Notes Fujikawa headed for another island

By Doug FergusonJanuary 18, 2010, 2:50 am

2007 Sony Open

HONOLULU – Tadd Fujikawa doesn’t get many opportunities on the PGA Tour these days, so it was disappointing for the 19-year-old from Hawaii to fail to break par in both rounds and miss the cut in the Sony Open.

Next up is a big move, from one island to another, and a chance for Fujikawa to experience life on the tour.

Just not the PGA Tour.

Fujikawa has been spending most of his time at Sea Island in Georgia working with Todd Anderson and the stable of coaches who also work with Zach Johnson, Jonathan Byrd and others. He has signed up for eGolf Professional Tour – formerly the Tar Heel Tour – which features an 18-tournament schedule from February to October.

The membership fee is $2,000, and it cost $1,110 to enter each tournament, which is roughly last-place money. The tour pays the entry fee for PGA Tour qualifying for the top 20 players on its money list.

“Just try to go out there and play as much as I can and get some good experience playing tournaments,” Fujikawa said.

Leaving paradise won’t be terribly difficult, for Fujikawa and his mother, Lori, have rented a house at Sea Island for the last few years. Besides, an island is an island, right?

“It’s sort of like this, except the water is kind of … brown, to stay the least,” Fujikawa said with a laugh. “I don’t know, I never really went in the water there. I don’t think I want to. Usually, if you can’t see the bottom, that’s not a good thing.”

The golf? That’s a different story.

“All of the tour pros there, and Davis (Love) and J-Byrd and all of those guys … it’s a good atmosphere,” he said. “It really helps.”

ZACH’S BIG BREAK: Zach Johnson was headed home from two weeks in Hawaii and might not resurface again until Arizona, giving him a full month away from the PGA Tour.

The former Masters champion played the Shark Shootout and the Chevron World Challenge in December and believes his game is sharp. He wants to concentrate heavily on the Florida swing, and doesn’t want to overdo it on the West Coast. Of course, that would mean missing Riviera, one of his favorite stops.

“I just think it’s the best thing to do,” Johnson said. “I’ve talked to my counsel on that, and that’s kind of how we are pointing right now. I don’t think I can hit it hard if I don’t take that time off.”

Johnson also took a month off in 2008, returning to Riviera (the schedule was different that year) and the Match Play. He didn’t win that year until the Fall Series, although that was the year after he won the Masters and he was coping with being a first-time major winner.

What he recalls about that year was being ready to play.

“I learned a lot in ’08,” Johnson said. “I took four weeks off in a row, and then I took six weeks off at the end of the year. I don’t have the itch to play very often, and I had it. So I’m going to get that itch.”

GLOBAL GOLF: The field was particularly strong at the Sony Open, with the winner to receive 50 world ranking points. That’s up from last year, and is the equivalent to the field at the AT&T National last summer at Congressional.

PGA Tour points will dip significant next week with so many highly ranked players at Abu Dhabi, and none of the top 30 in the world expected to play at the Bob Hope Classic.

Chalk that up to more PGA Tour players taking up membership in Europe, and appearance money available in the Middle East.

Ernie Els wonders how long that will last.

“It will be interesting to see if they sustain that,” he said, referring to travel habits of U.S.-based players. “Myself and Vijay did it for 15 years, and then he kind of stopped doing that because he came to live over here.”

For players like Els, and several Europeans, traveling is simply a way of life, not a burden.

His global schedule has been questioned over the years, and Els jokingly said he might have done things differently had he won more than three majors.

“No, I come from South Africa,” he said. “I’ve gotten this question my whole career. I don’t think I would have done it any differently. That’s just the way we were – we are. Gary Player was that way because he started in South Africa. And he started spreading his wings, I just kind of followed suit.”

ANATOMY OF AN 8: For a guy whose young PGA Tour career has been solid but not spectacular, John Merrick received quite the perk when Nick Watney invited him to be his partner in the World Cup last fall in China.

The only bad memory was an 8 on a par 5. That’s not unusual, except that it happened in the better-ball format.

“It would taken an hour for me to explain the comedy of errors we made,” Merrick said. “We were just shaking our heads.”

He at least offered an abridged version.

In short, Watney was in a bunker off the tee and laid up to 80 yards, in good shape. Merrick went for the green in two with a hybrid, leaks it a little right and goes into the water. Watney had 65 yards to the front of the green and it went 64 yards, into mucky grass near a lake. He tries to play out of the hazard and whiffs, then takes a drop and is on his way to an 8.

As for Merrick? He took his drop, caught a flier lie and sailed fourth shot over the green into a bunker, short-siding himself. He chunks his bunker shot, chips to 10 feet and misses the putt.

Merrick was first in the cup, so he got credit for the 8.

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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.”