7th, both par-4s.
 
John Daly, who finished tied for 74th in the tournament, led the way, averaging 334.6 yards.
 
Woods, who finished tied for fourth, was second at 324.3 yards.
 
Twenty-six players averaged better than 300 yards on those holes.
 
The low man on the driving list was Darrell Kestner, a club pro from Long Island, who averaged 271.5 yards. He finished at 19-over 299, next-to-last of the 79 players who made the cut.
 
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    CJ Cup: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 16, 2018, 9:20 pm

    The PGA Tour returns to South Korea this week for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here is the key information for the no-cut event, where Justin Thomas is defending champion.

    Golf course: Located on Jeju Island, the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, The Club at Nine Bridges opened in 2001 and was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. The par-72 layout (36-36) will measure 7,184 yards for this week's event, 12 yards shorter than last year.

    Purse: The total purse is $9.5 million with the winner receiving $1.71 million. In addition, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Players, Masters, and PGA Championship.

    Last year: Thomas defeated Marc Leishman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn his seventh career PGA Tour win.

    TV schedule (all times Eastern): Golf Channel, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

    Live streamingWednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 

    Notable tee times (all times Eastern): 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im; 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els; 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama

    Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and last week's winner Marc Leishman.

    Key stats:

     This is the third of 46 official events of the season and the second of three consecutive weeks of events in Asia

    • 78-player field including the top 60 available from the final 2017-2018 FedExCup points list

    The field also includes 12 major champions and two of the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking (highest ranked are No. 3 Koepka and No. 4 Thomas)

    Thomas and Koepka both have a shot to ascend to No. 1 in the OWGR this week - they will play their first two rounds grouped together

    Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit

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    Els eyeing potential Prez Cup players at CJ Cup

    By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:55 pm

    Ernie Els is teeing it up this week in South Korea as a player, but he's also retaining the perspective of a captain.

    While the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia is still more than a year away, Els has already begun the process of keeping tabs on potential players who could factor on his International squad that will face an American contingent captained by Tiger Woods. Els played in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and this week received one of eight sponsor exemptions into the limited-field CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

    Els played a Tuesday practice round with Presidents Cup veteran and Branden Grace and India's Shubankhar Sharma, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Malaysia.

    "It's going to be a very diverse team the way things are shaping up already," Els told reporters. "We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team."

    In addition to keeping tabs on Grace and Sharma, Els will play the first two rounds with Australia's Marc Leishman and South Korea's Si Woo Kim. Then there's Sungjae Im, a native of Jeju Island who led the Web.com Tour money list wire-to-wire last season.

    "There's so many Korean youngsters here this week, so I'm going to really see how they perform," Els said. "Still a long way to go, but these guys, the young guys are going to be really the core of our team."

    Els, who will turn 49 on Wednesday, made only five cuts in 15 PGA Tour starts last season, with his best result a T-30 finish at the Valero Texas Open. While it's increasingly likely that his unexpected triumph at the 2012 Open will end up being his final worldwide victory, he's eager to tackle a new challenge in the coming months by putting together the squad that he hopes can end the International losing skid in the biennial matches.

    "The U.S. team is a well-oiled team. They play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cups against us, so they're a very mature team," Els said. "We are going to be a young team, inexperienced. But that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course strategy-wise and I'm going to share that with my players."

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    CIMB champ Leishman hopes to improve on CJ runner-up

    By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

    Marc Leishman is back in Korea with momentum on his side, hoping to fare a little better than a year ago.

    Leishman nearly took home the trophy in the inaugural CJ Cup, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Justin Thomas. But the Aussie put his approach into the water on the second extra hole, allowing Thomas to wrap up the win a few minutes later.

    "Excited to be back in Korea. I have a lot of good memories here at this golf course," Leishman told reporters. "Hopefully I can play well again and go one better than last year."

    Leishman's playoff loss kick-started a strong opening stretch to his wraparound season, but he closed it without a victory. That drought ended in emphatic fashion last week, as he cruised to a five-shot win at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for his fourth career PGA Tour win and his third since March 2017.


    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    Leishman told reporters last week in Malaysia that before the week started, his driving was so crooked that he feared his equipment reps might need to add a few golf balls to his locker. Instead, he found his groove en route to shooting 26 under par at TPC Kuala Lumpur and leaving the field in his wake.

    "Golf's a funny game. It can change very quickly from bad to good or from good to bad," Leishman said. "It was certainly a goal of mine to win this season, and to win my first event of the season is great. Also to be going back to Maui puts me in a different frame of mind for the whole year. For a lot of reasons, I'm really happy with what last week brought."

    Leishman played on the Korean PGA Tour in 2006 while getting his pro career off the ground, but even with that experience he expects a learning curve while going from the steamy conditions of Malaysia to the cool and wet climate that has greeted players this week on Jeju Island.

    "It's a big adjustment going from so hot and humid last week to fairly cold and hopefully not wet, but it was wet this morning," Leishman said. "The ball goes different distances, your body's not quite as loose as what it is when it's hot. Just little things like that that you have to adjust to."

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    Bowditch eyes same fusion surgery as Tiger

    By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:03 pm

    After struggling through a couple lean years on the course, Steven Bowditch is ready to go under the knife.

    Bowditch has won twice on the PGA Tour, and the Aussie was a member of the International Team at the 2015 Presidents Cup in South Korea. But his game fell apart shortly thereafter, as Bowditch has made just two cuts in his last 40 starts dating back to July 2016 while putting up some eye-popping scores.

    Bowditch's exemption for his win at the 2015 AT&T Byron Nelson expired in August 2017, and he spent last season without full-time status on Tour for the first time since 2010. He made eight starts, notably finding a caddie via Twitter search before missing the cut at the John Deere Classic in July.

    But the 35-year-old revealed Tuesday that his on-course struggles have been tied to some health concerns that have been difficult to pinpoint. Having finally received the appropriate diagnosis, he is preparing for a spinal fusion surgery next month between the L5 and S1 vertebrae - the same two that Tiger Woods successfully fused last year:

    Bowditch's estimate of a "late 2019" return likely means he'll miss the entire 2018-19 season. When he returns he would do so with past champion status based on his wins, which also included the 2014 Valero Texas Open.