Weary Pavin back on course at Senior Players Championship

By Associated PressOctober 7, 2010, 4:57 am

Champions TourPOTOMAC, Md. – It was a long flight back to the United States for Corey Pavin, giving the Ryder Cup captain plenty of time to wonder “What if?” after his team’s narrow loss to Europe.

A slow start, nasty weather, wardrobe malfunctions and questionable pairings gave way to a rousing finish that nearly saw the U.S. team pull off an unprecedented comeback Monday.

But Pavin didn’t stew about missed opportunities on the way home from Wales.

“I’m not one of those guys. I did the best I could with everything, all my decisions,” Pavin said Wednesday. “The Ryder Cup is over. It was great, but it’s time to move on.”

He now has the difficult task of trying to regroup from one emotionally draining experience by stepping into another – a major championship.

Despite his Ryder Cup commitment, which included an extra day overseas, Pavin stayed in the field for the Constellation Energy Senior Players ChampionshipChampions Tour season.

From his perspective, the tournament, held at the recently renovated TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm outside of Washington, offers him a chance to decompress from Ryder hysteria and get back to the place where he is most comfortable – on the course.

“It’s probably good I have a tournament to play this weekend,” Pavin said. “It keeps my mind occupied on something else rather than having nothing to do and thinking about last week so much. It was a hard week, it was a great week and it was an emotional week.”

Fred Couples, who has served as President’s Cup captain and will return to the role in 2011, said that Pavin will have to make a mental and physical shift to get back into the swing of things.

“To be honest, I’m sure it’s … I don’t know what the word would be, not a letdown, because even if they won, he’d be coming here with a high – but he probably hasn’t played golf in a week,” Couples said.

Indeed, Pavin said that because of his preparations for the Ryder Cup, he hadn’t swung a club for six weeks before Wednesday’s Pro-Am round.

“There was a lot that happened – there were a lot of hours of the day that were filled with things to do,” he said. “It was fun, it was a challenge and that part of my life is over now. It’s time to move on and get back to playing golf.”

Pavin enters the Senior Players at No. 13 on the Charles Schwab Cup points list and No. 19 on the money list. But several players said now that Pavin’s duties as Ryder Cup captain are over, he will become more of a factor in the Champions Tour’s homestretch.

“Now he can shift his focus strictly to his own play and being as much of a bulldog as he is, a tough competitor, he’ll be focused on the Champions Tour and playing well right here,” Fred Funk said. “He’ll be a force to be reckoned with, especially at a lot of the venues we play here.”

Avenel, which hosted PGA Tour events from 1987-2004 and again in 2006, might be a familiar location for many of the players in the field but the course, which was completely rebuilt at a cost of $25 million, remains a tournament unknown.

“I’m real curious to see what we’re going to shoot out there,” said Funk, a Maryland native. “It’s going to beat a lot of people up. It’s a tough par-70. I’ll take even par right now.”

Points leader Bernhard Langer thought the field was going to be in for a long weekend, especially if the cool and wet weather continued.

“It’s really, really tough. It’s a difficult test of golf,” Langer said. “The ball’s not rolling whatsoever. You’ve got to drive the ball, you’ve got to hit some good iron shots. It’s going to take a complete player to win here. You can’t have a weakness and expect to win.”

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Watch: Dechambeau simulates dew on East Lake range

By Grill Room TeamSeptember 18, 2018, 11:02 pm

Bryson DeChambeau has certainly lived up to his nickname of "Mad Scientist" since joining the PGA Tour, using his eccentric style to win four events, including the first two tournaments of this year's FedExCup Playoffs.

And he's staying on brand at the season-ending Tour Championship, where he enters as the favorite to capture the FedExCup title.

The 24-year-old was spotted on the East Lake range Tuesday, preparing for potential morning dew on the golf ball this week - by having a member of his team spray each golf ball between practice shots:

While this type of preparation might come off as a little excessive to the average golfer, it's rather mild for DeChambeau, considering that in the last two weeks alone he has discussed undergoing muscle activation tests and measuring his brain waves.

DeChambeau goes off with Justin Rose on Thursday at 2 p.m. He could finish as low as T-29 and still have a mathematical chance of winning the season-long FedExCup.

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Fewer goals but more consistency for Thomas in 2018

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

ATLANTA – After winning last year’s FedExCup, Justin Thomas was asked about his goals for the season and he quickly went to his phone.

A list of 13 “goals” had been typed in, a rundown that ranged from qualifying for the Tour Championship to finishing in the top 10 in half of the circuit’s statistical categories. Nearly every goal had a “Y” next to it to denote he’d accomplished what he wanted.

Thomas was asked on Tuesday at East Lake how his goals are shaping up this season.

“I haven't looked in a while. I really haven't. I'm sure if I had to guess, I'm probably around 50 to 60, 70 percent [have been completed],” he said. “I definitely haven't achieved near as many as I did the previous year. But we still have one week left to knock a big goal off.”


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Thomas pointed out that although he didn’t add to his major total this season or win as many times as he did last year, he still feels like he’s been more consistent this year.

He has more top-25 finishes (19) than he did last year (14), missed fewer cuts (two compared to six last season) and has improved in nearly every major statistical category.

“It's been a really consistent year, and I take a lot of pride in that,” Thomas said. “That's a big goal of mine is to improve every year and get better every year, so if I can continue in this direction, I feel like I can do some pretty great things the rest of my career.”

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Woods' probation for reckless driving ends one month early

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 18, 2018, 9:00 pm

Tiger Woods' year-long probation stemming from last year's DUI arrest has been terminated a month early.

According to Sam Smink of WPTV, Woods, 42, was let off probation early for successfully completing all regular and special conditions of his probation after pleading guilty to reckless driving and entering a diversion program last October.

Under the conditions of the program, Woods was required to pay a $250 fine and court costs, attend a DUI school and undergo a substance abuse evaluation and treatment program. He was also subject to random drug and alcohol testing under the program.

The 14-time major champ was arrested on charges of DUI in May of 2017 after he was found unconscious behind the wheel of his parked Mercedes-Benz in Jupiter, Fla.

Although tests showed Woods was not under the influence of alcohol at the time, he admitted to taking several pain and sleep medications to cope with his fourth back surgery which was performed in April.

Since his arrest, Woods has returned to competition, rising to 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking after a pain-free campaign in 2018.

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Players wrapping their heads around FedEx changes

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2018, 8:01 pm

ATLANTA – Even players who have known the details of the PGA Tour’s plan to dramatically change the way it crowns a FedExCup champion were still digesting the details on Tuesday at the Tour Championship.

“I think it’s maybe easier to follow for people at home. Kind of definitely strange and very different to be on 10 under par starting on the first tee,” said Justin Rose, who begins this week’s finale second on the points list.

Next year when a new strokes-based system will decide the season-long race, Rose would begin his week at East Lake 8 under, two strokes behind front-runner Bryson DeChambeau and eight shots ahead of Nos. 26-30 on the points list.

Most players said the new format will be an improvement over the current model, which is based on a complicated points structure. That’s not to say the new plan has been given universal support.


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Under the current format, the 30th-ranked player has a .4 percent chance of winning the cup, while the first player on the points list has a 27 percent chance. Those odds remain virtually identical under next year’s strokes-based format.

“I’m not saying the 30th guy should have the same shot as the fifth guy, but just make the odds a little bit better. Give them a 5 percent chance,” Billy Horschel said. “The strokes could be distributed differently. Maybe put the leader at 6 under [instead of 10 under] and then you go down to even par. Five or six shots back, over four days, you still have a chance.”

There will no doubt be a period of adjustment, but after more than three years of planning, most players were pleased with the general elements of the new plan if not all of the details.

“It's never going to be perfect,” said Justin Thomas, last year’s FedExCup champion and a member of the player advisory council. “No system in any sport is ever going to be perfect, and the Tour has done such a great job of talking to us and trying to get it as good as possible. But it's just hard to understand the fact that you could be starting behind somebody else and still somehow win a golf tournament or an official win.”