Z. Johnson on love for Deere: 'Has embraced' its spot

By Nick MentaJuly 8, 2015, 6:52 pm

SILVIS, Ill. – John Deere, with its corporate headquarters just about five minutes up the road, announced on Tuesday a seven-year extension with the PGA Tour to continue to sponsor the John Deere Classic through at least 2023.

Zach Johnson would probably have preferred a commitment through 2033.

The 2013 champion and three-time runner-up is also a member of the tournament’s board of directors.

At his news conference Tuesday morning, Johnson was reminded that he enters this week with 24 consecutive rounds in the 60s at TPC Deere Run.

“Major jinx,” he said.

He was further reminded that he hasn’t finished worse than a tie for third in his last four starts.

“Major jinx,” he reiterated.

Johnson’s affinity for this event stems from his upbringing in Cedar Rapids, IA, roughly 90 minutes from the Quad Cities. Needless to say, he’s kind of a happy here.

“I love coming back,” he said. “You guys can probably get your recorders out, those that have been here before at this time every year, and I’m probably going to sit here and say the same things. There’s just a peace about it here for me that I don’t have at many other tournaments.”

If there’s anyone who can rival Johnson’s success at the Deere, it’s Steve Stricker, who won three consecutive titles from 2009-2011. At 48, Stricker is already the host of a newly announced Champions Tour event in his home state of Wisconsin but said this week he’s looking forward to “another eight years of John Deeres,” which would carry him through the age of 56.

Despite Johnson and Stricker’s affinity for it, the Deere’s unique challenge remains its unenviable place on the PGA Tour schedule, one week ahead of and six time zones behind the Open Championship.

Jordan Spieth’s decision to honor his commitment to this event – where he claimed his first Tour victory in 2013, beating Johnson in a playoff – has been the topic of conversation since his U.S. Open victory, with some suggesting he would have been better off preparing at the Scottish Open or getting to St. Andrews a week early.

That said, the Deere, as Johnson puts it, “has embraced” its spot, offering a Sunday night charter to players headed for the British, a charter that could wind up carrying one extra passenger. One player who is not already in the Open field has a chance to earn an invite to the year’s third major with a top-5 finish this week via the Open Qualifying Series.

“They’ve embraced what they’ve had to combat, if that makes any sense,” Johnson said, referring to the tournament staff. “They’ve embraced the fact that just, in the calendar, it’s not the most ideal situations all the time. And they continue … to make it better. I mean, they’ve got an identity and they’ve stuck to that.”

Getty Images

Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

Getty Images

Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

Getty Images

Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

Getty Images

Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18