Scores high as weather disrupts play

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' The PGA Championship looked a lot like the U.S. Open, with only seven players under par when darkness finally covered Oakland Hills on Thursday and put The Monster to sleep.
 
It sounded like a U.S. Open, too.
 
'Theres only one guy whos going to like this place by the end of the week, Ben Curtis said.
 
Robert Karlsson
Robert Karlsson has his sights set on a fourth consecutive top-10 finish in a major. (Getty Images)
Jeev Milkha Singh and Robert Karlsson found it agreeable enough after each shot 2-under 68 in the pleasant morning conditions, before thunderstorms stopped play for 90 minutes in the afternoon. Andres Romero of Argentina was 2 under through 16 holes, the only late starter under par and among 18 players who did not finish the first round.
 
Kenny Perry finished the round, but he wont finish the tournament. Playing in a major for the first time this year, Perry withdrew after a 79 because of an eye injury.
 
The calendar says August. It sure seemed like June, with firm fairways, thick rough, hard greens and plenty of opinions.
 
A great test of golf and patience, Singh said.
 
It was a real beast today, said Ernie Els, who overcame a double bogey after the rain delay to shoot 71.
 
It was easy to lose patience on a course that was punishing from the opening tee shot to the final putt. The rough is the thickest for a U.S. major this year, the Donald Ross greens at Oakland Hills are as frightening as Augusta National and the scoring chipped away at the PGA Championships recent reputation as being the major to make birdies.
 
The course is 7,500 yards long, the greens are firm and the pins are tucked away, Lee Westwood said after finishing with six straight pars to salvage a 77. They are sucking the fun out of the major championships when you set it up like that.
 
I sound as if Im moaning'which I am'but its a great shame, he said. Its a fantastic golf course. They are great greens and they are playable. But there is no need to play it as it is.
 
Such comments typically are reserved for a U.S. Open, and the similarities didnt stop there. The rough is so thick that players rarely reached the green after missing the fairway, and caution was required for every putt on greens that became so crispy in pleasant sunshine that tournament officials hosed down three of them throughout the day.
 
Even so, the best golf was rewarded.
 
Sergio Garcia struck the ball solid as ever, holed one long putt, limited his mistakes and joined a group at 69 that included Billy Mayfair, Ryder Cup hopeful Sean OHair and Ken Duke.
 
Phil Mickelson was in three bunkers before he reached his second green (No. 11), was 2 over for his round and somehow managed a 70. He made only eight pars, but among his five birdies was a 35-foot putt down the scary slope on the 16th, followed by a 4-iron that rolled within 18 inches for a birdie on the 238-yard 17th.
 
Im just happy to have shot even par today, he said.
 
Anthony Kim overcame five bogeys with an eagle on the par-5 second hole that carried him to a 70, joining the likes of former U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, Rod Pampling and Michael Allen, the last alternate into the field.
 
Karlsson, the only player to finish in the top 10 at all three majors this year, opened the fourth one with a shot that bounded off a cart path over the first green and led to double bogey. He answered with three straight birdies and reached 4 under for his round until missing the green for bogeys on 14 and 15 and settling for a 68.
 
How does someone start with a double bogey and not lose his cool, much less his mind?
 
Try to remember that I actually can play golf, even though it didnt look like that on the first hole, Karlsson said. My caddie said, Remember, we played with Tiger in the U.S. Open. And I think he took 6 down the first hole pretty much every day. So you can shoot a good round from here as well.
 
But such rounds were hard to find.
 
Its a U.S. Open at the moment, said Geoff Ogilvy, who won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006 without breaking par in any round and failing to do that Thursday with a 73. This is one of the clubs that prides itself on how hard it is. I dont think anyone expected it to be easy. It wouldnt be a monster if it was.
 
Ben Hogan gave Oakland Hills its nickname when he won the 1951 U.S. Open and said he was glad he brought this monster to its knees. The Monster played like it was on steroids, especially after Rees Jones lengthened it to just under 7,400 yards.
 
His redesign did not meet everyones approval.
 
If you had Rees Jones redo Scrabble, hed leave out the vowels, Paul Goydos said after a 74.
 
Players knew what they were getting into after three days of practice. The surprise came when they got on the golf course Thursday and found it firmer than ever, with balls rolling on the fairway and crusty footprints visible on the greens. Mickelson hit what he thought was a perfect tee shot on No. 10 with a hybrid, only to learn that it rolled all the way into a bunker.
 
Karlsson, however, managed to make six birdies. And the other Singh'Jeev is from India and plays the European tour'made only three bogeys on a course that was significantly harder than he had seen during practice.
 
His best birdie might have been a 3-iron to 20 feet on the 17th.
 
To stop the ball on that green when theres a lot of breeze from behind, that was good, he said.
 
Singh fits the mold of someone who would thrive in the majors this year. He came to Oakland Hills with an ankle injury he has been coping with the last two months, so severe that doctors have recommended a month of rest.
 
Trevor Immelman won the Masters four months after having a benign tumor cut out of his back. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on one good leg. Padraig Harrington wasnt sure he would be able to play'much less win'the British Open because of a wrist injury.
 
Singh said he had to be careful walking the hills on this course. The only time it really hurts during his swing is when he hits driver.
 
And you do need to hit a lot of drivers on this golf course, he said.
 
Jim Furyk is among those who like the course firm and fast, and he was satisfied with a 71 that put him in the group with Steve Stricker, who is No. 8 in the Ryder Cup standings.
 
The nightmare belonged to Hunter Mahan, who is 10th in the U.S. standings, was the runner-up at Oakland Hills in the 2002 U.S. Amateur and posted his highest score as a professional'an 81.
 
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    Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

    Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters:

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    Cut Line: Johnny's exit, Tiger's fatigue

    By Rex HoggardOctober 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

    In this week’s edition we bid farewell to the most outspoken and insightful analyst of his generation and examine a curious new interpretation that will require players to start paying attention to the small print.

    Made Cut

    Here’s Johnny. After nearly three decades Johnny Miller will hang up his microphone following next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Miller called his first tournament as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst in 1990 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and he told Cut Line this week that at 71 years old he’s ready to relax and spend time with his 24 grandchildren.

    “I was the first guy with an open microphone,” Miller said. “That requires a lot of concentration. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but the handwriting was on the wall; it would be more of a challenge.”

    Miller will be missed for his insight as much as his often-blunt deliveries, but it’s the latter that made him one of a kind.

    A long ride to the right place. After nearly four years of legal wrangling a group of PGA Tour caddies dropped their class-action lawsuit against the circuit this week.

    The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in early 2015 in an attempt by the caddies to secure marketing rights for the bibs they wear during tournaments as a way to create better healthcare and retirement benefits.

    The district court largely ruled against the caddies and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, but better healthcare options may still be in the cards for the caddies.

    “I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.

    Sajtinac told Cut Line that the Tour has offered a potential increase to the longtime stipend they give caddies for healthcare and in a statement the circuit said talks are ongoing.

    “The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

    It’s rare when both sides of a lawsuit walk away feeling good about themselves, but this particular outcome appears to have ended with a favorable outcome for everybody involved.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    A long haul. Tiger Woods acknowledged what many had speculated about, telling a group this week at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach that his season-ending push and his first victory in five years took a physical toll at the Ryder Cup.

    “It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

    Woods went 0-4 for the U.S. team in France and appeared particularly tired on Sunday following the European victory at Le Golf National.

    For Woods the result was worth the effort with his victory at the Tour Championship ending a five-year drought, but his play and concession that it impacted him at the Ryder Cup does create some interesting questions for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, who sent Woods out for both team sessions on Saturday.

    Tweet(s) of the week: @BobEstesPGA (Bob Estes) “I spoke to a past Ryder Cup captain yesterday. We both agreed that there should be a week off before the [Ryder Cup] to adequately rest and prepare.”

    Given Woods’ comments this week it seems likely he would agree that a break – which may become the norm with the Tour season ending three weeks earlier – would be helpful, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had a slightly different take in response to Estes’ tweet. “I’m afraid a different schedule wasn’t gonna make the fairways wider. On that particular course with how we played, [the United States] had absolutely no chance. Hasn’t more than half the euros played playoffs too?” Colsaerts tweeted.

    It’s never too early to get a jump on the 2020 trash talking.


    Missed Cut

    By the book. The USGA and R&A’s most recent rulemaking hill involved the use of green-reading materials. On Monday the game’s rule-makers unveiled new interpretations on what will be allowed starting next year.

    Out will be the legal-sized reams of information that had become ubiquitous on Tour, replaced by pocket-sized books that will include a limited scale (3/8 inch to 5 yards).

    While the majority of those involved were in favor of a scaled-back approach to what to many seemed like information overload, it did seem like a curious line to draw.

    Both sides of the distance debate continue to await which way the rule-makers will go on this front and, at least in the United States, participation continues to be a challenge.

    Banning the oversized green-reading books may have been a positive step, but it was a micro issue that impacted a wildly small portion of the golf public. Maybe it’s time for the rule-makers to start looking at more macro issues.

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    S.Y. Kim leads Kang, A. Jutanugarn in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:24 am

    SHANGHAI  -- Sei Young Kim led the LPGA Shanghai by one stroke at the halfway point after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the second round on Friday.

    Kim made six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole, to move to a 10-under 134 total. Her only setback was a bogey on the par-4 15th.

    Kim struggled in the first half of the year, but is finishing it strong. She won her seventh career title in July at the Thornberry Creek Classic, was tied for fourth at the Women's British Open, and last month was runner-up at the Evian Championship.

    ''I made huge big par putts on 10, 11, 12,'' Kim said on Friday. ''I'm very happy with today's play.''

    Danielle Kang (68) and overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were one shot back.


    Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I like attention. I like being in the final group. I like having crowds,'' Kang said. ''It's fun. You work hard to be in the final groups and work hard to be in the hunt and be the leader and chasing the leaders. That's why we play.''

    She led into the last round at the Hana Bank Championship last week and finished tied for third.

    Brittany Altomare had six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66, and was tied for fourth with Bronte Law (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).

    Angel Lin eagled the par-5 17th and finished with the day's lowest score of 65, which also included six birdies and a lone bogey.

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    'Caveman golf' puts Koepka one back at CJ Cup

    By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:12 am

    JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Brooks Koepka, recently named the PGA Tour Player of the Year, gave himself the perfect opportunity to become the No. 1 player in the world when he shot a 7-under par 65 to move to within one shot of the lead in the CJ Cup on Friday.

    At the Nine Bridges course, the three-time major champion made an eagle on his closing hole to finish on 8-under par 136 after two rounds, just one stroke behind Scott Piercy, who was bogey-free in matching Koepka's 65.

    With the wind subsiding and the course playing much easier than on the opening day when the scoring average was 73.26, 44 players – more than half the field of 78 – had under-par rounds.

    Overnight leader Chez Reavie added a 70 to his opening-round 68 to sit in third place at 138, three behind Piercy. Sweden's Alex Noren was the other player in with a 65, which moved him into a tie for fourth place alongside Ian Poulter (69), four out of the lead.

    The best round of the day was a 64 by Brian Harman, who was tied for sixth and five behind Piercy.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

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    The 28-year-old Koepka will move to the top of the world rankings when they are announced on Monday if he wins the tournament.

    Thomas, playing alongside Koepka, matched Koepka's eagle on the last, but that was only for a 70 and he is tied for 22nd place at 1 under.

    Koepka's only bogey was on the par-5 ninth hole, where he hit a wayward tee shot. But he was otherwise pleased with the state of his ''caveman golf.''

    ''I feel like my game is in a good spot. I feel like the way I played today, if I can carry that momentum into Saturday and Sunday, it will be fun,'' Koepka, winner of the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, said.

    ''My game is pretty simple. I guess you can call it like caveman golf – you see the ball, hit the ball and go find it again. You're not going to see any emotion just because I'm so focused, but I'm enjoying it.''

    Piercy, who has fallen to No. 252 in the world ranking despite winning the Zurich Classic earlier this year with Billy Horschel – there are no world ranking points for a team event – was rarely out of position in a round in which he found 13 of 14 fairways off the tee and reached 16 greens in regulation.

    ''Obviously, the wind was down a little bit and from a little bit different direction, so 10 miles an hour wind versus 20s is quite a big difference,'' said Piercy, who is looking for his first individual PGA Tour win since the Barbasol Championship in July 2015.

    ''It was a good day. Hit a couple close and then my putter showed up and made some putts of some pretty good length.''

    Australia's Marc Leishman, winner last week at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, shot a 71 and was seven behind. Paul Casey's 73 included a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh hole and the Englishman is nine behind Piercy.