Silence is Golden at 50th Buick Open

By Associated PressJune 27, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Buick OpenGRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna is used to playing over the roar of an excited crowd.
 
So when Kitna went to his first PGA TOUR event, he was amazed at the silence.
 
Its definitely a different way to concentrate, Kitna said Friday at the Buick Open.
 
At times, the loudest sound at the tournament was the hum of generators.
 
That seems to be exactly how the players want it.
 
Jim Furyk told his caddie to quiet the gallery before he teed off at the sixth hole during the second round. A couple holes earlier, Furyk stepped away from a 9-foot putt.
 
Keep that sign down, Furyk said to a marshal, referring to a QUIET sign used to hush gathered crowds.
 
Furyk later insisted neither the noise nor visual distraction affected his game.
 
Ive never really been overly bothered by that, he said. I may ask a marshal to move once in a while, but its more of a precaution.
 
Players, caddies and marshals frequently ask people to stop walking and talking when a pro is over his ball.
 
Golf is such a mental game, and you want your mind to be as quiet as possible to hit a good shot, Lee Janzen said. With all the stuff that could possibly not go right, you dont want your mind also thinking about somebody walking behind you.
 
Silence on the course is simply part of the tradition.
 
Its always been the etiquette of the game that youre supposed to be quiet when someone else is hitting, Furyk said.
 
Spectators agreed that keeping quiet isnt a big deal, but Clarkston resident Tom Selhost said when compared to other sports, the lack of noise is a bit surprising.
 
Ive always thought it was kind of interesting, though, here comes a baseball at 90 mph and theyre trying to hit it and the crowds just going insane, the 66-year-old fan said. And here is a ball sitting still and everyone has to be quiet.
 
Janzen said that constant noise'like the buzz of the crowd at a ballgame' wouldnt be a problem for golfers.
 
Unexpected noise, though, is problematic.
 
It would probably be OK if everybody just talked all the time, Janzen said. But usually most people try to be quiet and then one odd person will start talking.
 
Marshals try to keep the environment as quiet as possible, taking cell phones and cameras away from fans who sneak them onto the course.
 
About 400 cell phones and cameras were waiting for their owners early Friday afternoon at the a tent and officials expected twice as many to pile up for Sundays final round.
 
A few chants occasionally could be heard at the 17th hole, but the green, known for its rowdiness, was quieter than usual Friday.
 
Its a lot milder because Tigers not here, said marshal Rob Hudson, whos volunteered at the Buick Open for six years. When Tigers here, it just get ridiculous,
 
Tiger Woods had season-ending knee surgery earlier this week, knocking him out of the Buick Open after playing it eight times since 1997
 
Usually, people seem to respect the QUIET signs that goes up when a golfer is getting ready to hit a ball.
 
Youll get the occasional grump who doesnt care, but as a rule, theyre pretty good, Hudson said.
 
Kitna, who said it was weird to play in such a quiet environment Wednesday at the Buick Pro-Am, said the steady noise at a football game doesnt bother him like a sudden noise on the golf course could get to a professional golfer.
 
Its so quiet sometimes a little noise can affect you, he said. While with us, its so loud little things dont bother us
 
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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.”