Notes Players Make Pitch for New Orleans Maui Green

By Associated PressJanuary 3, 2006, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Maui -- John Subers is one of the most visible tournament directors on the PGA Tour, usually seen with a gentle smile and a handshake as he makes a pitch for players to come to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
 
This year, the reception has been more enthusiastic than ever.

The Zurich Classic had to switch venues when the TPC at Louisiana was battered by wind and flooding, moving to English Turn for the April 27-30 event. Even so, it is expected to be the first major sporting event in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in September.
 
Subers couldn't help but notice how interested players were about coming back to New Orleans.
 
'They've shown compassion and a desire to be part of the regrowth, the rebirth,' he said. 'The compassion they've shown has been overwhelming.'
 
He has been busy getting early commitments, and some players have offered brief interviews that the tournament wants to package in a six-week television campaign to build support in Louisiana.
 
'The theme is, 'We're the PGA Tour, we're supporting New Orleans, we look forward to seeing you, we look forward to coming back and we believe in you,'' Subers said. 'We're not trying to script it, but picture six weeks of commercials, with 15 to 20 players saying they're coming to New Orleans. We think it will make an impact.'
 
Among the early commitments are David Toms, Kenny Perry and Davis Love III. Toms is a natural, because he grew up in Louisiana and considers the Zurich Classic his hometown event.
 
Beyond a soundbite for TV, however, Toms also has turned into a recruiter.
 
'I'll talk to some of the players along the way,' Toms said. 'It's something I felt an obligation to do. I think it's important to the future of that event. It's important to showcase it on television, the rebuilding effort. The more quality players in the event, the bigger the television audience will be.'
 
Subers said the tournament, meanwhile, is offering reduced rates to companies for corporate hospitality, although it still hopes to continue its level of charitable giving. The Zurich Classic raised a little more than $1 million last year, and was ready to distribute it to 25 local charities when Katrina arrived.
 
Only recently did the tournament distribute the money, with all of it going to agencies helping Katrina victims.
 
PLANTATION GREEN
Tiger Woods has long complained about the severe grain in the greens on the Plantation course at Kapalua. By not showing up this year, he doesn't know what he's missing.
 
Kapalua made a huge investment this year by renovating all 18 greens with a new strain of grass that is tighter and stands more vertical, allowing them to be cut lower to have greater consistency. During the last few days of practice, players have been astonished at how true they roll.
 
'The best I've seen them,' Mark Calcavecchia said.
 
It was no small cost.
 
Kapalua vice president Gary Planos said the resort considered redoing the greens after the first tournament on the Plantation course in 1992, at the old Lincoln-Mercury Invitational. Instead, the staff tried to maintain them and noticed some improvement, but not as great as they wanted.
 
The Plantation course had to be closed four months to redo the greens.
 
'Financially, it was a very hard decision because you displace some 18,000 rounds of golf,' Planos said. 'Closing the Plantation from April to July is not inexpensive. But the results are coming in overwhelmingly, and it's a big home run.'
 
SONY PRACTICE
Ernie Els is not playing in the Sony Open this year, meaning Michelle Wie had to get a new practice partner. She found one in someone old enough to be her big brother -- 23-year-old Sean O'Hair.
 
O'Hair, the PGA Tour's rookie of the year, was talking to David Leadbetter when the swing coach mentioned he would be at the Sony Open to work with Wie. O'Hair mentioned he'd like to play a practice round with her.
 
'I guess I still have to ask her,' he said. 'I'm going to have stand real tall.'
 
That shouldn't be a problem because O'Hair is a lean 6-foot-2.
 
'She hasn't grown any, has she?' he asked.
 
GWAA AWARDS
Jack Nicklaus, Bart Bryant and former USGA president Sandy Tatum have won awards voted on by members of the Golf Writers Association of America.
 
Nicklaus, who has been dealing with the press for nearly 50 years, won the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for his cooperation, quotability and accommodation to the media.
 
Bryant won the Ben Hogan Award, given to the individual who continues to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness. Bryant, whose three victories in the last two years include a wire-to-wire win at the Tour Championship, has had three significant surgeries since 1992 that almost knocked him out of the game.
 
The William D. Richardson Award went to Tatum, 85, whose involvement in golf spans his leadership at the USGA to the way he cut through the red tape of San Francisco politics to get Harding Park transformed into a public gem good enough to host a World Golf Championship. The Richardson Award is for those making outstanding contributions to golf.
 
They will be honored April 5 at the GWAA's annual awards dinner in Augusta, Ga.
 
DIVOTS
John Francis Mallon, the father of two-time U.S. Women's Open champion Meg Mallon, died of a heart attack on New Year's Eve. He was 82. Services will be held Wednesday in Bluffton, S.C. ... Tiger Woods and Retief Goosen not playing at Kapalua this year means that Vijay Singh has the longest active streak of consecutive starts in the Mercedes Championships at four. ... Jim Furyk has signed a contract deal with Srixon, and will start the season playing its ball and wedges, while he works with the company on a set of irons.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Eight players from last year's winners-only Mercedes Championships are at Kapalua for the start of the 2006 season.
 
FINAL WORD
'You make a putt to win on the last hole, walk off the green and there's Jack Nicklaus standing there waiting to shake your hand. That's golfer utopia.' -- Bart Bryant on winning the Memorial.
 
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    M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

    Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

    Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

    Marina Alex was second after a 68.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

    Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

    It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

    The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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    Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

    Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

    When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

    It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

    Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

    Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.