You Oughta Know: 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

By Will GrayAugust 9, 2015, 12:36 am

AKRON, Ohio – A pair of former major champions are poised to battle it out for the title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Here’s what You Oughta Know heading into the final round at Firestone Country Club, where Jim Furyk and Justin Rose share the lead:

- Furyk has a stellar record on the South Course, but he has yet to win on one of his favorite venues in 16 attempts. He finished second at this event in both 2001 and 2012.

- This is the 10th time since 2011 that Furyk carries at least a share of the 54-hole lead into the final round, the most of any player across that span. He failed to convert any of the previous nine chances into victory.

- Furyk broke a lengthy victory drought earlier this season at the RBC Heritage, and a victory would give him his first multi-win season since 2010, when he won the FedEx Cup.

- Rose has top-five finishes in two of the last three years at Firestone, and he has been on a tear this summer. His last four starts include a playoff loss at the Memorial, T-6 finish at the Open Championship and a T-4 finish at the Quicken Loans National.

- Rose fired a bogey-free 63 in the third round, just the second bogey-free round of the week. It came on the heels of a second-round 71 that featured 17 pars and a bogey.

- This is the 11th time Rose has held at least a share of the 54-hole lead. He converted three of those prior chances into wins, most recently at the Zurich Classic earlier this season.

- Shane Lowry is 7 under, two shots back after three rounds. The Irishman is a non-member on the PGA Tour but is on the verge of locking up full-time status for the 2015-16 season via the non-member earnings category.

- Lowry finished T-9 at the U.S. Open, and his best career PGA Tour finish came this year at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T-7.

- Bubba Watson is four shots back, in search of his third win of the season. Watson also won the WGC-HSBC Champions in November and could become the first player with a pair of WGC wins in the same season since Tiger Woods in 2013.

- Australian Steven Bowditch matched the low score of the week with a third-round 63 and is tied for fourth. Bowditch entered the week at No. 12 in the Presidents Cup race, and a top-10 finish would likely put him inside the top 10 on the International standings.

- After a 2-over 72 in the third round, Jordan Spieth will begin the final round tied for 17th, nine shots back, and likely will not overtake Rory McIlroy for world No. 1 before next week’s PGA Championship.

- The winner of this event has gone on to win the PGA Championship the following week twice in the last eight years: Woods in 2007 and McIlroy last year.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated” while taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor, he made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

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Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

“We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”