Notes Villegas hard work Skins without Freddie

By Associated PressSeptember 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
BMW ChampionshipNEW YORK ' Camilo Villegas works hard, sets goals and stays organized so he can manage his time. Those are good attributes for any PGA TOUR player.
 
But thats what it took for him just to survive college.
 
Villegas struggled with his English when he left Colombia to attend the University of Florida, where he found himself in classrooms with as many as 300 students. He could understand better than he could speak, and reading took time.
 
But he graduated in 2004 with a degree in business and a GPA of 3.8.
 
Reading, it was very slow, but it was good, Villegas said. When you have classes with 300, 400 students, I didnt see the point of showing up. I just got my book, I read it, and I went and took the test. It took time, and obviously coming to Florida and having all those new opportunities was a little overwhelming.
 
But you have to just really manage your time, have a good plan for every day and stick to it.
 
The hardest aspect of a new country was speaking, and Villegas said it didnt help that he was shy. In golf terms, he decided to start firing at flags.
 
One day I said, You know what? Hell with it. Im just going to open my mouth, and whatever comes out, comes out,' he said. If somebody is going to make fun of me, Ill say, Hey, instead of laughing at me, why dont you tell me the correct way of saying it? And I got better.
 
LOWERING THE BOOM-BOOM
 
The four-man field for the LG Skins Game was announced last week, and the biggest news was who would not be playing at Indian Wells over Thanksgiving weekend.
 
How can there be a Skins Game without Fred Couples?
 
Couples is playfully known as the King of the Silly Season, especially the Skins Game. He has played 14 times, captured 95 skins and earned over $4.2 million, more than he has made playing in the majors.
 
Instead, defending champion Stephen Ames will join Phil Mickelson, K.J. Choi and Rocco Mediate.
 
Im glad Im not playing, Couples said at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where he missed the cut. Im done with golf. I was feeling so good, but I think Im playing too much. This may be my last real event.
 
Couples did not express disappointment, but a tinge was evident. He said he was hopeful of playing again, but he was pleased for Choi and Mediate. And no, Couples did not ask for an exemption.
 
I cant be picked every year, he said. I played enough. And it was fun.
 
PAYBACK
 
Mike Weir had to grind out a 67 in the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, go through a series of interviews that took about a half-hour, then get to the practice range to hit balls before sunset.
 
Time to go home?
 
Not quite. Weir then spent the next 30 minutes mingling with volunteers at the TPC Boston, setting an example that did not go unnoticed by Seth Waugh, the tournament host and CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas.
 
Mike is a class act, Waugh said. That comes from his upbringing.
 
But it wasnt just Weir. A month before the tournament, Brandt Snedeker and Anthony Kim agreed to come to Boston for a media day. Neither of them were the defending champion. It helped that tournament officials arranged for Kim to take batting practice with the Red Sox.
 
MAJOR DUTY
 
Padraig Harrington came back to the TPC Boston on Sunday to clean out his locker after missing the cut when he found a stack of flags from the British Open and PGA Championship that someone wanted signed.
 
Without a hint of bother, Harrington sat down on a bench and began signing.
 
Oh, good thing I opened this. Its from Jim Furyk, he said, reading a note inside from Furyks wife, Tabitha.
 
Someone watching him sign pointed out that this is what is asked of a guy who wins the British Open and PGA Championship.
 
Harrington then recalled a conversation with 07 Masters champion Zach Johnson.
 
If I ever say Im tired of signing, someone please club me over the head with a 9-iron, Harrington said. And when I come to, explain to me what happened. And then Ill happily continue to sign.
 
DOUBLE DUTY
 
Jim Bones Mackay stays busy enough looking after Phil Mickelson. But the longtime caddie for the worlds No. 2 player was scrambling Saturday at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
 
Mickelson played in the morning. Mackays brother, Tom, was to be married that evening in Vermont.
 
And he managed to be there for both.
 
He had the option to take the day off, the week off, whatever he wanted, Mickelson said. But it shows what hes like. Hes truly the best at what he does.
 
Mackay got a huge break when Mickelson received the late-early draw, meaning he finished about 1 p.m. Saturday. He thought about chartering a helicopter, but learned it was even cheaper to charter a jet.
 
We got to the wedding about 15 minutes before it started, Mackay said.
 
He hired a driver to bring him back so he wouldnt fall asleep on the way back to Boston. Mackay arrived back at his hotel about 3:30 a.m., got a few hours sleep and was back on the bag Sunday for an 8 a.m. tee time.
 
DIVOTS
 
Helen Alfredsson, Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis will represent the LPGA in the Wendys 3-Tour Challenge, which will be held Nov. 11 at Rio Secco in Las Vegas. The Monterey Institute of International Studies in California has offered its services to the LPGA to design a custom language learning program for its international members. Not only does it offer a world-class language facility, the players have ample golf courses on which to practice along the Monterey Peninsula. Fred Couples failed to make the cut in a major this year for the first time since his rookie season in 1981, when he wasnt eligible for any of them.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
 
Europes entire Ryder Cup team is in the top 50 of the world ranking. The United States has two players outside the top 50 ' Chad Campbell (53) and J.B. Holmes (55).
 
FINAL WORD
 
Im tired of watching him on tape win all these tournaments. I want to see him win some tournaments live. ' Paul Azinger, on Tiger Woods missing the rest of the year.
 
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    Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

    Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

    Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

    Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

    A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

    And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

    Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

    Getty Images

    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

    Getty Images

    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    ---

    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

    @jenamsims on Instagram

    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



    The second is from Sunday night.



    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.