Short and Sweet

By Brian HewittOctober 19, 2005, 4:00 pm
The feel good story of the year in golf this year is Jason Gore. Hands down.
Loveable lug.Fighting for Tour card.Has car broken into and stereo stolen.Finds himself in the final pairing Sunday at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.Shoots 84.Rebounds with three wins on the Nationwide Tour to earn battlefield promotion.Soon thereafter wins on PGA Tour in Pennsylvania.Becomes talk show darling.Doesnt let any of it go to his head.
Frankly, Im surprised the guys who run the Skins Game didnt convince Gore to join their late season made-for-TV party. I know they already had four players. But where is it written that you cant have five in that format?
Anyway, this is a roundabout way of getting to Wes Short Jr. Quietly, Shorts story is almost as feel good as Gores.
Six weeks ago the 41-year-old Short approached his agent and said his supply of golf shirts and slacks was running low. The agent, Octagons Dan Baker, dutifully contacted two clothing companies. Neither was interested.
Budget restrictions, they told Baker. Left unsaid was the fact that Short was a struggling former club pro from Texas who hadnt gotten his Tour card until he was 40. And, as late as last week, it didnt look like he was going to get back to The Big Show in 2006.
All of a sudden at Las Vegas last week he found himself with a short iron to the 72nd hole with his immediate future fully at stake. If he played safe and made par, he had a chance to earn enough money to virtually guarantee his card for next year. If he knocked it close and made the putt, he was looking at a playoff with Jim Furyk. If he made bogey, who knows what..
He knocked it close. He made the putt. Furyk hit a ball in the water in overtime. Short got up and down from a bunker for par and won the golf tournament.
It was worth $720,000 and exempt status through 2007. Among other things, it got him into the Mercedes Championships in Maui in January where he will play in an elite field while his family is being treated like Hawaiian royalty.
Professionally, the victory at Las Vegas meant everything to Wes Short Jr. And to those who had been paying close attention, it actually wasnt that much of a surprise. His last nine rounds now on the PGA Tour have all been in the 60s.
Wes Short is a quiet man with a back that doesnt always approach the day with much enthusiasm for golf. At Las Vegas he was the fourth alternate at the beginning of the week. Earlier in the year he had come up $300,000 shy of the number he needed to retain his playing privileges via a medical extension
Now Short is the new poster boy for all those players out there who know theyre good but dont know exactly how good they are or when they should stop pursuing their golf dream.
Wes is a very focused guy, Baker says. And as he got older, he kept getting better.
Hes quiet, reserved, almost stoic. But the more you talk to him, the easier he is to talk to. Hes very earnest, very sincere, very thoughtful.
These are traits all the good club pros have.
Wes Short is the kind of guy whod make a good small-town sheriff in an Elmore Leonard western. Hes got a little Gary Cooper and a little Chris Cooper in him.
Like Gore, hed be a great guy to sit down and have a beer with. Gore would entertain you and make you smile. Short would listen to you and make you think you mattered.
Tour pros gets lots of free stuff. That stuff includes shirts and slacks. A clothing company called Descente is now taking care of Wes Short.
Feels good to know hes on the list.
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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

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DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.