Strong Start for May Gore Too

By Associated PressOctober 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
  LAS VEGAS -- Bob May's back screams at him from time to time when he leans over to pick up a ball. Those spasms might knock him out for weeks, or even months.
 
It rarely happens anymore, and he's thrilled finally to be healthy and on the comeback trail after years of injury issues.
 
Practically playing in his backyard on a picture-perfect day in the desert, May shot a 9-under 63 at TPC Summerlin on Thursday to top the leaderboard in the Frys.com Open. Jason Gore finished with an 8-under 63 on the nearby par-71 TPC The Canyons.
 
May, who lives in Las Vegas, is using a belly putter for the second straight week after spending a couple of months practicing with it. He was finally persuaded by family and friends to try it out in competition, calling it a 'radical change.'
 
'I have been hitting the ball well but haven't been scoring,' said May, noting that his improved putting is making a difference. 'It's nice to finally get a good round under my belt. Who knows what could happen this week.'
 
Gore will play the Summerlin course Friday and May at Canyons, then everyone will tee off at Summerlin for the final two rounds this weekend.
 
Jeff Overton, D.J. Trahan, Cameron Beckman and Rich Beem were two strokes back, all but Beem (64 at Canyons) sitting at 65 after playing their rounds at Summerlin. The Pro-Am event is missing the star power of other more high-profile tournaments, with many players here balancing the temptation of fun and nightlife in Sin City with the need to be focused on moving up the money list late in the year. This is the fourth of seven Fall Series tournaments.
 
'We're in Vegas,' Gore said, chuckling. 'If you can't have fun here ... this is the place. This is not a high-stress week for me. I got here on Saturday and got Vegas out of my system.'
 
With the dry air and playing at just below 3,000 feet in elevation, the conditions were ideal for long drives.
 
Last month, May withdrew from the Viking Classic in Madison, Miss., after his back flared up again. He injured his hip and back warming up on the stationary bike in February, forcing him out of action for 12 weeks -- and he hasn't been back on the bike since.
 
May, who has finished no higher than 41st in 12 previous events this year, eagled No. 3 and also the 341-yard, par-4 15th on Thursday after starting the day with a bogey. Just playing well again is a big boost to his confidence, considering the 39-year-old May returned to the PGA Tour last year for the first time since 2003. He played 2006 on a Major Medical Extension after not swinging a club for two-plus years because of his back.
 
'The way I played all year, I still feel like I'm trying to fight my way back in,' May said. 'I've actually struck the ball very well this year, I just haven't got anything good out of it. Hopefully I'm going to start getting something out of it.'
 
Gore made 10 birdies, using former Canyons pro Mike Messner as his caddie. Not a bad advantage to have. Messner now works at Gore's club, TPC Valencia in Southern California.
 
'I'd just basically stand over to the side of the green and scratch my head and wait for him to tell me where to hit it,' Gore said.
 
Overton, too, arrived in Las Vegas ready to enjoy himself -- and he thinks that approach might just help him play his best golf.
 
'Viva, Las Vegas, right?' Overton said with a grin. 'I hit so many good shots and drove it really well. It's fun when the ball is going out there like that.'
 
He even brought in his buddy, local professional poker player Pat Cruise, to be his caddie this week.
 
Steve Lowery and John Huston, paired together, shot 66s. John Daly was dead last on the leaderboard through 12, and finishing at 3-over 74. Scott Verplank, the highest ranked player in the field at No. 24, shot a 70 on The Canyons course.
 
Mike Weir (69 at Canyons) and Chad Campbell (75, Canyons) also both came in expected to contend.
 
For Trahan, posting strong finishes in the cuts he's made has been tough this year. He hopes three more great days of golf will help keep him on track heading into the end of the season and then on to 2008.
 
'I've only had two top-10s, and it's just been a tough, long year from the fence,' he said. 'Ultimately, I know I need to work on my putting and make more putts. It's a frustrating position to be in but I am fortunate to have won last year and not be on that bubble like a lot of guys are, with some heavy stresses with only a few weeks left.'
 
Tadd Fujikawa, a 16-year-old from Hawaii who stands at all of 5-feet-1, finished the day with a 2-over 74.
 
'I made a few bad swings that cost me a few strokes and made too many bogeys. But other than that, I played pretty well today,' said Fujikawa, playing his fifth tournament since turning pro in July. 'I'm really learning a lot out here. It's definitely improving.'
 
Pitcher Greg Maddux, the San Diego Padres' 347-game winner, was paired with Cameron Beckman.
 
How was he swinging it?
 
'Not well, but I'm having fun,' said Maddux, who lives five miles away during the offseason. 'It's nice to be outside.'
 
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 9:20 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.