Romo Timberlake Break 100 at Torrey Pines

By Associated PressJune 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenDallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and singer Justin Timberlake may not be qualified to play in the U.S. Open, but both proved they could break 100 Friday on Torrey Pines South Course.
 
The pair joined Today host Matt Lauer and a regular guy from Omaha, Neb., in a foursome bent on disproving Tiger Woods theory that it takes a pro to beat the course.
 
Romo, who missed qualifying for the U.S. Open this spring, won with a 13-over 84. The beefy quarterback, who boasts a 2.2 handicap index, barely broke a sweat playing the first nine holes in 5-over 40 but slowed as the six-hour round wore on.
 
It got really tough to stay sharp, he said, nodding toward the 18th hole, where he had his only double bogey after hitting into a bunker.
 
Timberlake, suffering from allergies, seconded Romo, although his game improved over the last four holes with two pars and two bogeys as he went into Michael Jordan mode. A 6.0 handicap index, he parred the 18th to finish at 27-over 98.
 
Its just inhuman, how well they strike it, he said, referring to Woods and his ilk.
 
Timberlake, outfitted in a dashing black trilby hat and tuxedo-stripe pants, started hamming it up with the gallery once his taut dancers swing started to go south, blowing on the ball as it rimmed the seventh hole without any luck and asking the crowd to approve his drop into the rough at the edge of the fairway.
 
He couldnt blame his troubles on Mother Nature, either, after he skipped off the course after teeing off at the first hole and making a beeline for the mens room.
 
Excuse me! I knew I forgot something, he called out to laughing spectators in his soft Tennessee drawl.
 
Lauer scraped by with a 100 on the par-71 course despite playing with a 6.2 handicap index. He came back from an early quad and a series of double bogeys to make a par 5 on the final hole.
 
Its not easy, he said. I didnt think Tiger made an outrageous statement.
 
The only one of the four who didnt seem to mind the scores was John Atkinson, a medical salesman from Omaha, Neb., who was chosen from 56,374 essay applicants to play in the challenge. He finished with a 43-over 114.
 
At some point I just didnt really care, said Atkinson, who is undergoing treatment for advanced inoperable lung cancer. I just wanted to enjoy it.
 
Atkinson had a 56-person cheering section with him. They shouted Cmon, Johnny! when his ball hit the green and gave sympathetic claps and awws when he disappeared into the bunkers.
 
His friend, Dave Leahy, said the crowd joined Atkinson as he trained in Omaha to prepare him for the pressure playing in front of an audience.
 
He was out there every Saturday with 50 people pretending to be the gallery and wearing a mike so hed get used to it, Leahy said.
 
He gave his caddy, noted sports psychologist Bob Rotella, a sweet shrug after chasing the ball around the green before making his putt on the fifth hole.
 
Its a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him, said his wife, Lori. It doesnt matter.
 
Woods told reporters last year at Oakmont, generally considered the toughest golf course in America, that no 10-handicapper could break 100. With Torrey Pines refurbished into a 7,643-yard monster'the longest in U.S. Open history'it served as a suitable stand-in for the challenge, hosted by Golf Digest magazine and NBC.
 
Torrey Pines, named for the rare gnarled trees that dot the cliffside course, will be the first city-owned golf course to host a U.S. Open starting next Thursday.
 
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    Casey in line to make Ryder Cup after Travelers T-2

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:30 am

    Despite coughing up a four-shot lead at the Travelers Championship, England's Paul Casey moved into a qualifying position to make his return to the Ryder Cup this fall in Paris.

    Casey struggled Sunday at TPC River Highlands, shooting a 72 as Bubba Watson raced to victory with a 63. But a four-way share of second place was still good enough to lift Casey into fourth place among those not already qualified on the World Points list, with the top four Europeans from that list in August punching their tickets to Le Golf National.

    Casey has played in three Ryder Cups before, but none since 2008. After renouncing his European Tour membership a few years ago, he reinstated it for the 2018 season in order to be eligible to return to the biennial matches.

    Here's a look at the updated standings for Europe, with the top four players from each points list ultimately joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Paul Casey

    ---

    5. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    6. Ian Poulter


    On the American side of the ledger, Watson jumped two spots to fifth with his third win of the year and seemingly locked up his spot on the squad, while Bryson DeChambeau moved inside the top eight with a top-10 finish in Connecticut.

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

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Bubba Watson

    6. Jordan Spieth

    7. Rickie Fowler

    8. Bryson DeChambeau

    ---

    9. Webb Simpson

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

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    Watson cracks top 15 in world with Travelers win

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:15 am

    After his third win in the last five months, Bubba Watson is back on the cusp of the upper echelon in the world rankings.

    Watson started the year ranked No. 89 in the world, but after a three-shot victory at the Travelers Championship the southpaw moved up seven spots to No. 13 in the latest rankings. It marks his best position since a missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February 2017.

    Watson stayed one spot behind Paul Casey, who was one of four runners-up in Connecticut and rose one position to 12th as a result. Beau Hossler's T-2 finish helped him jump 24 spots to No. 64, while J.B. Holmes went from 93rd to 75th with the same result. Stewart Cink, who grabbed a share of second with a final-round 62, went from No. 149 to No. 95 and is back inside the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time since September 2011.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    Matt Wallace, who won the BMW International Open on the European Tour, went from 91st to 66th.

    There was only one change among the top 10 in the rankings, as an idle Jon Rahm moved past Jordan Spieth at No. 5 despite Spieth's T-42 finish at TPC River Highlands. At No. 6, Spieth is at his lowest point in the rankings since before last summer's victories at Travelers and The Open.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Rahm. Spieth slid to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Poised to return to competition this week at the Quicken Loans National, Tiger Woods fell three spots to No. 82 in the latest rankings.

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    After Further Review: Spieth needs a break

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 1:11 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Jordan Spieth's much-needed break ...

    Jordan Spieth is heading for a break, and that’s probably a good thing.

    Spieth just wrapped a run of six events in seven weeks that featured largely underwhelming results. A third-place finish at the Masters that stemmed from a nearly-historic final round deflects attention away from the fact that Spieth has yet to enter a final round this year less than six shots off the lead.

    A return to his home state didn’t work, nor did a fight against par at Shinnecock or a title defense outside Hartford where everything went so well a year ago. His putting woes appear to have bottomed out, as Spieth finished 21st in putting at Travelers, but now the alignment issue that plagued his putting appears to have bled into other parts of his game.

    So heading into another title defense next month at Carnoustie, Spieth plans to take some time off and re-evaluate. Given how fast things turned around last summer, that might prove to be just what he needs. - Will Gray


    On the difference between this week and last week ...

    There wasn’t a single outraged tweet, not a lone voice of descent on social media following Bubba Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, a 17-under par masterpiece that included a closing loop of 30.

    Nobody declared that golf was broken, no one proclaimed the royal and ancient game a victim of technology and the age of uber athletes. The only response was appreciation for what Watson, a bomber in the truest form, was able to accomplish.

    At 6,840 yards, TPC River Highlands was built for fun, not speed. Without wild weather or ill-advised hole locations and greens baked to extinction, this is what the best players in the game do, and yet no one seemed outraged. Weird. - Rex Hoggard


    On the emergence of another LPGA phenom ...

    Add another young star to the favorites list heading to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago next week.

    Nasa Hataoka, the 19-year-old Japanese standout who needed her rookie season last year to acclimate to the LPGA, broke through for her first LPGA title Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

    This wasn’t a surprise to LPGA followers. Hataoka won the Japan Women’s Open when she was 17, the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour, and she has been trending up this year.

    Her tie for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks ago was her fourth consecutive top-10 finish. She won going away in Arkansas, beating a deep field that included the top nine in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She outplayed world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson on Sunday. - Randall Mell

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    Bubba waiting for Furyk's text about Ryder Cup

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:39 am

    CROMWELL, Conn. – After winning his third PGA Tour title in the span of five months, Bubba Watson is now waiting by his phone.

    Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, his third at TPC River Highlands since 2010, accompanies recent victories at both the Genesis Open and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play from earlier this year. It also moved the southpaw from No. 7 to No. 5 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically.

    After serving as an assistant captain at Hazeltine despite ranking No. 7 in the world at the time, Watson made it clear that he hopes to have removed any doubt about returning to the role of player when the biennial matches head to Paris this fall.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “It still says in my phone that (U.S. captain) Jim (Furyk) hasn’t texted me yet. So I’d really like for him to say I’m going to pick you no matter what,” Watson said. “The motivation is I’ve never won a Ryder Cup, so making the Ryder Cup team and trying to win a Ryder Cup as a player would be another tournament victory to me. It would be a major championship to me just because I’ve never done it, been a part of it.”

    Watson turns 40 in November, and while he reiterated that his playing career might not extend too far into the future as he looks to spend more time at home with son Caleb and daughter Dakota, he’s also hoping to make an Olympic return in Tokyo in 2020 after representing the U.S. in Rio two years ago.

    “Talking about the Olympics coming up, that’s motivating me,” he said. “It was the best experience of my life to watch all the other events, and then the golf tournament got in the way. I’d love to do it again. I’d love to watch all the events and then have to play golf as well.”