Tigers break starts at San Diego

By Associated PressJanuary 26, 2010, 11:49 pm

SAN DIEGO (AP)—The player who walked toward the first tee at sunrise on theNorth Course at Torrey Pines was not accompanied by a security detail.Maintenance workers did not gather on the pro shop balcony to watch him tee off.

This was Nicholas Thompson , not Tiger Woods .

And that’s why the “indefinite break” from golf that Woods announced twomonths ago didn’t really start until Tuesday.

It has been 53 days since golf’s biggest star announced he was stepping awayto sort out a private life that has run amok through tabloids and gossipmagazines because of his extramarital affairs.

Truth is, little has changed during his absence.

At least so far.

The U.S. PGA Tour is only three weeks into its new season, three events thatWoods usually doesn’t play. Besides, not as many Americans watch golf duringthose weeks, from behind the ropes or on the sofa. Not when the tournaments areplayed on two islands in the Pacific or four courses in the California desert.Not when they are held the same weekend as the NFL playoffs.

Torrey Pines, however, is different.

It’s the first tournament on U.S. network television. It’s where Woods andhis chief rival, Phil Mickelson , typically start their seasons.

How much will the tour miss Woods? Now is the time to start keeping score.

This is a big week for Tom Wilson, the tournament director of what now iscalled the Farmers Insurance Open. This might be the only U.S. PGA Tour event inhistory that had four names in the span of one year—the Buick Invitational,the Century Club of San Diego Invitational, the San Diego Open and the FarmersInsurance Open.

General Motors filed for bankruptcy, knocking out Buick as the titlesponsor. The tournament found a replacement only last week, and Wilson isoptimistic that Farmers will be interested in signing on for more than just thisyear.

It would have helped to have Woods around this week, bringing the energy andcrowds that once accompanied him.

Woods has missed this tournament only once when healthy, in 1997 when he wasplaying for appearance money overseas and won the Asian Honda Classic by 10shots. He had to skip last year while recovering from knee surgery, although hestill managed to steal some headlines by announcing hours after the final roundthat his wife had given birth to their son, Charlie.

Torrey Pines has become the tour’s signature stop on the West Coast Swing,awarded the prime spot on the calendar between the NFL’s conference championshipgames and the Super Bowl. It’s no surprise that its TV ratings have dwarfedevery other tournament on the West Coast, helped in part by Woods winning fiveof the last six times he played.

The difference now, of course, is not only what’s keeping him away but theuncertainty of when he will return.

By now, players have accepted that Woods is on leave and that his personallife is a wreck. There really is nothing else to say beyond the daily dose ofgossip. What really happened that night he drove his SUV over a fire hydrant andinto a tree? Is he really at a sex addiction clinic in Mississippi? Did his wifeparticipate in the program? Does their marriage have a chance?

The bigger question, which no one can answer, is when he will return.

Rocco Mediate is back at Torrey Pines for the first time since that 19-holeplayoff loss to Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open. Mediate missed last year with aknee injury, which largely went unnoticed. He went to the putting green onMonday and told his caddie, “A little different here.” Missing were thousandsof fans surrounding the practice range on the North Course.

Missing was his adversary that day, Woods.

“Yeah, that’s really different,” Mediate said. “Any time he’s not in thefield, it’s obviously not the best field we have. You always want your best guy.It always makes it what it’s supposed to be, especially (since) he’s won here712 times. So it’s hard to beat that guy here.”

His absence will continue to capture attention if he’s not at the Match PlayChampionship (where he returned a year ago) or another World Golf Championshipat Doral the second week of March, or at Bay Hill for the Arnold PalmerInvitational.

Nick Watney was reminded of his victory last year, when hours after he leftTorrey Pines with the trophy, word leaked that Woods had become a father again.So if Watney were to win again, could history repeat itself with anotherannouncement from Woods? And what would the announcement be?

Watney laughed at the possibility.

“I hope it would be that he’s coming back,” Watney said. “Because we needhim.”

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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18