Six To Watch This Summer
In this world of what have you done for me lately? each fits nicely into conversation around the water cooler. In no order of importance, here we go:
Davis Love III: Davis hardly needs to be reminded that he hasnt won a tournament since The International in 2003. Loves 03 campaign was nothing short of spectacular and thats much of the reason were looking for more and wondering why we arent seeing the results. He was third on the money list that year with more than $6 million in earnings. This year hes shown signs of getting back to winning ways. Four top 10s and the runner-up finish at the MCI Heritage when Darren Clarke and Peter Lonard battled. I talked with Love that week and he was quick to point out that his son Drew has become quite knowledgeable about money lists and World Rankings.
Three stats dont help the current cause: 108th in driving accuracy, 86th in greens in regulation and 79th in putting. As it stands, 18 PGA Tour victories, including one major and two Players Championships, should get him to the World Golf Hall of Fame someday. I say 'should.' Hes better than those numbers as they stand, and I expect well see another run soon like we saw in 2003.
Mike Weir: He drives it an average of 272.9 yards, which ranks him 158th. That would be a concern except that he ranks 12th in driving accuracy and ninth in greens in regulation. Weir has always been one of the most accurate players and, like Chris DiMarco, hes forced into that because of the lack of true power.
Whats hurting Mike is the flat stick. Hes 123rd on the PGA Tour right now. After winning the Masters we expected even more from the Canadian whose World Ranking was heading north in a hurry. Last year, Weir won the Nissan Open. This year he finished second at Pebble Beach but has only one other top 10 finish. Canadians follow Weir all the time. American followers were growing after 03. I never thought that magical season was a once in a lifetime. But, like Love III, he needs a win to find himself back in conversation about the games top stars.
Jim Furyk: Why watch Furyk this summer? Im quite certain hes ready to get back to his winning ways. Like DLIII, he tied for second at the MCI Heritage and also has three other top 10s. Furyks final-round numbers this year are as follows: 67, 65, 73, 70, 68, 74, 69. Not bad, not bad at all. Jim also lacks for true power at 164th on tour in driving distance. His most impressive stat is the combination of 40th in greens in regulation and 10th in putting. Like Love and Weir, Furyks biggest season came in 2003. The U.S. Open and the Buick Open came his way, leading to a fourth-place finish on the money list. Nobody doubts that Furyk will be in the winners circle again. Its my hunch that itll come this summer, and it may come more than once. Some limb Im going out on, huh?
Sergio Garcia: When Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez is getting more W's and more publicity for contention, then something has to change. This is the time of year Garcia heats up. Aside from the Mercedes Championships, his PGA Tour wins have come at summer sites like the Barclays Classic (formerly the Buick Classic at Westchester), EDS Byron Nelson Championship and The Bank of America Colonial.
Sergio has three top 10s this year thus far, but like Love, he missed the cut at the Masters and hasnt really had a big impact week. With all the talk about great winners on the PGA Tour this year, Sergio needs to find his way into the conversation. Putting is drowning El Nino ' hes 185th this year in that statistic. Tough to win with those numbers, and even tougher to succeed under pressure. Sergio wants majors. Hell get his share, but he needs wins right now ' and soon.
Charles Howell III: It has to happen, right? Hes too good for just one PGA Tour win, right? I think so. So does everyone else. Charles finished third at the Sony Open in Hawaii and then second in his next start at the Buick Invitational. Like Sergio, this American young gun could use a putting lesson or two. Hes 145th in that category.
When you hit greens on the PGA Tour ' youd better make your fair share of birdies. Howell is not. Hes converting at just a 28 percent clip, which ranks him 116th. One of the nice things about Howell to me is that hes a straight shooter. Hes extremely knowledgeable about the game and his numbers. Charles is always striving to get better and that might be the only thing that hurts him. Two years ago, Howell was a member of the Presidents Cup team for the USA. Its no guarantee hell get an opportunity this year ' but for the sake of Americas future in team events, it would be nice if he showed up with at least his second PGA Tour win.
Jay Haas: This man hardly needs any publicity. Hes been talked about more than any player who hasnt won of late. In truth, Haas hasnt won since 1993. But hes accomplished so, so much. His 2003 season had golf observers in disbelief that at the age of 49 he could finish 15th in money and post two runner-up finishes. Last year he made another $2 million and again made the trip to the Tour Championship.
The question now is, Is he slowing down? Haas hasnt missed a cut this year but has just one top 20. I wonder how soon the Champions Tour will come calling full time. His game is certainly PGA Tour quality ' and then some. But Haas could do a lot by winning with regularity on the Champions Tour. I say watch Jay this summer and appreciate his class. He might be switching addresses sooner than we think.
Given all the talk about the Big Four and all the great names whove won this season - including Appleby, Leonard, Harrington, Perry, Scott and Toms - I just cant believe some of these guys mentioned havent found their way yet. Its a long season, I know and Im sure you can come up with your own Ones to Watch list.
Im all ears.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Garcia among bubble boys keeping playoff hopes alive
Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance to keep his perfect FedExCup Playoffs record going with his rally Friday at the Wyndham Championship.
D.A. Points moved into position to make a historic leap into the postseason.
And Johnson Wagner dunked his last shot of the day from long range to keep his hopes of making the playoffs alive.
But the day didn’t end nearly as well for Tyrone Van Aswegen’s FedExCup hopes.
Van Aswegen didn’t do himself any favors trying to hold on to the 125th spot on the FedExCup points list. He missed the cut by a shot.
Only the top 125 advance to The Northern Trust and next week’s start to the playoffs.
Van Aswegen wasn’t alone among “bubble boys” missing the cut. No. 122 Jhonattan Vegas, No. 123 Seamus Power, No. 124 Martin Piller, No. 126 Chad Campbell and No. 127 Robert Garrigus all failed to make the weekend.
Garcia is among 13 players who have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs every year since they began in 2007, but his run was in jeopardy of ending starting the week. He’s 131st on the FedExCup points list
With a 65 Friday following his opening round 66, Garcia is in more than a great position to advance. He’s in position to win the Wyndham. He is tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. The day ended with Garcia projected to move up to 118th on the FedExCup points list.
“I'm just going to try to keep building on the things that I did well these first two days,” Garcia said. “Whatever happens, happens. Like I said at the beginning of the week, if I have a great weekend, then it will be great. If I don't have a great weekend, it will still be great because
I'll get to rest.”
Points started the week 214th on the FedExCup points list. With back-to-back 64s, he trails only Brandt Snedeker going into the weekend. He’s projected to move to 81st in points. Nobody has ever started the Wyndham Championship that far back in points and qualified for the playoffs. Davis Love III was 186th when he won and advanced in 2015.
Wagner, 136th on the FedExCup points list, went to spectacular lengths Friday to keep his playoff hopes alive. He was outside the cut line until holing his 153-yard approach at the last.
Bill Haas, who is among those 13 players to have qualified for the playoffs every year, started the week 150th in points. He can keep his perfect playoff record going with a big weekend. He shot 68 Friday to make the cut. He’s tied for 52nd in the tournament.
Points two back after missing 16 of 17 cuts
What’s the better story come Sunday?
Brandt Snedeker turning his 59 in the opening round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship?
Or D.A. Points winning after missing 16 cuts in his last 17 starts?
They’re both scripts in the works at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Points, who has been struggling this season with a herniated disc that causes numbness in his fingers, has broken through his season-long funk to shoot back-to-back 64s. He starts the weekend in second place, two shots behind Snedeker.
“It's been difficult,” Points said of his slump. “It's been hard on my family. I was in this position a couple years ago, and I clawed my way back and won in Puerto Rico.
“I had that big downturn, and I clawed my way out of it just to find myself way back down in another deep hole again.”
Points, 41, is a three-time PGA Tour winner. He won his first title playing alongside Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011 and two years later won the Shell Houston Open. He slipped into a three-year funk after that, before rebuilding his game and winning the Puerto Rico Open last year.
“Hopefully, this is my way of starting to claw back out,” Points said.
New 'Mr. 59' Snedeker needs Day 2 rally to keep Wyndham lead
Brandt Snedeker struggled coming off the emotional high that comes with shooting 59, but it didn’t stop him from rallying Friday to try to turn his historic round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship.
After a sluggish start to the second round, Snedeker caught fire on the back nine at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to take the lead going into the weekend.
With a 3-under 67, Snedeker moved to 14 under overall, two shots ahead of D.A. Points (64).
“I knew it was going to be tough” Snedeker said. “It wasn't going to be the same way it was yesterday. Kind of battling the emotion of everybody pulling hard for you, wanting to see you do it again. So the front nine was disappointing.”
A day after becoming the ninth player in PGA Tour history to post a sub-60 tournament round, Snedeker opened with three bogeys and two birdies on the front nine. He said it was a struggle to begin anew.
“You hear people telling you every two seconds, `Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “Phone's still blowing up this morning, guys in the locker room are still talking to me about it. So, yes, totally on your mind. You can't ignore it. You can't try to forget about it. Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm.”
Snedeker did with an eagle and two birdies on the back nine. Rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 15th gave him back the lead he lost earlier in the round.
“To see that go in was huge,” Snedeker said.
Not every player to break 60 on the PGA Tour has gone on to win. In fact, Snedeker is looking to become just the fifth player to do so.
Garwood (64) leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open
ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Doug Garwood birdied the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and the first-round lead Friday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open.
The 55-year-old Garwood had nine birdies and a bogey, playing his final nine holes - the front nine at En-Joie Golf Club - in 6-under 31.
''Drove it well, hit the irons well, pitched well, putted well, thought well,'' Garwood said. ''I got to a point I was just making birdies and I kind of lost track of how it was going,'' Garwood said. ''That's always a good thing.''
He won the 2016 SAS Championship for his lone PGA Tour Champions title.
"I haven't been playing great this year, but I've been working hard on my game and things I've been working on are paying off,'' Garwood said. ''My golf, I take it a shot at a time, don't think about too far in advance because you really can't control, you know, the 13th hole tomorrow. It's just about the tee shot on No. 1.''
Michael Bradley and Marco Dawson shot 65, Woody Austin and Clark Dennis followed at 66, and Bob Estes and Tom Gillis were at 67.
''It was a good day,'' Bradley said. ''I've traditionally not driven the ball well here and you've got to drive the ball good here to shoot a good score. I drove the ball well and made a few putts, so that was that.''
Kenny Perry, the 3M Championship winner two weeks ago in Minnesota, had a 68. Bernard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez each shot 70. Langer won the 2014 tournament. Jimenez is coming off a victory at St. Andrews in the British Senior Open.
Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 72. Kevin Sutherland also had a 72. He shot the only 59 in PGA Tour Champions history in the 2014 event. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, opened with a 73.