Notes Tiger Versus Weir Blow Up Dolls

By Associated PressSeptember 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player needed only four words and about two seconds to set the marquee Sunday singles match in the Presidents Cup.
 
Nicklaus made the first move Saturday night, immediately calling out 'Tiger Woods' with the U.S. selection for the fourth match. Player replied 'Mike Weir' just as fast.
 
'What a feather in his cap it would be for him if he could beat Tiger,' Player said. 'Tiger is a phenomenal player as we know. Mike Weir has nothing to lose. It would be a phenomenal day in his career if he could beat Tiger.'
 
Nicklaus left it up to Woods.
 
'I said, 'Tiger, I don't want to put it on your back, but what do you want to do? Do you want to play Mike or not?'
 
'He says, 'Cap, I'll play whoever you want to give me.'
 
'I said, 'You don't mind playing Mike?'
 
'He said, 'No. If this is what you want to do and you think it will be good for the matches, I'm all for it.'
 
'I give Tiger credit. He had the choice to do it or duck it. And he did not duck it.'
 
Woods is used to facing stars in their home countries. In 1998 at Royal Melbourne, he beat Greg Norman 1-up. The American then beat Ernie Els 4 and 3 in 2003 at Fancourt.
 
'I think it will be a fun match,' Woods said. 'We're great friends, have been for years, and I think we're really looking forward to it.'
 
Weir is 2-1 in Presidents Cup singles. He beat Phil Mickelson 4 and 3 in 2000, lost 3 and 1 to Jim Furyk in 2003 and beat Scott Verplank 3 and 2 in 2005.
 
'It's going to be loud,' Weir said. 'Hopefully, I can give them a lot to cheer about. I've been able to do it so far through three days, but tomorrow, obviously, anybody who plays with Tiger has got their hands full. But I'm playing well and I feel like if I can keep it up, it's going to be a great match.'
 
Woods and Weir were paired together in the final round of the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah. Woods shot a 72 to win, while Weir closed with an 80.
 
Mickelson and Furyk also drew interesting matchups.
 
After Player put Vijay Singh on the board for the third match, Nicklaus countered with Mickelson. There wasn't any drama left when Furyk ended up with Retief Goosen in the last of the 12 matches. With the United States needing only three points to win, the overall result should be long decided by then, too.
 
Els and fellow South African Rory Sabbatini will play in the first two matches, with Sabbatini getting Verplank in the opener and Els drawing Lucas Glover.
 
Entertaining American player Woody Austin will face U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera in the fifth match, followed by Masters champion Zach Johnson and Australia's Adam Scott; David Toms and South Africa's Trevor Immelman; Stewart Cink and Australia's Nick O'Hern; Steve Stricker and Australia's Geoff Ogilvy; Hunter Mahan and South Korea's K.J. Choi; and Charles Howell III and Australia's Stuart Appleby.
 
MONIQUE DOES MONTREAL
Hunter Mahan is single, making him the only American player without a female companion. The U.S. wives made sure he wasn't alone.
 
During a quick shopping spree -- likely the idea of notorious prankster Barbara Nicklaus -- they bought the 25-year-old Mahan a doll they named 'Monique.'
 
'She came up on the elevator,' Scott Verplank said. 'They had Hunter come down to see if it was OK if this woman came up to the room. So the doll came up. He didn't take that too good, I don't think.'
 
During one team function, the wives placed Monique in a chair at the table. And the ribbing continued on the bus ride to Royal Montreal, with everyone asking Mahan what happened to Monique.
 
'We haven't seen her,' captain Jack Nicklaus said. 'I think they had a fight last night.'
 
GOOD ON PAPER
One reason the Americans love playing for captain Jack Nicklaus is he lets them pick with whom they want to play. Nicklaus asked them to write down their preferred partners on a sheet of paper, and he did his best to accommodate them.
 
Not every player got every partner he requested, including Tiger Woods.
 
Standing on the 18th green after the Saturday morning foursomes, Nicklaus pulled out the master list.
 
Woods had said he listed three players, and they turned out to be Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and David Toms. So it was strange to see him get paired with Charles Howell III in the first session, a 3-and-1 victory.
 
'Charles wasn't on his list, but they played together in South Africa and I asked Tiger he would like to play with him,' Nicklaus said. 'And he said, 'Absolutely.''
 
Nicklaus wanted to give Woods his other wish -- Stricker -- but Stricker was going great with Mahan.
 
'Other than that, I didn't put anyone together who wasn't on anyone's list,' Nicklaus said.
 
Verplank might have been the only guy who got all three players he requested -- well, sort of. Verplank said he asked for Stricker, Lucas Glover and Zach Johnson. Verplank won two matches with Glover, and he won his only match with Stricker.
 
As for Johnson?
 
They were partners in sitting out the Saturday afternoon fourballs.
 
MUSICAL CHAIRS
David Toms and Adam Scott were either very popular or were difficult to pair. They were the only two players at the Presidents Cup to play all four team matches with four partners.
 
Toms was paired with Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson in alternate shot, and with Woody Austin and Tiger Woods in better balls. Adam Scott went from Geoff Ogilvy to K.J. Choi to Ernie Els to Retief Goosen.
 
As for Woods, he has had 14 partners in the 10 times he has played in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
 
DIVOTS
David Toms (3-0-1), Scott Verplank (3-0-0) and Woody Austin (1-0-3) are the only undefeated players. Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker are all 3-1-0. ... Mike Weir and Vijay Singh, teammates in two foursomes matches, lead the International team with 2-1-1 records. ... K.J. Choi is the only player who has failed to earn a point. The South Korean star is 0-3-0. ... Adam Scott (0-3-1) had not led all week until he and partner Retief Goosen won the 15th hole in the afternoon matches Saturday when Austin and Phil Mickelson made a bogey. Scott and Goosen also won the 16th, but lost the final two holes to end up with a halve. ... Woods and Charles Howell III are the only players who have yet to play the 18th hole.
 
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    Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

    Bernhard Langer did not.

    The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

    "You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

    Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

    "I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

    Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

    As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

    "I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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    Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

    Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

    Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

    Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

    “To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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    Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

    Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

    Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.

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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

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    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.”