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Rosaforte Report: Si Woo's putting woes

By Tim RosaforteApril 16, 2018, 6:00 pm

In this week's Rosaforte Report: Si Woo Kim's putting cost him a second title, Luke List gets back on the cusp of victory and Dennis Walters earns another great honor in his amazing career.

Si Woo Kim started working with Sean Foley at the 2017 Genesis Open. According to Foley, he was dead last in strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: into the green. Nine tournaments later he won The Players Championship. At 21, he was the youngest winner of what some consider the fifth major.

As Foley pointed out, “If he was American and not Korean, he’d be household name already, like he is in Korea. Imagine if the kid was from California or Texas. He could be a senior at the University of Florida right now.”

Since The Players, Si Woo has been going through a difficult growing up stage. Four weeks ago he let go of Foley, telling the instructor he felt he had understood all the principles he needed to work on, and just thought the could do it on his own. Foley went total high road. “In a way,” Foley told me on Sunday, “that’s kind of what you’re after.” Kim has since hired Andrew Getson, who works with Phil Mickelson, as his swing coach.

Kim also currently uses Josh Gregory, Patrick Reed's college coach and one of Reed's mentors, as his short-game and putting coach.

Prior to the start of the Heritage, Kim was ranked 25th in strokes gained: off the tee and 202nd (out of 203) in strokes gained: putting. But, according to Gregory, Kim was leading the field in the latter category entering the home stretch at Harbour Town. However, under the pressure of trying to close out a tournament on a windy day along the Calibogue Sound, the South Korean prodigy missed four putts inside 7 feet on the final four holes of regulation before losing to Satoshi Kodaira of Japan in a playoff.

“He putted great for 68 holes and just lost it,” Gregory said. “It was his best putting performance a long time. He’s becoming a complete player. He just didn’t finish it off."

After he won The Players, Foley said the young man had so much poise, “it looked like he had been there 150 times before.”

But this was not the Si Woo Kim that was a perfect 10-for-10 getting up and down in the final round last May at TPC Sawgrass; or the guy who went through 2012 Q-School and earned his card at age 17, won a Web.com tournament in 2015 and the 2016 Wyndham Championship.

This was a young player in need of continued guidance, maturity and, as Gregory said, more opportunities to close out tournaments.


Luke List at the 2018 Honda Classic


CLOSE TO THE WINNER'S LIST: Luke List stands atop the list of career non-winners trending toward their first victory in 2018. List has 109 starts in his career and four top-10 finishes this season. Since Feb. 25, List lost a playoff to Justin Thomas in the Honda Classic, finished T-7 with a final-round 68 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and is coming off a T-3 finish at the RBC Heritage, one shot out of a playoff.

Of the 18 players with at least four top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour this season, List is the only one without a victory in his career yet. He is the highest-ranked player from North America without a Tour title to his credit.

Asked on Sunday when the breakthrough will come, List said, “Hopefully next week,” meaning the Valero Texas Open, which begins Thursday in San Antonio.

That wouldn’t surprise swing coach Jamie Mulligan, who has been caretaker of List’s rise in the world rankings (currently a career-best 53rd) and FedExCup race (currently 11th). “He keeps getting better and better and better,” said Mulligan. “We’ve talked a bunch about how you can play every type of course. You wouldn’t think a tiny little course like this one wouldn’t fit him, with all the trees, but it did. He’s getting more comfortable in wanting to get into the last group.”

List wasn’t especially satisfied with his closing 72. He made four bogeys compared to four the first three rounds combined, but considering the swing wasn’t there on Sunday, that Harbour Town didn’t really fit his eye, and he was playing a little under the weather, this was another performance on which to build.

One takeaway for List was his attitude and he expressed that in his post-round news conference. “I’m getting better each opportunity,” he said. “And I feel like my game has risen to the point where I expect to contend every week. So it’s going to happen.”



CALL FROM THE HALL NEXT?: Eight of the nine winners of both the PGA Distinguished Service Award and the USGA’s Bob Jones Award are in the World Golf Hall of Fame. They would be Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, Patty Berg, Jackie Burke, Bob Hope, and President George H.W. Bush.

The lone non-member among this group was announced last week by the USGA as the latest recipient of the Jones Award.

That would be Dennis Walters, who will be introduced by Nicklaus at the dinner in his honor next month at the U.S. Open.

Is a spot in the Hall of Fame upcoming? This latest award underscores the work done by the paraplegic golfer that has given over 3,000 clinics strapped to his golf cart, hitting his baby draw time and time again since 1977 – three years after a golf cart accident left him paralyzed from the waist down.

“I think that’s way beyond my control,” Walters told me Monday morning from his home in Jupiter, Fla. “I have nothing to do with that except if someone ever gives me a phone call.”

Will the phone ever ring? Will Walters join Hope and Bush among the non-golfers on the list? Or were those exceptions that will never be followed by Walters, who characterizes his golf show as a one-hour combination of both golf and life lessons.

There have been lobbies on his behalf, but Walters, 68, doesn’t seem hopeful.

“It’s just so far out of a person’s control,” Walters said. “It’s not like I can win two U.S. Opens. It’s not even worth thinking about it. It’s OK. I’m good.”

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Stricker shares first-round lead in South Dakota

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:48 am

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to share the first-round lead at the Sanford International.

The 51-year-old Stricker was 8 under through 17 holes at chilly, rain-softened Minnehaha Country Club but closed with a bogey to fall into a tie with Jerry Smith, Brandt Jobe and David McKenzie.

Stricker only got to play seven holes in the pro-am because of rain that prevented the field from getting in much practice.

''You've just kind of got to trust your yardage book and hit to the spots and then try to make a good game plan on the way into the green, too, not really knowing where to hit it or where to miss it up there on the green. Sometimes it's good, too,'' Stricker said. ''You go around and you're focused a lot more on hitting it to a specific spot and not knowing what lies ahead in the course. So I guess today was the ultimate 'Take one hole at a time' because we didn't really know anything else, what was coming.''


Full-field scores from the Sanford International


Stricker has two wins and has not finished worse than fifth in six starts this season on the over-50 tour as he continues to play a part-time schedule on the PGA Tour. Next week, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants at the matches outside Paris.

McKenzie, a 51-year-old Australian, had two eagles on the back nine, holing a wedge from 116 yards on the par-5 16th.

''We got told ... to play faster on No. 16, and so my caddie just said, 'Hit it in the hole so you don't have to putt it,' so I just did what he told me,'' McKenzie said.

Smith had eagles on Nos. 4 and 12.

''Honestly, I was just trying to hit some good shots and I really wasn't with the irons,'' Smith said. ''I just really didn't like the way I hit them today. You know, just the putter was the big difference for me. I just felt good with it all day, especially say outside of 10, 15 feet, where I felt like I was a lot.''

Scott McCarron, Lee Janzen and Paul Goydos were one shot back. McCarron came in second in the Charles Schwab Cup money standings behind Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is not playing this week.

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Glover (64) leads Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:12 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover shot his second consecutive 7-under 64 on Friday to take a one-shot lead at the Web.com Tour Championship.

The 38-year-old Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, can still regain his PGA Tour card through a medical extension if he fails to earn enough money in the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals. But a high finish this weekend at Atlantic Beach Country Club would take care of everything.

''I've got a lot to fall back on regardless of this week, but any time I tee it up, I want to play well,'' Glover said. ''Tomorrow won't be any different. Sunday won't be any different.''

Glover had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and will have eight starts to earn 53 FedEx Cup points and keep his card. He earned $17,212 in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events. The top 25 money winners in the series earn PGA Tour cards, and the final card went for $40,625 last year.

Glover was at 14-under 128. Denny McCarthy, who has already earned enough money to secure a return to the PGA Tour, was one shot back. McCarthy, a former Virginia player, has a shot at winning the Finals money list, which would guarantee him fully exempt status and entry into The Players Championship.


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


''There's no secret about it. I'll come out and tell you I'm here to win this tournament and get that No. 1 spot,'' McCarthy said. ''I've been hungry for a while. I have a pretty hungry attitude and I'm going to stay hungry.''

Tour veteran Cameron Tringale, who has earned just $2,660 after missing two of the first three cuts, was 12 under after a 67. Last year, Tringale entered the Web.com Tour Championship at 63rd on the Finals money list and finished tied for fifth to get back onto the PGA Tour. He struggled again this season, though, missing 19 cuts in 26 starts.

''Yeah, I was hoping last year was my last time here, but I do have a comfort at this golf course and I'm excited to keep pressing,'' Tringale said.

The four-tournament series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top 25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals.

Sepp Straka and Ben Silverman were three shots back. Each would likely need a top-5 finish to earn his card.

Peter Malnati, who regained his card with a second-place finish in the opening finals event, followed his opening-round 74 with a 9-under 62, shooting an 8-under 27 on his second nine.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Aaron Baddeley was among those who missed the cut. He was 22nd on the finals money list going in and likely will fall short of earning his card.

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Thomas (69) only three back with 'C' or 'D' game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTA – Justin Thomas was tied for fourth place following his second-round 69 on Friday at the Tour Championship, which considering the state of his game on Day 2 was an accomplishment.

“I wish I had my 'B' game today. I would say I had my 'C' or 'D' game today,” he laughed.

Thomas’ struggles were primarily with his driver and he hit just 6 of 14 fairways at East Lake, but he was able to scramble late in his round with birdies at Nos. 15 and 18 to remain three off the lead.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I drove it so poorly today, this is probably in my top 5 rounds of the year I'm most proud of just because I easily could have shot 4- or 5-over par today and not had a chance to win the tournament,” he said. “I hung in there and birdied two of the last four, and I have a chance.”

Thomas was slowed the last two weeks by a right wrist injury that limited his preparation for the finale and said the issue with his driver is timing and the byproduct of a lack of practice.

Thomas made up for his erratic driving with his short game, getting up and down four out of seven times including on the fourth hole when he missed the fairway well left, punched out short of the green and chipped in from 81 feet.

“[Rory McIlroy] just kind of said it looked like a ‘3’ the whole day and I kind of laughed because I played with him at The Players and I chipped in three times that first round with him, so I guess he's good luck for me,” Thomas said.

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McIlroy two behind Woods, Rose after 68

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:46 pm

ATLANTA – Maybe it should be no huge surprise that Rory McIlroy finds himself back in contention at the Tour Championship. It is, after all, a Ryder Cup year.

In 2016, McIlroy won the finale before heading to Hazeltine and posting a 3-2-0 record. In ’14, he finished runner-up to Billy Horschel and went 2-1-2 at the Ryder Cup; and in ’12 he finished tied for 10th place at East Lake and went 3-2-0 at Medinah.

“I was on such a high a couple of years ago going into Hazeltine after winning the whole thing, and I felt great about my game that week and played well. I won three matches,” McIlroy said. “I guess it doesn't matter whether it's a match play event or whatever. If you're playing well and you've played well the week before, I think most people can carry it into the next week, whatever that is.”


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


McIlroy’s performance this week certainly qualifies as “playing well.” He charged out on Friday with birdies at two of his first three holes and bounced back from a pair of late bogeys to shoot a 68 and was in third place and two strokes off the lead held by Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.

“I've made 12 birdies in 36 holes, which is really good around here, and that's with not birdieing either of the par 5s today,” he said. “So yeah, just tidy up the mistakes a little bit.”