Singh Looks to Spark Hot Streak

By Associated PressApril 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Shell Houston OpenHUMBLE, Texas -- Vijay Singh is winless in 17 starts on the PGA Tour, his longest victory drought in four years.
 
He can snap out of it this week at the event where he ended his last long dry spell, the Shell Houston Open.
 
'I've got good feelings over here,' Singh said. 'I've had great success in Houston.'
 
Singh won the 2000 Masters, then went 50 starts without a victory before setting the tournament scoring record at the TPC at the Woodlands in 2002.
 
The tournament moved to Redstone Golf Club in 2003. Singh finished ninth that year, then regained his Texas touch, winning in 2004 and last year, beating John Daly in a playoff.
 
The event is once again at Redstone, but it has shifted across the street to The Tournament Course, a 7,422-yard, Rees Jones-designed layout that was completed in August 2005.
 
'They keep changing the golf course on me,' Singh said.
 
Singh knows what he has to do to win again -- and that's the frustrating part. He said his eighth-place finish in the Masters illustrates why he hasn't won since the Buick Open last August.
 
'I'm just not playing well enough to win on Sunday,' he said. 'There are too many mistakes. I play two or three holes that really put me down. That's what's been happening.'
 
Singh is still the favorite in Houston, the top-ranked player in the field.
 
The rest of golf's Big Five -- Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els -- are skipping Houston and only three others among the top 30 in the world ranking are here: Darren Clarke, the 2004 runner-up to Singh; Padraig Harrington; and David Toms, who helped design the new course with Jones.
 
'I feel like I'm due,' Singh said. 'I'm playing well enough to win. It's (a matter of) putting everything together.'
 
Singh had a mixed review of the new course, with its wide fairways and large, undulating greens.
 
'Under the gun, you can play for the middle of the greens and be OK. That's one little issue,' he said. 'Apart from that, I think it's OK.'
 
The players expect to score well if the wind stay down.
 
'The course could be vulnerable if it's soft and still,' said Stuart Appleby, the 1999 champion. 'But if it's the opposite, firm and breezy, guys will be doing a lot of thinking.'
 
Appleby said the course is 'very predictable,' meant as a compliment.
 
'It's not a tricky golf course,' he said. 'You go out there and it's inviting, but it's penalizing if you make a mistake.'
 
Toms appreciates any comments he can get this week. He worked on the layout with Jones, the son of renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, and wants to become an architect after he's done playing.
 
'I'd like to know what each and every player thinks,' Toms said. 'I wish I had some kind of a questionnaire I could put in their locker on just what they think about each hole, which ones might not necessarily fit the eye and which ones they like.
 
'This is one of first golf courses that I was very involved in,' he said. 'I don't want it to be the last.'
 
One of Toms' suggestions was a 'risk-reward' par 4 and the result was the 338-yard 12th. It's reachable with a big drive, but a pond lurks down the right side and will swallow any tee shots that veer right.
 
The course has plenty of lengthy holes, too.
 
The front nine ends with a 238-yard par 3, the 15th is a 608-yard par 5 and the 17th and 18th are both 480-plus-yard par 4s.
 
'If I had it in a perfect world, I'd like 12 under par to win the tournament,' Toms said. 'I've always said if you can do that, you've challenged the players, but they're not playing the U.S. Open, either.'
 
The course is open to the public and Toms said he and Jones tried to strike the balance between a tour-caliber test that also was reasonable for average players.
 
'It's hard to make a golf course that will please everybody,' Toms said. 'What you try to do is make one that everybody can play and then it doesn't necessarily play into one person's type of game. That's what we tried to do here.'
 
Divots
A golf instruction center near the 18th hole was dedicated to renowned teaching pro Dick Harmon, who died Feb. 10. The 58-year-old Harmon was the director of golf at Redstone. His clients included Fred Couples, Craig Stadler and Lanny Wadkins. ... Shell said Wednesday it has renewed its tournament sponsorship through 2011.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Shell Houston Open
  • Getty Images

    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

    Getty Images

    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

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

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    ---

    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

    @jenamsims on Instagram

    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



    The second is from Sunday night.



    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

    Getty Images

    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.