TOUR Season More Than Just FedExCup

By Associated PressJanuary 7, 2007, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)KAPALUA, Hawaii -- The PGA TOUR brass must have felt that Vijay Singh smudged the shiny FedExCup trophy.
There were so many FedEx executives standing behind the first tee for the opening shot of the 2007 season that you had to wonder if anyone was minding headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. The Golf Channel displayed a clock at the top of the screen to count down the minutes and seconds to when 'the new era in golf' would begin.
The first round wasn't even in the books when someone asked Singh what he thought about the new season.
'I'm tired of listening to it, you know?' Singh said, speaking for all those who are fed up with the FedExCup.
Don't get the idea Singh is opposed to this season-long points competition that eliminates players during a four-tournament bonanza at the end of the year, awards $10 million to the winner and gives players' three months off if they choose.
But he put it in perspective better than anyone.
'It's a great thing for us to think of when the time comes to think about it,' he said. 'Right now, it's the first event. It's like trying to pick a Presidents Cup team in the beginning of the year. You've got to wait until you get right down to it. If you play well, you don't have to worry about the FedExCup. My desire is to win golf tournaments, and that's what I'm trying to do.'
There was an important lesson in this.
As much emphasis as the PGA TOUR places on the FedExCup, it is but one component of the golf season. For starters, it still ranks behind four weeks of the year when players truly try to make history at the majors.
In other words, Jack Nicklaus never won the FedExCup.
The tour has produced a series of commercials (as entertaining as any in sports) emphasizing the historical significance of who will be crowned the first FedExCup champion.
The PGA TOUR might find this hard to believe, but the winner of the first FedExCup might not be the question everyone else is asking. What ranks ahead of interest in the FedExCup are questions far more familiar:
What will Tiger do this year?
Tiger Woods is coming off the kind of season that makes an encore a pretty tough act, with eight victories and two majors. It was the third time he won at least eight times and the second straight year of winning multiple majors, both PGA TOUR records.
He starts his season -- and some might argue that golf doesn't start until Woods shows up -- at the Buick Invitational, where he will be going for his seventh consecutive PGA TOUR victory, which would be the second-longest streak in history.
Woods' year is built around the majors, though, and it might not be the best rotation for a calendar Grand Slam. He has never seen Oakmont, tied for seventh at Carnoustie in 1999 and has struggled at Southern Hills (tie for 21st at the '96 TOUR Championship, tie for 12th at the 2001 U.S. Open).
Who will challenge Tiger?
The answer starts with Phil Mickelson, who has not been seen since the closing ceremony at the Ryder Cup, where he went 0-4-1. There is some concern that Lefty will never be the same after making double bogey on the 18th hole to lose the U.S. Open, although Mickelson rarely plays his best golf after June, and it's not like he hasn't dealt with major setbacks before.
The key will be the West Coast. He had his best year in the majors in 2004 when he finished out of the top 10 only once the first four months of the season. Of his 29 victories on tour, 18 have come before the Masters.
Who will win the majors?
As a sage golf observer once said, predictions are a dangerous business in this sport, and it would be throwing darts to pick the winners (although picking Woods means standing a little closer to the board).
The most recent winners at the major venues were Mickelson (Augusta National), Ernie Els (Oakmont), Paul Lawrie (Carnoustie) and Retief Goosen (Southern Hills). Not a bad lineup, almost.
As mentioned before, it might not be the best rotation for Woods considering the final stop is Southern Hills. But if he's trying to win them all this year, he might have coincidence on his side. The last time Augusta National, Oakmont and Carnoustie held majors the same year was in 1953, when Hogan won all three.
The PGA Championship that year was held at Birmingham Country Club in Michigan, where Walter Burkemo beat Felice Torza.
Are any young stars on the horizon?
Ryan Moore quickly is being forgotten. After perhaps the best year ever by a college player in 2004 (he won nine times), he was slowed by injury that caused him to reconfigure his takeaway, although he still finished 81st on the money list last year.
Most of the attention is on Anthony Kim, who left Oklahoma early after a dispute with the coach. In the only two events he played last year, he tied for second in the Texas Open and tied for 16th in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic. Then he had to go through all three stages of Q-school, and breezed through each one to earn his card.
Is the U.S. really that bad in team play?
Coming off three straight losses to Europe in the Ryder Cup, the Americans will try to retain the Presidents Cup in October. Lose this one and it will be the first time since 1998 that it didn't own either cup.
One argument for U.S. failure in the Ryder Cup is that it doesn't understand how to play in a team format. The International team at the Presidents Cup is comprised mainly of PGA TOUR regulars. Maybe that explains why it's always close.
And finally ....
Who will win the FedExCup?
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”