White Fang Rankin Daly and more
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The putter Jack Nicklaus used when he set a scoring record in the 1967 U.S. Open is finally back where it belongs -- in his museum.
The putter, a replica of the Bulls Eye, was called 'White Fang' because the face of the blade was painted white to reduce the glare from the sun.
Nicklaus borrowed it from a friend during a practice round at Baltusrol in 1967, and made eight birdies in his final round to finish at 275 for a four-stroke victory over Arnold Palmer. At the time, it was a record score for the U.S. Open.
Nicklaus won four other times with 'White Fang,' but that was his only major.
The mystical putter disappeared over time, then turned up in an odd place -- at a birthday party last month for his son Steve.
Joe Wessel, his son's roommate at Florida State, said he had the putter for at least 20 years and brought it to the party in case it held some historical significance for Nicklaus.
'It was Steve's birthday,' Nicklaus said. 'But I got the best present.'
The putter was turned over to the Jack Nicklaus Museum at Ohio State University. Except for the putter Nicklaus used to win the 1986 Masters, the museum now has all the clubs Nicklaus used to win his 18 majors.
The most inspiring performance in golf last week belonged to a woman, but it might not have been Annika Srenstam at the Bank of America Colonial.
Reilley Rankin was a rising star in 1999 when she landed awkwardly after diving from a 70-foot cliff. She broke her back and sternum, and bruised her heart, lungs and aorta. It was feared she would never walk again, much less play golf.
Rankin won on the Futures Tour last week in Indiana, beating Soo Young Moon on the second hole of a playoff in the Northwest Indiana Classic.
'I asked myself if I was going to live,' Rankin said. 'And I asked if I was going to be able to play golf again. I know the only reason I'm here is my passion for this. I was determined to see this through. Believe me, I'm grateful for every opportunity I have.'
PEOPLE VS. PROS
The latest made-for-TV event is taking golf to the masses.
It's called 'People vs. the Pros,' which will pit John Daly and Lee Trevino in separate matches against amateurs who can play off their handicap.
Two hundred amateurs earned a spot in the 54-hole qualifier, which starts Friday at Lake Las Vegas, through a sweepstakes and an Internet auction. Daly will play one of the winners, while Trevino will play the 50-and-over champion.
The winner gets $100,000 and $50,000 goes to the loser. Players lose their amateur status only if they accept the prize money.
Daly did not play in the Bank of America Colonial, but he could wind up playing against a woman. Among the amateurs in the qualifier is Kay Ziplow, who plays off an 11 handicap.
'I'm not against it,' Daly said. 'I think it would be great. Beats looking at a man.'
The finals will be televised Monday at 8 p.m. ET on The Golf Channel.
John Huston stayed home from the Bank of America Colonial and now has to qualify for the U.S. Open. He was No. 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking going into last week, and was bumped one spot when Trevor Immelman went from No. 61 to 38th after the Volvo PGA Championship. Others who have to qualify: Stewart Cink, Tom Lehman, Mark Calcavecchia and Chad Campbell, who dropped out of the top 10 on the PGA Tour money list.
Juli Inkster's victory in the LPGA Corning Classic marked the first back-to-back wins for Americans on the LPGA Tour since May 5, 2002.
Ten of the top 30 players on the PGA Tour money list are at least 40 years old.
While USA Network's television ratings of the first rounds at Colonial reached record levels, so did PGATOUR.COM -- more than 27 million page views and over 1 million uniques during a 24-hour period Thursday.
Players in the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking have won 18 of the 21 events this year on the PGA Tour.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Kenny Perry at the Bank of America Colonial became the fourth player this year to win by at least six strokes. Only two players won by that many all of last year.
'Here we are in the middle of the NBA playoffs, and everybody is covering the Bank of America Colonial. Nothing wrong with that.' -- David Toms.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.
Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.
“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”
It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.
Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.
“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”
It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
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.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism
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.
“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.
“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.
How The Open cut line is determined
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:
• 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.