DJ wins weather-shortened Barclays over Kuchar

By Doug FergusonAugust 27, 2011, 5:49 pm

EDISON, N.J. – Dustin Johnson beat the rain and everyone else Saturday at The Barclays to win the opening FedEx Cup playoff event.

Johnson shot a 29 on the front nine of rain-softened Plainfield Country Club for the second straight day and closed with a 6-under 65 to pull away from mistake-prone Matt Kuchar for a two-shot victory.

The Barclays was reduced to 54 holes because of Hurricane Irene, and there was as much drama in the sky as on the course. Kuchar started the third and final round with a one-shot lead. If the round could not be completed because of too much rain, the tournament would have reverted to 36 holes and Kuchar would have been declared the winner.

The rain came down hard right after Johnson holed a bunker shot for eagle on the fourth hole. But it held off just long enough for Johnson to collect his first win of the year and fifth of his career. He becomes the first player since Tiger Woods to go straight from college and win in each of his first four years on the PGA Tour.

“We got lucky,” said Johnson, who moves to No. 4 in the world ranking. “The weather held up for us long enough.”

Johnson, who finished at 19-under 194, wasn’t the only big winner on Saturday.

Ian Poulter birdied four of his last five holes for a 64, making him one of eight players who moved inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings and advance to the second playoff event next week outside Boston.

William McGirt, the last of the 125 players who qualified for the playoffs, birdied the 17th hole that pushed him to No. 96. Padraig Harrington went from No. 124 to No. 80 with his tie for 13th. And then there was Ernie Els. He would have been eliminated had the tournament been cut short to 36 holes. Els had a 67 to from 118th in the standings to No. 99.

“You’re trying to survive. It’s desperation,” Els said. “It’s sadistic. In a way it’s fun, if you’re into that (stuff).”

Johnson goes atop the FedEx Cup standings as the four-tournament race begins for the $10 million prize.

The course was so soft and vulnerable to low scoring that Brandt Snedeker made an early run at 59 when he birdied his opening five holes and went out in 29. He was slowed by a bogey on the 14th and wound up with a 61 to tie for third with Vijay Singh, who had a 68.

Kuchar and Johnson, however, separated themselves quickly with a riveting front nine.

Johnson opened with back-to-back birdies to briefly take the lead, and then the fun began. Kuchar birdied the par-3 third for a two-shot swing when Johnson missed the green. Johnson responded with a two-shot swing of his own by driving into the bunker on the 328-yard fourth and holing out for eagle, while Kuchar had to scramble for par.

They matched birdies on the fifth, seventh and ninth greens, and that’s where Johnson showed that extra work on his putter was paying off. He holed a 25-foot birdie on the seventh when Kuchar already was in tight, then a tricky 12-foot putt on the ninth after Kuchar had laid back and spun his approach into 4 feet.

Kuchar caught Johnson with a 15-foot birdie on the 11th, but it unraveled after that.

Kuchar decided to lay up on the par-5 12th - Johnson was in the rough and had no choice - figuring that his wedge game would lead to birdie. But he was on a slope in between wedge, an awkward shot to a tough pin, and his shot landed in the middle and spun back off the green.

He rolled his putt some 6 feet past the hole and missed the next one for bogey to fall one shot behind. On the next hole, Kuchar again had a length putt from just off the green and rammed them past the hole and off the green on the other side to make another bogey. Just like that, he was two shots behind. Against Johnson, it was hard to make that up.

“Sunday tendencies are to come up a little short, and I gave it a little extra,” Kuchar said. “Very frustrating because I feel like that’s the strong part of my game.”

Crews had removed the scoreboards before the last round because of the approaching hurricane, although it didn’t matter to the guys trying to win the tournament. They knew were they stood.

It was farther down the list, where players were trying to get into the top 100 to keep chasing the $10 million FedEx Cup, where it mattered. McGirt had some help from his wife, who was in the gallery.

From the 17th fairway, she flashed “101” with her fingers, to indicate where he was projected to finish in the standings. He pulled 7-iron and produced the “best swing I made all week, bar none” to 5 feet for birdie.

Johnson now has the most wins (5) of any American in his 20s, although this one seemed overdue. He had gone nearly a year since his last win, despite having chances at a World Golf Championship in March and the British Open in July.

He showed off his power by hitting driver on just about every hole, enough to clear bunkers and other trouble. And his putting carried him, especially the key birdies to match Kuchar on the front nine.

The only help he needed was from the weather, and Johnson got that, too.

He grabbed the crystal and the $1.44 million for winning, spoke to the press and then raced across the parking lot to get to a private airport and fly home to South Carolina for a few days. The Deutsche Bank Championship doesn’t start until Friday.

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Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.


Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament



In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’” 

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First photos from Norman's 'Body' shoot

By Grill Room TeamJune 21, 2018, 6:35 pm

It was revealed earlier this week that Greg Norman would be one of the athletes showcased in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features the models stategically posed in the nude.

Well, the first photos are out from Norman's shoot and ... here they are, if you want them.