Lee basks in first PGA Tour win

By Will GrayJuly 6, 2015, 12:58 am

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – Having endured several valleys, Danny Lee ascended all the way to the top at The Greenbrier Classic.

The 24-year-old Kiwi was the last man standing after a frenetic finish at the Old White TPC, defeating David Hearn, Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb in a four-man playoff to earn his first PGA Tour victory.

Lee broke onto the national scene in 2008, when he became the then-youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur at age 18. He turned pro following the 2009 Masters, but he struggled to find his footing on the professional scene while going through a number of swing changes.

“I wanted to swing like Tiger Woods or Justin Rose, that kind of swing,” Lee said. “I’ve probably gone through 100 coaches.”

Lee bottomed out in 2012, missing 13 of 26 cuts and losing both his PGA Tour card and his overall sense of direction.

“I just played horrible that year,” he recalled. “I didn’t know how to hit a golf ball because there were so many things, so many thoughts and things in my head, and I was putting it poorly, as well. I was going through a rough time, but my parents were supporting me really hard.”

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Lee made his way back through the Web.com Tour the following year, and returned to full-time status on the PGA Tour last season. He has been golf’s marathon man this season, making his 27th start this week and playing in nearly every event for which he was eligible.

Lee is from New Zealand but of Korean descent, and he explained that his ironman strategy was born in part from a goal to make the International squad for this year’s Presidents Cup, which will be staged in South Korea.

While the results began to pile up, it wasn’t until Lee began working with coach Drew Steckel in March that he really saw a change in his game.

“Meeting my new coach, it was a big life-changer, I should say,” he said. “My swing got so much better. I never really was happy with my golf swing when I was young.”

Lee has rattled off five top-25 finishes since their union, and he opened this week with a 7-under 63. He was one of eight players separated by a single shot at the top of the standings entering the final round and made four birdies against one bogey during a closing 67. That included a 7-foot birdie on No. 17, one that eventually got him into the playoff.

He appeared poised for victory after rolling in a birdie on the first extra hole, but Hearn answered with a birdie of his own to extend overtime. When Hearn’s tee shot found trouble left of the par-5 17th, Lee was able to two-putt for par and the victory.

“As soon as I [stood] on the 18th tee box, first playoff [hole], I felt ready. I felt like I could really win this thing,” he said. “It was amazing.”

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.