Notes Wild Journey for Swede Weather Beaters
His two-shot victory, his second on the PGA Tour, disappointed many who were rooting for the only known quantity near the top of the leaderboard, the ever-smiling Phil Mickelson.
Pettersson, dubbed 'The Swedish Redneck' by Stockholm native Jesper Parnevik, was a victor for those who sip tea and speak proper English and also eat grits and watch NASCAR.
'I'm a mutt,' Pettersson said after accepting the crystal championship trophy from host Jack Nicklaus.
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, the 28-year-old Pettersson lived in England for five years after his father, Lars, an executive in Volvo's trucks division, was transferred.
When his father was transferred again to Greensboro, N.C., his burly 5-foot-11, 195-pound son tagged along. Carl had already shown a propensity for golf, learning from Lars, who was a low-handicapper.
Carl spent his last two years of high school in North Carolina and, after winning the state championship for Grimsley High, he went to school at Central Alabama Community College and then North Carolina State.
Pettersson has spent most of his four full years as a pro on the PGA Tour, although he also plays in Europe.
'I watched a lot of Ryder Cups over the years,' Pettersson said. 'I always pull for Europe. I've lived here for a lot of years but deep down I am European.'
Pettersson still lives in Raleigh, N.C., with his wife, DeAnna, whom he met shortly before he embarked on his pro career, and their 21-month old daughter, Carlie.
He said he retains 'some of those interesting habits' from living in the South.
'I like country music,' he said. 'I guess I'm not your typical Swede, you know. I'm about 30 pounds overweight and I don't wear crazy clothes.'
For the players out of contention, the final round became a race against a storm front.
'They told us before we teed off that we were probably going to get showers and all that stuff,' Billy Mayfair said.
The threat of yet another delay in the rain-delayed final round was enough incentive.
'You could see it coming, so I wanted to get through,' Bubba Watson said.
As they played, the players kept their eyes on the skies.
'I was thinking about it, believe me,' Mark Calcavecchia said after closing with a 71 that left him at 292. 'I've got an outing tomorrow in New York that I did not want to have trouble getting to and/or miss. I'm going to make twice as much for the outing as I made here, so if there would have been a delay, I would have just WD'd and left and got out of here. So I'm glad we got in and I didn't have to do that.'
Sindelar putted out for a 72 and then dashed for the airport to catch a flight to a U.S. Open qualifier on Monday at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.
'Earlier is better,' he said of his departure time as he left the course.
A half-hour delay held up the action late in the day, after most of the field had completed play.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Long-but-frequently-wild Bubba Watson, told that one course at his U.S. Open qualifier on Monday was open and the other had narrow fairways: 'I'll probably play that open one a lot better.'
Louise Suggs, one of the founders of the LPGA, and 1958 PGA Championship winner Dow Finsterwald are the Memorial honorees for 2007.
Each year the tournament recognizes the contributions to the game of former players, innovators and administrators.
Suggs, who won the 1949 U.S. Women's Open by a then-record 14 strokes, was among the 13 people who helped create the LPGA and later served three terms as the association's president. She won 58 tour titles and 11 major championships, including three as an amateur.
An Ohio native, Finsterwald won 12 PGA Tour events between 1955 and 1963 and placed in the top five more than 50 times in his career. He still owns the fifth-longest cut streak, finishing in the money in 72 consecutive tournaments.
Finsterwald and Gary Player lost in a playoff to Arnold Palmer at the 1962 Masters.
They will be honored during ceremonies preceding next year's Memorial, which runs from May 31-June 3.
LIKE OLD TIMES
Paul Azinger shot a 67, bettered only by Mark Brooks' 66, in the final round to finish 10th.
He hadn't had a top 10 since the Shell Houston Open in 2004.
'It's been a while,' Azinger said after finishing five shots behind winner Carl Pettersson. 'I have had this streak of leaving the course irritated -- that streak's a couple of years (long). And I'm not going to be irritated today.'
Trevor Immelman, who tied for seventh, has three top-10s in a row. ... Brooks and Sergio Garcia each hit 17 of 18 greens on Sunday. ... After he was disqualified for leaving the course early after the second round, and then was reinstated, Justin Rose had rounds of 67 and 71 and tied for 14th while earning $100,625.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
Schauffele just fine being the underdog
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.
Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.
Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.
“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”
Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.
“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”
Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1
Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.
So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.
Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.
Jordan Spieth: 7/4
Xander Schauffele: 5/1
Kevin Kisner: 11/2
Tiger Woods: 14/1
Francesco Molinari: 14/1
Rory McIlroy: 14/1
Kevin Chappell: 20/1
Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1
Alex Noren: 25/1
Zach Johnson: 30/1
Justin Rose: 30/1
Matt Kuchar: 40/1
Webb Simpson: 50/1
Adam Scott: 80/1
Tony Finau: 80/1
Charley Hoffman: 100/1
Austin Cook: 100/1
Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.
For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.
By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.
But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.
As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.
“This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”
Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.
As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.
But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.
After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.
“I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”
But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.
Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.
“I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.
There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.
Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par.
And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.
As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.
“We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”
Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.
Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.
The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.
Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.
It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.
Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.
One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.
McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.
“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”
McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.
“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”