Kuchar to Headline TGCs Canadian Tour Coverage

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 21, 2001, 5:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeThe Golf Channel will showcase an innovative new way to watch golf on television when the cable network premieres its coverage of the Canadian Tour, beginning Feb. 22.
The four-round telecast of the Myrtle Beach Open, Feb. 22-25, will mark two firsts: the first Canadian Tour event ever produced and telecast by an American television network, and the first time the home viewer will be offered a peek beyond the TV screen into the psyche of a player as he's making critical decisions navigating the course.
Four pros will compete in each tournament specially fitted with a TGC microphone. Headlining the group will be rookie professional Matt Kuchar, the Georgia Tech star who made his mark in the 1998 Masters and U.S. Open, who will play in two of the four tournaments on TGC.
Throughout the course of each round, viewers actually will be able to get inside the head of each player as he attempts to conquer the course. At steps along the way, they will communicate to the TGC audience about their views on hole set-up, shot and club selection, and strategy.
The Myrtle Beach Open begins a 10-year agreement with The Golf Channel that will see the Canadian Tour stage in the United States a minimum of four events in 2001 and six tournaments in subsequent years through 2010.
It was announced in November that Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., would serve as the location for the tour's 2001 winter qualifying school and inaugural four-event winter season. The championship courses at Barefoot Resort include designs by legendary golf course architects Tom Fazio and Pete Dye and current PGA Tour stars Greg Norman and Davis Love III.
Other events include the Barefoot Classic, March 1-4; South Carolina Challenge, March 8-11; and CanAm Days Championship, March 15-18.
Commentator Grant Boone will be joined by analyst Mark Lye for the Canadian Tour telecasts on TGC. Kraig Kann, Jerry Foltz and Canadian Bryan DeCorso will serve as on-course reporters.
The Players
MATT KUCHAR -- After winning the 1997 U.S. Amateur, Matt Kuchar further made headlines in the world of golf in 1998 by finishing tied for 21st at the Masters and tied for 14th at the U.S. Open. Instead of turning pro in '98, Kuchar decided to return to Georgia Tech for his final two years of school. After graduation, he took a job with an investment banking firm in Florida, while pondering his decision about turning pro. He recently hired instructor Rick Smith, and joined Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., whose members include Greg Norman, Nick Price and Jesper Parnevik.
JERRY FOLTZ -- A professional golfer since 1986, Foltz's career accomplishments include his victory at the 1995 Buy.Com South Carolina Classic, a win at the 1994 Taco Bell Newport Classic, and second-place finishes at the 1991 Pensacola and Elizabethtown Opens. A graduate of the University of Arizona, he was an All PAC-10 selection in 1985 and winner of the 1989 Arizona Amateur Championship. Foltz also serves as a TGC on-course reporter for PGA and Buy.Com Tour events.
JAMIE NEHER -- A native of Massachusetts and currently residing in Tequesta, Fla., Jamie Neher turned professional in 1997 after graduating from the University of Tennessee, where he earned 1st team All-SEC honors in 1994 and '95. He is a three-time winner on the South Florida Tour and recently earned playing privileges on the 2001 Buy.Com Tour.
TAKEAKI KOYAMA -- A native of Tokyo, Japan, Takeaki Koyama turned professional in 1984, and has since competed on various tours around the world. He garnered 14 wins between 1998 and 2000 on the mini-tour circuit, including the North Florida PGA Winter Tour - where he was the leading money winner - and the Challenge Tour of Asia. Koyama also is a Golf Channel color commentator for its Japanese feed.
GRAHAM DAVIDSON -- A native of Scotland, Graham Davidson turned professional in 1997 after a decorated collegiate career at Mississippi State University, where he captained the university's SEC championship team and was inducted into the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He also earned SEC Player of the Year and SEC Stroke Average Leader in 1996, as well as All-America honors in '95 and '96. Davidson played the Golden Bear Tour from 1997-2000, on which he celebrated two victories. His career was recently highlighted when he was matched with Greg Norman, Vijay Singh and Nick Faldo in practice rounds at the 2000 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach.
STEVE SCOTT -- Newly turned professional in September 2000, Steve Scott finished his collegiate career at the University of Florida with three individual collegiate championships, three NCAA All-America honors and a 1999 SEC Player of the Year award. Scott also competed on two Walker Cup teams, won the1999 Western Amateur Champion and took Tiger Woods to extra holes in the 1996 U.S. Amateur. He also competed in the 1997 Masters and 1997 U.S. Open Championship.
TIM CONLEY -- A former Canadian Tour member - and a veteran of the PGA and Buy.Com Tours - since turning pro in 1981, Tim Conley celebrated a career-best fifth finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 1998. He celebrated two victories on the Buy.Com Tour, including the 1993 Knoxville Open and the 1996 Gateway Classic; and finished 88th on the money list in 1999. He played the PGA European Tour in 1996 and won the Bermuda Open in 1989. A native of Ohio, Conley currently resides in Gainesville, Ga.
ROBERT FLOYD -- Son of veteran Raymond Floyd, Robert Floyd turned professional in the summer of 1997 after garnering collegiate honors at the University of Florida, including a two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and winner of three collegiate events. He also finished runner-up in the 1995 Western Amateur, where he beat Tiger Woods 2-Up in the semifinals. Most recently, Robert and Raymond won the 2000 Office Depot Father-Son Challenge.
CHARLES RAULERSON -- Hailing from Jacksonville, Fla., Raulerson has garnered success competing on several tours. He placed eleventh at the 2000 Shell Houston Open and finished seventh on the Buy.Com Tour money list in 1998, with victories that year at the Nike Oregon Classic and the Inland Empire Open. He captured European Challenge Tour titles at the 1992 South France Open and 1993 Gortex Classic in Scotland. Raulerson attended Clemson University and Louisiana State University.
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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.