Ishikawa amid disaster in Japan lead at Doral

By Doug FergusonMarch 11, 2011, 8:58 pm

WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – Ryo Ishikawa of Japan woke up to learn of devastation at home and managed to keep his mind on golf Friday, finishing off a first round of 7-under 65 that left him one shot behind in the Cadillac Championship.

Ishikawa always checks the news each morning, and this was a stunner – one of the largest earthquakes to hit Japan spawned a tsunami that slammed the eastern coast and left hundreds dead or missing.

“I was able to communicate with my family,” Ishikawa said. “If not for that, it would have been extremely difficult.”

He said he lives about 250 miles away from Sendai, the city closest to the center of the epicenter of the 8.9 magnitude quake.

Hunter Mahan faced seven holes to complete the opening round and shot 64 to take the lead. Tiger Woods added a birdie in three holes for a 70, while Phil Mickelson hit two balls into the water on the par-5 eighth for a double bogey and a 73.

Martin Kaymer, in his second week at No. 1 in the world, opened with a 66.

Even so, most of the attention was on the 19-year-old sensation. Ishikawa already has won nine times on the Japan Golf Tour, the first one as a 15-year-old amateur. His star treatment in Japan is as close to what Woods gets as any other golfer in the world.

Only this time, the questions about golf were limited.

“If you can imagine, it’s beyond being a distraction for me,” said Ishikawa, who chose to use an interpreter. “I’m worried for the whole country. The fact that I was finally able to communicate with my parents did help me feel so much better. I just tried to focus, but it is a battle out there for me.”

He said even in hometown of Saitama, the magnitude was 5.0, “so I just hope that everybody else around will be safe, as well.”

With so much on his mind, it was a remarkable debut at Doral for Ishikawa. He had to miss this World Golf Championship a year ago because of his high school graduation.

Despite his overwhelming success in Japan – Ishikawa shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns last year – it has not translated well in America. His best finish was reaching the third round of the Match Play Championship a year ago. He has made the cut in only two of the five U.S. majors he has played.

This was a strong start, especially with a chilly, whipping wind that he faced for the six holes Friday to complete the first round. The opening round was delayed because of a storm system that topped two TV towers and the monster scoreboard on Thursday.

“Wide fairways, no out-of-bounds,” Ishikawa said in English with a smile as he walked away from his interview. “I like this course.”

Mahan, the only American to win the last five World Golf Championships, apparently feels the same way. He missed only two greens in the opening round, failing to save par from a front bunker on No. 7, which played into the wind.

He answered with a wedge downwind to inside a foot for birdie on the eighth to atone for his only mistake.

Kaymer picked up a late birdie on the 16th to finish two shots back.

“Yesterday it was a scoring day,” Kaymer said. “There were a lot of birdie chances. Today, you have to keep it together to make pars.”

The group at 67 included Nick Watney and Luke Donald, who at No. 3 in the world played in the 1-2-3 grouping with Kaymer and Lee Westwood. Westwood made three bogeys before finishing with a birdie for a 70.

Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Vijay Singh were in the group at 68.

Woods and Mickelson went opposite directions in the three holes they played. Mickelson followed a bogey on No. 7 with two shots in the water at the par-5 eighth. The tee shot landed on a cart path and bounced into the water, and his next shot caught a slope leading up to the green and turned into the pond.

Woods hit 5-iron from 176 yards into the wind on the seventh hole and had to make a 6-footer for his two-putt par. Going the opposite way on the eighth, he hit a 7-iron from 210 yards just left of the green and got up-and-down for birdie.

The second round was to begin Friday afternoon on schedule.

“Guys are not going to be shooting low numbers now,” Woods said. “This is a tough wind because obviously the strength; also the coolness that it brings in there because the ball is not flying very far.”

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below:

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Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'

By Grill Room TeamMay 25, 2018, 4:42 pm

Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.

He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.

He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.

He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.

And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.

While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.

The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”

Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.

Bubba Watson gets behind the wheel of his dream car—the KITT from Knight Rider from CNBC.

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Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

Made Cut

Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.



Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

“Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

Tweet of the week:

Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

“No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”


Missed Cut

Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.



Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath.