Martin tackles Olympic with excitement and fear

By Doug FergusonJune 12, 2012, 12:20 am

SAN FRANCISCO – Casey Martin has never allowed himself to look too far into the future.

Even looking back, it is no less amazing to see him and his cart back at The Olympic Club, riding between shots during a practice round on Monday at the U.S. Open, then walking painfully back to the cart with a limp that has become as much a signature for him as a fist pump for Tiger Woods.

Martin could not have predicted 14 years ago when he left the U.S. Open after his historic ride that he would still be competing against the best in the world. He gave up tournament golf six years ago and took over as golf coach for the Oregon Ducks.

He could not have predicted he would still even have a right leg.

Video: Casey Martin news conference

Video: Dennis Miller news conference

''I'm 40 now, and so this is at that point where I didn't know if I would ever really be able to keep my leg,'' said Martin, who suffers from a rare circulatory disorder that led him to sue the PGA Tour for a right to use a cart. ''So it's not great. When I wake up, I feel it. When I get out of the golf cart, I feel it. When I travel with the team and travel down here, I definitely feel it. That's always going to be the case. And so I'm not complaining.

It's hanging in there.

''But I'm not going to be running a marathon, either.''

Running a marathon seemed more plausible than Martin playing another U.S. Open - at Olympic Club, no less.

The only competition Martin has had over the past six years was an occasional game with his players, or a charity event that often featured a scramble format on short golf courses designed for amateurs. But with Olympic hosting another U.S. Open, he figured it was worth a shot.

King Martin recalls his son telling him he thought he would enter the U.S. Open.

''As a USGA member, I got a USGA hat in the mail,'' the father said. ''I put it up in my office at home, let it sit there, clinging to that dream. It has a little more meaning to me right now. This is a godsend, I can tell you that.''

It's a script even Hollywood would have a hard time believing.

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His coaching schedule allowed Martin to go through local qualifying in Washington, and in his first serious competition since he became a golf coach, Martin made it through. The sectional qualifying last week was two days after Oregon reached the NCAA semifinals at Riviera. On little sleep, Martin was on his way to claiming one of two spots for the U.S. Open when he couldn't find his tee shot on the fifth hole of the second round.

His caddie found it at the last minute - it was hidden by a clump of mud, and Martin believes a cart was parked over the ball at one point - so instead of going back to the tee and probably taking double bogey, Martin hacked it short of the green and chipped in from 30 yards for birdie.

With a 5-foot par putt on the last hole, he was on his way back to Olympic.

''That's kind of when I thought, 'OK, maybe something greater than just myself ... something's going on here,''' he said. ''It was a great day, and I've used the word 'magical,' but it really was kind of a magical day for me to get here.''

Despite the controversy surrounding him and his lawsuit for the right to ride, Martin has nothing but the best memories of Olympic in 1998. He had sued the Tour for a right to ride a cart. He qualified for the U.S. Open, and because a court had issued a temporary injunction against the Tour, the U.S. Golf Association went along with it and let him ride.

He played a practice round with Tiger Woods, his old teammate at Stanford, before thousands of fans. He was more nervous than ever, especially with a 3:10 p.m. tee time in the first round. He opened with a 74, followed with a 71 to easily make the cut and wound up with a tie for 23rd.

A year later, Martin earned a spot on the Tour through the Nationwide Tour. And in 2000, the Supreme Court upheld his lawsuit against the Tour. Martin played one year on Tour and never returned to the big leagues.

''I probably wouldn't have thought I would be coaching,'' he said. ''When I was going through my trial and through my challenges, I didn't have a real long-term vision of professional golf. I thought it would be a pretty short window. And so here I am, 40. Even though I'm not playing for a living, I'm still playing. And so I'm grateful for that.''

Martin has a practice round scheduled on Tuesday with Woods, and the gallery figures to be enormous. That's how it was during their practice round in 1998, though Martin was playing the Nationwide Tour and accustomed to a regular diet of competition.

His return to Olympic has been overwhelming, only he feels less prepared for it.

''It kind of feels like 1998 all over again with a lot of the attention, and it's great,'' Martin said. ''I'm totally flattered, but last week it was a very challenging week for me. Just a lot of demands on my time. I'm just not built for this. I don't have an agent. I just kind of live my life. Then all of a sudden it was just kind of being bombarded.''

It's a nice problem to have, especially with a return to Olympic for another U.S. Open. With his right leg, Martin has learned to expect nothing and appreciate everything. With or without the U.S. Open, he feels life has given him plenty.

''We have the mindset as parents that we want our kids to grow up to be a stud superstar,'' King Martin said. ''When I see how God has a totally different design for his life, and it's much more incredible than I could have designed, for me to guess where it's going next is beyond me. I'm so grateful that he's had such an extraordinary life to this point. We all go along for the ride, take it day by day and trust whatever comes, comes.

''I don't want to lose the fact of how grateful we are he is where he is.''

The player in Martin knows what he's up against, and it goes beyond a right leg that makes it painful to even walk. The opening six holes at Olympic are brutal, and the U.S. Open no matter where it's played is called the toughest test in golf for a reason.

''People have been coming up to me this week going, 'Way to go, I'm so excited for you, you have to be so excited.' And I am. I want to make it clear that I really am excited to be here,'' Martin said. ''But there's also in the back of your mind the little fear factor of, 'I have to play this golf course.' And I don't play or practice like a lot of these guys do, and yet I still want to compete.''

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M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

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Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.