Jesper Back - Thanks to the Basket

By George WhiteJanuary 20, 2004, 5:00 pm
He should be easy to spot ' he will be the man on the practice range with an empty ball basket placed strategically behind him. But Jesper Parnevik always was easy to spot, with pants and shirt that look like they were painted on him. And dont make me tell the story of the crazy upturned cap bill again ' please.
Jesper has been MIA for the better part of two years now, up until last week when he magically re-appeared at the Sony Open with a tie for 15th. Back in 2000, he finished eighth on the tour money list. But that was followed by three years when he steadily cratered, punctuated by last season when was down at 118th.
You know, said Parnevik, I have a clue where the golf ball is going for a change. I haven't really had a clue the last two years. It's nice to be able to hit shots and trust it I feel like I'm just back to where I was a few years ago.
He had hip surgery back in 2001, and bad swing habits gradually crept into what was always a quick whip-whip action. He never could figure out what exactly was the problem. But recently he noticed Vijay Singh at his second home - on the range. And he noticed a pole that Vijay had placed behind his right shoulder, forcing him to swing around it to hit the ball.
I did my own version of it, said Parnevik. I just put a big basket behind there and kept hitting, because it felt like when I got my hip problem that I started collapsing the left side. So my club starting getting way stuck inside.
And just having the basket there makes me keep the club in front of me all the time. So I've just been hitting thousands and thousands of balls that way. I'm hitting a nice cut now again.
At first, he repeatedly whacked the basket on his backswing. That action often happens when the club gets too far inside. But the basket eventually paid dividends in his first round of the year. Parnevik shot a 65 at Sony, followed it up with a pair of 68s and a 70, and won $76,800.
He remembered the 2002 Ryder Cup, the point when his psyche was at an all-time low. European captain Sam Torrance was wondering what to do with Jesper, who had played magnificently in a couple of previous appearances. Now Torrance was in a quandary about where he should play Parnevik. Parnevik sensed the reluctance to set him down ' and addressed it.
I was playing so bad. And Sam kind of held me off for a while. I actually told him, I'm playing really (badly), so you don't have to pick me, put me in the lineup, said Jesper.
There was no way he could slink out of there and go home - he had to at least play in the singles. And as luck would have in, he drew the No. 1 player in the world.
There I am, I have no idea where the ball was going, he said. I was putting terrible. To be thrown in with Tiger in the last group in the last day, I just said, Wow, this could be over after ten holes.
It wasnt, of course. Parnevik shocked the golf world by repeatedly squiring off the hook, eventually gaining a tie with Tiger. I just fought for my life out there, he said. I have no idea how I did that.
Neither did anyone else, least of all Woods. And that might have been an upswing to what would happen in 2003. But - it wasnt.
It (his game) was never consistent enough to give me any confidence, because I would hit three great shots, and then one would go off flying and I would have no clue why I did it, he said.
That obviously is not the way to play the PGA Tour. He struggled fitfully all last year, occasionally seeing a brief bit of the old magic come back, but usually just feeling somewhat adrift. Then he happened on Singh and the unusual backswing apparatus, and he feels he finally is on the right track.
But then, you have a little bit of the confidence issue, as well, he cautioned. I'm feeling pretty confident now, but it's not really 100 percent yet because you still have some doubts from when you played bad for a couple of years. It's pretty hard to be 100 percent confident straightaway. It's getting there, definitely.
Parnevik will try for the second time this year at a comfortable old spot this week, the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. He won there in 2000. He returns in 2004 with the same pants, the same shirt, the same upturned bill on his cap. One thing that will be different, though ' the empty ball basket behind him of the driving range.
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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

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DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.