Give And Take at THE PLAYERS

By Brian HewittMay 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
Heres what you need to know on the eve of the final round of THE PLAYERS which will conclude Sunday in Florida:
 
A self-described dirtbag named Paul Goydos has a one shot lead over Kenny Perry thanks mainly to a putter that has produced 31 1-putts in 54 holes.
 
Sergio Garcia is three back of Goydos. Defending champion Phil Mickelson is five back.
 
Saturday, the clich artists insist, is supposed to be moving day. But early on in this horse race Saturday (to torture another metaphor) there was just a lot of jockeying.
 
Second round leader Perry sauntered out of the gate with four pars, a birdie and a bogey to share the lead at 6-under with Garcia and Goydos. Perry turns 48 in August
 
The 43-year-old Goydos, who finds himself at No. 169 in the world rankings and hasnt finished better than 25th this year on TOUR, was alone at first at 7-under until he pulled a short putt on the seventh and left with a bogey.
 
Garcia owned the first day lead with a sizzling 66 and got his share of first place Saturday with a medium length birdie putt on the sixth hole.
 
Bernhard Langer, the 50-year-old German, birdied the first two holes to gain a share of the lead but driving problems led to bogeys on the fourth and sixth holes and dropped him back to 5-under.
 
Meanwhile Mickelson had crept to within two shots of the lead at 4-under. And long-hitting J.B. Holmes had muscled his way to 3-under through 13 holes on the strength of five straight birdies. Then he promptly bogeyed 14.
 
There was a mini-flurry of activity on the eighth when a two-shot swing occurred between Goydos and Garcia. Garcia bogey bounced back to 5-under and Goydos 5-foot birdie on this long par 3 put him back in first by himself again. Until the eighth, a steady Garcia had been the last player in the field without a bogey on the day.
 
A lot of insiders had targeted the twosome of Anthony Kim and Boo Weekley, playing together for the third straight day. But Kim bogeyed the first two and Weekley double-bogeyed the gettable par 5 second.
 
So, under relatively benign conditions, the leaders moved cautiously, in a pack, into the late afternoon. Like the Masters earlier this year there was little in the way of roars
 
This just in: Mickelson overcuts his drive on 14 and ends up wet. Double. Kim snakes home a birdie putt on No. 9 and he is back to 4-under.
 
Stay tuned.
 
Garcia rebounds with birdie on No. 9 and Goydos pushes a short par putt. The 2-shot swing they exchanged on No. 8 is reversed on No. 9..Langer bogeys No. 8 to fall back to minus-four.
 
The backing and forthing continues. No jockey going to the whip. Yet.
 

Hold on. Kim drills a birdie putt on 10, his second straight, and is now within one of the lead shared by Perry, Goydos and Garcia.
 
Ho-hum. Goydos birdies the 10th. Back on top at 7-under.
 
Kim bogeys 11 and has to take unplayable after a bad drive on 12 for another bogey. And then bogeys 13. Oops. Five back now. He would limp in with a 79.
 
Sergio birdies 11. Tied for lead.
 
Perry bogeys 10. Two back.
 
(Anybody ever heard of a thing called par?)
 
Tug of war, says Mark Rolfing on NBC.
 
And this went on and on and on until Goydos late heroics and Garcias bogeying four of his last six holes.
 
You gotta realize the course is playing tough, Garcia said afterward, trying his best to dodge questions about his 3-putt from short range on the 17th where he bogeyed.
 
I was a little brain dead, Garcia was coaxed to admit about the 17th.
 
And when Perry drained a medium length putt for par on the final hole he was in Sundays last group with Goydos. The jockeying was over for now. Moving day had ended.
 

 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - THE PLAYERS Championship
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

    Getty Images

    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

    Getty Images

    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

    Getty Images

    Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

    By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

    There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

    Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

    In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

    “It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

    “That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”