Perry hoping to turn around game on Champions Tour

By Associated PressOctober 22, 2010, 2:01 am

Champions Tour

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Kenny Perry had a bad feeling when his putter fell apart in his first PGA Tour event of the year, the SBS Championships in Hawaii.

No, not his putting stroke fell apart. His actual putter went to pieces.

Perry was hitting his final practice putt before teeing off at Kapalua when the putter head fell right off the shaft. His favorite one, too.

Perry turned to his son who was caddying and said, “Justin, it’s going to be a bad year.”

The 14-time winner on the PGA Tour turned 50 on Aug. 10, making him eligible for the Champions Tour, and he’ll make his debut Friday at the Administaff Small Business Classic – hoping that the new scenery will help him rejuvenate his game.

“I’ve had a smile on my face this week,” said Perry, who has played on two Ryder Cup teams and three President’s Cup teams. “It’s neat to get back with the guys you played with in your junior years. They’ve been calling me rookie all week. I have a hard time getting used to that. It’s hard to believe I’m 50.”

Perry missed the cut in three of the last five PGA Tour events he played, then spent six weeks off to rest and prepare for the senior circuit.

“It seems I went flat this year,” Perry said. “In all the years I was on the tour I felt like I needed to win. I didn’t feel like I needed to win this year. It was just a letdown. We’re going to rekindle the fire this off season and see what happens.”

Perry already is feeling better after taking time off.

“It’s been a neat two days since I’ve been here,” he said. “I’ve had all the guys coming up and welcoming me to this tour – Hale Irwin, Curtis Strange, Mark O’Meara, Ben Crenshaw. It’s the who’s who of golf. All these guys I’ve looked up to my whole career and who made me the player I am and they’re all here playing.”

Perry was a member of the 2008 Ryder Cup team and had a good year in 2009 with victories at the FBR Open and the Travelers Championship. He tied for second in the Masters and fourth at the Tour Championship, before everything suddenly unraveled.

“I’d kind of gotten burned out,” he said. “I threw everything I have at the ’08 Ryder Cup and it seemed from then on I’ve lost focus. … I had a good 2009 but this year has seemed to be just a mediocre year. I didn’t have goals. I was just plodding along.”

Perry said equipment problems contributed to his poor 2010 season, starting with the demise of his beloved putter.

“It’s been magic for me the last three years,” Perry said. “It all started right there at Kapalua. I went into a funk putting this year. I re-shafted that putter four times, sent it back to Ping and it never looked the same again.”

Perry said he has changed every club in his bag except his 3-wood.

“It threw me for a little bit of adjustment, trying to figure what I can use and what I can’t and I never got comfortable with anything this year,” Perry said. “I didn’t drive the ball, I didn’t hit my irons well, so it was a new learning curve for me.”

With all his hard luck this year, Perry likes what his Champions Tour friends are saying.

“Their advice to me was that you’re going to have fun,” Perry said. “It’s totally different from the PGA Tour. I feel that. They’re relaxed and laid back and having a good time. I’ve been on the tour for 25 years and it’s a welcomed relief.”

Steve Lowery also is playing in his first Champions Tour event. A victory by either newcomer would mark the 16th time a rookie won his first event. Tom Pernice Jr. last accomplished the feat when he won the 2009 SAS Championship.

John Cook edged Jay Haas by one shot to win the Administaff event last year, when he sank a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to take the lead for good. Bernhard Langer, the Charles Schwab points leader, and second-place Fred Couples are also playing this week.

Perry has four exempt years remaining on the PGA Tour, but his focus is only on this week.

“You’ll probably see me splitting time,” Perry said. “If I keep having a lot of fun like I’m having this week, I might branch on over this way more.”

Getty Images

Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

Getty Images

Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

Getty Images

Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

Getty Images

Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.