Haney Updates Tigers Progress

By Brian HewittMay 28, 2008, 4:00 pm
Tuesday we heard details from Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus on why Woods isn't playing at The Memorial this week. Now comes word from Hank Haney, Tiger's golf eyes, on what we can expect from Woods at the U.S. Open in two weeks.
 
First of all, Haney reports all those rumors that Woods is making changes are just that rumors.
 
As for the notion that somehow Tiger will need to adjust his swing or strategy in order to compensate for his knee, Haney said. That hasn't been considered. I don't see how the rough will be an issue. He didn't have a wrist injury.'
 
Haney spent much of this past weekend working with Woods and, Haney reported, 'Tiger hit the ball as good as I have ever seen him hit it with all his clubs. Tiger is an amazing individual and he feels good about his chances at Torrey Pines.'
 
In other words, when it comes to Tiger, Never say Never.
 
COMMITMENTS:
If Woods didnt convince you in his Tuesday press conference that he will be in the field at the U.S. Open June 12-15 ' and if its been making you a little crazy wondering if his recently-repaired left knee will be ready for the rigors of Torrey Pines South ' heres more encouragement:
 
It is important to note that Woods will have longer to decide whether or not he is ready for the U.S. Open. Actually, hell have six more days, a USGA official said earlier this week.
 
The official was referring to the fact that, unlike PGA TOUR events when players must commit to an event the Friday before it begins, Woods can wait all the way up to his first round tee time.
 
In other words, Woods can show up at Torrey Pines whenever he wants to on the week of the championship. There are no pro-am obligations. And Woods, because he already has qualified to play in the event he won in 2000 and 2002, is effectively committed to play.
 
We would hope if he decides in advance that he wasnt going to play, he would let us know, said the official. But, the official confirmed, absent a withdrawal announcement by Woods, he wouldnt be out of the event until he missed his Thursday tee time.
 
LATEST FROM TIGER:
Then there were these selected Tiger bits from the media day promoting Tigers own tournament'the AT&T National June 30-Aug.6 (Click for full interview transcript):
 
  • ITCHING: I miss mixing it up with the boys. Thats what I love to do.
     
  • KNEE PAIN: Its more stiffness than anything.
     
  • THE LAYOFF: Itd be nice to have a feel going into any tournament. But Ive been down this road before.
     
  • CURRENT GOLF ENDURANCE: Its a feel thing. Some days its not very long. Some days its all day.
     
  • FAVORITE: Favored or not favored doesnt really matter.
     
  • CONCLUSION: It (the recovery) has been slow. Its been cautious. Its been boring. The legs starting to get strength.
     
    SERGIO ON TIGER:
    Freshly-minted PLAYERS champion Sergio Garcia, speaking from Ohio where hes playing in Jack Nicklaus Memorial this week, had this to say about Woods and what his presence means to the U.S. Open:
     
    Tiger is always a big boost for the tournament and the players. We know that it makes it tougher for us to win the event, but it also drives us to play harder to become a better player. So we hope that he recovers and makes it to Torrey Pines. He just needs to make sure he doesnt make too many moves so that he doesnt screw up his other knee.
     
    THE JUMPER:
    Meanwhile, back in the world of golf that doesnt have anything to do with Tiger Woods, heres an update on The Jumper:
     
    You remember him as the enthusiastic fan who jumped into the lake adjacent to the 18th green moments after Phil Mickelson birdied the 72nd hole to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Sunday.
     
    It was a terrific cannonball dive. And tournament director Peter Ripa reports the guy was allowed to climb out and leave the grounds without being prosecuted.
     
    But Ripa said he didnt know the jumpers name and wouldnt release it if he did. We dont want to encourage people looking for a little free publicity in the future, Ripa said.
     
    Ripa said the area to the left of the 18th green is normally roped off because it bumps up against the left side of the 10th hole. But it has been the tournaments policy in the past to allow spectators to gather in that area once the last group has gone through No. 10.
     
    Thanks to The Jumper, Ripa said, officials may have to consider closing that area off late Sunday or providing security to discourage more people from taking the plunge.
     
    It was bizarre, Ripa said. Im not sure whats in that lake. I dont know what would motivate anybody to jump in.
     
    One possibility is that classes at TCU'located just blocks from Colonial'had ended just days earlier.
     
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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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    Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

    Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

    Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

    Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

    This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

    Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

    The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.