Notes: Players eat up Aronimink, but praise for potential major venue

By Associated PressJuly 3, 2011, 12:01 am

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – K.J. Choi didn’t get much of a chance to savor his course record at Aronimink.

At least he had a night to enjoy it.

Chris Kirk barely got an hour.

Choi’s 64 on Friday was matched or bested by seven other golfers a day later at the AT&T National. Nick Watney has the record after shooting an 8-under 62. Steve Marino and Kirk shot 63, and Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson shot 64.

“I’m not the only one that’s shooting that number out there,” Marino said.

No, he sure wasn’t.

The greens were watered Friday night and pin placements on the softer course appeared more accessible. Watney wowed the fans with a 27 on the back nine, which helped place him atop the leaderboard with Fowler. His 62 tied a tournament record. The 27 is the lowest nine-hole score on the PGA Tour this season.

Kirk joked he never shot better than a 62, and that was playing some friendly rounds with friends. Kirk, whose top PGA Tour finish is a tie for second, knew as his round was nearing an end that he was nipping at Choi’s record.

He only knew what Aronimink’s record was because Choi shot a 6-under 64 to build a two-shot lead and set the mark.

“I didn’t know how he did that,” Kirk said. “I guess now I know.”

Kirk, a rookie, enters Sunday only three strokes back of the co-leaders.

“It’s more about getting myself into contention,” he said. “But that’s a nice little bonus, I guess.”

The catch, of course, is that this is only the second year of the AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club.

By the time Fowler teed off later in the day, the low scores had become the norm. He kept it going with a 30 on the front nine and a 34 on the back.

“It’s definitely nice to see those scores,” he said. “It gives you the ability to kind of go into the round with some confidence knowing there’s a good number out there.”

Kevin Stadler shot a 64 but was stuck in 14th place.

“I don’t want to say it’s easy,” he said. “On this course, if you hit it well, you’re going to have a lot of chances.”

Webb Simpson shot a 64 and tied for fourth. Cameron Tringale also shot a 64.

Could Sunday bring more record-setters? The golfers on the leaderboard agreed the course probably won’t be watered. Plus, the threat of thunderstorms Sunday has moved up the final round by 2 hours to 9:30 a.m.

“I definitely think they’re going to set it up a little tougher,” Fowler said. “I think they want someone to earn the win.”

MAJOR SUCCESS: Aronimink Golf Club has one more day left on the PGA Tour before it goes away – but maybe not forever.

The course was again widely praised by several players, and they’ve made their pitch for the club to host a major.

But it could be at least a decade, at least, before there’s room on the schedule. And there’s little chance the club could become a regular tour stop because the schedule is packed with multi-year commitments.

The AT&T National had a two-year run at the course just outside Philadelphia because the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., was prepping for the 2011 U.S. Open. It returns there next year, leaving a hole in Philadelphia’s golf scene.

The U.S Open will be held in 2013 at Merion Golf Club.

And then?

The club proved it can handle the traffic and crowd demands. Saturday’s gallery thinned out compared to last year, but Tiger Woods pulled out of this weekend’s stop because of injuries. It was still a strong showing, and the record scores made the course a hit with the golfers.

“This is one of the better ones that we play all year,” said Chris Kirk, who shot a 7-under 63. “I think every other player will agree with that. It’s just a great golf course. It tests every part of your game. It’s not the type of course that I have typically fared well on.”

CHIP SHOTS: Charlie Wi saw his streak of 204 consecutive holes without a three-putt or worse end when he 4-putted the 13th hole. … Three of the top-five leaders (Rickie Fowler, Steve Marino, Webb Simpson) have not won on the PGA Tour. … Fowler missed the cut last year at the AT&T National. … Vijay Singh pulled out with a back injury, leaving Spencer Levin to play as a single.

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Reed match taught McIlroy the need to conserve energy

By Rex HoggardSeptember 26, 2018, 10:18 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – One of the most memorable Ryder Cup singles matches in recent history was also one of the most exhausting.

Rory McIlroy was asked on Wednesday at Le Golf National about his singles bout with Patrick Reed two years ago at Hazeltine National, when the duo combined for eight birdies and an eagle through eight frenzied holes.

“I could play it for nine holes, and then it suddenly hit me,” said McIlroy, who was 5 under through eight holes but played his final 10 holes in 2 over par. “The level sort of declined after that and sort of reached its crescendo on the eighth green, and the last 10 holes wasn't quite as good.”

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In retrospect McIlroy said the match, which he lost, 1 down, was educational and he realized that maintaining that level of emotion over 18 holes isn’t realistic.

“It looked tiring to have to play golf like that for three days,” he said. “I learnt a lot from that and learnt that it's good to get excited and it's good to have that, but at the same time, if I need and have to be called upon to play a late match on Sunday or whatever it is, I want to have all my energy in reserve so that I can give everything for 18 holes because I did hit a wall that back nine on Sunday, and it cost me.”

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U.S. team gives Tiger 'cold shoulder' after Tour Championship win

By Rex HoggardSeptember 26, 2018, 10:08 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods was one of the final members of Team USA to make it to the team room late Sunday in Atlanta after his travel plans were delayed by his victory at the Tour Championship.

As the team waited, captain Jim Furyk concocted a plan for Woods.

“I ran into Jim Furyk and he said, ‘We were thinking about giving Tiger the cold shoulder like they do in baseball when the guy hits his first home run.’ He asked, ‘Do you think Tiger will be OK with that?’” Woods’ caddie Joe LaCava told Ryder Cup Radio on Sirius/XM. “I was like, ‘Of course he would. He’s got a sense of humor.’”

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The U.S. team had plenty to cheer on Sunday with vice captain Steve Stricker also winning on the PGA Tour Champions. But it was Woods’ reception following his 80th PGA Tour victory and his first in five years that provided the best reaction.

“Tiger shows up about a half-hour later and is looking for some high-fives from everybody and they wouldn’t give him the time of day. They weren’t even looking at him, they all have their backs to him,” LaCava said. “He’s looking at me like what’s going on? He’s not a guy who is looking for fanfare, but these are his boys. He’s looking for 11 guys to run up and give him a good hug.”

LaCava said the team ignored Woods for about two minutes before breaking the silence with cheers and congratulations.

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How FedExCup has changed Ryder Cup prep

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:56 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The improved play of the U.S. Ryder Cup team might be attributed to more than just youthful exuberance or camaraderie.

Phil Mickelson said the PGA Tour schedule is also a factor.

Mickelson argued this week that the advent of the FedExCup Playoffs, in 2007, has contributed to the Americans’ better results in the biennial matches. Save for the disastrous blowout in 2014 at Gleneagles, the Americans have either won or been locked in a tight match with the Europeans.

“I think the FedExCup is a big asset for us,” Mickelson said. “In the past, we’ve had six weeks off in between our last competition and the Ryder Cup. This year, although we might be tired, we might have had a long stretch, our games are much sharper because of our consistent play week-in and week-out heading into this event.”

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When presented with Mickelson’s theory, Justin Rose, the new FedExCup champion, countered by saying that the Europeans are the fresher team this week – and that could be more important during such a stressful event.

Seventeen of the 24 players here were in East Lake for the Tour Championship, meaning they not only played the minimum number of events for PGA Tour membership, but also played in at least three of the four playoff events.

Some of the European players, however, have remained loyal to their home tour and taken more time off. Henrik Stenson missed a few events to rest his ailing elbow. Sergio Garcia didn’t play for four weeks. And even Rose has adjusted his schedule during the latter part of the season, to make sure that he was as fresh as possible for the Ryder Cup. That meant skipping the pro-am in Boston and flying in on Thursday night, on the eve of the tournament, and reducing his number of practice rounds.

“It’s interesting,” Rose said. “They might feel like they are playing their way in and our guys are going to have a bit of gas in the tank. We’ll have to evaluate it on Sunday, but I’m hoping our strategy is going to be the one that pays off in the long run.”

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Rose hoping for FedEx/Ryder Cup party on Sunday

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:41 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Justin Rose is hoping for the biggest party of all on Sunday night.

With the quick turnaround with the Ryder Cup, the newly crowned FedExCup champion hasn’t had much time to celebrate his season-long title that he earned Sunday at the Tour Championship.

“The FedExCup, for me, it finished on the plane,” Rose said Wednesday. “I enjoyed the plane ride over, but once I landed in Paris, I was one of 12 guys. I didn’t want it to carry over into this week. This week is about another job to do.”

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Rose said his Ryder Cup teammates have resorted to the usual tactics – “Apparently all the drinks are on my tab this week,” he joked – but just as Team USA may have used a boost with Tiger Woods winning, the Europeans can take confidence in having the FedExCup champion on their side.

As for any premature celebrations, Rose said: “I can shelve that for another week or so. I will certainly enjoy it. It’s kind of a season-long title that you really want to enjoy. But I’d like to maybe start that party on Sunday night and here for the right reasons, because of this week.”