Nicklaus 2010 a big year for Woods in the majors

By Doug FergusonJanuary 9, 2010, 2:34 am
KAPALUA, Hawaii – Tiger Woods is four majors behind the record set by Jack Nicklaus going into a year in which three majors will be held on Woods’ favorite courses – Augusta National, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.

“If Tiger is going to pass my record, this is a big year for him in that regard,” Nicklaus said Friday.

But it starts with Woods playing, and not even Nicklaus knows when the world’s No. 1 player will return from an “indefinite break” while he tries to salvage his marriage from the blockbuster publicity of extramarital affairs.

Woods has never missed a Masters or a U.S. Open since 1995.

“I don’t know the answer what he’s going to do and what he’s going to play. He’s the only one who can answer that,” Nicklaus, who won 18 majors in his career, said during a conference call ahead of his 70th birthday on Jan. 21. “Certainly, this year with where the majors are … he basically owns all three places.

“If he doesn’t play this year, the chore will be a little tougher.”

Woods has won 14 majors, with half of them coming at those three courses. He has won the Masters four times (the most recent in 2005), the British Open twice at St. Andrews by a combined 13 shots, and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by a record 15 shots.

Oddly enough, half of Nicklaus’ major victories also came on those three courses.

Woods last won a major at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open, ending his season a week later with reconstructive knee surgery. Despite winning six times last year, he had only one good chance at adding to his major total until he lost a two-shot lead in the final round of the PGA Championship and finished second to Y.E. Yang.

He has not played since winning the Australian Masters on Nov. 15. Two weeks later, Woods ran his SUV into a tree outside of his Florida home in the middle of the night, and allegations of rampant affairs soon followed. Woods confessed to “infidelity” and said Dec. 11 he would take a break from golf to focus on becoming a better husband, father and person.

Woods has not been seen in public in nearly two months. Along with speculation on when he will return is how he will play with more scrutiny of his personal life than he has ever faced.

Without alluding to Woods, Nicklaus offered some insight into the emotional state required to win majors.

The Golden Bear won majors over 25 seasons, a record in golf. It started with the 1962 U.S. Open in a playoff over Arnold Palmer and ended with the 1986 Masters, when a 46-year-old Nicklaus shot 30 on the back nine to win his sixth Masters.

Yes, he was getting older. His skills were starting to erode. Nicklaus said desire and motivation played a role, too. Nicklaus broke the previous record for majors – Bobby Jones with 13 – at the 1973 PGA Championship, when the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur counted toward the total.

After going without a PGA Tour victory in 1979 for the first time in his career, Nicklaus said he rededicated himself as if he were just starting his career. He revamped his swing, his short game and his attitude, and won two majors the following year.

And after that?

“I’m not even sure why I was playing golf,” Nicklaus said. “I didn’t have anybody pushing me. I was enjoying playing, but I was not enjoying playing in some ways. After 1980, I won Colonial in ’82, Memorial in ’84 and the Masters in ’86. And that was it. I don’t think my abilities left me, my focus and desire to really compete left me.

“It was difficult to compete for a long time.”

Nicklaus winning the Masters at age 46 doesn’t seem so extraordinary these days, not with Vijay Singh winning a record 22 times in his 40s, or Kenny Perry five times after turning 47, one of those at the Memorial Tournament where Nicklaus is the host.

“Those are guys who didn’t have great success until the mid-30s or 40s,” Nicklaus said. “I started winning golf tournaments when I was in my teens and professional tournaments in my 20s. “There’s a certain length of time when you can focus and keep focused and maintain it. I think I maintained it for a pretty long time.”

Woods has won 14 consecutive years on the PGA Tour, three years behind Nicklaus’ record of 17 straight years.

Nicklaus now finds competition in golf course design, although most of his work is taking him overseas during the financial downturn. He said 90 percent of his work is in Asia, mostly in China. He thinks the economy is slowly turning in the United States, although “the game always struggles when the economy struggles.”

And it doesn’t help when the biggest star in golf isn’t playing.

“Tiger always has been a big influence on the game,” Nicklaus said. “But the game had Bobby Jones, the game had Walter Hagen, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Nicklaus. The game always survived that. The game will continue to go forward. Tiger is a big influence, probably the largest one we ever had. And certainly, we hope he comes back and plays.

“It’s not all about one person,” he said. “The game is a big game.”

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Watch: Koepka highlights from the Travelers

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 3:30 pm

U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.


And here is the capper at the 14th

Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.


After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.


A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead.

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Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on jarrodlylegolf.com. ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.


Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship


Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”