Rose Weir in Pursuit of Goggin

By Associated PressMay 31, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 The Memorial TournamentDUBLIN, Ohio -- Mathew Goggin might have to change his travel plans.
The Aussie arranged a 5:50 p.m. flight to Memphis on Sunday so he could get a good nights sleep before playing in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier on Monday. But his departure would be at about the same time Jack Nicklaus will be presenting a check for $1,080,000 and a crystal trophy to the winner of the Memorial Tournament.
I might not want to get on that, Goggin cracked.
In an up-and-down round, Goggin followed his first-round 65 with an even-par 72 to share the lead with Kenny Perry through Fridays second round at Muirfield Village.
The next flight is at, like, 7 oclock, said Goggin, who is at 7-under 137. So Ill just see. Its one of those sort of things that if you miss the flight, its a good thing.
Perry, who shot a 71, is trying to join Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Memorial three times. His wins came in 1991 and 2003. If he wins again, hell be the oldest Memorial winner at the age of 48.
Perry and Goggin both persevered despite gusting winds that added to the treachery of the course, already made dangerous by thick rough and greens that are so fast that golf balls roll like a marble on granite.
It was brutal out there, said Perry, who had waltzed through an opening-round 66 to tie Jerry Kelly a shot back of Goggin. You put slick conditions with 15 or 20 mph winds, its hard to pick a club. And then its hard to stop the ball from the wind just moving it all the time. On the greens, too.
Phil Mickelson, a winner last week at Colonial, struggled to a 75 that put him at 147, then said you had to be part mathematician and part meteorologist to figure out where shots would end up.
The tough thing was putting and chipping because it was a 10 percent effect, he said. So if you had a 50-footer, the wind would blow it five feet (off line). That was the biggest challenge.
There were plenty of high scores. Billy Andrade opened with a 72 but came back with an 85. Bubba Watson went from 72 to 84. So did Mark Calcavecchia. All missed the cut of 6-over 150, the highest at the tournament since 1990.
Yet many of the highest-profile disasters came within the rounds of the leaders.
Goggin started out as if he would run away and hide. He birdied four of the first five holes to open a four-stroke lead on Kelly, who was playing in the same group. After parring two holes'he only had five pars in the round'he would go on to post a double bogey, five bogeys and three birdies the rest of the way.
I had seven birdies today, he said. The five bogeys and a double, well, that was probably a negative.
Goggin blamed his inexperience at the course for some of his mistakes. The rest was the wind.
Perry used a word you dont often hear to describe the effects of wind.
You would be down there (ready to putt) and the ball would be sitting there oscillating, he said. And that will unnerve you a little bit.
He hasnt been unnerved much. After needing just 22 putts in the first round, despite all that oscillation he used only 26 in the second round.
The Memorial has a reputation for being disrupted by rainstorms but so far this week the skies have been clear and the weather temperate. That is supposed to change overnight with a storm front dropping at least an inch of rain on the course.
That wasnt good news for Kelly, not a big hitter off the tee. If the fairways end up saturated, he guessed hed be hitting long irons into most of the par-4 holes, putting him at a distinct disadvantage.
If it stayed like this the rest of the week it would be a heck of a weekend, said Kelly, who had a 72. It would be a shame to get too much water. Hopefully we dont, because we all like to see it play tough and fast and have the ball bouncing.
Luke Donald shot a 71 and was alone in fourth at 139, followed by Nick OHern, Matt Kuchar, Steve Lowry and Geoff Ogilvy at 140.
One ugly incident occurred while Mickelson and Sergio Garcia were walking up the 15th fairway.
A fan yelled, America hates you, Sergio.
First, Mickelsons caddie, Jim Mackay, came over to berate the fan, then Mickelson stared at the guy and said, Cmon, man, while shaking his head.
Garcia remained stoic through the whole episode.

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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”

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    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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    Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

    Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

    Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.

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    It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

    “If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

    Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

    “It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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    Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

    Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

    Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

    “It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”

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    Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

    “I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

    Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

    “If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”