Simpson leads Greenbrier; Tiger, Phil MC

By Associated PressJuly 7, 2012, 1:54 am

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – One week after he won for the third time this season, Tiger Woods gets a rare weekend off.

Woods missed the cut in the Greenbrier Classic by a stroke Friday, following an opening 71 with a 69 to finish at even par. He missed a cut for only the ninth time in his PGA Tour career, and for the third time in a tournament following a victory.

After winning Sunday at Congressional, Woods was on a course he'd never seen before.

''I didn't quite have it,'' Woods said. ''I drove it really good today and I just did not have the feel for the distances. The ball was just going forever. I know we're at altitude, but I just couldn't get the ball hit pin high no matter what I did, and subsequently, I made some bogeys.''

Phil Mickelson also failed to advance to weekend play, the first time Woods and Mickelson have missed the cut in the same tournament as professionals.

Mickelson shot his second straight 71.

U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson topped the leaderboard at 9 under when play was suspended because of darkness in the round that was delayed because of rain.

Simpson made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-3 18th for a 4-under-66.

A dozen players were unable to complete the round.

Woods believes his distance control will be easy to work on heading to the British Open, which starts July 19 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

''Yeah, because it's not going to be this warm and we're not going to be at altitude. We'll be on the beach,'' he said.

After the rain delay, Woods had bogeys at Nos. 10 and 11 to fall to 3 over, then made three birdies down the stretch but missed two other tries from inside 12 feet.

The other times that Woods followed a win with a missed cut came in 2005 at Disney and in 2009 at the British Open. Both those times he took a week off after his wins.

When Woods was an amateur, he and Mickelson missed the cut in the 1993 Byron Nelson.

Mickelson had focused more on golf at this year's tournament after taking advantage of the resort's numerous amenities with his family last year. The result was the same.

''I really enjoy the golf course,'' he said. ''I don't get it. I mean, I certainly struggled a little bit on the greens both years, but nothing that should have led to these scores.''

He has gone seven consecutive rounds over par and hopes his game improves.

''I certainly am looking forward to links golf,'' Mickelson said. ''I enjoy playing the ball on the ground and hitting it - you know, trying to keep it below head high on some tee shots and so forth. That was fun last year when we had some terrible weather. And it will hopefully play to one of my strengths, which is short game, and I'll try to get that sharp heading into the British.''

Simpson has played in Woods' group both times he has missed the cut this year, with the other being at Wells Fargo. And they played together at Doral in the fourth round in March when Woods withdrew after 11 holes because of tightness in his left Achilles tendon.

Simpson led last year's Greenbrier Classic with nine holes left in the final round before fading to a tie for ninth.

''I was confident last year, I'm confident this year,'' Simpson said. ''I don't think a whole lot has changed. I learned a lot about myself in the final round last year. I think I was only one back on the final round. So I've got a long ways to go, a bunch of good players right there.''

Simpson had four birdies in a bogey-free round. Two of the birdies came after the rain delay.

Among those still on the course when play was stopped by darkness was Martin Flores, who was a stroke back at 8 under with two holes left. The round was delayed more than two hours earlier in the day because of thunderstorms.

Rookie Charlie Beljan (62), Jonathan Byrd (68), Jeff Maggert (68) and Jerry Kelly (66) also were 8 under.

Beljan had his career-best round, carding five birdies over a seven-hole stretch before making before a bogey on his final hole, the par-4 ninth. His best finish this year is a tie for 29th two week ago in Connecticut in the Travelers Championship.

''Today was the best day of my career,'' said Beljan, making his first visit to a PGA Tour media room. ''I look forward to the weekend. I'm sure it's going to be a zoo.''

Being near the top of the leaderboard certain fits Beljan's philosophy of a high-energy life. One of his goals is to be strapped to the wing of a biplane in flight. Another is to ride a motorcycle in the Isle of Man TT Race.

''I like getting my heart beating,'' he said. ''I like the adrenaline.''

Byrd has been battling illness the past three weeks.

''They always say beware of the sick golfer or the injured golfer,'' Byrd said. ''Obviously I would rather be feeling healthier.''

First-round leader Vijah Singh shot 74 to drop six strokes back.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.