Notes: Hovercrafts and FedEx Cup playoffs

By Doug FergusonJuly 9, 2013, 11:57 pm

For the curious and the adventurous, a round of golf at an Ohio course is about to cost a lot more.

Windy Knoll Golf Club tries to keep the price under $40 on the weekend, which includes a cart. That soon will go up to $230 – when the round of golf includes a hovercraft.

Pete Duffey, the managing director of the public course in Springfield, Ohio, was so intrigued by the YouTube video of Bubba Watson skimming over water and through bunkers in a hovercraft built for golf that he called the manufacturer to make sure it was real.

And then he ordered two of them.

''We're always looking for a way to set ourselves apart from the competition,'' Duffey said Tuesday. ''We'll be able to offer something that no one in the area, in the state and at this point in the country can offer.''

The golf hovercrafts are made by Neoteric Hovercraft in Terre Haute, Ind., which specializes in light hovercrafts for personal and commercial use. Its clients include government agencies and companies such as Disney World, according to its website.

Neoteric built a golf hovercraft for Oakley, which sponsors Watson and wanted it for corporate events.

Duffey said his first golf hovercraft is to arrive on July 18 and the other a week later. The club plans to launch its new ''carts'' during a promotional outing on July 27 that is to feature LPGA great Nancy Lopez.

He said the cost would be $230 for golf in the hovercraft. He declined to say how much it cost the club except that it was ''10 times the cost of a standard cart.''

Why just two?

''We thought it made sense for a foursome to use,'' he said.

Unlike the video, golfers in the hovercraft can go anywhere. Duffey said there would be a designated area on the front and back nine where the golfers can take it onto the lake. And the club has decided to make the putting green and bunkers off limits, even though Neoteric says it has a footprint pressure 33 times less than the human foot.

He said the club is working with an attorney and its insurance company on liability issues, and that golfers using the craft will have to go through a half-hour presentation on how to drive it. And how will this help pace of play at the club, one of the top issues in golf?

''It's going to turn heads,'' Duffey said. ''I think other golfers on the course might find themselves so interested in looking at it that if it did slow play down, I don't think it will be noticeable.''

For those who don't want a cart or a hovercraft, walking remains an option.


THE FINAL STRETCH: In the first year of the FedEx Cup, there was so much promotion that Vijay Singh said he was tired of talking about it even before the season started. His sound advice was to worry about that when it mattered later in the year, much like the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup standings.

It's getting to be that time.

There are only six tournaments remaining to get into the top 125 and take part in the $35 million bonanza known as the FedEx Cup playoffs. Singh won the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus in 2008. Now, he is on a short list of players who have never missed the playoffs and currently are outside the top 125. Singh is at No. 136.

Others outside the top 125 who have never missed the playoffs since they began in 2007 include Sean O'Hair, Jonathan Byrd and Robert Allenby.

This would be a bad year to miss out. After the playoffs, there is no longer a Fall Series for players to make up ground. The top 125 earn cards for the following season, while the next 75 players (if not already exempt) would go to a four-tournament series with top Web.com Tour players who play for a card.

That's because the next season starts in October.


OUT WITH THE OLD: Mission Hills in China is one of the largest golf complexes in the world with over 20 courses, most of them named after players who typically ''consult'' on the design and have the course named after them. There are courses for Vijay Singh, Jumbo Ozaki, Annika Sorenstam, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, David Leadbetter and Jose Maria Olazabal. There's even one for David Duval, a former world No. 1 and British Open champion.

But not much longer.

Mission Hills China announced two weeks ago that U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Ian Poulter of Ryder Cup fame will stage an exhibition match Oct. 28 to celebrate the opening of the redesigned ''Rose-Poulter'' course.

Brian Curley is the architect of the redesign. The course had been ''designed'' by Duval and was known as the ''Duval'' course.

Rose said in the press release, ''We've had a number of discussions with Brian Curley and I look forward to coming to Mission Hills in October and seeing the end result.''


NEW HOME FOR FRYS: The Frys.com Open is moving to its third course, and this one should make Johnny Miller happy. The tournament will be played at his Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., starting in 2014.

The Frys.com Open spent three years at Grayhawk in Scottsdale, Ariz., before moving to CordeValle just south of San Jose, Calif. The goal is to move to The Institute across the highway from CordeValle when the clubhouse is built.

Silverado previously hosted the Kaiser International Open Invitational from 1968 to 1976, and the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic for four years after that. It also held a Champions Tour event.

This year's event at CordeValle will be the official start of the 2013-14 season on the PGA Tour.


DIVOTS: U.S. Amateur Public Links champion T.J. Vogel makes his pro debut this week in the John Deere Classic. ... John Deere has signed a deal to supply golf course machinery for the 2015 Solheim Cup in Germany. ...Tom Watson says he is on a scouting mission for the Ryder Cup next year, and among the players who have his attention is Billy Horschel. ''With the exception of those pants he wore at the U.S. Open, he's impressive,'' Watson said. ... Fred Couples, among the first to bring the casual street shoe look to golf, has signed a sponsorship extension with Danish-based ECCO. ... Davis Love III made his British Open debut in 1987 at Muirfield, and he has played golf's oldest championship every year since then. The only way for him to return would be to win the John Deere Classic this week. ... Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar are the only multiple winners on the PGA Tour this year. That's the fewest multiple winners before the British Open since 1994, when Nick Price had three wins and on one else had more than one.


STAT OF THE WEEK: In its four-year history, The Greenbrier Classic has produced winners with a world ranking of No. 159 (Stuart Appleby), No. 224 (Scott Stallings), No. 218 (Ted Potter Jr.) and No. 103 (Jonas Blixt).


FINAL WORD: ''I'm a guy who doesn't find it on the range. I'm a guy who finds it on the golf course.'' – Graeme McDowell.

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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

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


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.