Notes Scott Not One to Dump Harmon

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- Tiger Woods may be having his differences with swing coach Butch Harmon, but Adam Scott isn't.
Scott didn't stop with just getting advice on his swing from Harmon. He also got advice on everything from breathing under pressure to picking a new caddie.
'Butch is pretty good,' Scott said. 'He reads me pretty well, I think, and he knows when he should butt in and say something.'
Scott's swing is almost a replica of the swing Woods built under Harmon. Lately, he's been having more success with it than Woods, winning the Player's Championship earlier this year and the Booz Allen Classic last month.
'As long as he still wants to teach me I think I'll be with him until that point,' Scott said. 'He's really helped my golf game. He took me from a pretty average college player to the Players champion. He works hard, makes me work hard and wants to get the results that he believes I can get.'
Scott isn't averse to taking some advice from a fellow Australian, too. Greg Norman suggested his former caddie Greg Navarro go to work for Scott, a combination that paid off when Navarro helped make a crucial club selection on the final hole at the Booz-Allen.
Norman has also been giving Scott advice on what type of shots need to be played at the British Open.
'I think he probably has a pretty good feel for the shots that need to be played and we've just been talking about that this week,' Scott said.
There was no hotter player than Kenny Perry coming into last year's British Open. He had won three out of the previous four tournaments before finishing eighth at Royal St. George's.
He later tied for ninth at the PGA Championship but, since then, hasn't recaptured anything like his 2003 form.
'No and I don't think I ever will again,' he said on the eve of the British Open at Troon.
'That was a purple patch for me. It was a special time in my life and just everything I did was correct at the time. I putted well, I hit it well. Then I was able to hit the shots when I needed to and was able to win golf tournaments.
'But I've never been able to recreate,' said Perry, who missed the cut at both the Masters and the U.S. Open and whose best this year was a tie for third at the Players Championship.
'I've been on tour for 18 years now and I've never had a year like that ever.'
Before he became a British Open champion, Ben Curtis was pretty handy with farm animals.
Pigs and putts, it turns out, have something in common. They both demand patience and a firm hand.
'He was excellent with the pigs,' said Bob Curtis, Ben's father. 'He was patient and he didn't get them excited.'
Curtis was in the 4-H Club, and said he used to take pigs to the fair to show them. His technique was pretty simple, much like his approach to golf.
'You take a whip or a cane and you beat them with it,' Curtis said. 'There's a judge in the ring and you just try to keep them in the middle portion of the ring and let the judge do the rest.'
Curtis didn't take long to become an Open champion, winning last year at Royal St. George's on his first attempt. He wasn't quite as successful when it came to pigs, though his brother once won the grand champion.
'No, my pigs were never that good,' he said.
Even before rain soaked the area Tuesday night, officials of the Royal & Ancient weren't all that worried about conditions at Royal Troon getting away from them.
The subject of course conditions is a touchy one this year, after many players complained about the rock-hard greens and dried-out fairways on the final day of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
'We're very pleased with the setup,' said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A. 'The rain was not unwelcome, and I think it gives you a chance to now prepare the course as we wish right through to Sunday without any fear of it becoming too fiery.'
Dawson said crews would have watered the course anyway if it didn't rain. While the greens are among the best he has seen in recent Opens, Dawson said the course will still play fast, even with the rain.
'So we've got a good links course, we still think it's going to be fast running,' he said. 'The wind is changing direction daily at the moment. And I think players are beginning to realize that seeing the course one day is not seeing it the whole week.'
So far, players like what they have seen.
'I would suggest this is certainly one of the fairest courses on the Open roster,' Padraig Harrington said. 'It's a good golf course to play on, one that everybody can compete on.'
Brad Faxon usually isn't among those who tee off at dawn during practice rounds, but he felt he had no choice Wednesday. Faxon in the first group off at 6:31 a.m. when the British Open gets under way.
'It's that 4 a.m. wake-up call tomorrow,' Faxon said.
He played 15 holes and was done by about 9:30 a.m., and Faxon stood in line for a bacon roll at a concession stand behind the 18th green.
What would he do the rest of the day?
'I don't know,' Faxon said. 'I've never had nine hours to waste.'
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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

    ''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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    DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

    Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

    “He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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    Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

    The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

    It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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    Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

    BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

    ''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

    He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    ''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

    Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

    ''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

    Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

    ''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

    Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

    Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

    Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.