Kisner's motto for 2016: Don't be Ronda Rousey

By Doug FergusonJanuary 8, 2016, 8:30 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii - Kevin Kisner has a motto for 2016 that surely is unlike that of any other player on the PGA Tour.

Don't be Ronda Rousey.

''Make sure we don't do so many commercials, get caught up in celebrity and then get knocked out in the second round,'' his swing coach, John Tillery, said with a laugh. The reference was to the UFC women's bantamweight title fight in Australia two months ago when Rousey was floored by a kick to the head by Holly Holm.

Kisner is nowhere near that level of celebrity.

But for all the talk about encores going into the new year - Jordan Spieth, Jason Day - that should apply to Kisner.

The 31-year-old from South Carolina might be the best golfer hardly anyone knows.

One year ago, he was No 236 in the world after he narrowly kept his PGA Tour card while overhauling a swing that had gotten so out of whack he nearly quit the game. Kisner goes into the new year at No. 17 in the world, and it was no accident.

Kisner earned a small slice of PGA Tour history as the only player to lose three playoffs in one season without winning a tournament. And it's not as if he couldn't handle the pressure. He birdied the 18th hole in regulation and in the playoff at Hilton Head before Jim Furyk beat him on the second extra hole. He matched birdies with Rickie Fowler until losing to a birdie on the fourth playoff hole at The Players Championship.

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He also lost in a four-man playoff at The Greenbrier, and he was runner-up a fourth time in 2015 at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. In the final tournament of the calendar year (part of a new PGA Tour season), Kisner showed his moxie by turning a three-shot lead into a six-shot victory at Sea Island.

Kisner thus fulfilled a pledge to Tillery when he sought his help at the low point of his golfing career.

''All I ever told J.T. was to get me in position where I could hit it a little better and I can win out here,'' Kisner said.

He resumes the PGA Tour season at Kapalua as the leader in the FedEx Cup because of his win at Sea Island and second-place finish in Shanghai. Still to be determined is whether last year was as good as it gets or if the best is still to come.

What makes Kisner intriguing is his personality. He is loaded with confidence and grit, but it's hidden behind his straight-shooting, homespun Southern nature. With a slight build, he doesn't stand out among the new power regime in golf. And he understands why only the hardiest of golf fans would know him.

''This Tour doesn't market the guy that finishes 111th,'' Kisner said after opening with a 69 in the first round at Kapalua. ''You have to win and be in the hunt for people to know who you are. I was a bottom feeder barely keeping my card.''

He has the pedigree, even if his career record to this point suggests journeyman.

Kisner was the first player at Georgia to be an All-American all four years, but he lost his way as a pro. He didn't come close to keeping his card his first two years on the PGA Tour. And even after he won on the Tour in early 2013 - in effect, assuring a trip back to the big leagues - he knew was going the wrong way.

And that's when he went to Tillery, whom he knew through Scott Brown, his close friend and neighbor in Aiken, South Carolina.

''When I went to see him, I had already locked up my Tour card and I was ready to quit,'' Kisner said. ''It was that bad.''

Tillery had seen plenty of him through Brown, and he had a clear picture of what needed to change when Kisner hired him. Kisner said his pivot was bad and his arms didn't fit in sequence with his body, making his swing steep.

''To most of the golf world, he just showed up one day,'' Tillery said. ''But there was a solid five to six months of grinding through changes. He was determined to stay on the path and know he was working on the right things. And he had a lot of hidden qualities being a good putter, a super good guy and he believed. As soon has he got in position where he believed he swung it good and could drive it play, that confidence of his just poured on top of all that.''

Kisner is more about the process than the goals. It didn't shake him when he kept getting into playoffs and seeing someone else hold the trophy. The only two goals he mentioned for 2016 were to play in the Ryder Cup and his debut in the Masters.

''I love Jordan's quote about encores meaning the show is over,'' he said. ''It's not over. If I keep playing the way I'm playing and getting in contention, that's what I want to do. I love having a chance to win.''

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”