Looking to Hit Blackjack in Vegas

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)There was no denying that when it happened, the first time that it happened, that it would happen again ' and again and again.
 
But 56 times in just 10 years?
 
Its been one decade ' and 55 more PGA TOUR titles ' since Tiger Woods earned his first TOUR win in the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational. The skinny rookie from Stanford knocked off veteran Davis Love III in a playoff for win No. 1.
 
Wes Short, Jr. and Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk will try and atone for his surprising playoff loss to Wes Short, Jr. a year ago.
His legacy had already begun long before that maiden professional triumph, and it continues to grow exponentially today.
 
Woods is riding a six-event winning streak on TOUR; though, he will not extend it this week, as he is not in attendance. Woods came back to Vegas in 97 to try and defend his title. He tied for 36th that year and hasnt since returned ' except to gamble, practice or host Tiger Jam.
 
No Tiger is good news for the rest of the field, many of whom are scratching and clawing for their TOUR cards for 2007. This is one of only three full-field events remaining on the 06 calendar.
 
This years edition, the 24th overall for this event, is called the Frys.com Open. It offers a purse of $4 million, with $720,000 going to the eventual champion.
 
For the third straight year the tournament will be contested over 72 holes, after being a 90-hole tournament for the majority of its existence.
 
The TPC at Summerlin will play host with the TPC at the Canyons also in the rotation over the first two days.
 
And now that you have the particulars, here are our five favorites for this week:
 
Jim Furyk
Furyk is the unquestionable King of Vegas ' in relation to this event. In 12 career starts, he has three wins and six top-5 finishes. He was runner-up a year ago, losing in a playoff to Wes Short, Jr. Aside from the Ryder Cup fiasco, Furyk has played exceptionally well over the last 3 months. In his last eight starts on the PGA TOUR, he has seven top-5s, including a victory in the Canadian Open.
 
Ryan Moore
Each of the last two Vegas winners have been first-time winners on TOUR. And each player, Andre Stoltz in 2004 and Short in 05, won in Vegas without any momentum. Short had only one top-10 finish all year before coming up aces; Stoltz hadnt had any (both men have combined for all of one top-10 since their victories). Could another first-timer prevail at Vegas? If so, it could well be Moore. Moore was an amateur legend at UNLV. He's come close to winning a couple of times on TOUR; this could be his breakthrough performance.
 
Danny Ellis
Or perhaps Lady Luck could favor Ellis. Like Stolz and Short, Ellis enters Vegas without any fanfare. He has only one top-10 and is in dire need of a good finish to keep his card for next year. He has twice played this event, tying for seventh in his last appearance in 2004.
 
Scott Verplank
It's probably no coicidence that the winning number the last two years, since the event returned to a 72-hole format, is 21 under. Verplank, who hasn't had a winning hand since 2001, hopes to hit blackjack this time around. This is his 16th start in this event, and he has finished inside the top 25 in six of his last eight appearances, including a three times in top 10.
 
Charles Howell III
Speaking of winless droughts, Howells dates back to 2002. He has become the poster boy for underachieving U.S. players in their 20s on TOUR, which means he desperately needs another win. Despite the fact that he has only two top-10 finishes this year, he has amassed nearly $1.4 million. Thats because his two top-10s have been runner-up finishes. If he gets his ever-evolving game clicking this week, he could be a contender. He was solo fifth here a year ago.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Frys.com Open
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    Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

    In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

    Made Cut

    Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

    The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

    To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

    Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

    Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.



    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

    The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

    “Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

    Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

    Tweet of the week:

    Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

    “No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”


    Missed Cut

    Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

    As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

    Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

    In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

    Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

    Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

    In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

    The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

    “The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

    Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.

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    Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

    After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

    Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

    Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.



    Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

    It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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    Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

    Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

    The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

    Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

    "I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

    "It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

    Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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    Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

    Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

    Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

    After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

    McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

    "I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."


    Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


    McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

    "The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

    This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

    "I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."