Notes: Ultimate consolation for Stanley; Oosthuizen's secret

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2011, 11:53 pm

SANDWICH, England – Kyle Stanley was feeling better Monday. He might have been denied his first PGA Tour victory, but he got quite a consolation prize.

Stanley arrived at Royal St. George’s after an overnight flight from the United States, eager to play in his first major championship as a professional.

He earned the British Open spot with a runner-up finish Sunday in the John Deere Championship, making up for the disappointment of squandering a two-stroke lead over the final two holes.

“I’m feeling good,” Stanley said after getting in 11 holes of practice, followed by a session on the putting and chipping greens. “There’s a lot of positives that came out of the last four days.”

The biggest one of all was getting to play in the British Open. Stanley didn’t learn he was in until he had signed his scorecard.

“I thought I had to win,” Stanley said. “But it’s a nice consolation. Any time you earn your way into a major, that’s a good thing.”

Steve Stricker won the Deere for the third year in a row with an amazing finish on No. 18. From the lip of a greenside bunker, he pulled off a shot that landed about 25 feet from the flag, just off the green. Then he made the birdie putt to beat Stanley, who took a bogey at the final hole.

The 23-year-old Stanley qualified twice for the U.S. Open as an amateur, but this feels different. He’s a pro now, a guy who has shown he can be a contender even though he has limited experience at links golf.

“I’ve played it a little bit,” he said. “It’s a lot of instinct, a lot of feel.”


HAPPY TO BE HERE: Anthony Kim missed the cut in the AT&T National and set aside the next two weeks to work on his game in what has been the worst season of his young career. His plan was to go to Michigan this week to spend time with his swing coach, Adam Schriber.

Instead, he spent Monday playing a practice round at Royal St. George’s. Kim got into the field as an alternate when Tim Clark withdrew, and he hopes to make the most of it.

“I wasn’t sure I would be here after the stretch I’ve had,” said Kim, who has only one top 10 this year and has missed the cut a career-high eight times. “I’ve just had one or two bad swings that prohibits me from going forward. I was going to Michigan this week, but any time you get a chance in a major, you want to be there.”

Kim said he is tired of getting the same questions – “What’s wrong with your game?” – and giving the same answers.

“I know I’ve said this before, but I feel like my game is coming around,” he said. “To put it mildly, it’s been a frustrating year. I finished sixth at Torrey Pines, and that was a joke. I putted that week like it was a video game – I made everything. And I played OK in Houston. I was like 13th, but at that point, any time I played on Saturday and Sunday, that was good for me.”

The biggest change for Kim is his hair. He hasn’t cut it since January, and he’s hard to recognize.

“I’m going to let it grow long enough where I can do something crazy,” he said. “You’ll just have to wait.”


FOLLOW THE RED DOT: When Louis Oosthuizen blew away the field in last year’s British Open, he gave credit to a small red dot on his glove.

He might break it out again at Royal St. George’s.

Oosthuizen used the dot to improve his focus, and it sure worked on the way to a dominating victory at St. Andrews. He’s employed the technique off-and-on since then.

“Some weeks I feel like I’m wandering out there again and I do use it,” he said. “I haven’t lately, but you get in a few days where you’re struggling just getting into the moment, and you might see it back on the glove.”

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Spieth, Reed in different groups during Tuesday practice

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 12:38 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tuesday’s U.S. groupings at the Ryder Cup may give a glimpse into what potential pairings we will see this week at Le Golf National.

In the day’s first foursome, Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed played together. The second group included Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas; and the anchor group was Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson.

Whether those groups will make up captain Jim Furyk’s version of the team’s pods, however, remains to be seen. Given that half of his team has never played Le Golf National, Furyk said he tried to match players on Tuesday with those who had some experience on the course.


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“Today is really about trying to learn the golf course and hit some solid golf shots,” Furyk said. “There may be some pairings out there and there's some groups there isn't. Just want them concentrating on their own game right now. They are very aware of who they will be playing with this week and they are very aware of some of the options they have.”

Given the success of previous pairings and some relatively obvious choices, it seems there are some likely options for the U.S. Woods and DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners and at the Tour Championship they experimented with the other player’s golf balls on Tuesday.

It also seems likely that Spieth-Thomas and Fowler-Johnson will be paired in some form this week.

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Le Golf National nothing like wide open Hazeltine

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 12:00 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The layout at Le Golf National has a distinctly European feel, and captain Thomas Bjorn hopes to keep it that way at the Ryder Cup.

Gone are the wide fairways and short rough of Hazeltine, where the Americans bombed and gouged their way to their first team victory in nearly a decade. This week players will encounter one of the tightest and most demanding tracks on the European Tour, where water lurks around nearly every corner.

“Well this is a tough golf course, to start with,” Bjorn said Tuesday. “I like the idea of a golf course that’s set up like a championship golf course. You’ve got to identify guys that are hitting the golf ball well. Identify guys that are playing good golf that week.”


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Unlike the other recent Ryder Cup host venues on this side of the Atlantic, Le Golf National is somewhat of a known entity in that it annually hosts the European Tour’s French Open. It’s a tournament that Ryder Cup rookies Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren have won each of the last two years, while teammates Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia both cracked the top 10 in June.

That should give the Europeans an advantage when it comes to familiarity, and Bjorn’s plans for course setup included a desire to ensure the experience factor for his players would still be relevant this week amid larger-than-normal grandstands.

“There’s guys on this team that have played a lot of French Opens. I don’t want them to show up and it’s a completely different golf course to what they are used to,” Bjorn said. “This is very similar to what it is normally.”

Despite the similarities in setup, there will still be plenty of adjustments for the American squad. Justin Thomas was the only U.S. player to make the trek for this year’s French Open, and captain Jim Furyk admitted that only six of his 12 players had seen the course at all prior to this week.

“We’re just trying to figure it out,” Furyk said. “Europe knows this golf course well. They have played the French Open here. We’re trying to figure out the setup and what they have in store for the week.”

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Bjorn '85 percent' done with Ryder Cup pairings

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 11:45 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Practice-round groups at the Ryder Cup typically give fans a sense of what to expect when the Day 1 pairings are announced on Thursday afternoon.

Though European captain Thomas Bjorn said that “not too much” should be gleaned from his groupings during the first official practice round on Tuesday, he also doesn’t want to waste valuable time as players get adjusted to Le Golf National and each other.

Here were the three practice groups for the Europeans:

  • Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose
  • Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey and Thorbjorn Olesen
  • Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton

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“You get some of the new guys out with somebody with a bit of experience so they can talk the way around," Bjorn said, "but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are pairing up together."

It's worth noting U.S. captain Jim Furyk made similar remarks, that each of his three groups had at least one player who had seen Le Golf National previously.

“I don’t feel like I’ve given away anything in what’s happening on the golf course today,” Bjorn said.  

Still, Bjorn said that he’s “80 or 85 percent” certain of the pairings he’d like to use this week.

“I’m pretty set in my mind,” he said.

Asked where he was in his own process, Furyk joked “86 percent” before saying that he has a “really good idea” of his plan for Day 1 fourballs and foursomes.

“I think coming in here we both were going to have a plan of exactly what we wanted to try to do,” Furyk said. “There’s always going to be a reaction to what you’re seeing on the golf course, what you’re feeling, options to branch off of, but I’ve got a really good idea of what I’d like to do for Day 1.”

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Six players named in the race for Tour Player of the Year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 11:26 am

The PGA Tour announced six nominees for the PGA Tour Player of the Year Award on Tuesday; although, to many, it won’t be a competition.

Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose and Justin Thomas have been nominated for the Jack Nicklaus Award.

DeChambeau won three times this season, including the first two playoff events; Johnson was also a three-time winner and had 12 top-10 finishes; Molinari had two victories, including The Open; Rose won the FedExCup, and Thomas had three victories. But if player reaction last week at the Tour Championship was any indication, they are all vying for second place behind Koepka.

Although Koepka only had two victories they were both majors, the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, after missing a good portion of the season with an injury.

The Tour also released the five nominees for the Rookie of the Year Award, although that race appears to be a foregone conclusion as well. Aaron Wise was the only member of the rookie class to advance to the Tour Championship and also won the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Voting for both awards ends on Oct. 1.