A Big Win A Bigger Loss

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
BE LIKE TIGER...: Kenny Perry fired a solid 3-under 69 in Sunday's final round to overcome a three-stroke deficit to win the Memorial Tournament. In the process, he joined Tiger Woods as the only three-time winner of Jack's event.
Backspin Its an absolutely huge win for the 47-year-old Perry for several reasons: A) this victory goes a long way for him reaching his stated, beginning-of-the-year goal of making the 2008 Ryder Cup team that will be played in his home state of Kentucky; B) it quells the demons in his head after two near misses in his last two events - THE PLAYERS and the AT&T Classic - were he played in the final round and couldn't close the deal; and C) turning 48 in August, he now is exempt on TOUR up until he is eligible for the Champions Tour. This, of course, is not to mention the other 1,080,000 reasons this was a big win for Perry.

...OR NOT: Tiger Woods didnt play the Memorial Tournament for the second time in three years, but he was in the news this past week, giving a pre-tournament press conference for his AT&T National.
Backspin Woods said his game wasnt up to snuff for competition, but he expects it to be for next weeks U.S. Open. He added that his knee is still a bit of a bother, but he didnt expect it to keep him out of the winners circle at Torrey Pines. His coach, Hank Haney, told GolfChannel.com Insider Brian Hewitt: 'Tiger (recently) hit the ball as good as I have ever seen him hit it with all his clubs. Tiger is an amazing individual and he feels good about his chances at Torrey Pines.' Now it's just a wait-and-see situation.

'LET' HER PLAY: Michelle Wie made just her third start in 2008, competing in the Ladies German Open on the Ladies European Tour (LET). Wie opened in 4-under 68 and closed with a 5-under 67 to finish sixth.
Backspin Wie, who ranked second just two years ago, has plummeted in the world rankings, and this could turn out be the perfect spark for the 18-year-old to rebuild some much needed confidence. A year ago at this time Wie was all the (negative) talk in golf after bowing out of the Ginn Tribute through 16 holes of the first round while on the verge of shooting the dreaded 88. Now she barely makes a blip on the radar screen when she plays. And thats probably a good thing. Then again, this solid showing in Germany quickly raises the bar.

WHERE'S THE LIFE PRESERVER?: Seon Hwa Lee may have won the Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA in a playoff over Karrie Webb, but the big story was the fact that Sophie Gustafson held a six-shot lead with 18 to play and didn't even make it into the playoff.
Backspin Gustafson, who hasn't won on the LPGA Tour win since 2003, looked to be in total control after shooting 66, 65, 67 in her first three rounds to reach 18 under. She even started Sunday's final round with birdies on two of the first three holes to reach 20 under par. What should have been smooth sailing from there on, quickly turned into a boat taking on water and eventually capsizing. She played the final 15 holes in 9 over par and missed the playoff by three shots. The good news is that she finished seven strokes better than fellow Swede and tournament host Annika. Thats good, right?

HANDLE WITH CARE: Ernie Els flip-flopped and decided to play at Jack's tournament, the Memorial. The Big Easy surprised everyone - though only momentarily - when his Web site reported that he would not play again until this week in the Stanford St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
BackspinWe don't know the exact reasons for Els' change in heart, although we find it a little strange that the South African decided to play in the event after a certain someone withdrew. Coincidence? Yes. Smart move? No. Ernie went on to miss the cut in his second straight event and is seemingly limping toward Torrey Pines.

USA! USA! USA!: The American squad rolled to a 13-7 victory in the biennial Curtis Cup, which matches top female amateurs from the U.S. against those from Great Britain and Ireland. The United States now leads the series, 26-6-3.
Backspin This was the U.S. team's sixth straight win in the event and with it brought up suggestions that the event begin including all of continental Europe - as opposed to just GB&I - as the Ryder Cup did back in 1979. Countered legendary U.S captain Carole Semple-Thompson, I can understand Great Britain and Ireland would be a little frustrated at this point since weve won six in a row, but I think that the level of their play is fantastic.' Sounds like she is well aware of what has happened to the U.S. since the Ryder Cup changed its format.

SAD DEPARTURE: Lorena Ochoa withdrew prior to the start of the Ginn Tribute to be with her ailing uncle in Mexico. Two days after her withdrawal, her uncle, Pedro Ochoa, died after a long illness at age 73
BackspinFamily is first and foremost to Ochoa and it showed when she left Annikas event, a tournament which she lost in a playoff last year, to be by the bedside of her dying uncle. Ochoas Web site said she would return to competition this week for the seasons second major, the McDonalds LPGA Championship, where she will go for her third straight major victory. Expect Ochoa to be focused and inspired at Bulle Rock.

DOUBLE REPEAT:Jay Haas won for the second straight week and the second straight year at the Principal Charity Classic, shooting 6-under 65 Sunday for a one-shot triumph over Andy Bean.
Backspin Haas now leads the senior circuit in money and on the Charles Schwab Cup points list. Hes also 1-for-1 in the majors this year. Chalk up another P.O.Y. campaign for Mr. Haas.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Colin Montgomerie wants to change the Ryder Cup format to extend it to four days of action; Scott Strange won The Celtic Manor Wales Open in wire-to-wire fashion, his maiden European Tour victory; Kris Blanks won his maiden Nationwide Tour event at the Bank of America Open.
Backspin Usually we feel if it ain't broke, don't fix it. However, an extra day of Ryder Cup excitement? Sign us up!; Strange admitted afterwards, 'I felt numb on the last tee. I had a vacant brain.; Blanks moves from 31st to fifth on the Nationwide money list.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Memorial Tournament
  • Full Coverage - The Celtic Manor Wales Open
  • Full Coverage - Principal Charity Classic
  • Full Coverage - Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA
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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.

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    Woods fires shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

    His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

    “I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

    Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

    It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.