Casey realistic about Race to Dubai chances

By Doug FergusonNovember 4, 2009, 4:13 am

HSBC ChampionshipSHANGHAI – Mathematically, Paul Casey is very much in the hunt for the Race to Dubai on the European Tour, at No. 5 in the standings with the top five players separated by about $350,000.

Realistically? That’s a different story.

Right when he was reaching the peak of his game, with three victories this year that took him to No. 3 in the world ranking, Casey sustained a rib injury that kept him out for three months. He returned last week in the World Match Play Championship, losing all three of his matches.

Asked if he had given up hope on the $1.5 million bonus, Casey smiled Tuesday and said, “No.”

“But I need to win an event,” he added. “And when you’re up against this quality of field and you’re not 100 percent, it’s difficult.”

Even so, he wasn’t complaining.

Casey felt good to simply get back into competition after not having played a full round since the British Open at Turnberry. He had been gone so long that when he arrived in Spain for the Match Play, he forgot to register.

He tore a muscle near his 10th rib on the right side, which required rest – lots of rest. Casey missed a World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship, and the entire FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour.

“I went six or seven weeks when I didn’t pick up a club at all,” Casey said. “But I regained my love of the game. I’m not qualified to do anything else. In a way, I relearned how to play. The week before Match Play, I was enjoying going to the golf course every day. Without injury, I should do it again.”

Casey described his health at about 70 percent. Even now, he comes out of a few shots, and he has yet to hit a shot from the rough since his return, mainly because the Finca Cortesin course in Spain had none.

“I’m setting smaller goals,” he said, noting that the Race to Dubai was part of a bigger picture.

After the HSBC Champions, Casey is headed for the Hong Kong Open, then the Dubai World Championship. He also plays to play the Chevron World Challenge in California, hosted by Tiger Woods, a chance to try new equipment – and grooves – for next year.

Next year will arrive sooner than usual. His victory in the Houston Open made him eligible for the winners-only SBS Championship at Kapalua. Casey wasn’t sure he would be able to play until realizing there was a week between Kapalua and getting halfway around the world for the Abu Dhabi Championship, where he is defending champion.

OVERLOOKED: Rod Pampling went nearly 10 years between victories in his native land, winning the Australian Masters last year at Huntingdale. Just his luck, his return next week to Melbourne as the defending champion coincides with the return of another player.

Tiger Woods is competing Down Under for the first time since 1998, and the first time in a regular tournament since 1996. That makes Pampling the most forgotten defending champion since Nick Price at the 2003 Colonial, which featured Annika Sorenstam.

Pampling was asked if anyone even knew he was the defending champion.

“My mom and dad do,” he said. “My brothers don’t.”

Woods agreed to play the Australian Masters – along with a $3 million appearance fee – in March. Woods and Pampling often play practice rounds together at the majors, and when they ran into each other that spring, Pampling offered a sarcastic thanks.

“I did mention to him that it’s my first time in 10 years since I won a tournament at home and I’m getting no recognition,” he said. “But hey, it’s huge news. It’s been a long time since he’s been down there, and his game has improved a little. I guess he’s worth going to see.”

All is not lost. Pampling has been invited to a dinner Tuesday night, and he does have some other media obligations.

“It’s going to be great having Tiger there,” Pampling said. “Look, whoever the defending champion is, when you have Tiger in the field, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are in the ranking or what tour you’re on.”
LOCAL CADDIE: Jerry Kelly didn’t need to see the sand painted red in the bunkers to feel like the HSBC Champions was a new experience. He has broken out a new set of Cleveland irons this week, and he has someone new on the bag.

“Got my new sticks, and my caddie in red,” he said.

Turning over his shoulder, he motioned to the local caddie he has hired for the week – Anna Zhu, who stands about 5-foot-1, and works at the Sheshan International Golf Club, where caddies wear red coveralls.

Kelly’s regular caddie, Eric Meller, is recovering from knee surgery.

“Been a while since I did my own (yardage) numbers,” Kelly said.
RYDER CUP UPDATE: U.S. players only earned Ryder Cup points this year at the majors, which is why the standings going into 2010 look so peculiar. Lucas Glover tops the standings, followed by Stewart Cink, Tiger Wood, Phil Mickelson and Kenny Perry.

That’s no typo at No. 6 – Tom Watson, who lost in a playoff at Turnberry. The last time Watson was involved in the Ryder Cup was in 1993, when he was the U.S. captain and caused a stir by having his players decline to sign dinner menus.

Tied for eighth is Ricky Barnes and David Duval – they tied for second at the U.S. Open and both are in jeopardy of losing their PGA Tour cards next year.

That all is most likely to change next year.
DIVOTS: Mark O’Meara and Ben Curtis will play next week in the Hong Kong Open, which already has a strong field with so many top players from Europe in the final event before the Dubai World Championship. Curtis currently is No. 75 in the Race to Dubai standings, and needs to get into the top 60 to qualify for the final event in Dubai. … The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has received approval to lower its field from 180 players to 156 players in February. … Jiyai Shin has won the Louise Suggs Award as the LPGA Tour’s rookie of the year. Shin also is leading in points for player of the year as she tries to become the first player since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to win both awards in the same season.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Stuart Appleby did not qualify for the HSBC Champions, the first time he has not competed in a World Golf Championship since the series began in 1999.
FINAL WORD: “There’s no such thing as a performance-enhancing drug. It might make you strong, but I’m not sure it makes you a better golfer. If there’s a drug out there that helps you make a 3-footer, I’d like to know what it is.” – Paul Goydos.
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'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”