Rejuvenation Ahead for Davis

By George WhiteOctober 10, 2006, 4:00 pm
Someday, when all this is over, when he can set back in a rocking chair and reflect on the defining points of his days on earth, Davis Love is going to have a decade full of roller-coaster memories, covering the extremes of lifes experiences.
He will have to look at the bad ' and, oh brother, he could fill a book with all those experiences. But he can also smile at the good ' and Sunday was yet another one, the 19th time in his professional career that he has won a golf tournament.
The hard times, it would seem were often almost unbearable' a spine that was one of the worst on the PGA TOUR, parlayed with a neck injury that has plagued him since 2001; two personal tragedies that were both catastrophic, first his fathers death and then the suicide of his brother-in-law; gossip and rumors which devastated his family at their home of Sea Island, Ga.; and a nasty experience with a fan in California during a match-play encounter with Tiger Woods. Is there any player in any sport that has ever encountered as many personal problems as has Davis Love III?
But the good times ah, when they were good, they were great! He has lived the life of a professional athlete who was one of the best at his business. He has won a major, the 1997 PGA Championship. He has played on six Ryder Cups and six Presidents Cups. He rose to No. 3 in the world in 2003, when he won four times. Four times he teamed with Fred Couples to win the World Cup. And, he has the financial wherewithal to do exactly as he pleases, when he pleases.
What he would like to do most, at age 42, is to again be a multiple winner on the PGA TOUR. And he might be about ready to do that ' he hadnt finished in the top 10 of a tour stroke-play event all year before his last two events. He completed a T4 windup at the WCG-Bridgestone, then went out and survived a furious final-day rally by several players to win at Greensboro. Suddenly, he has the look of a champion again.
Strangely, the reason why this had been such a poor year was because he was desperately trying to keep alive the streak of 12 consecutive times being on the Ryder or Presidents Cup. You would think that 12 would make the appearances commonplace. However, the streak finally reached such a plateau that it led to counterproductive play. And, interestingly enough, his two high finishes of late have come when the pressure of making the Ryder Cup was finally off ' and no, he didnt make the team this time.
I told (Ryder Cup captain) Tom Lehman about a month before the PGA that I was going to play good before the end of the year - I just couldn't promise him when it was going to be, Davis said.
I knew when I got out of my way I would play well. And, you know, maybe it took some time off and some reflecting and getting my patience back. But certainly, grinding for the Ryder Cup was a detriment. And also I did it the wrong way. But, Ive been out here 20 years - and you're not too old to learn new tricks.
Ryder Cup, Ryder Cup, Ryder Cup - when he wasnt reminding himself, his friends were doing it for him. He started the year well inside the magic number. But as the season progressed, he slowly slipped out of sight.
I heard it for six months: You need to make the Ryder Cup team, the U.S. wants you on the team. You need another top 10 here, he said.

You hear all that stuff and, you know, your friends and your family are trying to help you, they get more and more nervous, because they don't know ' Well, is he playing bad, something we're doing or should we ask him why he's playing bad or ask him what we can do to help?

When you're successful for a long time and then you're not successful, people don't know how to act. I told my wife earlier this year, You know, nobody asks me any questions when I was playing great. They didn't ask me how I did it or why I did it or what are you doing to play so well. Just took it for granted, basically.
Then you start playing poorly, then you start getting the questions, What's the matter with you? Not that way, but, you know, what should you do different? Don't you think you ought to do this?
You get a lot of advice when you're not playing well. It makes it hard. You hear things and, you know, people try to be positive, but when they do that, they're actually reminding you of a negative and it really doesn't help.
And then the doubts began to creep in, doubts that he was good enough to contend in a tournament, doubts that just maybe he had digressed too much in his 20 years as a pro, certainly doubts that he could still compete with the top echelon of players. And when he wasnt healthy, when his back was tingling or his neck was hurting, he was really struggling with the negative thoughts.
You doubt that you can beat a guy like Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods if you're not 100 percent, he said, and I think your swing adjusts when you're not feeling well. And then the doubt creeps in even more, because you're not hitting the way you normally used to hit it.
And there's no reason at 42 that I can't drive it as far as anybody else or putt as well as anybody else. But when you're not feeling well, you feel like you're at a disadvantage when you go to the first tee with Tiger Woods and he's feeling great and you're not feeling good.
And then came last week, and Greensboro, and maybe we are seeing a new Davis Love.
Now I know that I've had a lot of good health, and now I'm not injured. I can overcome my old body.

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

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Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

“I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

“I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

“We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

“My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

“Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”