Notes: Plenty Ryder Cup Love to go around; players love goose

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2011, 11:12 pm

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Davis Love III can’t have a conversation these days without talk turning to the Ryder Cup.

Love is the American captain, who a year from now, will be charged with picking the final four spots for the U.S. team that will try and win back the trophy from the Europeans. The Ryder Cup has definitely been a hot topic at the Atlanta Athletic Club, where Love is teeing off in the PGA Championship on Thursday.

Love said he chatted with Tiger Woods this week and, sure enough, the Ryder Cup came up. Same thing with Scott Verplank. Love said that’s the way it has been when he crosses paths with players he hasn’t seen in a while.

He gave few clues about the makeup of the American team, saying too much can happen between now and when he has to make his four captain’s selections for the 12-man squad following the 2012 PGA Championships.

“It might be Scott Stallings and Gary Woodland and all those guys might’ve knocked my (Jim) Furyks and my Stewart Cinks out,” Love said. “You don’t know where we’re going to be.”

Love just hopes he’s in the mix then, too. Love stands eighth in U.S. Ryder Cup points with Woods ninth and Rickie Fowler 10th – both less than 2 points behind.

“I think we should cut (qualifying) off after this week, especially if I play good,” Love said, laughing.

Dustin Johnson leads the U.S. standings heading into this week with Phil Mickelson and Stricker right behind in second and third. Then come several Americans unaccustomed to Ryder Cup play like Bo Van Pelt, Kevin Chappell, Robert Garrigus and Ryan Palmer, all who’d make their first team appearances if things ended now.

Love thinks next season will be a major chase to the finish line for several young golfers eager to play for their country. “It’s going to be pretty volatile I think because there’s so many guys,” he said. “We have so many good young guys that will be bouncing around the points list.”

COOKED GOOSE: Germany’s Martin Kaymer brought a touch of his country’s Christmas to the PGA Championship.

Defending champion Kaymer was host of the yearly dinner for past PGA winners on Tuesday night and shared a traditional German holiday meal of goose, red cabbage and a dumpling-like side dish called knodel. Kaymer said the meal was well received by the dozen or so former champions who attended, including Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

“Even Tiger, he came up to the range to me and said, ‘It was a very nice dinner,’” Kaymer said Wednesday. “He enjoyed the goose.”

Kaymer goes for a second straight PGA Championship when he tees off Thursday at the Atlanta Athletic Club. He won his first career major at this event a year ago, beating Bubba Watson in a three-hole playoff at Whistling Straits that’s remembered as much for Dustin Johnson’s two-stroke penalty on the 72nd hole that took him out of contention.

Johnson had wrongly grounded his club in a bunker that he thought was a footpath for spectators. Johnson would’ve been part of the playoff, but instead finished tied for fifth.

Kaymer, 26, made birdie on the second of the three holes to move in front for good. He discovered one of the nicest parts of victory this week. “My parking is right next to the clubhouse,” he said with a grin. “When I arrived here on Monday, it was quite convenient.”

Kaymer has adjusted to the celebrity that comes from his win, especially in Germany where golf does not enjoy the status of other sports. Kaymer spoke with several German soccer players about handling the attention. “So it’s just a new role that I have to get used to, to be that German golf face,” he said.

Kaymer was also grateful to serve as dinner host. Like any good Christmas, there were gifts and wonderful stories. Kaymer gave the men a Swiss army knife “that I always wanted to have as a kid.” The women who attended received what he described as a “beauty case.”

Kaymer asked David Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship winner the last time it was played here, to speak along with 2005 PGA winner Phil Mickelson.

“It was a very nice night,” Kaymer said.

THE PHIL FANATIC: David Toms won’t ever forget his 2001 PGA Championship triumph – or the super loud woman in the gallery who wanted final-round playing partner Phil Mickelson to win.

Toms won his only major at the Atlanta Athletic Club, site of this year’s championship. Toms was best remembered for laying up on the difficult par-4 18th hole to make a clinching par, defeating Mickelson by a stroke with a record-setting 265 – the lowest total score in major championship golf.

Toms, though, recalled a woman who, hole after hole, made sure he knew she wanted him to lose.

“She was just a rowdy fan,” Toms said. “A rowdy Phil fan.”

Toms shared the story at a dinner hosted by defending PGA winner Martin Kaymer this week. Kaymer said Toms told his caddie, “Next hole, you’re going to take her out with the umbrella. I just don’t want to see her anymore.”

Her efforts didn’t work as Toms held on to the victory with his well-planned par on the final hole. Toms, not the longest hitter on the PGA Tour, said he considered the situation early in the week and stuck with his decision that if a par was necessary, he’d take no chances with a heroic approach to the green. “I’ve always tried to play the percentages,” he said. “When you’re not a power player, you have to play that way.”

Still, Toms rolled his eyes, shook his head and laughed when reminded again of the Phil fan. Even during a Monday morning practice round, Toms said, “It was almost like I could still hear her voice when I was going from green to tee.”

DIVOTS: There were several hundred people filling every available space in the PGA Championship’s interview room for Tiger Woods’ news conference Wednesday morning. There were only a couple dozen people spread out for David Toms’ session three hours later. “Packed house,” the 2001 PGA winner wisecracked. … Talk about long. Dustin Johnson, after he was asked what he hit into the par-4, 507 yard 18th hole during practice, answered, driver, 9 iron. … An American has not won a major since Phil Mickelson took the Masters in 2010. The last U.S. winner at the PGA Championship was Tiger Woods in 2007.

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.

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"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel to U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."

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Koepka looking to make hay on Horrible Horseshoe

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:26 pm

The Horrible Horseshoe - Nos. 3, 4 and 5 at Colonial Country Club - annually ranks as one of the toughest three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour.

Consider Brooks Koepka undeterred.

Last year's U.S. Open champ has played the stretch 2 over this week but knows that if he's going to have any chance at catching Justin Rose on Sunday, he's going to need take advantage of the par-5 first and then find a way to pick up shots on the Horseshoe.

"I feel like just need to get off to a good start on this golf course," Koepka said after a third-round 67 Saturday. "If you can get 2 or 3 under through six holes, I think you'll be right there."

Koepka will start the final round four behind Rose, as he looks to win for the first time since his maiden major victory last year.

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The big-hitter missed nearly four months this year with a wrist injury and is progressing quickly in his comeback despite dislocating his wrist on two different occasions over the last two months.

Koepka missed the cut with partner Marc Turnesa at the Zurich Classic in his competitive return before following up with a tie for 42nd at the Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for 11th at The Players Championship.

Now, thanks to a closing birdie Sunday, he finds himself playing alongside Rose in the final group on Sunday.

"I feel like my game is coming around," he said. "[At Zurich], I was five days into touching clubs. I am finally finding a rhythm and feel like I'm getting really close. ...

"Just want to get off to a good start [tomorrow]. That's really all I am trying to do. You put together a good solid round tomorrow, you never know what can happen. The important thing is we were just trying to get in that final group. I thought the putt on 18 was kind of big to get in that final group and play with Rosey."

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Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take a four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up one to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made 17 birdies and just three bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentinian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 7-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year.

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th.

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

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McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.