Backspin Leftys Loss Car-Nicety

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In our new feature, Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
COMING HOME LATE AGAIN: Phil Mickelson came to the 72nd hole of the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond with a one-shot lead. He then preceded to make a bogey to fall into a playoff with Gregory Havret of France. Another bogey on the first playoff hole cost Mickelson his first official win outside the U.S.
 
BackspinA look at his scorecard shows why Lefty is the most entertaining player in the world. The world No. 3 did not make a single par on the last seven holes he played, going birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey. Buy your tickets now for the roller-coaster ride with Phil at Carnoustie.
 
BYRD SOARS IN TO TAKE TITLE: Jonathan Byrd came from behind on Sunday to win the John Deere Classic, fashioning a bogey-free round which included four back-nine birdies for his third career PGA TOUR victory. In the process, he denied a late-faltering Tim Clark his first TOUR title.
 
BackspinHaving to win the event to even qualify for this week's Open Championship, Byrd didn't even bother bringing his passport along with him in case that happened. He did so partly because he had missed the cut in his last four events, but mainly because he thought it would 'jinx' him. Who says superstitions don't work?
 
ONE FOR THE THUMB: Se Ri Pak joined a select group of golfers when she won the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic this past week. Pak joined Mickey Wright (Sea Island Open) and Annika Sorenstam (Mizuno Classic) as the only LPGA Tour players to win the same tournament five times. Its happened 20 times on the PGA TOUR, with Sam Snead winning the Greater Greensboro Open on eight occasions.
 
BackspinJust another piece of history for one of the more over-looked players of her generation. Pak will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame later this year and will be remembered not only as one of the games greats, but the matriarch of the South Korean influx on the LPGA.
 
NICK'S WORLD: Nick Faldo announced that he was going to return to competition for the Open Championship and then make his senior debut in the British Senior Open at Muirfield, site of his 1987 and 1992 Open triumphs.
 
BackspinPerhaps more interesting than how he fares on the course, will be how he fares in the broadcast booth. Faldo will pull double duty at Carnoustie and will re-join Paul Azinger on air with ABC Sports. The two Ryder Cup captains should provide fans with plenty of entertaining commentary.
 
CAR-NASTY OR CAR-NICETY?: Royal and Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said wet weather over the past two months in Scotland should make for a kinder, gentler Carnoustie than the one players faced eight years ago, when 6 over par was the winning total.
 
BackspinIt wasnt Mother Nature who created the majority of the chaos in 1999; it was an unchecked course superintendent. The field shouldnt be lulled into thinking that Carnoustie will be a pushover like Royal Liverpool, where Tiger Woods won last year at 18 under.
 
FRIDAY THE 13TH: Zach Johnson, competing in what he considers to be his home event, missed the cut at the John Deere Classic. Johnson, who grew up about an hour away, in Iowa, from the Silvis, Ill., site, had three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine en route to missing weekend play by a stroke.
 
BackspinThe Masters winner wasnt the only player who experienced a nightmare Friday the 13th. Defending John Deere champion John Senden missed the cut by five. Fresh off his win in Ireland, Colin Montgomerie missed the cut in the Scottish Open, as did Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and David Howell. Paula Creamer also missed the cut on the LPGA for the first time since May, 2005.
 
E! ENTERTAINMENT GOLF: Chris Chandler went wild in the final round by making seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch to win the American Century Celebrity Championship. Chadler held off six-time winner Rick Rhoden for the win.
 
BackspinNot sure how many people actually tuned in to see the likes of a Chandler and Rhoden battle down the stretch, but the real deal was to see how 500-1 underdog Charles Barkley would fare this time around. Lets just say the 500-1 odds on Barkley winning the event should have been more like, oh we don't know, a trillion to 1. Sir Charles, and his beyond frightening golf swing, finished dead last among the field.
 
HAWAIIAN HONEYMOON: Tadd Fujikawa, 16, who captured the hearts of golf fans with his emotional turn at the 2006 U.S. Open and then when he made the cut at this years Sony Open, announced he was going to turn pro at the Reno-Tahoe Open next month.
 
BackspinAh yes, let the comparisons begin. Young Hawaiian teen turns professional; young Hawaiian professional grabs lucrative company sponsorships; young Hawaiian professional takes PGA TOUR exemptions away from struggling PGA TOUR professionals; young Hawaiian teen eventually gets crushed by unforgivinging media. Well, here's hoping that last one isn't the case.
 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Little-known R.W. Eaks beat out the likes of Craig Stadler and Scott Hoch to win on the Champions Tour; Colt Knost, a recent grad from SMU, captured the 82nd U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship with a 6-and-4 win over Cody Paladino, and in the procees earned a trip to the Masters; Alexis Thompson, who was the youngest qualifier in history for the U.S. Women's Open last month, became the youngest champion in the 32-year history of the Jr. PGA Championship; And Steve Williams denied rumors that he is leaving Tiger Woods' bag at the end of the year.
 
BackspinEaks, who oddsmakers had at 18-1 before they teed off on Friday, finally had his moment in the sun after seven top-5 finishes this year without a win; We'd like to be there when Knost is introduced to former Augusta chairman Hootie Johnson - 'Hootie, Colt. Colt, Hootie.'; Alexis Thompson, 12, probably has more trouble choosing between Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs at breakfast than she does when deciding what club to pull on a par-3; For a brief moment, camera men rejoiced. But then why would Williams leave? He earns more money than most of the guys who play on TOUR.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Barclays Scottish Open
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    Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead

    By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 10:45 pm

    Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.

    Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.

    With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.

    All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.

    “This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”


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    Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.

    “It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.

    Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.

    “Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”

    Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.

    “My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”

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    Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 10:12 pm

    We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.

    Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.

    If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.

    It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.

    Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.

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    Like father like son: Bring Your Child to Work Day

    By Jay CoffinApril 26, 2018, 7:51 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Today is Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day at Golf Channel, where everything is fun and games until your child promptly says something that embarrasses you beyond belief. It’s only happened six times today. So far.

    My daughter, 12, is in middle school and feels like she’s too big for this sort of shindig. But my son Brady, 11, was all in. The deal was that he could spend the day with me, I’d take him to McDonald’s for lunch, but he had to write a golf story of some sort for GolfChannel.com.

    Here is his unedited work, in all its glory:

    By BRADY COFFIN

    My name is Brady Coffin and I play golf. I started at the age of 4 years old. My two favorite golfers are Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods. They are really good golfers and every time I watch them they always give me tips.

    My dad Jay Coffin is the best editor of Golf Channel and always gave me tips when I first put the golf club in my hand. I had my very first par in Hilton Head when I was 7 years old. I am on the Drive, Chip and Putt commercial and I was in a movie where I played a young Ben Hogan. My favorite golf course is Royal Blue in the Bahamas.

    I have won many golf tournaments and I am going to play in another tournament next month. I have made a couple of birdies. I am going to play in the PGA Junior League this summer.

    At the Golf Channel I get to meet new people and play many games. One of the amazing people I met was Mr. Damon Hack. He is on the Morning Drive show and was very nice to me. Damon has been playing golf for 25 years and his favorite golfer growing up was Tiger Woods.

    He loves working at Golf Channel.

    “It gives me the opportunity to talk and write about the sport that I love. It’s a sport that I can play with my boys. It’s a sport that I can watch on television. It’s a sport that teaches great life lessons. I couldn’t ask for a better job,” Damon said to me.

    (P.S. I will be better than Jordan Spieth.)

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    Not the 'prettiest' 65, but Duval, Furyk will take it

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 7:44 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Wearing a polo instead of a dress shirt, working with a caddie and not a producer, David Duval exited the scoring tent, walked toward the group of reporters waiting for him after their 65 and grumbled to teammate Jim Furyk, “The damn media.”

    Duval was joking – we think – since he now is one of us on the dark side, a successful and respected TV analyst, after an injury-shortened career in which he battled Tiger Woods, rose to world No. 1, won a major and then experienced such a miserable slump that it drove him into an entirely new line of work.

    Now 46, Duval doesn’t play much anymore, only 11 events in the past four years. His last made cut was in July 2015. Earlier this year, he teed it up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but only because he and his wife, Susie, enjoy the vibe there. Competitively, he knew he didn’t stand a chance. He had moved back to Colorado, worked two out of the three weeks, and then couldn’t practice the other week because the weather didn’t cooperate. Not surprisingly, he shot three consecutive rounds of 76 or worse.

    And that could have been the extent of his season (save for his annual appearance at The Open), but he was drawn to the idea of the team format at the Zurich, to the idea of playing with Jim Furyk, with whom he’s been friends for the past 32 years, dating to their days in junior golf. So Duval reached out, asking the U.S. Ryder Cup captain if he wanted to team up, for old times’ sake.

    “This was about being with a friend, reuniting, having our wives together for a few days,” said Duval, who estimated that he’s played more than 100 practice rounds with Furyk over the years. “Expectation-wise, I don’t know what they are for me. I don’t get to participate out here and compete.”


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    But Duval took this start seriously. He almost never travels with his clubs, but he brought them to the Masters, working with his old coach, Puggy Blackmon, between TV appearances and bouncing between Augusta Country Club and Augusta University’s practice facility.

    Without any on-camera work since then, he’s spent the past two weeks grinding, even bringing Blackmon to New Orleans for a range session, just like most of the other pros in the field.

    “It’s like a normal preparation,” he said. “Maybe not as much as it would be for a typical player, but a lot more than I’ve been able to do in the past.”

    Duval has no intentions of diving back into competitive golf full-time, but working as an analyst has given him a new perspective on the game he loves.

    “When you don’t play a lot and you don’t have that opportunity, you feel like you have to play perfectly,” he said. “Being on the other side of the desk, you see how many crappy golf shots really, truly get hit, and it’s like, look, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to hit more good ones than bad ones and go from there.”

    That also sums up his and Furyk’s opening round here at the Zurich.

    Furyk joked before the event that they’re the rustiest team in the field, but playing best ball, they remained steady in a driving rainstorm, then ran off seven birdies to shoot 65 and sit in the top 10 when they finished their round.

    “It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest,” Duval said, “but it was solid. It wasn’t like we had 36 looks at birdie.”

    “We ham-and-egged it really good today,” Furyk added. “We got pretty much one of the best scores we could have out of the round.”

    The second round could be a different story, of course, with alternate shot. It’s a more nerve-wracking format – especially for two aging warriors without many competitive reps this year – and they figure to find some unusual parts of TPC Louisiana.

    But that’s a worry for Friday, because Duval was in the mood to savor his four birdies, his team score of 65 and his ideal start to a work week with his longtime friend.

    “I think it was good,” he said, breaking into a wry smile, “especially for me.”