A Claret Jug from which all can take a sip

By Doug FergusonAugust 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio ' Stewart Cink has had possession of the Claret Jug for just over two weeks since his British Open victory, long enough to know that it holds about 2 1/2 pints of any beverage.
He had first choice of what was poured ' Guinness, his favorite beer. Then it was filled with Coca-Cola for his teenage sons. Cink lost track of what else has been in golfs oldest trophy, or the number of people who taking a sip from the Claret Jug.
He has shared it with friends and strangers alike.
Its been in public twice, he said. And both times the response was almost overwhelming to the point where I felt like I needed to somewhat protect it.
After returning home to Atlanta, Cink said a group of about two dozen friends went to his favorite restaurant for a celebration. They sat in a corner of the restaurant with the Claret Jug on the table.
Then came another celebration at a restaurant that had more of a bar scene, and thats when mayhem broke out.
There were a lot of people that wanted to take a sip out of it and get a picture made, and we accommodated I think everyone that was there, Cink said. We stayed around for a few hours doing nothing but that.
Cink estimated 75 people at the bar, and he doesnt think anyone was denied a sip from the jug.
There was one point where I was thinking, OK, is this a good idea? he said. And it never really was in danger. None of us were really in danger. It was a crowded bar on a Thursday night in a big city. You can imagine.
As for what was in the jug that night?
I wasnt in charge of that, Cink said. One of my best friends at home took the lead on that. He went to the bar and filled it up. Come to think of it, I dont even know where the tab went on that.

WESTWOODS RECOVERY: Lee Westwood missed the playoff at the British Open by one shot, a three-putt from some 70 feet following a bunker shot that was among the best shots of his career.
It was his closest call in a major, mainly because he was in the lead for much of the back nine. And the Englishman was rightfully devastated, especially upon learning that his 7-foot par putt that he missed became even more meaningful when Tom Watson later bogeyed the 18th hole at Turnberry.
Adults tend to react with great sensitivity in such situations.
Out of the mouths of babes came some brutal honesty.
Westwood spent Monday conducting a junior golf competition, then he flew by helicopter the next three days doing work with his golf academies for kids between the ages of 7 and 16. He described some of their questions as less than subtle.
It was interesting, some of the questions that came out, Westwood said. Most people wanted to know what was going through your head when youre in that situation. A couple wanted to know if it was a fake tan or a real tan that I had.
As for the unsubtle question?
Why did you hit the first one (putt) so hard? Westwood said. So that will bring you down to early with a pretty big bump.
Westwood, seeing Watson in the fairway behind him, figured the 59-year-old would make par, so he would have to make his 70-foot birdie putt. He ran it by the hole, then missed the putt coming back.
The initial response came from his son as Westwood walked off the 18th green.
I was pretty deflated afterward, Westwood said. He said, Dad, you did really well. You finished third. So there you go.

MAJOR POWER: Tiger Woods already has won 15 times in the World Golf Championships, so he skews the statistics. Even so, the WGCs have a strong record of having a major champions as their winners.
Stewart Cink, who won at Firestone in 2004, enhanced those numbers.
Every winner of what is now the CA Championship is a major champion ' Woods six times, Mike Weir, Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy and Phil Mickelson. The Bridgestone Invitational counts Woods (six times), Vijay Singh and Cink as its winners.
In all, 23 of the 31 winners at WGC events are major champions.
The exception comes at the fickle Accenture Match Play Championship. Winners include Woods, Ogilvy and David Toms ' but also Jeff Maggert, Steve Stricker, Darren Clarke, Kevin Sutherland and Henrik Stenson.

STAYING PUT: Martin Kaymer of Germany started the year with hopes of earning a PGA Tour card. The more he thought about, he wants to concentrate solely on the European tour, and cherry-pick his tournaments in America.
So far, it seems to be working out well.
I love to come to America, Kaymer said. But the way it worked out this year was very, very good. I played all the big events in America. I played a few more at the beginning of the season in America, and I could play in Europe. I hope I can do the same next year. Thats my plan, definitely for next year and for 2011. Then well see how I feel.
Kaymer will have played 10 times in the United States. Along with three majors, three WGC events and The Players Championship, he was given exemptions to the Houston Open, Quail Hollow and the Memorial.

CINKS STRATEGY: For the second straight summer, a playoff in a major championship didnt start until one of the competitors could make a pit stop for the bathroom ' Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines and Stewart Cink at Turnberry.
The difference was Cink really didnt have to go.
He wanted to be late to the tee, knowing who ' not what ' he was up against. Cink faced 59-year-old Tom Watson, a hero in Scotland ever before he nearly won the British Open.
With the crowd pulling for him so much, I didnt want to be on the tee standing there when he walked up, Cink said. I wanted to be the last on the tee. Because if anything, I wanted him to hear some applause for me walking up there instead of the other way around. So I didnt really have to go to the restroom, but I decided to go anyway, just to take a few extra seconds to go down there.
Or maybe it was something else.
Im getting old, so sometimes I dont know if I have to go to the bathroom, the 36-year-old Cink said, laughing.
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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

    ''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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    DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

    Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

    “He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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    Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

    The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

    It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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    Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

    BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

    ''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

    He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    ''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

    Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

    ''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

    Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

    ''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

    Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

    Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

    Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.