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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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Reed match taught McIlroy the need to conserve energy

By Rex HoggardSeptember 26, 2018, 10:18 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – One of the most memorable Ryder Cup singles matches in recent history was also one of the most exhausting.

Rory McIlroy was asked on Wednesday at Le Golf National about his singles bout with Patrick Reed two years ago at Hazeltine National, when the duo combined for eight birdies and an eagle through eight frenzied holes.

“I could play it for nine holes, and then it suddenly hit me,” said McIlroy, who was 5 under through eight holes but played his final 10 holes in 2 over par. “The level sort of declined after that and sort of reached its crescendo on the eighth green, and the last 10 holes wasn't quite as good.”


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In retrospect McIlroy said the match, which he lost, 1 down, was educational and he realized that maintaining that level of emotion over 18 holes isn’t realistic.

“It looked tiring to have to play golf like that for three days,” he said. “I learnt a lot from that and learnt that it's good to get excited and it's good to have that, but at the same time, if I need and have to be called upon to play a late match on Sunday or whatever it is, I want to have all my energy in reserve so that I can give everything for 18 holes because I did hit a wall that back nine on Sunday, and it cost me.”

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U.S. team gives Tiger 'cold shoulder' after Tour Championship win

By Rex HoggardSeptember 26, 2018, 10:08 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods was one of the final members of Team USA to make it to the team room late Sunday in Atlanta after his travel plans were delayed by his victory at the Tour Championship.

As the team waited, captain Jim Furyk concocted a plan for Woods.

“I ran into Jim Furyk and he said, ‘We were thinking about giving Tiger the cold shoulder like they do in baseball when the guy hits his first home run.’ He asked, ‘Do you think Tiger will be OK with that?’” Woods’ caddie Joe LaCava told Ryder Cup Radio on Sirius/XM. “I was like, ‘Of course he would. He’s got a sense of humor.’”


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The U.S. team had plenty to cheer on Sunday with vice captain Steve Stricker also winning on the PGA Tour Champions. But it was Woods’ reception following his 80th PGA Tour victory and his first in five years that provided the best reaction.

“Tiger shows up about a half-hour later and is looking for some high-fives from everybody and they wouldn’t give him the time of day. They weren’t even looking at him, they all have their backs to him,” LaCava said. “He’s looking at me like what’s going on? He’s not a guy who is looking for fanfare, but these are his boys. He’s looking for 11 guys to run up and give him a good hug.”

LaCava said the team ignored Woods for about two minutes before breaking the silence with cheers and congratulations.

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How FedExCup has changed Ryder Cup prep

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:56 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The improved play of the U.S. Ryder Cup team might be attributed to more than just youthful exuberance or camaraderie.

Phil Mickelson said the PGA Tour schedule is also a factor.

Mickelson argued this week that the advent of the FedExCup Playoffs, in 2007, has contributed to the Americans’ better results in the biennial matches. Save for the disastrous blowout in 2014 at Gleneagles, the Americans have either won or been locked in a tight match with the Europeans.

“I think the FedExCup is a big asset for us,” Mickelson said. “In the past, we’ve had six weeks off in between our last competition and the Ryder Cup. This year, although we might be tired, we might have had a long stretch, our games are much sharper because of our consistent play week-in and week-out heading into this event.”


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When presented with Mickelson’s theory, Justin Rose, the new FedExCup champion, countered by saying that the Europeans are the fresher team this week – and that could be more important during such a stressful event.

Seventeen of the 24 players here were in East Lake for the Tour Championship, meaning they not only played the minimum number of events for PGA Tour membership, but also played in at least three of the four playoff events.

Some of the European players, however, have remained loyal to their home tour and taken more time off. Henrik Stenson missed a few events to rest his ailing elbow. Sergio Garcia didn’t play for four weeks. And even Rose has adjusted his schedule during the latter part of the season, to make sure that he was as fresh as possible for the Ryder Cup. That meant skipping the pro-am in Boston and flying in on Thursday night, on the eve of the tournament, and reducing his number of practice rounds.

“It’s interesting,” Rose said. “They might feel like they are playing their way in and our guys are going to have a bit of gas in the tank. We’ll have to evaluate it on Sunday, but I’m hoping our strategy is going to be the one that pays off in the long run.”

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Rose hoping for FedEx/Ryder Cup party on Sunday

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:41 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Justin Rose is hoping for the biggest party of all on Sunday night.

With the quick turnaround with the Ryder Cup, the newly crowned FedExCup champion hasn’t had much time to celebrate his season-long title that he earned Sunday at the Tour Championship.

“The FedExCup, for me, it finished on the plane,” Rose said Wednesday. “I enjoyed the plane ride over, but once I landed in Paris, I was one of 12 guys. I didn’t want it to carry over into this week. This week is about another job to do.”


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Rose said his Ryder Cup teammates have resorted to the usual tactics – “Apparently all the drinks are on my tab this week,” he joked – but just as Team USA may have used a boost with Tiger Woods winning, the Europeans can take confidence in having the FedExCup champion on their side.

As for any premature celebrations, Rose said: “I can shelve that for another week or so. I will certainly enjoy it. It’s kind of a season-long title that you really want to enjoy. But I’d like to maybe start that party on Sunday night and here for the right reasons, because of this week.”