Notes Tricky greens not heat worry seniors

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGACOLORADO SPRINGS, Co. ' Forget the heat, dont worry about the altitude. Its The Broadmoors notoriously tricky greens that will undoubtedly befuddle the field at the 29th U.S. Senior Open.
 
Well, first you have the influence of the mountains, the Cheyenne Mountains so close by, Coloradan Hale Irwin said. And that always was intriguing when we did play down here years ago, how the Texas and Florida guys would come up and theyd have no clue how to putt these greens.
 
Well, I welcome myself to that club now because its been a long time since weve played a course that has greens, A, this size; B, with this much contour in them; and C, with such an overpowering influence off the mountain.
 
Other courses have all of these elements but not to this degree. Add in altitude that affects approach shots and golfers entire games are affected by the unpredictable greens.
 
And thats before the USGAs often unfriendly pin placement is even taken into account.
 
What weve seen with the practice rounds are the hole locations they will not use because of how much break there is, Irwin said. So were trying to putt to where we anticipate other holes to be, but you never know. Thats the mystery of the USGA.
 
The par-70, 7,254-yard East Course is the longest for a U.S. Senior Open, surpassing the 7,117-yard Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, site of the 2004 championship.
 
The tee-to-green game is pretty straightforward, Irwin said. While not overbearing, its not easy because of the severity of the greens, because if you miss the fairway, the odds of you hitting the green or hitting in a position where you have any kind of a putt whatsoever are greatly diminished.
 
So, it sort of backs itself up. You look at hole location where youre going to have to be on that green where you have any kind of a putt, he added. And then it starts putting pressure on the second shot, on the drive to perform. And thats the way it should be.
 
Putts tend to break away from the west-to-east slope of the mountain. R.W. Eaks, a native of Colorado Springs, said it helps to locate the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun on the mountain and try to putt toward it.
 
Well, you got the shrine up there, OK, and you kind of have to triangulate where the shrine is and where youre putting. I know it sounds funny, but it really works, Eaks said. It just takes time to get used to it, but shoot, it took me a while to try and figure that out.
 
I dont know if Im going to make all my putts or not, but at least I know what direction theyre going.
 
Irwin said the influence of Cheyenne Mountain also speeds up the putts.
 
Some of the putts here will be faster in mid-roll than they are when you first hit it, so that becomes almost something that gets out of your control; hence, putting toward the mountain is going to be what we all try to do, he said.
 
OH WHAT A DRAG
 
At 72, Dale Douglass of Castle Rock, Colo., is the elder statesman of the field at the 29th U.S. Senior Open. He won the tournament in 1986 in his first try just four months after turning 50, the minimum age for the senior circuit.
 
Well, you might think you might know more at 72 than at 50. But the fact is that youve forgotten more. And that evens it out, so you dont have an advantage of wisdom, Douglass said.
 
It doesnt bother me. Im very fortunate to be healthy and able to play and able to walk this golf course at 72.
 
When he was introduced as the oldest golfer in the field, however, Douglass dropped his head.
 
I was hoping Gary Player is here because hes older than I am, see, but when he doesnt show, its me, said Douglass, who is four months younger than Player.
 
Douglass said it gets tougher and tougher every year, making the Champions Tour a young mans game.
 
Theres a rejuvenation out here because youre not intimidated when youre 50, he said. Youre not intimidated by any of the other players because you hit it further and straighter and you putt better.
 
Douglass, who first played The Broadmoor at the 1959 U.S. Amateur championship that launched Jack Nicklauss career, is playing in his 23rd Senior Open, two shy of Arnold Palmers mark.
 
Theres some of his other records that I would have preferred to have challenged, Douglass said.
 
ACHING KNEES
 
R.W. Eaks won the Champions Tour 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn., earlier this month with the help of a golf cart, which the USGA doesnt allow in the U.S. Senior Open.
 
Both of Eaks knees need replacement. He couldnt walk up stairs in December, and twice this year has withdrawn from tournaments because he could barely get out of a cart.
 
The 56-year-old Eaks said hes not anticipating any problems, however, walking the 7,254-yard East Course, the longest ever for a Senior Open.
 
Hes been wearing FDA-approved electrical stimulation braces on his legs while he sleeps.
 
Just in the last few days Ive noticed a big difference, Eaks said.
 
DIVOTS
 
Dave Delich, 51, of Colorado Springs, may have an experience advantage this week over the rest of the field. Delich is a member at the Broadmoor and a six-time Broadmoor Golf Club champion. He also won the 2007 Colorado State Senior Amateur and the 1997 Colorado State Mid-Amateur. Australian Graham Marsh withdrew from the tournament Wednesday and was replaced by alternate Steve Heckel, of Carterville, Ill. Until he played three practice rounds here this month, Irwin said it had been at least 42 years since he played the East Course.
 
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    Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

    By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

    SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

    Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

    Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

    He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.


    Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


    ''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

    Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

    Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

    Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.

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    Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

    Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters:

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    Cut Line: Johnny's exit, Tiger's fatigue

    By Rex HoggardOctober 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

    In this week’s edition we bid farewell to the most outspoken and insightful analyst of his generation and examine a curious new interpretation that will require players to start paying attention to the small print.

    Made Cut

    Here’s Johnny. After nearly three decades Johnny Miller will hang up his microphone following next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Miller called his first tournament as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst in 1990 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and he told Cut Line this week that at 71 years old he’s ready to relax and spend time with his 24 grandchildren.

    “I was the first guy with an open microphone,” Miller said. “That requires a lot of concentration. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but the handwriting was on the wall; it would be more of a challenge.”

    Miller will be missed for his insight as much as his often-blunt deliveries, but it’s the latter that made him one of a kind.

    A long ride to the right place. After nearly four years of legal wrangling a group of PGA Tour caddies dropped their class-action lawsuit against the circuit this week.

    The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in early 2015 in an attempt by the caddies to secure marketing rights for the bibs they wear during tournaments as a way to create better healthcare and retirement benefits.

    The district court largely ruled against the caddies and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, but better healthcare options may still be in the cards for the caddies.

    “I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.

    Sajtinac told Cut Line that the Tour has offered a potential increase to the longtime stipend they give caddies for healthcare and in a statement the circuit said talks are ongoing.

    “The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

    It’s rare when both sides of a lawsuit walk away feeling good about themselves, but this particular outcome appears to have ended with a favorable outcome for everybody involved.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    A long haul. Tiger Woods acknowledged what many had speculated about, telling a group this week at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach that his season-ending push and his first victory in five years took a physical toll at the Ryder Cup.

    “It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

    Woods went 0-4 for the U.S. team in France and appeared particularly tired on Sunday following the European victory at Le Golf National.

    For Woods the result was worth the effort with his victory at the Tour Championship ending a five-year drought, but his play and concession that it impacted him at the Ryder Cup does create some interesting questions for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, who sent Woods out for both team sessions on Saturday.

    Tweet(s) of the week: @BobEstesPGA (Bob Estes) “I spoke to a past Ryder Cup captain yesterday. We both agreed that there should be a week off before the [Ryder Cup] to adequately rest and prepare.”

    Given Woods’ comments this week it seems likely he would agree that a break – which may become the norm with the Tour season ending three weeks earlier – would be helpful, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had a slightly different take in response to Estes’ tweet. “I’m afraid a different schedule wasn’t gonna make the fairways wider. On that particular course with how we played, [the United States] had absolutely no chance. Hasn’t more than half the euros played playoffs too?” Colsaerts tweeted.

    It’s never too early to get a jump on the 2020 trash talking.


    Missed Cut

    By the book. The USGA and R&A’s most recent rulemaking hill involved the use of green-reading materials. On Monday the game’s rule-makers unveiled new interpretations on what will be allowed starting next year.

    Out will be the legal-sized reams of information that had become ubiquitous on Tour, replaced by pocket-sized books that will include a limited scale (3/8 inch to 5 yards).

    While the majority of those involved were in favor of a scaled-back approach to what to many seemed like information overload, it did seem like a curious line to draw.

    Both sides of the distance debate continue to await which way the rule-makers will go on this front and, at least in the United States, participation continues to be a challenge.

    Banning the oversized green-reading books may have been a positive step, but it was a micro issue that impacted a wildly small portion of the golf public. Maybe it’s time for the rule-makers to start looking at more macro issues.

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    S.Y. Kim leads Kang, A. Jutanugarn in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:24 am

    SHANGHAI  -- Sei Young Kim led the LPGA Shanghai by one stroke at the halfway point after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the second round on Friday.

    Kim made six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole, to move to a 10-under 134 total. Her only setback was a bogey on the par-4 15th.

    Kim struggled in the first half of the year, but is finishing it strong. She won her seventh career title in July at the Thornberry Creek Classic, was tied for fourth at the Women's British Open, and last month was runner-up at the Evian Championship.

    ''I made huge big par putts on 10, 11, 12,'' Kim said on Friday. ''I'm very happy with today's play.''

    Danielle Kang (68) and overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were one shot back.


    Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I like attention. I like being in the final group. I like having crowds,'' Kang said. ''It's fun. You work hard to be in the final groups and work hard to be in the hunt and be the leader and chasing the leaders. That's why we play.''

    She led into the last round at the Hana Bank Championship last week and finished tied for third.

    Brittany Altomare had six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66, and was tied for fourth with Bronte Law (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).

    Angel Lin eagled the par-5 17th and finished with the day's lowest score of 65, which also included six birdies and a lone bogey.