Scott hopes worst behind him

By Doug FergusonFebruary 11, 2010, 6:16 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – A playful reminder for Adam Scott: The Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is not match play.

Of the players who have returned to Pebble Beach because the U.S. Open is coming in June, no one has stayed away longer than Scott. The last time he played was in 1999, when he lost in the first round of the U.S. Amateur.

It seemed like he was never away.

“I’ve been watching this golf course on television a lot, just because of what it is,” Scott said. “The holes are memorable. You know what’s happened out there. Spectacular holes along the ocean. That says a lot about the golf course if you remember the holes.”

Scott didn’t bother trying to qualify for the 2000 U.S. Open because he made his pro debut the following week. The Australian was 19 when he played the European Grand Prix in England, tying for 61st.

What followed were 10 good years, all filled with victories, including The Players Championship and the Tour Championship. He climbed as high as No. 3 in the world in the summer of 2008.

And then came a disastrous year.

Scott missed six cuts in a row, and the more he tried to fix it, the worse it got. He took a break from longtime swing coach Butch Harmon and tried to go back to fundamentals. It appeared to be working when he tied for fourth against a strong field at Loch Lomond in the British Open. Then he drove down to Turnberry, and missed another cut.

Adam Scott
Adam Scott looks to improve on an arduous 2009 season (Getty Images)
Scott plunged to No. 108 on the money list last year, mainly because he tied for second in Honolulu the second week of the season. At least the year ended on a positive note. He won the Australian Open by five shots, his first pro victory on native soil.

And while he missed the cut at Riviera last week, Scott’s optimism is running high.

“It’s the start of a new decade, and I’m kind of seeing it as a fresh start for me,” he said Wednesday. “I probably learned more in the last 12 months than I did in the first 10 years of being a professional. I feel like I might have wised up a bit. Struggling a little bit last year will certainly help me in the long run.”

Moments earlier, Sergio Garcia was wrapping up an interview with a local broadcaster when he went over to the table were Scott was sitting, leaned it and shared a few laughs.

It was a light moment, although they could have just as well been talking about their year.

Garcia had one to forget, too. The Spaniard, who turned 30 last month, was distracted by his break-up with Greg Norman’s daughter and failed to win a tournament anywhere in the world. Garcia, who last March had a chance to go to No. 1 in the world, is now at No. 15. Along with not winning, he injured his right wrist at the end of the year and went seven weeks without touching a club.

And just like Scott, it’s been a while since Garcia played Pebble Beach, too.

He tied for 46th in the 2000 U.S. Open, then played the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with his sister as his amateur partner, and his father caddying for his sister. Garcia is back on the Monterey Peninsula because of the schedule – one week before the Match Play Championship, four weeks before the U.S. Open.

As for his outlook on the year?

“It’s hard to say,” Garcia said. “I’ve not been able to do much work this offseason. So these first couple of months for me is kind of like my offseason, trying to get back into it. I feel like I’m slowly getting better at it. I feel like I’m swinging the club better. I know what I’m doing. It feels good.

“So it’s just a matter of keeping hard at it, and hopefully get back to that level.”

Garcia is playing with actor Josh Duhamel at the Monterey Peninsula on Thursday, while Scott starts out at Spyglass Hill, out of the celebrity rotation.

Monterey Peninsula is new to the rotation this year and getting strong reviews, with some saying it’s every bit as good as Pebble Beach. That should help make the week more enjoyable, along with a field that has been reduced from 180 to 156 players.

The forecast is even decent, with most of the rain out of the way.

Scott and Garcia can only hope they’ll have a decent forecast for the rest of their season.

Getty Images

Paisley (61) leads Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Tour Championship.

The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

Getty Images

McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

Getty Images

Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”

Getty Images

Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:01 pm

ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.

Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.

Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.

Current FedExCup standings

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”

Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.

“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.