Notes Tiger Talks Daughter Holds Club

By Associated PressOctober 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Most players used to come to Disney to play golf and enjoy the theme parks. As the final tournament of the PGA TOUR season, the Children's Miracle Network Classic has a much more serious tone this year.
 
Most guys here are simply trying to save their jobs.
 
No one feels it quite like Ted Purdy, who has plunged from No. 110 on the money list at the start of the Fall Series to No. 125, giving him a $4,118 lead over J.B. Holmes.
 
If he misses the cut and Holmes makes it to the weekend, Purdy will lose his full exemption for 2008.
 
'Never was I worried about keeping my card until the last couple of weeks,' Purdy said. 'I've played my way into this situation.'
 
He's not alone.
 
Since the Fall Series began, nine players have fallen outside of the top 125 in what has proven to be an unpredictable set of circumstances. TOUR officials figured something around $700,000 would be enough to finish in the top 125, but that number has been moving north every week.
 
One reason is because the top stars have taken the year off, leaving more players out of the top 100 on the money list into fields and raising the chances of them either winning (George McNeill) or doing well enough to secure their cards (Mark Hensby, Michael Allen).
 
Other bubbles for the week:
 
  • Anders Hansen is at No. 150, the cutoff for conditional status. Hansen, however, is not at Disney, and he would be bumped if Tripp Isenhour, Robert Gamez or Jeff Gove make the cut.
     
  • Carl Pettersson is at No. 32 on the money list, needing at least $84,926 to have any hope of moving into the top 30 to qualify for the Masters. Heath Slocum (No. 31) already is eligible, as is David Toms (No. 30). Also in range of a trip to Augusta National is Justin Leonard (No. 35) and Ken Duke (No. 36).
     
    TIGER TALKS:
    Tiger Woods said any rumors about him leaving Hank Haney are just that.
     
    'I have not split with Hank Haney, my friend and swing coach,' Woods said in his monthly newsletter. 'He's spent more time at home helping his wife deal with health issues, which is the way it should be. Besides, I've become much better at correcting my swing flaws, and that's ultimately where you want to get to with a coach-pupil relationship. Hank is still going to be my coach; that's not changing.'
     
    Haney has not been at a tournament with Woods since the Bridgestone Invitational, fueling rumors about a split.
     
    Woods won't play again until the Target World Challenge in California on Dec. 13-16, and about the only one touching a club in the house appears to be 4-month-old daughter Sam.
     
    'She can grab things now and has held a golf club in her hands,' he said. 'I didn't start swinging a club until I was 11 months, so she's got seven months until that happens.'
     
    USGA PRESIDENT:
    Jim Vernon has been nominated to a one-year term as president of the USGA, replacing Walter Driver. The election of Vernon, other officers and the 15-member executive committee will take place Feb. 9 in Houston at the annual meeting.
     
    Vernon has been vice president for two years and spent four years as chairman of the Equipment Standards Committee. He is a past president of the board of the California Golf Association and the Southern California Golf Association.
     
    Jim Hyler of Raleigh, N.C., and Cameron Jay Rains of San Diego were nominated as vice presidents.
     
    COLONIAL:
    Six more players will have a chance to play at Colonial next year.
     
    Stewart Cink, a member of the PGA TOUR policy board, said Tuesday the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial has agreed to increase the size of its field from 114 to 120. Past champions who want to play, such as Rod Curl, would be added to the field.
     
    He was not certain if the Memorial Tournament had agreed to increase its field from 105 to 120 players.
     
    The TOUR has been trying to make the field size more uniform at the invitational events, particularly after some grumbling last year when Tiger
     
    FIRE RELIEF:
    The Nationwide Tour plays its Tour Championship this week in Barona Creek in San Diego County, where more is at stake than the top 25 players on the money list earning PGA Tour cards. Through a program called 'Birdies for Relief,' the tournament will donate at least $200,000 to the Red Cross Fire Relief Fund to support victims of the California fires.
     
    Nationwide Insurance and the PGA TOUR has pledged to donate $100 for every birdie made at Barona Creek.
     
    Tournament organizers said admission would be free, and they have encouraged fans to donate to the relief fund instead of buying a ticket. The Century Club of San Diego also invited eight firefighters to play in the pro-am Wednesday.
     
    MOLDER'S MOMENTUM:
    Bryce Molder finished 10 shots off the lead last week at the Ginn sur Mer Classic, earning $52,200. What might sound fairly ordinary to most represented a great turn of fortunes for Molder.
     
    Molder didn't make the cut in any of his first 11 events of the year, didn't cash a tour check until late July, and the tie for 21st at Tesoro Club was by far his best showing of the season.
     
    'There's about three or four things you need to do well, and I was not doing any of those well,' Molder said. 'I wasn't driving it well, I wasn't hitting any of my irons very well ... I wasn't scoring well, I wasn't putting well. Everything was bad.'
     
    Molder persevered, and wound up more than doubling his 2007 last week.
     
    It would take a win this week at Disney to keep Molder from having to endure Q-school. Understanding that victory doesn't exactly seem realistic, Molder is simply trying to build some momentum for '08 now.
     
    'I know how well I can play when things are going my way, so it's very frustrating and it's a little bit humiliating to go that long without making a cut,' Molder said. 'But it happens -- it happens to good players -- and you just have to be able to try to put it behind you so that you can give yourself a chance the next time.'
     
    DIVOTS:
    U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera made eagle on the final hole to force a playoff, and he beat Ricardo Gonzalez in the Argentina Masters. Cabrera also eagled the 18th and won in a playoff in his previous event, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. ... Chris DiMarco, who had shoulder surgery on Sept. 12, withdrew from the final PGA TOUR event of the year. ... Nine players outside the top 125 on the PGA TOUR money list have played at least 30 times this year.
     
    STAT OF THE WEEK:
    Three years after Todd Hamilton won the British Open and rose to No. 16 in the world ranking, he has fallen to No. 894 going into the final event of 2007.
     
    FINAL WORD:
    'I like time off, but I golf. So that's why we play.' -- Mark Calcavecchia on playing in the Fall Series.
     
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    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

    According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

    Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

    Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

    And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

    Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.

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    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

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    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.