Hawaii 5-0 Sony Open Contenders

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 10, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Sony OpenMichelle Wie, Michelle Wie, Michelle Wie. Thats about all youre going to read, see and hear this week at the Sony Open.
Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh is trying to successfully defend a title for the third time in his PGA Tour career.
Wie, however, is just one of 144 players in this first full-field PGA Tour event of 2006. And while its quite possible that she could make the cut on her home course at Waialae Country Club, where she recently shot a career-best 64, its quite unlikely that she will actually win the tournament.
Selecting the eventual champion beforehand is not an easy task. Unless youre picking Annika Sorenstam (who won 10 of 20 LPGA Tour events last year) to win on the ladies side, the odds are highly stacked against you.
But try we will. Here is our list for the top 5 contenders to win the 41st Sony Open in Hawaii.
Vijay Singh
Singh is the defending champion, having shot 65 in the final round a year ago to fend off Ernie Els, who closed in 8-under 62, by a stroke. Els won this event in 2003 and 2004. But with his absence this year, Singh is the clear favorite. The Sony was the first of four tour triumphs for Singh in 05. Only Tiger Woods won more than did the big Fijian a year ago, but Singh wasnt overly impressed with his performance. Saying he slacked off down the stretch, he expects to be more focused and more dedicated ' and accomplish even more in 06. He's off to a good start, having finished runner-up last week in the Mercedes Championships, losing a playoff to Stuart Appleby. Singh successfully defended two titles last year, at the Shell Houston Open and the Buick Open.
Jim Furyk
Unlike at the Mercedes, Furyk doesnt own a house on this host course. But just like at Kapalua, he does have a victory at Waialae. Furyk captured this event 10 years ago, defeating Brad Faxon in a playoff. Hes made the trip to Honolulu every year since his rookie season on tour in 1994. The only other tournament hes competed in as often is the Las Vegas tournament, now known as the Bose Championship. Furyk kick-started the season by finishing third in Maui.
Shigeki Maruyama
Shigeki Maruyama has three top-10s in seven career Sony Open starts.
Shigeki Maruyama
As a past tour winner, Maruyama would fit the mold of recent Sony champions. Only one player over the last decade (Jerry Kelly, 2002) has made this event his first tour victory. Maruyama, who has three tour titles, but none since 2003, has had plenty of success here. He has three top-10s over his last six Sony starts. Last year, he led by one through 54 holes, but his 1-under 71 on Sunday left him in a tie for third, two back of Singh. Given his Japanese heritage ' and omni-present smile ' he would likely be a popular champion on the island of Oahu. He is hoping to join countryman Isao Aoki as winners of this event. Aoki holed his approach shot on the 72nd hole for eagle to defeat Jack Renner by one in 1983.
Justin Rose
While experienced winners have prevailed 90 percent of the time over the last 10 years, others have come very close to making this their maiden triumph. Three years ago, tour rookie Aaron Baddeley lost to Els in a playoff. The year after that, Harrison Frazar did the same. Rose would love to start a new trend at Waialae. Hes come close on a few occasions to earning win No. 1 in the States, but hes never been able to finish strongly enough to do so. That was the case last year, when he made his debut at the Sony. Rose opened in 67-66 to get within one of the 36-hole lead; however, he closed in 72-72 to tie for 20th. With an extra year of tour competition under his belt ' and a few more difficult losses to season him, he should be ready to take advantage of his next opportunity.
Charles Howell III
Few players over the last five years have come up as short on expectations as has Howell. Expected to be a winner many times over by now and the leading 20something player in the U.S., Howell is still stuck on one tour victory ' which came in 2002. Its not as if hes a slouch; he averages about six top-10s a season and has never finished worse than 33rd on the money list. But he hasnt been able to convert opportunity into victory over the last 3 seasons. Of course, the 26-year-old hasnt won this event, but he has fared well in four previous appearances. He tied for fourth in his debut in 2002 and then tied for third a year ago. In between, he notched a couple of top-30s finishes. Perhaps the winds will finally blow his way this week.
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

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    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

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    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.