Notes Sawgrass Shows Teeth Stadlers Repeat

By Associated PressMay 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Nicholas Thompson watched his ball stop safely on a ridge at the par-3 No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass, then waited for it to roll.
He expected it to happen much sooner than it did, and when it finally took off, it became one of the wildest adventures at the famed island green on a windy Sunday.
Thompson took his time getting to the green, walking about as slowly as he could while keeping an eye on his ball. He figured one of those 40-mph gusts in the final round at The Players Championship would do the trick. But it seemingly took forever.
It wasnt until Thompson reached down to mark his ball that it started to turn. It rolled about 25 feet closer to the hole, leaving him with a 5-footer for birdie.
I was just baffled that it didnt roll down (sooner), he said. Literally, it was within 2 inches of catching the slope. When I went up there, I went to put my marker down and got about 3 inches or 4 inches from the ground and the ball just started rolling.
Thompson threw his hands up in the air, egging on the wildly cheering gallery, called over a rules official just to be sure he didnt have to remark the ball and then made the putt.
Others werent as fortunate at the 128-yard hole.
Charlie Wi knocked two in the water and finished with a quadruple-bogey 7. Jim Furyk, Rocco Mediate and Mark Wilson made triple bogey.
With the wind whipping left to right, the shortest hole played tougher than just about any other on the Stadium Course. Only the par-4 18th was more difficult Sunday.
Kevin Stadler thought his shot would land in the middle of the green, but when the wind got done with it?
I hit a perfect shot and it barely stayed on the green, he said.
The hole yielded just eight birdies, and two of those came from the same pairing. Pat Perez and Brett Quigley had two of the best tee shots of the afternoon there, and may have provided the best reaction.
Perez, struggling most of the day en route to a 5-over 77, knocked his shot within 2 feet. He watched his ball inch closer and closer to an ace, then tossed his club across the tee box in mock disgust when it stopped just short.
Just having some fun, Perez said.
He wasnt done, though.
Quigley followed with a similar shot that landed a few feet farther left, then rolled to about 8 feet. He tossed his club to Perez, who then tossed it, too.
I liked him throwing his, saying, Thats enough for me, Quigley said. Thats exactly how I felt. You wake up every morning thinking about that tee shot. You know its going to be tough. When you come down the ninth green youre thinking about what the wind is going to do on 17 and trying to get a read on it. Its just the hardest shot we play.
Talk about an encore.
Kevin Stadler, making his debut at The Players Championship, eagled the 384-yard par-4 fourth for the second consecutive day.
He holed out from 95 yards with a 60-degree wedge in the third round Saturday, then made another eagle from a nearby spot Sunday. He holed out from 98 yards with a sand wedge in the final round.
That doesnt happen often, said Stadler, the son of former Masters champion Craig Stadler. I hit a great shot yesterday. Today, I got lucky. I got a good little hop and I could tell by the way people were watching it up by the green that it was going to be close.
I couldnt believe it dropped in again. It was pretty wild.
And pretty rare.
Hal Sutton is the only other player to accomplish the feat at The Players. Sutton eagled No. 4 twice in 2001.
Stadler can only imagine what it will feel like to step to the tee box at No. 4 in the future, but he knows those shots will stick with him forever.
It has treated me nicely the last couple of days, thats for sure, said Stadler, who shot 71 and finished 3 over.
Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow visited TPC Sawgrass for the final round, watching the action on the famed par-3 17th with his brother, father and a few friends.
Tebow had hoped to catch former Florida golfer Chris DiMarco, but DiMarco was finished before Tebow arrived at the course.
Tebow, who became the first sophomore to win college footballs most prestigious award, didnt get an early start because he got home late Saturday night from a missionary trip in eastern Europe.
The 6-foot-3, 232-pound Tebow lives nearby in Jacksonville and attended Nease High in Ponte Vedra Beach. So was he able to get through the hometown crowd without much problem?
Not really, said Tebow, who was escorted by two sheriffs deputies.
DIVOTS: Chad Campbell had the round of the day, making six birdies and shooting a 4-under 68. Jesper Parnevik took a quadruple bogey on the par-5 ninth and shot 85, four strokes better than the highest score recorded at The Players since it moved to Sawgrass in 1982. Michael Campbell shot 89 in the first round in 2003. J.B. Holmes had a par-free front nine Sunday, making four birdies and five bogeys. Camilo Villegas finished 12 over and can blame his score on the final two holes. He was 8 over for the week on Nos. 17 and 18, including double-triple finish Sunday.

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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


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    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.