Notes Players Skipping Sony for Hope Prep
This year, however, nine of the 31 players at Kapalua headed east to the mainland.
One reason for more players skipping the Sony Open is the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic the following week, a 90-hole tournament that starts on Wednesday and no longer features the same rotation of courses in the California desert.
'It's hard to go from the Sony to the Hope and prepare for four courses,' said Charles Howell III, who was at Waialae this week but will be skipping the Hope. 'You can't get there until Monday night and you've got a time change. The positive is you can use a cart to ride around, but it's not like you can a 72-hole practice round.'
Among those skipping the Sony Open from Kapalua are Scott Verplank, Justin Leonard, Hunter Mahan, Mike Weir and Charley Hoffman, who will be defending his title next week at the Hope.
Verplank has heard that Waialae sets up nicely for his accurate game, but he prefers the Hope. The five-day tournament no longer has Indian Wells, Tamarisk or Bermuda Dunes in the rotation. It featured the new Classic Club designed by Arnold Palmer last year, then added another new course -- the Palmer Course at SilverRock Resort -- for this year.
'You don't get there until Monday night if you do any good in Hawaii, and the tournament starts Wednesday on four courses,' Verplank said. 'And they're adding another new one this year. When they keep changing courses, you have to get over there and learn them.'
For someone like Leonard, it's all about scheduling and conditions.
He prefers to start at the Hope when he's not eligible for the Mercedes, mainly because it allows him to start a new season in an ideal climate -- usually. The wind howled at the Classic Club last year, and only three players broke 70 in the final round.
'I need a week to get out of the wind mode,' Leonard said. 'And when I go back, I'm playing four in a row to see if I can play my way into the Match Play. I understand that if you're already here, why not stay. But I like playing the Hope, and I feel like if I stay for the Sony I'll be at a disadvantage.'
After winning the Masters in 1997 for his first major, Tiger Woods said winning the Grand Slam was a matter of winning the right four tournaments. He changed his tune by the end of the year, when he failed to record a top 10 in the other majors.
But he has won four straight majors, the 'Tiger Slam' because it wasn't in the same calendar year. And he keeps getting closer. Woods won the first two majors in 2002 and finished third in the PGA. He won two majors in 2005 and was runner-up and tied for fourth in the other two. And last year, he was tied for second in the Masters and U.S. Open, tied for 12th in the British Open and won the PGA.
Maybe that's why he is optimistic about his bid for 2008.
'I think it's easily within reason,' Woods said in a story on his Web site.
The U.S. Open will be played at Torrey Pines, where he has won the Buick Invitational five times. He was third at Royal Birkdale in 1998 at the British Open. The PGA will be held at Oakland Hills, where Woods made the cut in the '96 U.S. Open as an amateur.
Toward the end of the PGA TOUR's anti-doping program manual distributed to players last month is a section that lists examples of medications that are permitted, such as antibiotics, hemorrhoidals and muscle relaxants.
It was surprising to see vaginal preparations as the final entry.
Turns out it was a reminder that the PGA TOUR is not a men's tour. Annika Sorenstam played in the Colonial in 2003, Suzy Whaley played in Hartford late that year, and Michelle Wie has played every year since then.
'In the era of females wanting to perhaps play on the PGA TOUR, our policy had to reflect that such products were permissible,' tour spokesman Ty Votaw said.
Russ Holden's 'Caddie for Cure' program got a big lift when Phil Mickelson agreed to take the highest bidder on eBay to be his caddie during a practice round at the FBR Open. Also for sale in bidding that ends Monday are Brett Wetterich and Mercedes winner Daniel Chopra. All money raised goes to leukemia research and charities designated by the tour and the player. ... LPGA champion Suzann Pettersen has joined the Nike Golf stable in a multiyear deal to use its clubs, balls, shoes, glove and bag.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Nine players at the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship were not in the top 100 in the world ranking.
'It was like a playoff in a sense because the top players played well. I thought that was odd in a good way.' -- Paul Goydos, assessing the first year of the FedExCup.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36
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 early 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.
Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots out of the lead among those who played Friday morning. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.
Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, might have a long 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 was outside the cut. He was in jeopardy of missing his second straight cut, depending on afternoon scoring.
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.
Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2
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.''
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.
Football coach hates golf: Don't need practice swearing
Some football coaches are a little more talkative than others. On one side of the spectrum, there's Bill Belichick. On the other sits Washington State football coach Mike Leach.
Leach always delivers the goods, and when asked recently if he liked golf, he didn't hold back:
Mike Leach hates golf. Why? Because "it's boring and I don't care where that ball goes." And because he doesn't need practice swearing. pic.twitter.com/hmybj1411Y— Lindsay Joy (@SWXLindsayJoy) April 18, 2018
As wrong as the 57-year-old is on the topic (golf is awesome), the man makes some hilarious points:
• “It’s boring. I don’t care where that ball goes.”
• "Golfers are always practicing their swing. But you know what I never did? I never practice fishing in my living room.”
• "They'll line up over the ball and they'll say they're going to do something that you can't do with a sniper rifle and a scope, but they're going to do it with a stick and a ball."
• “Golf’s pretty much for people that don’t swear effectively enough or need practice. And so there are people that need golf, and I don’t think I do.”
So in conclusion, it's confirmed: Mike Leach - not a golf guy.
Quiros takes 1-shot lead in Morocco
RABAT, Morocco - Alvaro Quiros shot a solid 2-under 70 in windy conditions to push into a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco on Friday.
Quiros fought the elements, carding seven birdies and five bogeys to move to 7 under overall and take the outright lead at the halfway point of the European Tour event.
The Spaniard was one clear of Andrew Dodt, who moved into contention with a 4-under 68 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course. Dodt dropped two shots in his first six holes but the Australian recovered from that shaky start to collect four birdies and an eagle.
Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was another shot back in third on 5 under after his 71.
Bradley Dredge of Wales, who shared the first-round lead with Quiros, slipped off the pace with a 1-over 73. He's tied for fourth with Austin Connelly of Canada (71), 4 under par and three shots behind Quiros.