Notes: Lynn once saved Poulter's life

By Doug FergusonJune 5, 2013, 1:42 am

David Lynn is the Englishman who earned his PGA Tour card last year by finishing eight shots behind as the runner-up to Rory McIlroy at the PGA Championship. He can be racy on Twitter. And in his first year on the American Tour, he already has done well enough to earn over $1.3 million and be No. 29 in the FedEx Cup standings.

Not so well known about Lynn is the story of how he once saved Ian Poulter's life.

''We were in the Czech Republic,'' Poulter said earlier this year about his time on the Challenge Tour in Europe. ''There was four of us in a room to have a shower after the tournament – to try to save money, we keep one room open – and all these golf clubs were strewn across the floor.''

One of the players knocked on the door, and Poulter tried to jump over the bags to get there.

''I caught my ankle in the loop, went down on it and cracked it,'' Poulter said. ''It was so painful. I sat on the toilet as they ran a freezing cold bath, and when I put my foot in the bath I passed out. And as I passed out, my teeth clenched and I swallowed my tongue. He had to wrench my mouth open. It was horrible.''

A decade later, Poulter offered him advice on whether to take up his PGA Tour card. Poulter recommended that Lynn at least play the first half of the season in America, and that's what he has done. Lynn is not playing the U.S. Open because he already booked a holiday, and while it seems like a bad idea, he's not kidding about needing a break. Lynn already had played 15 events when he finished The Players Championship.

THE ART JUNKIE: Fred Couples was amazed by his most recent visit to the White House as Presidents Cup captain. And while he said President Barack Obama was in a jovial mood, what impressed Couples the most was the art on the walls.

That's when he let on that he's somewhat of an ''art junkie.''

''What do I collect? I have California art,'' Couples said. ''I have some, you know, inexpensive expensive. There's some you can buy for 6 grand, some from 150 grand. I like buying one a year. It used to be cars, and now it's a piece of art. I'm almost done.''

He might be running out of space. Couples is trying to sell his home in the Palm Springs, Calif., area, and when that happens, his other house in Los Angeles is smaller.

US OPEN: Kyle Stanley could have locked up a spot in the U.S. Open if he had tied for second in the Memorial. Instead, he bogeyed the 17th hole as Kevin Chappell birdied the last two holes, and the third-place finish only moved Stanley up to No. 59.

He narrowly missed out in the 36-hole qualifier Monday. He's not playing in Memphis. So all he can do is wait.

The biggest threat to bumping out Stanley is Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who is playing in the Austrian Open and needs to finish about 12th to move past the American. Charles Howell III and Jimmy Walker also could move into the top 60 with top finishes in Memphis.

TOUGH ROUGH: Johnny Miller and Peter Jacobsen miss the days when the U.S. Open was renowned for its long, thick rough.

During an NBC Sports conference call last week for the U.S. Open, Miller said the rough used to be so tough that it put a premium on hitting fairways. USGA executive director Mike Davis starting in 2006 began a concept of graduated rough, making it deeper the further away it was from the fairway. Players have considered that to be a fairest test over the least seven years.

Miller disagreed, saying the U.S. Open became ''more like a PGA Tour event.''

''I think it lost its identity, personally,'' Miller said. ''I don't agree with that one bit. To me, the U.S. Open is supposed to be the ultimate test. ... I just thought like at Torrey (Pines), they set it up like an old Andy Williams with distance. Not that it wasn't a good Open - it was a great Open. But I like the rough, personally.''

Jacobsen recalled watching Hale Irwin in 1974 at Winged Foot, one of the toughest U.S. Opens ever (and one that followed Miller shooting 63 in the final round at Oakmont). Jacobsen said the U.S. Open was about survival, and it was one of the most intimidating events on the PGA Tour schedule.

''You had to drive it in play, get it out of the rough, into the right position where you could get it up and down, and the greens were quick, and hard, and sloping,'' Jacobsen said. ''It was just very difficult. It's really going to be fun for me at Merion to see a return – hopefully a return – to that way of golf.''

NICKLAUS HONOR: Jack Nicklaus has been selected for the Ambassador of Golf Award, which is given each year to a person who has promoted golf around the world. He will be honored on the first tee at Firestone Country Club on July 31, the afternoon before the opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

Nicklaus won the 1975 PGA Championship at Firestone, along with the World Series of Golf.

He is the second Nicklaus to receive the award from the Northern Ohio Golf Charities. His wife, Barbara, previously was honored.

''This is certainly a special and meaningful recognition. I feel blessed to be included among such a distinguished list of past recipients, including my wife, because I am certainly Barbara Nicklaus' biggest fan,'' Nicklaus said. ''As Barbara and I look back on our careers and our lives together, we realize and appreciate that golf has contributed to us having a lifetime of fulfillment, enrichment and happiness. But we also felt a responsibility to give back, whenever and wherever we could.''

FOLLOWING THE PROS: Rand Jerris, the senior managing director of public services for the USGA, is trying to dispel the notion that pace-of-play issues in golf are primarily related to recreational players trying to copy tour players, especially on the greens.

A tired argument is that amateurs take too much time reading their putts because that's what they see pros do. Jerris said ongoing research by the USGA shows that player behavior is but a small piece of the pace-of-play puzzle.

That led him to one observation that amateurs don't follow everything they see on TV.

''If we did everything professionals do, there would be no ball marks on the green,'' he said.

Indeed. Next time you're playing golf, see how many people neglect to repair the pitch marks.

DIVOTS: There were 293 three-putts (or more) over four rounds at the Memorial. Davis Love III was the only player at Muirfield Village to make it through 72 holes without a three-putt. ... Paul Goydos returns to competition this week at the St. Jude Classic. Goydos last played at Riviera in February 2012. He is coming back from extensive surgery on his left wrist. ... The LPGA Tour has launched a Spanish language website. The tour has more than 20 players who speak Spanish from countries that include Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina. ... Pebble Beach has broken ground on a new driving range and golf academy, a project that has been 20 years in planning. The project includes 100 additional guest rooms at The Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Inn at Spanish Bay, along with a new 100-room hotel near Spyglass Hill.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods earned $12,896 at the Memorial, his smallest check from finishing a tournament since the 2004 Bay Hill Invitational.

FINAL WORD: ''Let's put it this way. There will be some guys that play the tour to make a living, period. All the good players play the tour to win golf tournaments to be the best player they can.'' – Jack Nicklaus.

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Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 3:00 pm

After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.

"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."

Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.

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Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 1:58 pm

More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.

Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.

The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:

Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

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New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 12:48 am

AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.

But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.

“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”

The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.

“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”