Wind Causes Havoc In Winnipeg

By Marty HenwoodJuly 7, 2005, 4:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeWINNIPEG, Man. -- Mother Nature flexed her muscles and overpowered the field Thursday during the opening round of the MTS Classic.

On a day when southerly winds reached more than 60 km/h at Pine Ridge Golf Club, only five of 156 players were able to get in under par. Lee Williamson, Mike Grob and Michael Sabo each opened with a 2-under 69, with current money leader Jaime Gomez and Daniel DeLeon of Mexico one back.

Adam Short of Vineland, Ont., who began his day on the back nine, had it to 2-under before taking a double bogey on the par-4 eighth, the toughest hole of the day, en route to a 72.

Winnipegs Adam Speirs and Dustin Risdon of Calgary are the top Canadians at even par 71.

Williamson, who finished third in Winnipeg two summers ago, marked his scorecard with four birdies and a pair of bogeys and figured any player under par Thursday made up a few shots on the rest of the field.

It sounds funny, but I still think I left a couple out there, said Williamson, who was in the lead group Thursday morning. Its getting tougher as the day goes on. I think that rough is growing as we speak.

Sabo, the Ohio amateur runner-up in 2002, is now into his third season on the Canadian Tour. After a double-bogey on his opening hole of the day, he bounced back with a birdie on the par-5 second and drained an eight-footer on six. Making the turn at even par, Sabo hit a 7-iron from 185 yards to within 15 feet on the 12th before making the eagle putt.

I knew it was going to be a tough day, so I tried to stay positive, said Sabo of his start. You had to take your lumps and take advantage of the opportunities when they came. This is a shot makers course. With that wind and that rough, if you dont keep it in the fairway, youve got no chance.

Teeing it up on the afternoon side of draw, Grob arrived at Pine Ridge Thursday and was caught off guard when the top number on the leaderboard was a 1-under as the morning draw continued.

Grob was the only player in the afternoon to get in the red.

Ive played this course a lot, and it has beaten me up a lot more than Ive beaten it, laughed Grob, who will become the all-time Canadian Tour earnings leader with a top five finish in Winnipeg. With the wind the way it was today, I try not to get too worried about playing it low or high. You want to play the wind instead of battling it.

Less than a month after qualifying for the Bell Canadian Open at a regional qualifier in Vancouver, Short has put himself in early contention in the Manitoba capital. He hit his tee shot into the woods on number eight, had to chip back out onto the fairway and couldnt save bogey from nine feet away.

I had a couple of bad breaks coming down the stretch, but other than that I played well, he said. Besides the double, I was solid. Those were crazy conditions out there.

With a $15,000 lead atop the money list, Gomez knows a strong showing this week could almost put him out of reach with just three events remaining on the Tour schedule.

With the wind dictating big numbers all day long, Gomez was pleased to be on the happy side of par heading into Friday.

On this course, on a day like today, if you are shooting 1 or 2-over, that is a good round of golf, reasoned Gomez. You cant let the bogeys get to you. Everyone is going to make them. Its playing tough out there.

Winnipeg amateur Scott Loewen created a stir Thursday afternoon when he turned at 4-under before struggling over his inbound nine to post a 74.

Clint Jensen of Florida was 3-under but had a five-hole stretch where he went 8-over, including a triple on the eighth, to come in at plus-5.

NOTES: The par-4 eighth gave up a 4.83 scoring average Thursday and yielded just eight birdies. There were 53 bogeys, 16 doubles and 14 in the vaunted 'Other' category...The weatherman and Pine Ridge brought the field to its knees Thursday. While there were 21 eagles and 324 birdies, there were also 778 bogeys, 158 double-bogeys and 42 'Others'.....The scoring average was 76.63 on the day.
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    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

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    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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    Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

    A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

    Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

    Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

    And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”

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    Rory looking for that carefree inner-child

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eleven years later, Rory McIlroy cringes at the photo: the yellow sweater with the deep V-neck, the chubby cheeks and the messy mop that curled under his cap.

    “You live and you learn,” he said Wednesday, offering a wry smile.

    The last time McIlroy played at a Carnoustie Open, in 2007, he earned the Silver Medal as the low amateur. He tied for 42nd, but the final result had mattered little. Grateful just to have a spot in the field, courtesy of his European Amateur title, he bounced along the fairways, soaking up every moment, and lingered behind the 18th green as one of his local heroes, Padraig Harrington, battled one of his favorite players, Sergio Garcia. Waiting for the trophy presentation, he passed the time playing with Padraig’s young son, Paddy. On Wednesday, McIlroy spotted Paddy, now 15, walking around Carnoustie with his three-time-major-winning father.

    “He’s massive now – he towers over me,” he said. “It’s so funny thinking back on that day.”

    But it’s also instructive. If there’s a lesson to be learned from ’07, it’s how carefree McIlroy approached and played that week. He was reminded again of that untroubled attitude while playing a practice round here with 23-year-old Jon Rahm, who stepped onto each tee, unsheathed his driver and bombed away with little regard for the wind or the bounce or the fescue. McIlroy smiled, because he remembers a time, not too long ago, that he’d attack a course with similar reckless abandon.

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    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I just think, as you get older, you get a little more cautious in life,” said McIlroy, 29. “I think it’s only natural. There’s something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff. The more I can get into that mindset, the better I’ll play golf.”

    And so on the eve of this Open, as he approaches the four-year anniversary of his last major title, McIlroy finds himself searching for a way to channel that happy-go-lucky 18-year-old who was about to take the world by storm, to tap into the easygoing excellence that once defined his dominance.

    It’s been a year since he first hinted at what he’s been missing. Last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale was the final event of his long run with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald. The chief reason for the split, he said, had nothing to do with some of the questionable on-course decisions, but rather a desire to take ownership of him game, to be freed up alongside one of his best friends, Harry Diamond.

    That partnership has produced only one victory so far, and over the past few months, McIlroy has at times looked unsettled between the ropes. It’s difficult to compute, how someone with seemingly so much – a résumé with four majors, a robust bank account, a beautiful wife – can also appear disinterested and unmotivated.

    “I think sometimes I need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and just happy to be here,” he said. “A golf tournament is where I feel the most comfortable. It’s where I feel like I can 100 percent be myself and express myself. Sometimes the pressure that’s put on the top guys to perform at such a level every week, it starts to weigh on you a little bit. The more I can be like that kid, the better.”

    It’s a decidedly different landscape from when the erstwhile Boy Wonder last won a major, in summer 2014. Jordan Spieth had won just a single Tour event, not three majors. Dustin Johnson wasn’t world No. 1 but merely a tantalizing tease, a long-hitting, fast-living physical freak who was just beginning a six-month break to address "personal challenges." Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka hadn’t even started playing in the States.  

    McIlroy’s greatest asset, both then and now, was his driving – he put on clinics at Congressional and Kiawah, Hoylake and Valhalla. He was a mainstay at or near the top of the strokes gained: tee to green rankings, but over the past few years, because of better technology, fitness and coaching, the gap between him and the rest of the field has shrunk.

    “I think at this stage players have caught up,” Harrington said. “There’s many players who drive the ball comparable and have certainly eaten into that advantage. Rory is well on pace to get into double digits with majors, but it has got harder. There’s no doubt there’s more players out there who are capable of having a big week and a big game for a major. It makes it tough.”

    It’s not as though McIlroy hasn’t had opportunities to add to his major haul; they’ve just been less frequent and against stronger competition. In the 13 majors since he last won, he’s either finished in the top 10 or missed the cut in 11 of them. This year, he played in the final group at the Masters, and was on the verge of completing the career Grand Slam, before a soul-crushing 74 on the last day. His U.S. Open bid was over after nine holes, after an opening 80 and a missed cut during which he declined to speak to reporters after both frustrating rounds.

    “I’m trying,” he said Wednesday. “I’m trying my best every time I tee it up, and it just hasn’t happened.”

    A year after saying that majors are the only events that will define the rest of his career, he recently shrugged off the doom and gloom surrounding his Grand Slam drought: “It doesn’t keep me up at night, thinking, If I never won another major, I can’t live with myself.”

    Eleven years ago, McIlroy never would have troubled himself with such trivial questions about his legacy. But perhaps a return to Carnoustie, to where his major career started, is just what he needs to unlock his greatness once again.


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    Own history, grow the game with Open memorabilia auction

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Get a piece of history and help grow the game, that's what The Open is offering with its memorabilia auction.

    The official Open Memorabilia site features unique Open assets from famous venues and Champion Golfers of the Year. All net proceeds received by The R&A from this project will be invested to support the game for future generations, including encouraging women’s, junior and family golf, on the promotion and progression of the sport in emerging golf nations and on coaching and development.

    Items for auction include limited edition prints of Champion Golfers of the Year, signed championship pin flags and limited edition historical program covers. Memorable scorecard reproductions and caddie bibs are also available to bid for on the website, with all items featuring branded, serialized holograms for authenticity.

    Click here to own your piece of history and to get more information on the auction.