Old Man Amongst Boys

By Jason SobelAugust 6, 2011, 7:34 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Adam Scott is old.

OK, so maybe he’s not graying and wrinkled and covered with liver spots, but compared with his fellow contenders at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the man is downright ancient.

“I don't feel old,” said the 54-hole leader. “I still act like a teenager sometimes.”

Actually, he’s acting one better than a teenager – specifically, Ryo Ishikawa, who at 19 trails Scott by a stroke entering Sunday’s final round.

Ishikawa is joined in second place by Jason Day, 23, while one shot further back are Martin Laird, 28, and Keegan Bradley, 25. If you’re scoring at home, that means the four men chasing the 31-year-old Scott are an average age of just under 24.

How does it feel to be the old guy on the leaderboard?

“I'm just happy to be on the leaderboard,” Scott said after posting a third-round 4-under 66. “I don't care how old I am. It is amazing. Jason playing well again and Ryo - these guys, teenagers. It's unbelievable. I think golf is looking in good shape for the future, really, with players like this up here now.”

Back in the olden days – you know, like a year or two ago – Scott would have been considered an up-and-comer himself, still playing the front nine of what has already been a very successful career. While the seven-time PGA Tour champion has certainly yet to reach his prime, he now finds himself surrounded by a plethora of rising stars.

It’s not just this week, either.

Youth has gone wild at the game’s most elite level this season. Twelve different 20-somethings have won tournaments in the U.S., tying for the second-most since 2000. If there was a turning point to usher in the new era, it came at the U.S. Open, where 22-year-old Rory McIlroy obliterated the field by eight strokes.

“Going back five, maybe 10 years ago, 31 was young out here,” said Day, who posted a 4-under 66 in the third round. “It's only getting younger and I think with the technology that we have today, with the competition that we have over here and obviously around the world, the game of golf is only improving. And with improvement, that obviously involves the younger kids.”

Day and Ishikawa are part of a global fivesome that should be called “The League of Extraordinary Young Gentlemen,” along with McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Matteo Manassero. Between them, they represent not only the future of golf, but – as evidenced by the leaderboard – the present, too. In fact, Fowler is in a share of sixth place, just three strokes back; McIlroy is two strokes behind in T-10; and Manassero is “lagging” at nine off the pace and in 30th place.

“The game of golf is in really good shape right now, with Ishikawa playing great here, McIlroy always plays great, and then Fowler,” Day added. “It really is fun. Give us a good few years and it's going to be a lot of young players out here that are going to be in contention.”

Of course, if any of the young guns are going to learn a cautionary tale, Scott can be the guy to deliver it. Like each of the aforementioned quintet, he was a can’t-miss kid who hasn’t missed, but hasn’t exactly set the golf world ablaze, either.

It’s taken Scott quite a few years to figure out not only how to compete in the game’s biggest events, but how to contend in them. He is still searching for that elusive first major championship win, but is trending upward as of late, with a runner-up result at the Masters and T-25 at the Open Championship.

He has also never won a World Golf Championship event and a victory on Sunday would rank amongst his greatest career achievements.

If Scott is to take home the hardware and the $1.4 million winner’s check, he’ll need to overcome a bevy of young talents in contention.

But the old man believes he can do it.

“You know, I've been in this position before and I've won some and I've lost some, but a one-shot lead is not a lot over 18 holes, so by no means am I a clear favorite or anything,” he said. “I don't feel like there's a lot of pressure on me, I just want to play well [Sunday]. That's the main thing. And I think if I do that, I can win.”

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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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.