Experience Pays at Buick Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 27, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Buick ChampionshipThe Buick Championship has been contested 54 times on the PGA TOUR. Throughout its history, it has but one repeat winner: Phil Mickelson.
 
Mickelson won this tournament in 2001 and 2002. He returned in 03 for a chance at a three-peat, but ultimately finished tied for 58th. And he hasnt been back since ' a streak of absence that will be extended this year.
 
Brad Faxon
Brad Faxon is trying to join Phil Mickelson as the only repeat winners of this event.
Mickelson is a no-show once again in Cromwell, Conn., but this time hes got a pretty good excuse. The worlds No. 2-ranked player is still trying to recover from a devastating defeat two weeks ago at the U.S. Open.
 
He was scheduled to compete in the two-day ING Par-3 Shootout, which began Monday, but pulled out, saying: Its always about having fun and I didnt think it was fair to the event to act like I could have a lot of fun right now.
 
Mickelson isnt the only top-10 player taking off this week ' just the most notable, given his history in this tournament, and his most recent history on a golf course. None of the top 10 ranked players in the world are in attendance. In fact, only two of the top 30 players in the world are here ' Kenny Perry and Nick OHern.
 
That means good news for a bunch of players in need of a good paycheck.
 
This is the 26th week on the 2006 PGA TOUR calendar, meaning, including the Buick Championship, there are only 19 weeks remaining.
 
Its not yet time to panic ' that doesnt happen until after the PGA Championship. But, if players dont make a move over the next couple of months, they will have to endure much grief trying to secure their card as soon as the major season is over.
 
Last years Buick Championship was contested in late August after the PGA Championship. Its been moved up two months for this year. It will keep a similar spot on next years FedEx Cup schedule, but will have a new sponsor, The St. Paul Travelers Companies. The Travelers Championship will be contested the week after the U.S. Open.
 
While it would seem that, without a star-studded field, this would be a great event for a young player like Camilo Villegas to earn a break-through victory; the Buick Championship has recently catered to TOUR veterans. And not only TOUR vets, but those with lengthy winless droughts.
 
In 2003, 49-year-old Peter Jacobsen won for the first time since 1995. The next year, 40-year-old Woody Austin won for the first time since 95. And last year, 44-year-old Brad Faxon won for the first time since 2001.
 
Will the trend continue this week, or will someone new establish his name? Here are our favorites at the TPC at River Highlands:
 
Paul Azinger
Perhaps its Azingers turn. He certainly fits the criteria: hes 46 years old and hasnt won on TOUR since 2000. Now that his primary focus has returned to playing golf and not broadcasting it, Azinger has seen some positive progress recently. He has made the cut in each of his last four starts, posting a tie for 16th and a 10th-place finish among those results. Hes currently inside the top 100 on the money list right now and a good finish this week would secure his card for next season (hes using his Top 50 on the Career Money List exemption this year). In 19 career starts in this event, he has only three top-10s; two of those, however, are victories (1987 and 1989).
 
Woody Austin
Austins two-year exemption for winning the 2004 Buick Championship runs out this year. However, he is a pretty good bet to keep his card, as he is safely inside the top 90 on the money list at the moment, thanks primarily to a tie for seventh at the Memorial Tournament. It took a while, but Austin may have finally figured out how to play this TPC at River Highlands course. He had three missed cuts and not a single top-40 in his first six starts here. Over his last two trips, however, he has a win and a tie for ninth.
 
Kenny Perry
For a man who has never finished outside the top 100 on the money list over his 19-year career, Perry is having an atypical season in 06. He has yet to post a top-10 and is 114th in earnings; though, he is exempt through 2008 due to his two-win season in 2005. Part of that has to do with his being sidelined for two months due to a knee injury. He came back in May, a finally got a good result at last week's Booz Allen where he finished tied for 13th. This could be a good tournament for him to build on that momentum. Perry has played this event 17 times and has six career top-10s, including four in his last six appearances.
 
Kevin Sutherland
Outside of winning the 2002 WGC-Match Play Championship, Sutherland has never done anything spectacular in his 11-year career. But hes been very consistent, finishing inside the top 125 on the money list every year since 1996. A good finish this week could help keep that streak alive. Currently 128th in earnings, Sutherland has eight top-20 finishes in 10 starts at the Buick Championship.
 
Jerry Kelly
Thanks to a runner-up finish in Tucson and a couple of other top-10s this season, Kelly has secured playing status for next year. If he can win this week, hell have it locked up for 08 as well. Kelly, who is seeking his first win since 2002, when he won twice, missed the cut in each of his first four trips around River Highlands. But he has three top-20s over his last four starts, including a tie for fourth a year ago.
 
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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.