After Further Review: finale oozes drama

By Jason Crook, Jason Sobel, Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2014, 11:17 pm

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the agony of coming up a few dollars short of a PGA Tour card, the difficulty of describing what it feels like to NOT come up short of said card, and some tweaks still needed in the overall process of determining who gets PGA Tour cards.

Thirty-two dollars.

About the same amount as a box of a dozen mid-level golf balls at the local golf superstore. That was the differential that kept Roberto Castro from retaining his PGA Tour playing privileges after the four-tournament Finals.

If that sounds brutal, it should. After I tweeted about Castro's misfortunate, multiple people responded with some version of the same solution: Can't we all just chip in a few bucks?

Ah, if it were only that easy. For as many stories of perseverance and potential among the 50 players who earned their cards, there are also nearly as many heartbreakers. Castro is a guy who played in last year's Tour Championship and all four majors this year. And while he certainly didn't have a terrific season, it wasn't terrible, either, with five top-25 results.

For now, though, he will be relegated to golf's minor leagues, yet another in a long line of tales about players coming so close and yet finishing so far away.

The worst part? That final differential. Thirty-two measly dollars. - Jason Sobel

It’s fitting that the guy who played the best golf throughout the Finals gave the best answer when asked what it feels like to earn a PGA Tour card. “I’ve been asked to put it into words and I can’t,” said Adam Hadwin, who finished Sunday atop the priority list, fully exempt for next year on the PGA Tour. We can debate until the end of time whether the switch from traditional Q-School was the right move for the Tour. It doesn’t matter. Guys are still playing for their livelihood, to reach a goal they’ve dreamt about since they were little kids. And if the man who came in first can’t find the words to describe it, then I don’t have any about the process. It must still feel pretty good. - Jason Crook

Two turns into the new PGA Tour qualifying system, a process that solved the timing issues created by the circuit’s new wraparound schedule, it’s clear there is still tinkering to be done. A loophole that allows exempt Tour players to participate in the Finals – an awkward criteria that left D.A. Points, an exempt player who mistakenly thought he should play the finale this week at TPC Sawgrass, in a difficult position – needs to be corrected. There is also the issue of how a player can have an outstanding regular season on the Tour but still have his Tour aspirations dashed by a poor performance in the Finals. Even the FedEx Cup needed adjusting. - Rex Hoggard

In a Ryder Cup media teleconference this past week, Tom Watson was asked if the captains get too much blame when their teams lose.

He said he was prepared for that. He better be as he takes his U.S. squad to Scotland this week, because if the Americans lose for the sixth time in their last seven tries, the autopsy over what went wrong won’t be pretty.

Fairly or unfairly, it never is for Ryder Cup captains.

Watson is set up to be a conquering hero if the Americans win, but there’s a troubling flipside to that if they don’t.

The PGA of America broke tradition bringing the 65-year-old Hall of Famer back as captain 21 years after he led the Americans to victory at The Belfry. They’re sending him to Scotland, no less, where he is worshipped as the winner of five British Opens.

He was brought aboard to rescue the foundering American effort. All of this would seem to heap even more pressure on Watson than most Ryder Cup captains, and that’s saying something.

He’s set up to look like a savior of the American Ryder Cup effort if they win, but he’s set up to be sacrificed in the public square of opinion if they don’t. There’s so much more expected of this icon going to Scotland than most captains are saddled with, and the only beauty in that is how he seems to be relishing it. – Randall Mell

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Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 8:30 pm

PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.

The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.

Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.

Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.

Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.

Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).

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Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament

In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’”