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Players sound off on Evian controversies

By Randall MellSeptember 15, 2017, 5:27 pm

How did players feel about the LPGA’s decision to wipe out scores after Thursday’s abbreviated start because of bad weather at the Evian Championship and then shorten the competition to 54 holes?

Here’s a compilation of reactions from player transcripts after players completed rounds on Friday:

On wiping out scores ...

Jessica Korda: “It sucked because I was playing so well yesterday, and some people weren't playing so well yesterday, that are playing well today, and there's nothing I can do about that. I just need to concentrate on myself. I was annoyed until about 9 PM last night, and then I was like, `All right, screw it. When I wake up, it's a new day. What's done is done, and we'll just keep moving forward.’ So that's what happened ...

“I would have liked to have seen them keep the scores. Obviously, looking at this weather, I see what they were talking about, in terms of it's not going to be fair, but when is it ever fair? Which is one thing that I kept saying yesterday, is you can go back as many tournaments as you want, the morning to the afternoon, when is it ever fair? That's golf. It's an outdoor sport. It's never going to be the same. But I can see what they're talking about. The golf course is totally different today.”

Sung Hyun Park: “To be honest, I would be lying if I said I wasn't surprised, but what I did was I just wanted to focus on my game today and go on.”

Laura Davies: “I thought it was the fairest thing to do. I didn't think they would do it, because I don't necessarily think the LPGA officials are all that fair. They like it to be, kind of down the line, and no gray area. So I was surprised, happy surprised, because I just thought the conditions yesterday morning were virtually unplayable ...

“You've got to look at the bigger picture, I think. Not that we ever do, because we're all very selfish. Professional golfers are selfish. We're all about ourselves trying to do the best we can do, and you don't see it as the whole picture.”

Lydia Ko: “Nobody wants to make it a 54-hole event, but that's why it was such a tough decision. But with the weather, it's something that's totally out of your control, and I don't think they were expecting it to be as drastic as it was yesterday. When that happens, you just have to go with it. You can't please 100 percent of the people. I think that's the thing at the end. But you just have to go with it.”

In-Kyung Kim: “I think it would have been very unfair [not to wipe out scores], to be honest, if it were an advantage for the major, because today is so nice. If we just played, and then came back in the morning, it would have been just at least four shots different.”

Katherine Kirk: “I don't know. I was on the fence, actually. Obviously, the golf course yesterday was unplayable afterwards, but we did get eight holes in, so maybe we could have gone out there this morning, re-started and had at least eight holes under our belt.

“It's a tough call to make either way. You're going to make some people happy, some people mad ... It was windy all morning, and it wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible to play. Like I said, eight holes were fine, but then, yeah, right at the end it was the worst conditions I've ever seen.”

On shortening the event to 54 holes ...

Davies: “I think they made the right decision because 54 holes, 72 holes, someone has got to play the best. Ultimately, I don't think it matters.”

Kirk: “A little bit surprised, but with the weather forecast maybe for Saturday-Sunday, they thought we'd be lucky to finish. I don't know what the thinking is, but I'm guessing they considered it, but obviously something made them decide on 54.”

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

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.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.