Notes Perrys Personal Choice Family Vacation

By Associated PressJune 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
He is closing in on 50 and so desperate to make the Ryder Cup team that he was willing to skip a major championship to increase his chances. Besides, he didnt think the course was a good fit for his game.
 
Kenny Perry isnt the only player who felt that way.
 
Four years ago, Fred Funk caused a minor stink when he skipped the British Open to play the B.C. Open and boost his chances of making the Ryder Cup team. The circumstances were slightly different, for several players didnt think it was right for Funk to pick up Ryder Cup points the same week as a major.
 
But it showed how much the Ryder Cup means to American players.
 
Funk had no regrets because he didnt think links golf at Royal Troon offered him much hope to succeed. Besides, the Ryder Cup criteria has changed since then and now is based primarily on money. In 2004, third place at the B.C. Open was equivalent to seventh place at the British Open. This year, third place in Milwaukee would be comparable to about 25th place the British Open.
 
Perry has played only three times at Torrey Pines without ever reaching the weekend. He is only hurting himself by not playing the U.S. Open, but feels as though he would be worse off going through a 36-hole qualifier (thats 108 holes in five days) for a course where he doesnt have good vibes. Instead, he will play Memphis, Hartford and Detroit, where he has more success.
 
How could anyone miss a major?
 
Jack Nicklaus said its one thing if Perry were in his 20s and a rising star, quite another for him to be 47 and trying to make a Ryder Cup team played in his home state of Kentucky.
 
Annika Sorenstam, for example, skipped an LPGA Tour major when she was 28, having played overseas and in need of a rest.
 
My goal was never to make the Ryder Cup. It was to win the U.S. Open, Nicklaus said. But I understand. Its a big thing to Kenny. I dont think Kenny is trying to be No. 1 in the world. Hes trying to make a Ryder Cup team in his home state. Thats perfectly fine.
 
Its doubtful that U.S. captain Paul Azinger minds. The money counts double at majors, but Azinger is aware that nearly half of the Americans who finished in the top 10 at majors last year failed to win a tournament.
 
Remember, he wants winners.
 
ITS THE ECONOMY
Memorial host Jack Nicklaus wanted the prize money to be $7 million this year, making it the highest purse among regular PGA TOUR events and equal to the playoff events.
 
Instead, he kept it at $6 million because he thought it would send a bad signal at a time when fans from around central Ohio are struggling with jobs, gas is approaching $4 a gallon and the economy is tight.
 
There are certain times you do certain things, Nicklaus said. I just dont think that sends a good message.
 
FAMILY VACATION
Carl Pettersson is not bashful about putting family before majors.
 
He missed the PGA Championship last year after his wife had their second child, although his logic didnt make sense to some people. Pettersson played the Bridgestone Invitational (which has no cut) a week after his son was born, then skipped Southern Hills the following week. He was trying to collect FedEx Cup points.
 
Pettersson had been eligible for the British Open the last two years, and forgot he had to qualify. The U.S. qualifier is in July, the same week Pettersson had scheduled a beach vacation for his family.
 
Its right in the middle of the vacation, he said. If I go up there (unprepared), why even bother? And if I left to try to qualify, my wife would go nuts. I dont mind. We had a great time last year at the beach, and its good for us to go back.
 
All is not lost.
 
Pettersson has two ways to get in. He can be the leading player among the top five at the John Deere Classic, or be among the top two PGA TOUR members on a special money list that includes THE PLAYERS Championship and five tournaments between this week through the AT&T National at Congressional.
 
That includes the U.S. Open, and Pettersson won his qualifier Monday.
 
COLLEGE CHANGE
Jack Nicklaus wishes there were more match play in college golf to get players more prepared'not for the Ryder Cup, but when tournaments come down to two players over the final few holes.
 
As he shared his sentiments, he learned help was on the way.
 
Gregg Grost, head of the Golf Coaches Association of America, said the NCAA Championship will revamp its formula next year. Grost said 30 teams will qualify and play 54 holes, with an NCAA individual champion and the top eight teams advancing.
 
Then comes a bracket of eight teams that are seeded based on their scores. The format would be medal-match play with players per team. Medal matches mean whichever has the lowest medal score wins the match.
 
There would be three rounds to determine the winner.
 
Grost said the format would be announced later this month, but he already got a thumbs-up from Nicklaus.
 
Im delighted, Nicklaus said. Then youre giving them the opportunity to learn how to play competitive golf.
 
SUZANN AND THE KING
Suzann Pettersen is a member at Bay Hill, and the biggest perk is running into Arnold Palmer.
 
Ive been around good players out here, like Juli Inkster, Meg Mallon, Beth Daniel. But to be able to get to know and dig into Mr. Palmers head, thats fun, she said. Hes like a grandpa out there. Hes so nice, always friendly, always smiles, always signs autographs.
 
She noticed something else about Palmer, who turns 79 in September.
 
Hes always on the range, she said. Hes there every morning. Any time hes unhappy with his game, hell go get a few drivers from his garage and go hit some. And hes like, all of a sudden, Ive got it! Hes like 79 years old. Were like, OK, thats great.
 
What a character.
 
DIVOTS
Colin Montgomerie fell out of the top 100 this week, leaving Alastair Forsyth at No. 95 as the highest-ranked player from Scotland Lorena Ochoa says she struggled to learn English when she arrived from Mexico to attend the University of Arizona. She wanted to major in psychology. I went into a few classes and I couldnt understand a word, she said. So I have to change to P.E. Ochoa, who spoke for a half-hour with ease, said she still laments her lack of vocabulary and grammar. Paula Creamer had her left ankle taped at the LPGA Championship. She attributed it to tendinitis.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Of the 160 amateurs who made it through local qualifying, only five of them earned a spot in the U.S. Open.
 
FINAL WORD
I thought Id win more tournaments by now, but Im not going to stop trying.'Lee Janzen, whose eighth and most recent victory was 10 years ago at the U.S. Open.
 
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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.


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    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.