Toms in Mississippi missing Ryder Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
Viking ClassicMADISON, Miss. ' Ask David Toms how hes handling life away from the Ryder Cup, and hell smile and give an honest answer.
Not very well, he says.
While the PGA TOURs top flight is in Louisville, Ky., playing for national pride, Toms is at the Viking Classic at the Annandale Golf Club.
Like Chris DiMarco and J.J. Henry, Ryder Cup teammates two years ago who find themselves dealing with the deep rough and muddy fairways in central Mississippi this week, Toms will be sneaking away as often as possible to see what kind of fight the U.S. team is putting up.
Ive played enough in that event to know what Im missing and everything, and know those guys are having a good time, Toms said. Theyre playing for their country and loving every single minute of their time being there. Ill certainly miss it this week, but my focus is here.
As it should be. Toms has been one of Americas most consistent international match play presences. He has played in either the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup over the last six years and thought hed represent the United States a seventh time in 2008.
And why not? With more than $28.5 million in career earnings and 12 PGA TOUR victories since 1997, Toms has earned the right to be presumptuous.
Toms was 4-0-1 and scored the most points for the Americans in their Presidents Cup victory in Montreal last September. A little more than a month later, though, he tore a calf muscle and limped into 2008 not quite ready to play.
He skipped much of January, taking time to watch his alma mater LSU win a national championship in football. Then he got off to a slow start and hurt his back in his second tournament. He is 120th on the money list after missing four of 18 cuts this year.
He doesnt blame injuries for his problems, though.
That would be an excuse, Toms said after hitting a perfect tee shot on No. 13 during Wednesdays pro-am. Just the level of play hasnt been there this year. Its been a weird year. Ive had a couple of nagging injuries, Ive had other times where Ive had a chance to play well and didnt. Just overall my golf game hasnt been in as good of shape, actually in the last two years, as it had been for a long time.
Toms failed to win a tournament in 2007 for the first time in five seasons and hopes the $3.6 million Viking Classic can give him the kind of bump Chad Campbell, a captains choice in the Ryder Cup, was hoping for when he turned his career around with a win at Annandale last year.
Fred Funk, a former Ryder Cup team member and two-time winner in Mississippi, said all it takes for players like Toms is a good weekend to reverse their flagging fortunes and games.
Its a little slap to the ego, but its also the nature of the game, said Funk, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour this year.
Its such a fine line between being on the Ryder Cup team and being 120th on the money list. Theres not much difference between being successful out here and being in Q-School.
After backing off over the summer, Toms will be more aggressive this fall and offseason than usual. Hell play more fall tournaments and quite a bit in the offseason rather than take time off.
He doesnt need to win this weekend to satisfy his need for progress, but hed like to see if he can make a run. The tournament features 13 former Ryder Cup players and five players in the top 50 earnings list.
What Im trying to get out of this week is have a little competition, come out here and do well, try to get under the gun and have a chance maybe on Sunday to see how I do, and try to build some confidence going into next year, Toms said.
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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

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    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”