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Notes: Private teacher keeps Kuchars on road together

By Doug FergusonNovember 15, 2017, 12:21 am

NAPLES, Fla. - Matt Kuchar has what amounts to a home game this week in the RSM Classic at Sea Island, which must be awfully boring for his two sons.

The last time Kuchar played, 10-year-old Cameron and 8-year-old Carson tagged along on the first part of the trip to Japan and spent a week riding bullet trains, going to a sumo wrestling match and touring a ninja training studio.

Those trips are more the norm than the exception.

Kuchar and his wife, Sybi, decided to home-school their two sons, and they have a teacher who goes with them when their travels take them to Hawaii or Japan and loads of places in between.

''It's such an education traveling,'' Kuchar said. ''Somebody once told me, 'Don't let school interfere with a child's education.' And I certainly agree with it, especially at their age. Now the kids get the best of it. We travel. We have a teacher travel with us so they do proper academic studies. They're doing their work on the road and then going out and seeing things.''

And it doesn't have to be all that exotic. Kuchar recalls the time he went to Turkey in 2012 for an exhibition. Cameron was turning 5 that week and he wasn't sure what he could do for a 5-year-old's birthday in Turkey.

''Everyone got into bath robes in our room and we turned it into a Turkish bath party,'' Kuchar said. ''The thing he remembers the most is we had two security guards assigned to us. They were big guys. He thought that was cool to have two security guards.''

Kuchar traveled to Japan the first year he won on the PGA Tour. He has played in China and Japan, Turkey and Hong Kong, Australia and Fiji, Germany and France. He says he got the travel bug from his mother.

''If there was a chance to go somewhere, she wanted to take advantage,'' Kuchar said. ''I always had that side of me to get in as much as I can. If you get a chance to experience something different, let's go.''


UPHILL BATTLE: So Yeon Ryu is facing tough odds of winning the $1 million Race to the CME Globe bonus, even though she is among the top five seeds who only has to win the CME Group Championship.

Ryu has been coping with an injured right shoulder since the last week of October in Malaysia, and it has limited her practice. She said it was at about 80 percent when she practiced Monday, and that made her excited.

''But when I tried to practice this morning, I couldn't really hit the ball, so I only played four holes and just putted,'' she said. ''To be honest, my No. 1 goal is just my shoulder being 100 percent and then play tournament.''

Ryu said the injury to the muscle is from overuse, and not related to any ligaments. She rested all of last week and limited herself to hitting no more than 50 balls in practice.

''My expectation with my long game is not really high right now,'' she said. ''But the good news is this is my last tournament of the year, so I can have plenty of rest.''

Well, it's her last event in America. She still has another event that Inbee Park hosts next week between LPGA Tour players and Korean LPGA Tour players.


FATHER-SON: Jack Nicklaus has won the PNC Father-Son Challenge with his son. Now he's going to try it with his grandson.

The 20-team field anchored by major champions includes Nicklaus playing with Gary ''G.T.'' Nicklaus Jr., whose father won the tournament with Nicklaus in 1999. The only other father-grandson teams over the years were Arnold Palmer with Sam Saunders and Will Wears.

Nicklaus described G.T. as a ''big kid and has the potential to be a very talented player.''

''Only time will tell whether he will be and wants to be a really good player,'' Nicklaus said. ''For now, I just want him to enjoy the experience, just as I will enjoy it. Oh, and guess whose tee shot we'll be playing most of the time?''

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.