Notes Second Fiddle for Euro Tour Tiger in Vogue
The Players Championship moving to May cuts into a prime portion of the European schedule, including the British Masters. Of greater concern is the FedEx Cup championship series that begins in August, when top players are expected to compete in four straight tournaments concluding with the Tour Championship.
European Tour executive director George O'Grady met with two dozen of his members on the eve of the Match Play Championship, mainly listening to their ideas as he formulates a plan.
'We've got to think outside the box,' O'Grady said in an interview last week. 'I won't stand here and say it's all rosy. We do have challenges, but they are challenges that can be met.'
O'Grady was pleased by the attendance; only two players were missing, both with prior commitments. He described it more as a briefing than a lecture, and when asked for the central message, O'Grady replied, 'That the European tour is worth fighting for.'
The focus was on top players who are members of both tours, such as Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Darren Clarke, David Howell and Padraig Harrington. Europe requires players to compete in at least 11 tournaments, which isn't asking much considering seven are taken up by the majors and World Golf Championships.
O'Grady said the British Masters, traditionally held in early May, likely will move to September and played at The Belfry. The challenge will be what to do with events held in late August and early September, such as the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
'We can't move some of them to October because the courses will be under snow,' he said.
Els already has suggested moving the Arab swing -- Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai -- to the end of the year, giving Europe a blockbuster finish to its season. O'Grady said it took him a 'nanosecond to realize it was a good idea,' but it might clash with the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, and affect some tournaments Els plays in South Africa.
O'Grady is working with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem -- he knew ahead of time The Players Championship was moving to May -- although he has made the point that Finchem doesn't work for Europe.
'We tell the tour what we need, and either we get it or we don't,' he said. 'That's business.'
Andrew Magee felt soreness in his left hip last month and had an MRI to see what was wrong. Three weeks later, Magee had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his left kidney.
Dr. Indebir Gill said 15 percent of the kidney was removed Feb. 18 with 'excellent margins,' and that no radiation or chemotherapy would be needed. He said it was serendipitous that the tumor was caught at an early stage.
'I'm very fortunate that we caught this early and very thankful for the tremendous care I've gotten,' Magee said in a statement.
Magee, 43, is recovering at home in Arizona. He hopes to return to practice in as early as six weeks.
TIGER IN VOGUE
Tiger Woods prefers to wear a green jacket in the spring. He slipped on a plaid jacket to appear on the cover of Men's Vogue magazine in its spring issue.
Woods said in the interview that he has given up Starbucks decaf hazelnut lattes until the Masters if his friends will give up french fries, ice cream and sodas. He also talks about his ability to hit shots at the most crucial time.
'I do think that when I am in that moment when my concentration is the highest, when it's at its peak, I see things more clearly, and things happen slower,' he said. 'When that moment happens, it's like it's magic.'
What stands out more than the words are the photos, taken by Annie Leibovitz. Along with shots of Woods on a jet ski (in a business suit) is one of him by the pool in a bathrobe, Nike cap turned backward, cooing to his Border collie puppy (Taz) that wife Elin bought him for Christmas.
IN A DITCH
The rookie year of Stephen Bowditch is not only miserable, it's peculiar.
The 22-year-old Australian, who earned his card through the Nationwide Tour, has yet to earn a dime in seven starts. Worse yet, he has only completed three tournaments.
Bowditch has been disqualified three times -- from the Sony Open, FBR Open in Phoenix and the Nissan Open, where he opened with a 78 and walked off the course after nine holes without telling anyone. He withdrew after one round of Tucson after shooting 78.
He missed the cut at the Bob Hope Classic at 12-over 300, and at Pebble Beach after rounds of 79-79-80.
Tiger Woods now has lost in every round of the Match Play Championship except the semifinals, and the running joke has been that if he ever gets knocked out in the semifinals, more people might watch the consolation match than the championship match.
Worse yet is what happened Sunday.
Geoff Ogilvy and Davis Love III had to wait as long as 10 minutes over their shots while waiting for Tom Lehman and Zach Johnson in the consolation match.
Both had to stand in the par-5 eighth fairway waiting for the green to clear to hit a scary shot with water on the right. Love, after a birdie on the 15th to keep alive his slim hopes, strode to the 16th tee and had to wait.
It got so bad that Love asked rules official Mark Russell if he and Ogilvy could play through.
'It wasn't relentless waiting, but it was enough to be waiting,' Ogilvy said.
Tour officials wanted to allow fans to see both matches in succession, although it might be prudent to send the consolation match off 20 or 30 minutes ahead of the match that matters.
Michelle Wie's third-place finish at the Fields Open moved the 16-year-old up to No. 2 in the women's world ranking, which is sure to raise even more questions about the LPGA allowing for a minimum of 15 tournaments over two years. If the men had a 15-tournament minimum instead of 40, J.B. Holmes would be No. 11. ... Fry's Electronics has agreed to be the title sponsor of the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas this year. ... Geoff Ogilvy joined Jeff Maggert as the only players to win a World Golf Championship in their first start. Maggert won the inaugural WGC event at La Costa in 1999.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Geoff Ogilvy played more holes in one week (129) than Fred Funk has in seven years (114) at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
'If I ever reach a par 5 in two, they change it to a par 4.' -- Fred Funk.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”