Dont Ignore This Great Event

By George WhiteAugust 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipIts a shame, really, that the PGA Championship is played this deep into the season. It really should get much more credit ' it may have been the most exciting major over the last 20 years. The PGA is an excellent tournament with a field to match.
But alas, its been five months since the first major ' the Masters way back in early April ' and that seems like eons ago. There are 13 major championships among the three principal tours - the PGA Tour, the Champions Tour and the LPGA. By now, you begin to feel that its almost too much of a good thing.
The PGA has been all over the map with its dates in its existence. Before it settled on August in 1972, it resembled a floating crap game. In 1971, the PGA was played in February, for goodness sakes! In 1970, it was the week before the Masters, in April. For several years, it was a couple of weeks after the British Open, in late July. And remember Ben Hogan in 1953? He won all three majors in which he played. He didnt play the PGA because it ended just one day before the British Open began. There would have no preparation time for the British had he played the PGA.
For the last 34 years, though, the PGA has selected August as its month. Thats good inasmuch as the PGA finally has a set time. Its bad inasmuch as people are beginning to be interested in football ' training camps are under way in the NFL. The second half of the baseball season has started and pennant races are beginning to heat up. Its almost as if the PGA Championship is a snotty-nosed kid who comes running up saying, Yoo-hoo! Dont forget about me! Im a major, too!
All the majors, of course, have their own little quirks and characteristics. The Masters has only 90 or so players, and many in its field are oldtimers who dont have a chance of winning or amateurs who stand even less of a chance. The U.S. Open has so many qualifiers who will never get close to the championship. So does the British Open, with the added burden of being so far away that some of the good Americans simply dont want to travel back-and-forth to Europe.
The PGA? Well, the PGA stands for the Professional Golfers Association. And the Professional means primarily club professional, as opposed to touring professional. Not that long ago 40 club pros dotted the PGA field, totally understandable given that this is the PGAs tournament. Now, however, it has been trimmed to 25 club pros, and the PGA actually leads the list of majors with the most top-100 players in the world rankings vying for its trophy.
Padraig Harrington likes the PGA setups. The Irishman isnt anti-Masters or anti-U.S. Open, of course. But no one sets up a golf course quite as professionally as does a golfing organization, the PGA. That's excepting the British Open, of course.
We like going to a U.S. Open golf course, going to a Masters; it's a little bit different, he agreed. It (the Masters and the Open) is obviously extreme on those weeks. We probably wouldn't want to be doing that every week.
Whereas a U.S. PGA golf course is one that the players say is set up more for the players. Very rarely has anybody got a bad word to say about a PGA golf course. They tend to be fair, and to be honest, you tend to see some decent scoring on the courses. It's not normally level par that wins.
Back in the 50s and 60s, PGA Championships tended to be held on totally forgettable courses. But no more. With the possible exception of Valhalla, which the PGA owns and derives much more benefit than other venues, all the championships are contested on big-league courses. And Valhalla is, at worst, acceptable.
Champions? Well, there was Rich Beem in 2002, Shaun Micheel in 2003, but most of the PGA champions have been among the worlds top 20. Vijay Singh won it last year and in 1998. Tiger Woods won in 1999 and 2000. David Toms was the champion in 2001 and Davis Love III in 1997.
Oddly enough, this is the one major that Arnold Palmer never won. He was the son of a longtime greenskeeper who eventually became a head pro, but he never could win the PGA. Arnold finished second in 1964, in 68 and 70, lost by only one stroke to Julius Boros in 68, but he never could win the championship that meant more to him than any other. Boros, incidentally, was 48 years old when he won, the oldest winner of a major in history.
Walter Hagen won five PGAs back when the tournament was still held at match play ' it changed in 1958 to stroke play. And Jack Nicklaus also won five times, including a torrid 13-year stretch beginning in 71 when he won four PGAs and finished runner-up in four others. During those 13 years, he finished in the top four nine times.
So pause this week and pay close attention to all that is going on with the PGA. Just because its the final major of the year, just because some other sports are beginning now to creep in now, doesnt lessen its significance one iota. It is the PGA Championship, run by the people who are all about the business of golf.
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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.”