Notes Ryder Cup Update Wies Scheduling

By Associated PressApril 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
Trevor Immelmans victory in the Masters didnt generate much attention in South Africa, mainly because he finished his round at 2:30 a.m. in his native country, after most people'and newspapers'had gone to bed.
 
Expect that to happen at the U.S. Open for South Africa, Europe and even the United Kingdom.
 
The U.S. Open has decided to go prime time in the United States, with a 7 p.m PDT finish at Torrey Pines. If everything goes according to schedule'rare in golf with so much slow play'the tournament will end at 3 a.m. in Britain, and roughly an hour later in continental Europe and South Africa.
 
When do you say to the West Coast, The tournament must end at 4 oclock your time, USGA executive director David Fay said. I know it puts Europe at a disadvantage. We tend to look east, where its just as easy to look to the west. If K.J. Choi (of South Korea) is leading, the time might be better for Asia.
 
The last time a major was held on the West Coast was Pebble Beach for the 2000 U.S. Open, and the final round was scheduled to end at 5 p.m. PDT.
 
RYDER UPDATE
Its tough to keep track of the U.S. Ryder Cup standings, with so much emphasis placed on this years performance and double points available at the majors. But with the first major in the books, a quick review shows only two of the top eight in the standings have won this year.
 
Tiger Woods leads the standings'no shock there.
 
Stewart Cink is second on the strength of two second-place finishes and a pair of thirds, including the Masters. Phil Mickelson, who won at Riviera, was in third place. The rest of the top eight'remember, Paul Azinger gets four captains picks'are Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Justin Leonard and Brandt Snedeker.
 
Snedeker moved into the top eight with his tie for third at the Masters, which earned him almost as many points (870) as Sean OHair got for winning in Tampa (870).
 
DIMARCO MASTERS
Chris DiMarco finally won on the second week of April. Too bad he wasnt at the Masters.
 
DiMarco, who played in the final group two straight years and lost in a playoff to Tiger Woods in 2005, failed to qualify for the Masters for the first time since 2000.
 
According to Golfweek magazine, DiMarco and several PGA TOUR players from central Florida gathered last Wednesday at Sugarloaf Mountain, a terrific new course north of Orlando designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
 
DiMarco shot a 5-under 67 and won the Sugarloaf Masters by one shot over Garrett Willis and Fulton Allem. No word on whether he was awarded a green cap from the club.
 
DIVOTS
Michelle Wie has accepted an exemption to play July 17-20 at the LPGA State Farm Rail Classic. She previously accepted an invitational to play the preceding week at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. Among the faces in the crowd at the Masters was Japanese star Ai Miyazato, who was at Augusta for the first time. Greg Normans longtime tournament, the Merrill Lynch Shootout, has raised its purse to $2.9 million. The last two Masters champions, Zach Johnson and Trevor Immelman, had only one PGA TOUR victory before earning the green jacket.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
A year after Zach Johnson played the par 5s in 11 under to win the Masters, Trevor Immelman was only 3 under on the par 5s.
 
FINAL WORD
Im more famous now than when I was famous.'Louise Suggs, who in the last two years has won the Bob Jones Award from the USGA and the William D. Richardson Award from the Golf Writers Association of America.
 
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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”


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    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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    Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

    Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

    Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.


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    It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

    “If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

    Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

    “It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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    Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

    Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

    Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

    “It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”


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    Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

    “I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

    Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

    “If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”