Oh Rickie Youre So Fine

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 20, 2009, 7:16 pm

Rickie Fowler

CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN: Rickie Fowler, fresh off his perfect performance in the Walker Cup, missed the cut in his professional debut at the Nationwide Tour's Albertsons Boise Open. Fowler shot 73-71 for a 2-over total, five shots removed from the 3-under cut line. Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, also missed the cut in his first Nationwide Tour event, shooting 71-71.
Backspin Fowler needs another Puma logo, in addition to the ones on his hat, his shirt, his belt buckle, his pants and his shoes. Maybe forearm tattoos [Of course, I'd name my next child Puma, if they paid me enough]. And not to poke fun - OK, to poke fun - but what's up with his hair? Your hair doesn't look like that with a hat on unless you meticulously styled it that way. Wonder if he prefers Fop or if he's a Dapper Dan man.

Na Yeon Choi

CHOI-OUS OCCASION: Na Yeon Choi claimed her first career LPGA title, capturing the limited-field Samsung World Championship by one stroke over Ai Miyazato. Choi became the ninth different Asian-born player to win on the LPGA this season.
Backspin Choi built a seven-stroke lead on the front nine Sunday, but lost it all on the back. Miyazato actually led by one until depositing her second shot into the water on the par-5 18th at Torrey Pines South. She made bogey, while Choi responded with a tournament-winning birdie on the same hole. Meanwhile, Jiyai Shin, the tour's leading money winner who has built a reputation for final-round comebacks, could only muster a 2-over 74 and finished five back in solo third place.

Lorena Ochoa

GETTING CLOSER: Lorena Ochoa tied 2008 champion Paula Creamer for fourth place at the Samsung World Championship. Ochoa had five birdies over her first 10 holes Sunday, but had no birdies, one bogey and one double bogey [on 18] over her final eight holes She remains winless on the LPGA since April.
Backspin Ochoa admitted during the week that personal matters, including her impending marriage to Andrés Conesa Labastida, the CEO of AeroMéxico and 40-year-old father of three, have disrupted her on-course focus. This week's result, however, was her second consecutive top-10, after having gone two months without a finish inside the top 25. There are still six tournaments left on the 2009 LPGA schedule, one of which she will be defending [Navistar LPGA Classic] and one of which she will be hosting [Lorena Ochoa Invitational]. She might not be able to catch Jiyai Shin on the money list or in the Player of the Year standings, but a strong finish in '09 could lead to a rebirth of dominance in 2010.

Donna Orender and Amy Mickelson

GOOD TO SEE YOU: Amy Mickelson returned to the public spotlight this past week when she participated in a LPGA event at Torrey Pines as part of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Amy, who is recovering from breast cancer surgery, was representing the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation.
Backspin Amy, as usual, was a wonderful sight, and we can only assume that means her recovery is going well. On other topic, the woman to her right is WNBA president Donna Orender. Was her presence any indication that she may be the next LPGA commissioner? She's purportedly one of the finalists for the job.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

ZERO TO 60 IN 18 HOLES: Rafael Cabrera-Bello fired an 11-under 60 in the final round to win the Austrian Golf Open by one shot over Benn Barham. Barham had led after each of the first three rounds, and was eight clear of Cabrera-Bello to start Sunday. Cabrera-Bello, however, notched his first European Tour victory by recording 11 birdies and no bogeys. The score matched the lowest round in tour history.
Backspin Normally, Backspin would place the results of the Austrian Golf Open in the 'In Case You Missed It' section. But when a man does was Cabrera-Bello did, he deserves special mention. Plus, there really wasn't much going on in golf this past week so we needed some filler.

Jay Haas

GREATER THAN EVERYONE: Jay Haas, the two-time defending Player of the Year on the Champions Tour, picked up his first win of 2009 at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. Haas birdied five of his final six holes for a 7-under 65 and a two-shot triumph over Andy Bean and Russ Cochran.
Backspin The victory was a relief to Haas, who likely won't earn P.O.Y. honors for a third consecutive season, but at least avoided being shut-out in the win column. In case you were wondering, Fred Funk currently leads the Charles Schwab Cup points race and Bernhard Langer tops the money list. Langer has three wins this season, but no major victories. Funk has only one win, but it was the U.S. Senior Open. Then there's Loren Roberts, who has three wins, including a major [Senior British]. In case you were wondering.

Torrey Pines

GIMME MORE: As previously mentioned, this past week's Samsung World Championship was contested at Torrey Pines South. The layout played to a par 72 and measured 6,721 yards. It marked the first time since 1983 that Torrey Pines hosted an LPGA event.
Backspin We know it's easier said than done, but it would be great for the ladies to play some of the game's more recognizable courses. They do it at the Women's British Open, and it would be enjoyable to see that translate Stateside. The players would most certainly enjoy it and the fans would get a kick out of it, too.

A MILLION FOR ONE: Jason Hargett holed a 9-iron from 150 yards to win one million dollars at the Mark Eaton Celebrity Golf Classic. The 35-year-old restaurant manager landed his ball 10 feet past the hole and watched as it rolled back into the cup. Hargett, who was using his brother's clubs, said he almost didn't take part in the event due to a sore wrist.
Backspin This is the way people should react when something amazing happens on a golf course. This is how Lucas Glover should have reacted after he won the U.S. Open, not like he had just been given a flu shot.

Jim Thorpe

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Jim Thorpe pled guilty to two counts of failure to pay income taxes. ... Vinny Giles won the U.S. Senior Amateur. ... Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice became a member of Shoal Creek. ... Ruth Day, a 64-year-old retiree from England, made two holes-in-one in the same round. ...U.S. club pros routed GB&I in the PGA Cup.
Backspin Thorpe agreed to pay all taxes, interest, and penalties to the Internal Revenue Service for 2002-04, which totals about $1.5 million. ... Giles, 66, won the U.S. Amateur in 1973, making his 37 years the longest span between multiple titles for any USGA champion. ...Shoal Creek was a symbol of racism when it hosted the 1990 PGA Championship. ... Day didn't start playing golf until her mid-50s. ...The Americans won 17 1/2 - 8 1/2 at Loch Lomond.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

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Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”