Dump Trump

By Mercer BaggsNovember 1, 2009, 8:00 pm

Michael Whan

THE COMMISH: The LPGA announced late Tuesday that Michael Whan would be its next commissioner. Whan, a former executive vice president of TaylorMade Adidas Golf North America, will take over for acting commissioner Marty Evans in January.
Backspin We haven't seen someone come out of nowhere like this since Rosie Ruiz in the 1980 Boston Marathon. Considering we knew as much about Mr. Whan as we did Egyptian hieroglyphics prior to his press conference, we'll have to assume the LPGA hired the best candidate. Considering what the tour has been through this past year, we definitely give them the benefit of the doubt that they've found the right person to right the ship.

Donald Trump, Jr.

POSER: Construction began last week on Donald Trump's Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The 14,000-acre site will host two courses, a clubhouse, a hotel, nearly 1,000 holiday homes and roughly 500 houses. Trump's son, Donald, Jr., was on site Tuesday for the ground-breaking [and photo-ops].
BackspinAccording to Scottish newspapers, five residents still live on the estate and refuse to be bought out by Trump. A 'Tripping Up Trump' campaign has also been established to try and prevent the billionaire from evicting them. Trump has faced a lot of opposition over the last three years in his drive to build, in his boastful words, 'the greatest golf course in the world.' Amazingly, he just can't comprehend that some people don't care about money – they just want to live on and enjoy God's beautiful land.

Ross Fisher

FISHER KING: Ross Fisher of England defeated American Anthony Kim, 4 and 3, in the 36-hole final of the Volvo World Match Play Championship. Fisher earned $1.1 million and moved to third on the European Tour's Order of Merit. After a year off, the event was contested in Spain. It had been held in Wentworth, England since 1964.
Backspin That wasn't the only change. A round-robin format was used with 16 players comprising four pools, where one winner emerged from each based on points earned and margin of victory. It's much like what they do in soccer. Except not as knife-in-the-back agonizing to watch.

Anthony Kim and Robert Allenby

SO WE MEET AGAIN: Three weeks after their Presidents Cup singles match, Anthony Kim and Robert Allenby squared off in the semifinals of the Volvo World Match Play. Kim, who defeated Allenby in their previous encounter, was victorious again, disposing of the Australian, 5 and 4. Allenby created headlines after their initial meeting when he was critical of Kim's nightlife and called the 24-year-old the 'current John Daly.'
Backspin The only thing that would have made this match better would have been if Kim came to the first tee dressed and staggering like Otis Campbell. Both players issued statements in the aftermath of Allenby's Presidents Cup comments, but you knew a politician's apology had more sincerity. Kim refused to give Allenby any gimmes this time around, making him putt out from a foot. The way Kim treated Allenby and the way Kim beat Allenby – maybe he's got a little Tiger Woods in him afterall.

Viking Classic

DON'T VIKINGS LIKE WATER?: PGA Tour officials were forced to cancel the Viking Classic due to incessant rain and unplayable course conditions. It was the first time the Tour canceled an event outright since the 1996 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. No make-up date was scheduled, leaving next week's Children's Miracle Network Classic as the final official event of of the 2009 Tour season.
Backspin David Duval enters the finale in 125th place, less than $11,000 ahead of Chris Riley. Other notables needing a big week at Disney: Rich Beem [No. 124], Chris DiMarco [138] – actually, pretty much everyone in the field.

Ian Poulter

POUL POSITION: Ian Poulter ended a three-year winless drought by capturing the Singapore Open, an event co-sanctioned by the Asian and European tours. Poulter won wire-to-wire, though he nearly blew the tournament by shooting 1-over 72 in the final round.
Backspin Poulter, 33, is now 15th on the Official World Golf Ranking, nearing his goal of breaking into the top 10 by year's end. There is substance to go along with the style, but is there enough to ever win a major? Is there even enough to ever win on the PGA Tour? If either is going to happen, you'd think it would come in the next couple of years.

Na-Yeon Choi

NA, NA, NA, NA: Na-Yeon Choi won Hana Bank Kolon Championship in her native South Korea. She birdied the 18th hole for a one-shot triumph over Yani Tseng and Maria Hjorth. Choi, who also captured the Samsung World Championship, is just the third player with multiple wins on tour this year.
Backspin Choi's two victories have come in her last three starts, but because of the LPGA's scattered schedule, the first came in September and the latter in November. The next three weeks will wrap up the '09 season, as the ladies travel to Japan, Mexico and Texas. Ji Yai Shin still leads the money list and tops the Player of the Year standings.

John Cook and Loren Roberts

TROPHY ENVY: John Cook concluded the 2009 Champions Tour season with an easy victory at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Cook shot four sub-70 rounds, including a 10-under 62 Friday, en route to a five-stroke win. Loren Roberts, meanwhile, shot 66 Sunday to secure his second Charles Schwab Cup points title in three seasons.
Backspin Cook got $440,000 for his victory, while Roberts earned another $1 million annuity. Bernhard Langer, however, topped the money list with over $2.1 million. Who gets Player of the Year? That would have to be Roberts, who is the only one among the three to have won a major [Senior British].

Chang-won Han

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Chang-won Han captured the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship. ... Adam Scott tied for third at the Singapore Open, while Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els tied for 14th. ... Joey Sindelar withdrew from the Charles Schwab Cup Championship after complaining of shorteness of breath and diziness after playing the fourth hole Saturday. ... Tom Lehman's father, Jim Lehman, Sr., died Wednesday after complications during lung surgery. He was 75.
Backspin Han earned a spot in the 2010 Masters Tournament and a quick pass to the final stage of International Qualifying for next year's Open Championship. ... That's Scott's best finish anywhere since the Sony Open in January. ... Sindelar was taken to a nearby hospital and remained there Sunday after being diagnosed with a pulmonary emoblism. ... Our prayers are with the Lehman family.
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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

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Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

“It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

“I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

Let it go.

Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

“It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

“I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

The only thing left to do?

Let it go.

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Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.

Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.

Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

There is, however, one running wager.

“Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”

Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.

Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.

“I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.