Notes Sabbatini Sets Pace Toms Solid

By Associated PressJune 16, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Rory Sabbatini had no reason to complain about the pace of play Thursday -- at least for the first nine holes.
 
As a part of the first threesome off the first tee, Sabbatini and his group breezed through the front and eventually completed their round in a tidy 4 hours and 45 minutes. Not bad for a U.S. Open.
 
'The pace out there wasn't bad,' he said after a 72.
 
That wasn't the case last week at the Booz Allen Classic, when Sabbatini drew the ire of television commentator Paul Azinger for putting out of turn on 17 to protest the slow play of playing partner Ben Crane. Sabbatini also stormed to the 18th tee before Crane finished.
 
In an attempt to put the incident behind him, Sabbatini issued a statement Monday apologizing for his conduct, although he still heard at least a few fans berate him for it.
 
'Unfortunately, there's still a few critics out there who made comments in the crowd, but they're obviously narrow-minded and haven't bothered to pay attention to what's going on,' he said. 'It's going to happen. Everybody thinks they have their opinion, and they're entitled to it.'
 
In the locker room, the reaction has been mostly positive, and a few players let Sabbatini know they appreciated him for highlighting what is a big problem on tour.
 
'There have been people saying that, but maybe I didn't handle it in the right way,' he said. 'It's something that the players' board and tour will look at and handle in an appropriate manner.'
 
FATHER TOMS:
David Toms got very little out of his game Thursday. Right now, he would take three more days just like it.
 
Considered by many to be one of the favorites at the U.S. Open, Toms didn't hurt his chances with an even-par 70 in the first round at Pinehurst. He missed only one fairway and hit 12 greens in regulation, a difficult task on the turtlebacked greens at No. 2.
 
'It was tough to keep the ball in play, and I did that, but I just didn't make any putts,' Toms said. 'I played really solid golf, and just didn't get a whole lot out of it.'
 
His round might have seemed a little worse than it was, since he played alongside Rocco Mediate, who shot 67.
 
But Toms, who won the Match Play Championship earlier this year for his 11th career victory, has few complaints. He sits fourth on the money list and was playing well coming into this week, and nothing he did Thursday changed that.
 
Maybe he can add an Open title to his 2001 PGA Championship.
 
'I had a good feeling about my game,' he said. 'You know, I can't control the other guys. For me, I feel good about where I am, and I think I can shoot a good score on this golf course. It's just putting myself in a position to do that, and I've got to make some putts to have any chance to win this golf tournament.'
 
Toms has more than golf on his mind. His wife, Sonya, is expecting their second child next week, and the couple has a C-section scheduled Monday. Of course, if the father needs to hang around for an extra day in a playoff, that can always be postponed.
 
'I don't know if I have the final say-so in that, but we're excited about it. It's a good time,' Toms said.
 
JONES IS BACK:
Nine years after his surprising U.S. Open victory at Oakland Hills, Steve Jones was back near the top of the leaderboard, finishing with an up-and-down round of 69.
 
He had only two pars among four birdies and three bogeys on the front, then closed with a more consistent inward nine for his best score in this event since 1997.
 
'That's kind of part of the way I've been playing,' Jones said. 'Jekyll and Hyde, on and off. I never know who's going to show up.'
 
So far in 2005, his best finish is a tie for 36th in the FBR Open, and he is 186th on the money list with just more than $89,000. Jones has made only five cuts in 13 starts this year, and his struggles might be because he's a bit rusty.
 
He missed most of the previous two seasons after elbow surgery, but for one day at least, he had his game back.
 
'First, I was concerned if I was ever going to play again,' Jones said. 'Once it felt like it was getting better, I wasn't sure how long it would last, how much pressure or how much pounding can it take hitting balls. And once I started doing that in January, February, March, then I kind of felt like, 'I'm OK.''
 
SOLID COOK:
John Cook is in the U.S. Open for the first time since 2002. Another round like the one Thursday should keep him around for the weekend.
 
Injuries kept him sidelined almost all of 2003, and he received a major medical extension for last season. But he made the cut in only nine of 19 starts and finished outside the top 125 for the only the third time in his 25-year career.
 
So he took advantage of his one-time exemption as one of the top 50 on the PGA Tour's career money list for 2005. He hasn't quite found his game yet, with a tie for 22nd his best result, yet was very solid in the first round at Pinehurst for a 71.
 
'I haven't played poorly, I just haven't played good enough to do any good,' Cook said. 'I haven't shot many high rounds. I haven't shot many low rounds, and 70 and 71 doesn't cut it out here anymore.'
 
He has been coming to Pinehurst since his college days at Ohio State, and also played in the old Hall of Fame Classic in the early 1980s. In 1999, when the Open came to No. 2 for the first time, he made the cut and tied for 60th.
 
'I loved it from the time I saw it,' Cook said. 'I grew up loving classic courses. It's changed a lot since I first saw it. It's an extreme test, there's no doubt.'
 
DIVOTS:
Chris DiMarco, paired with Tiger Woods and Luke Donald, recovered from an inconsistent first nine after starting on No. 10 with three consecutive birdies on the front. A 2-under 33 closed out a 71 in the first round. ... Fred Couples didn't make his first par until his eighth hole. He started with consecutive bogeys, then had three birdies in a row before making another pair of bogeys. ... Last year, Jay Haas led following the first round at Shinnecock Hills. He likely won't make the cut at Pinehurst after an 82, which included no birdies and a 43 on the back nine.
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - 105th U.S. Open
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

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    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Golf Channel Ramps Up Six Weeks of Comprehensive College Golf Coverage Culminating With The NCAA Women's and Men's Golf Championships, May 18-30

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 24, 2018, 9:00 pm

    Golf Channel to Announce NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections on Wednesday, April 25 and Wednesday, May 2

     Golf Channel to Expand Coverage of NCAA Women’s and Men’s Regional Championships  

    Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys, a Four-Part Docu-Series Executive Produced by Rickie Fowler, Premieres on Golf Channel Monday, May 7

     More than 100 News and Tournament Hours Planned for Women’s and Men’s Championships, Back-to-Back Weeks at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

     

    ORLANDO, Fla., April 24, 2018 – With conference championships underway, golf fans will be able to follow their favorite college golf programs and alma maters as they attempt to qualify and compete in the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships in May at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., as Golf Channel expands its comprehensive on-air and digital collegiate golf coverage the next six weeks.

    “Through our new long-term partnership, the NCAA and Golf Channel are successfully raising the profile of college golf by shining a spotlight on the game’s future stars and the passion these programs have in competing for national championships,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive vice president of content and executive producer. “With our expanded coverage of the regional championships and partnering with OSU alum Rickie Fowler for Driven, our viewers will be treated to the most college golf coverage in network history leading into the NCAA Golf National Championships.”

    REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SELECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: On Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET (women) and continuing Wednesday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET (men), Golf Channel will announce the teams and individuals selected by the NCAA to participate in the women’s and men’s regional championships, the first step on the road to the NCAA Golf Championships. Live streaming coverage of selection shows will be available through the Golf Channel Mobile App or GolfChannel.com, and Golf Channel will aggregate social content for the shows using the hashtag #NCAAGolf. 

    • Women’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce (live) the 72 teams and24 individuals selected to compete in the four NCAA Women’s Regional Championships, May 7-9 (18 teams and six individuals per regional). 24 teams and 12 individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.
    • Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce the 81 teams and 45 individuals selected to compete in the six NCAA Men’s Regional Championships, May 14-16 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals). 30 teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.

    GOLF CHANNEL TO EXPAND REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: New for 2018, Golf Channel will feature expanded coverage of the final day of the NCAA women’s and men’s regional championships, Wednesday May 9 and Wednesday, May 16, respectively. Beginning within Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily lifestyle news show, and continuing hourly throughout the day via live Golf Central news updates from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET that will be published to Golf Channel Digital and Golf Channel’s social media handles. Coverage will conclude with live news segments, featuring highlights and interviews, announcing the teams and individuals who qualified for the women’s and men’s national championships.

    RICKIE FOWLER AND NBC SPORTS COLLABORATE ON FOUR-PART DOCU-SERIES DRIVEN: OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS: NBC Sports Group is teaming up with PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler to give viewers a dramatic behind-the-scenes look into Fowler’s alma mater in a four-part documentary series – Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys. Driven, executive produced by Fowler, will premiere Monday, May 7 at 10 p.m. ET and continue Monday, May 14 (10 p.m. ET) and Monday, May 21 (8 p.m. ET). The finale will air on NBC on Saturday, June 16, recapping their season that culminates with a run at a potential 11th national championship, taking place on their home turf.

    NCAA GOLF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: Contested in back-to-back weeks, May 18-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., Golf Channel will dedicate its full suite of production resources to the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships, featuring nearly 30 combined hours of live tournament coverage. In addition, Golf Central will feature nearly 30 hours of combined pre-and post-event live news coverage produced on location, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and Golf Channel Digital.                                             

    Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage

    Monday, May   21       

    Individual National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Tuesday, May   22          

    Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

    11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

    Tuesday, May   22                 

    Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Wednesday, May   23            

    Team National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

     

    Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage

    Monday, May   28      

    Individual National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Tuesday, May   29          

    Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

    11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

    Tuesday, May   29                 

    Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Wednesday, May   30            

    Team National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

     

    COLLEGE CENTRAL – GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL COVERAGE: Golf Channel is providing comprehensive coverage leading up to and during the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships as part of College Central,Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, Ryan Lavner and Steve Burkowski, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

    CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel will cover the conference championships with scores and analysis across its on-air news platforms - Morning Drive and Golf Central – and online within College Central.

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    With help from partner, Burns could secure Tour status

    By Ryan LavnerApril 24, 2018, 8:33 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – This week Sam Burns has yet another chance to secure special temporary membership for the rest of the PGA Tour season, but his partner may determine whether he’s ultimately successful.

    In an interesting twist, Burns is burning one of his seven available sponsor exemptions this week at the Zurich Classic. He is 80 non-member points shy of securing special temporary membership, which would allow him to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the season.

    Burns needs at least a two-way tie for fourth to earn the necessary points, but it won’t all depend on how he plays this week. The Zurich is a two-man game, with two rounds apiece of fourballs and alternate shot.

    Burns' partner this week is William McGirt. Their games couldn’t be more different – Burns ranks eighth on Tour in driving distance, at 309 yards per pop, while McGirt is 143rd (290) – but they hope to compliment each other over four days at TPC Louisiana.


    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    “I got a good pair of spurs sharpened up last week while I was in San Antonio,” joked McGirt, who is looking for his first top-10 since the fall. “I told him I was going to ride him hard this week. It’ll be fun.”

    Burns will have at least two (and maybe three) more opportunities to earn status, with starts lined up next week at the Wells Fargo Championship and also at the Memorial. He doesn’t face quite as much pressure because he won earlier this month on the Web.com Tour and currently sits fourth on the money list, essentially locking up his PGA Tour card for next season.

    “It’s obviously nice to have that win,” he said, “but at the same time you have to be careful and make sure you play enough out there to where you’re secure for sure. You don’t want to get at the end of the year and then have two or three events left and you have to make a certain amount of money to get your card.

    “So I’m just going step by step, tournament by tournament, and trying to figure out what’s the best route.”   

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    Spieth-Palmer draw Rahm-Bryan early at Zurich

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:49 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – The PGA Tour’s only team event gets underway Thursday at the Zurich Classic. Here are some featured groups to watch at TPC Louisiana.

    Justin Thomas-Bud Cauley/Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland: 8:39 a.m. ET Thursday off 10 tee, 2:08 p.m. Friday off 1: 

    The Bama boys, Thomas and Cauley, team up for the second consecutive year, after tying for fifth a year ago on the strength of a final-round 61. Berger teamed with Thomas Pieters a year ago but missed the cut, so he’ll try his luck with Woodland, who also shares a management team at Excel Sports.

    Jordan Spieth-Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm-Wesley Bryan: 8:52 a.m. Thursday off 10, 2:19 p.m. Friday off 1: 

    Spieth and Palmer finished fourth a year ago, five shots back of the leaders. Spieth is making his first start since his epic Sunday run at the Masters. Rahm and Bryan have opposite strengths – Rahm is one of the game’s preeminent drivers, while Bryan, statistically, is one of the worst – but the Spaniard is coming off a European Tour victory at home. Another wrinkle here: Even though no world-ranking points are on offer this week, Rahm is set to supplant Spieth as the third-ranked player in the world.

    Jason Day-Ryan Ruffels/Brooks Koepka-Marc Turnesa: 1:31 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:42 a.m. Friday off 10: 

    Two stars with questionable sidekicks. Ruffels is an up-and-coming Australian who has been playing primarily in Latin America. (He also shares a manager with Day.) Turnesa, meanwhile, got the call late last week from Koepka, who is finally ready to return from a 15-week layoff because of a wrist injury. They both play out of Medalist in South Florida, but Turnesa, 40, has turned his attention to real estate instead of professional golf.

    Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay/Jonas Blixt-Cameron Smith: 1:44 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:53 a.m. Friday off 10: 

    Reed makes his first start as Masters champion after taking off the past two weeks. This duo tied for 14th last year, undone by a Saturday 75 in foursomes play. Blixt and Smith are the defending champions, after shooting 27 under par last year and holding off Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a playoff. Blixt doesn’t have a top-10 on Tour since then, while Smith tied for fifth at the Match Play and the Masters.

    Justin Rose-Henrik Stenson/Bubba Watson-Matt Kuchar: 1:57 p.m. Thursday off 1, 10:04 a.m. Friday off 10:

    Rose and Stenson, who have proved to be a formidable pairing in the Ryder Cup, were a stunning missed cut last year, after shooting 6 under par for two rounds. Watson teamed up with J.B. Holmes to finish fifth last year, while Kuchar is making his first start in this event since 2009.

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    Zurich Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:09 pm

    The PGA Tour tries team competition for the second year in a row at the Zurich Classic. Here are the key stats and information for play at TPC LouisianaClick here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


    Purse: $7,200,000 ($1,036,800 to each winner)

    Course: TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards)

    Defending champions: Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt (-27) in a playoff over Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner


    News and notes

    • All four reigning major champions - Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed - are in the field this week. This is the first time all four reigning major winners have played this event since 1984 (Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson, Tom Watson, Hall Sutton).

     Both members of winning team this week will earn an official PGA Tour victory, two-year Tour exemptions, and exemptions into the Players and PGA Championships.

    • That said, no Official World Golf Ranking points are awarded from this event and winners will not earn exemptions into the 2019 Masters.


    Notable teams in the field 

    Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson

     Rose won this event in 2014, when it was individual stroke play. From 2012-16, he was a combined 60 under at TPC Louisiana in stroke play, seven shots better than any other player.

     Rose has dramatically improved his performance on the greens from last season, moving from 123rd in strokes gained-putting to 10th.

     Stenson's last three starts look like this: solo 4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T-6 at the Houston Open, and T-5 at the Masters.

    Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan

     Rahm is coming off a victory at the Spanish Open, his second worldwide win in 2018 and fifth since Jan. 2017.

     Rahm outdrives Bryan by an average of 30 yards off the tee, 305.1 to 276.3.

     Rahm is second on Tour in the strokes gained-off the tee, while Bryan is 210th, last among qualifying players.

    Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay

     Reed is just the fifth reigning Masters champ to play the Zurich since 2000, joining Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson (twice), and Bubba Watson.

     Reed has gone T-2, T-7, T-9, WIN in his last four starts.

     Cantlay broke through for his maiden PGA Tour win earlier this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.