Notes Sergio Likes Label

By Associated PressJanuary 7, 2005, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Sergio Garcia has won only five times on the PGA Tour, and he won't celebrate his 25th birthday until Sunday. But with no other legitimate candidates to inherit Phil Mickelson's label, the Spaniard might have to settle for being the best player without a major.
 
And that's OK with him.
 
Sergio Garcia'I find it a bit funny ... because they're putting me on the list already,' Garcia said. 'If you just got on tour - and some people just got on tour who are 24 or 25 - you can't just put them on that. But it's also a good thing, because they consider you a good golfer.'
 
Garcia's five victories came in good tournaments - twice at the Buick Classic, Colonial, the Byron Nelson Championship and the winners-only Mercedes Championships.
 
And unlike other players, he has contended in majors.
 
Garcia first broke onto the scene as a 19-year-old at the PGA Championship, when he gouged that shot out of the tree on the 16th hole at Medinah and finished one shot behind Tiger Woods. He was paired with Woods in the final round of the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black and finished fourth, and he closed with a 66 to tie for fourth at the Masters last year, although he never had a chance to win.
 
Garcia has had top 10s in all four majors.
 
'I'm working hard to try to get my majors soon,' he said. 'But it's something you can't rush. You have to keep giving yourself chances. There's some guys that are a bit more fortunate. They get one chance and they get through. And there's some other guys that it takes them a bit longer.'
 
TSUNAMI SINGH
Vijay Singh continues to give his PGA Tour perks to charity.
 
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF said the world's No. 1 player will help the smallest survivors of the tsunami in South Asia by donating proceeds of an auction on eBay that include the 2005 Buick Rainer he got for winning the Buick Open.
 
Last year, Singh earmarked $150,000 from a charity program for 54-hole leaders to hurricane victims in Florida.
 
'My wife thought it was a great idea to do that, and I didn't really need a car at this moment,' Singh said. 'But it's for a very good cause. There's a lot of people out there that need help. This is just a little thing that I can help, and I hope if you guys are looking for a car ... it's on eBay.'
 
His wife, Ardena, is from Malaysia.
 
The 41-year-old Fijian said he was in Phuket, Thailand, in November, walking down the street where the tsunami hit.
 
'I'm from Asia,' Singh said. 'My heart is from there, so I feel for the people there.'
 
Also part of the auction is a set of Cleveland clubs Singh used and tickets to 14 tour events, including all nine that Singh won last year. The PGA Tour will provide matching funds.
 
LEFTY'S BOOK
Everyone can read all about Phil Mickelson's victory at Augusta National the week of the Masters. Warner Books has acquired a book he wrote with Donald T. Phillips that is scheduled to be published on April 4.
 
The book is called 'One Magical Sunday: But Winning Isn't Everything.'
 
As it goes through every hole in the final round, Mickelson reflects on his journey to a green jacket - how he got started, developed his analytical approach as an amateur, and how his marriage and children keep his professional game in harmony with his needs.
 
'This book shows that no matter how many majors he wins, he'll always be at the top of the leaderboard in family values,' said Time Warner Book Group chairman Laurence Kirschbaum.
 
EURO SHOT OF THE YEAR
David Howell of England has won the Shot of the Year Award on the European tour for his 6-iron into the 17th green during a best-ball match at the Ryder Cup.
 
Along with a trophy from The Royal Bank of Scotland, Howell received a check for about $3,500 that he donated to the Tsunami Disaster Fund Appeal.
 
Europe was 1 down in its Saturday morning match, with momentum on the American side. Howell's 6-iron from 203 yards stopped 5 feet from the hole and he made the putt to square the match. Europe went on to win on the 18th hole, and eventually routed the Americans at Oakland Hills to capture the cup for the seventh time in 10 tries.
 
Turns out the shot of the year wasn't all that great.
 
'In all honesty, it wasn't the purest strike of my life,' Howell said. 'However, it went dead straight and released nicely to 5 feet. It was a great feeling to see the ball so close to the hole, and even better to make the putt.'
 
SENIOR MOMENT
The Sony Open will feature three old men and a baby.
 
Along with 15-year-old Michelle Wie playing next week at Waialae Country Club, Tom Kite, Craig Stadler and Peter Jacobsen from the Champions Tour are in the field.
 
Kite, 55, decided to use a one-time exemption from the money list to play a final year on the PGA Tour.
 
Stadler is still exempt from his victory in the 2003 B.C. Open. He might not have played the Sony Open, except that his 24-year-old son, Kevin, is making his debut as a PGA Tour rookie.
 
Seven players from the Mercedes Championships will not be playing next week on Oahu - Stephen Ames, Joey Sindelar, John Daly, Stuart Appleby, Sergio Garcia, Mike Weir and Tiger Woods, who has never played the Sony Open.
 
Appleby's wife is expecting their first child next week.
 
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”