Furyk leads Oosthuizen by one at WGC

By Doug FergusonAugust 4, 2012, 10:02 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Jim Furyk spent more time looking at the forecast than the leaderboard Saturday in the Bridgestone Invitational.

He's not sure which one looks more favorable.

Furyk missed a couple of birdie chances early in the third round, and then was more than happy to settle for pars on a Firestone course that was firm, fast, bouncy and increasingly difficult. He made 16 pars, along with one birdie on the front nine and one bogey on the back nine, for an even-par 70 that felt like a hard day of work.

The scoreboard shows him with a one-shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen, who had a 68.

Furyk never paid much attention to the leaderboard, so he wasn't aware that he had a five-shot lead at one point on the front nine. Oosthuizen made up ground with three birdies and no bogeys over the final 10 holes to get back into the picture.

Furyk, who was at 11-under 199, will be in the final group Sunday with Oosthuizen and Keegan Bradley, four strokes back after a 67. Starting times have been moved up for the final round because of a forecast of thunderstorms throughout the day.

And that's where it gets a little tricky.

''All I'm going off of is the weather forecast I got about six hours ago,'' Furyk said. He learned enough to see the possibility of rain and thunderstorms in the morning, clearing up in the afternoon. There are predictions of gusts up to 25 mph. There might be delays, which could require stopping and starting. And most importantly, the course could play a lot longer and a lot softer.

''I'll be a tough day,'' Furyk concluded.

Saturday was no picnic, mainly because Furyk and so many others were hitting it too far.

There was so much bounce in the greens – compared with how players were able to spin the ball back in the earlier rounds – that Furyk had 68 yards to the pin on the par-5 16th hole and realized he had no chance to keep it on the putting surface. Blame that on hitting a 6-iron 250 yards to lay up. ''Didn't plan for that,'' he said.

Oosthuizen smashed a 431-yard drive on the 16th and hit 6-iron, knowing his third shot would be from the rough behind the green. He hit a beautiful pitch to 3 feet for his final birdie of the round. Masters champion Bubba Watson was proud to announce he hit driver and 8-iron to the 648-yard par 5.

''We had a little bit more wind going on, the greens firmed up a little bit, and I just felt like it was a lot harder to get iron shots close to the pin,'' Furyk said.

Considering the plight of so many 54-hole leaders this year, Sunday could be up for grabs.

It could be a big day for Bradley, who needs a runner-up finish to move into the top eight in the Ryder Cup standings who qualify for the U.S. team after next week.

Rory McIlroy, with an outside chance of returning to No. 1 in the world if he were to win, had a 67 and joined Steve Stricker (68) at 6-under 204, five shots behind. Stricker looked to be closing in on the lead until he hooked his tee shot on the par-5 16th into the base of a pine tree and had to take a penalty shot to be able to make a swing.

Top-ranked Luke Donald also was chipping away, as he often does, until he hit a tree on the last for a bogey for a 71, falling seven shots back.

Tiger Woods broke par for the first time all week, though his 68 left him 11 shots behind on a Firestone course where he has won seven times. Woods is taking an optimistic view out of an otherwise drab week - at least he feels as though he's hitting the ball well.

''Hitting fairways and greens, you're shooting high rounds of 2-under par and 3-under par, that's a good sign,'' he said. ''Those are your worst scores you can possibly shoot that day. It's not good when you're shooting those scores and you get absolutely everything out of it.''

Rafa Cabrera-Bello didn't get much out of his first time in contention at a big event. He played in the final group, starting two shots behind, and disappeared quickly.

He hit a bunker shot fat and just got onto the thick collar around the first green. For his fourth shot, he shanked a chip that went at a 90-degree angle away from the flag. His fifth shot with the putter came up 12 feet short and he did well to make double bogey. On the next tee shot, he hit a duck hook into the gallery. On the ninth hole, his drive landed square behind a tree, forcing him to pitch to the 10th fairway, only it didn't go far enough, and his wedge clipped yet another tree.

The Spaniard wound up with a 77.

Worse yet, his plastic bottle of water crinkled at the top of Furyk's back swing on the par-3 seventh. Furyk had not missed a shot to that point, and this one sailed well right of the green. He glared in the direction of the bottle, figured it was a harmless mistake and holed a 15-foot putt for par.

Those were the putts that kept Furyk in the game.

Lee Westwood would have taken some of those pars. He played alongside Rickie Fowler on Friday when the American shot 80. Westwood got off to about the same start and finished with an 81. He declined comment after his round, but had some fun with Fowler on Twitter.

''You would have beaten me 1up in match play,'' Fowler tweeted.

''I'd have offered a half after 9 and gone in for a cold one!'' Westwood replied.

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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 GolfChannel.com 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 Web.com 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.”