Tway Leads Impressive List of Past Champions
First of all, theres the leader, Bob Tway. Tway was the man who holed out from the bunker at No. 18 in the 1986 PGA Championship to beat Greg Norman. Tway hasnt done a lot in the intervening years, but he shot a 64 Thursday.
Next, theres the runner-up, Stewart Cink. Cink was one of those guys who missed a short putt at No. 18 in the U.S. Open to miss a playoff. Cink hasnt done much this year, but Thursday he shot a 65.
Then theres Stuart Appleby. Appleby won in three straight years ' the 1997 Honda, the 98 Kemper and the 99 Shell Houston Open. The last two years, he has sagged badly. At the Memorial, he fired a 67 in the first round. Thats the same score shot by Tom Lehman, the 1996 British Open champ who underwent surgery on his collarbone area in 1998. Lehman has never been the same since.
Even old warhorse Jack Nicklaus, the tournament host, enjoyed a day that was as outstanding as the beautiful weather. Nicklaus birdied four of the last five holes and got into the clubhouse with a 71.
Then the worlds No. 1 player, the guy who is trying to win the Memorial for the fourth straight time, struggled fitfully on opening day. Tiger Woods shot 74.
I hope there isnt a statute of limitations on confidence, said Tway. A lot has happened since (he won here in) 89. Theres no doubt about it in my career.
But the course itself makes coming to the Memorial a thrill, he said. There are not too many weeks in the year that the opportunity arises to think your way around the golf course. Its a great venue, Tway said, and even better when it dries out like it did Thursday.
I just wish that more often we got a chance to play a golf course like this, said Tway.
Experience is invaluable at Muirfield Village, said Cink, but only if youre smart enough to learn from your experiences.
This is one of the courses that teaches you a lot and it punishes you for being greedy and making bad decisions, he said. You just have to learn where your spots are where you can be aggressive.
Its like playing a major. You have to play to the center of the greens. Even if you feel like you can aim at it, sometimes you cant. And par is always good here.
Cink has gone back to the ABCs of golf, practicing a lot of late on the games fundamentals. He finished 10th on the money list in 2000, but dropped to 26th last year. This year hes down at 94.
Im just simplifying everything, Cink said. This year Ive been driving it pretty bad and I havent had a good year putting. And thats really the two things that you have to do, and I have not done either of them any good at all.
Appleby has missed five cuts this year after the promising early start to his career. But his last two tournaments have shown that he might have turned the corner. He finished in a tie for 14th at Greensboro and followed that with a tie for eighth at Colonial last week.
I drove the ball fantastically and I hit the irons fantastically and I putted pretty well, said Appleby. I really have to say it was a very clean round of golf and more what I feel I can play.
Appleby detailed what he believes it will take to get back to the norm. It takes a lot of practice. And it takes the proper mindset.
Usually its just confidence, and you just dont play to get confidence, you go and get it, he said. Youve got to practice for it ' basically, practice and play with confidence.
I have really been swinging the club well. If youre swinging the club well and not getting results, its something else thats wrong. Im swinging it well now and mentally Im much more relaxed, more positive, and much more into my shots. And then Im getting results.
For sheer surprises, though, there was none more dramatic than Nicklaus. He was uncertain whether he was even going to play until Wednesday evening.
Good gracious, I told Vijay (Singh), I shot three or four shots below my handicap, laughed Nicklaus. Ive been carrying a 2- or 3-handicap at home all year. I shot a 69 about a month ago and ruined my handicap. I went down to a 1. So I shortened my handicap by several shots today.
Nicklaus is still hurting. But hes not hurting enough to keep from swinging a club. And ' hes obviously having a good time.
I really enjoyed that, Nicklaus said. It was fun. I am obviously glad I played. I dont know what will happen tomorrow. Doesnt make much difference what happens tomorrow. The way Im playing, if I play this way again, Ill play a good round. If I dont, I wont. But thats the way it goes.
Full-field scores from the Memorial Tournament
DJ, McIlroy, Spieth listed as PGA betting favorites
Three majors are in the books, but there's still one more trophy up for grabs in two weeks' time.
While next year The Open will signal the end of the 2019 major season amid a revamped calendar, this is the final year that the PGA Championship will be held in August. The tournament returns next month to Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis, which last hosted the PGA when Nick Price won in 1992 and hasn't hosted a PGA Tour event since Camilo Villegas won the 2008 BMW Championship.
Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published PGA betting odds shortly after the final putt dropped at Carnoustie and Francesco Molinari left with the claret jug. Topping the board are a trio of major champions: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, all listed at 12/1.
McIlroy won the PGA in both 2012 and 2014, while Spieth needs only the Wanamaker Trophy to round out the career Grand Slam. Johnson has recorded four top-10s in the PGA, notably a T-5 finish at Whistling Straits in 2010 when a few grains of sand kept him out of a playoff with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.
Fresh off a T-6 finish in Scotland, Tiger Woods headlines the group listed at 16/1, behind only the three co-favorites as he looks to win a 15th career major.
Here's a look at the betting odds for a number of contenders, with the opening round of the PGA just 17 days away:
12/1: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth
16/1: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler
18/1: Justin Rose
20/1: Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm
25/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day
30/1: Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama
40/1: Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Paul Casey
50/1: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar
60/1: Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson
80/1: Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner
100/1: Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Brian Harman, Brandt Snedeker, Charley Hoffman
Molinari moves to No. 6 in world with Open win
After breaking through for his first career major title, Francesco Molinari reached some rarified air in the latest installment of the Official World Golf Rankings.
The Italian's two-shot win at Carnoustie moved him up nine spots to No. 6 in the world, not surprisingly a new career high. But it's also a quick ascent for Molinari, who has now won three of his last six worldwide starts and was ranked No. 33 in the world after missing the cut at The Players Championship two months ago.
A share of second place helped Xander Schauffele jump from No. 24 to No. 18 in the updated standings, while the same result meant Kevin Kisner went from No. 33 to No. 25. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy both went up one spot after T-2 finishes to No. 2 and No. 7, respectively - a new career high for Rose.
The drama in the rankings unfolded at No. 50, as Tiger Woods moved up 21 spots to exactly No. 50 following his T-6 finish. While some projections had him moving to 51st, Woods was able to sneak into the top 50 just in time to qualify for a return to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as the top 50 in the rankings both this week and next qualify for Akron.
That includes Zach Johnson, last year's runner-up who was not yet qualified but moved from No. 52 to No. 49 this week. It also includes Kevin Chappell, who went from 61st to 47th with a T-6 finish in Scotland.
Despite missing the cut at Carnoustie, Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for another week followed by Rose, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Molinari is now at No. 6, with McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day rounding out the top 10.
Simpson overtakes DeChambeau in Ryder Cup race
A T-12 finish at The Open allowed Webb Simpson to move past Bryson DeChambeau into the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race with just three weeks to go.
Simpson finished the week at 3 under, five shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. Adding another strong result to his win at TPC Sawgrass and T-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he's now edged in front of DeChambeau by less than 41 points. But with players earning one point per $1,000 each of the next two weeks and 1.5 points per $1,000 at the PGA Championship, the race is far from over.
Jordan Spieth's T-9 finish strengthened his position at No. 6, as the top six players are essentially assured of qualifying automatically. Rickie Fowler held onto his spot at No. 7, while Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner both moved onto the bubble following T-2 finishes at Carnoustie. After a T-6 finish, Tiger Woods jumped from 31st to 20th.
Here's a look at the updated American standings, with the top eight after the PGA qualifying automatically and captain Jim Furyk adding four picks in September:
1. Brooks Koepka
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Patrick Reed
4. Justin Thomas
5. Bubba Watson
6. Jordan Spieth
7. Rickie Fowler
8. Webb Simpson
9. Bryson DeChambeau
10. Phil Mickelson
11. Xander Schauffele
12. Matt Kuchar
13. Kevin Kisner
14. Tony Finau
15. Brian Harman
On the European side, Molinari was already in position to qualify automatically but is now assured of a spot on Thomas Bjorn's roster this fall. Fellow major champs Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy also solidified their footing with runner-up performances.
Here's a look at how things look for the Europeans, with the top four from each list after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:
1. Francesco Molinari
2. Justin Rose
3. Tyrrell Hatton
4. Tommy Fleetwood
1. Jon Rahm
2. Alex Noren
3. Rory McIlroy
4. Paul Casey
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.