Getting a Feel for Winged Foot

By Mercer BaggsJune 12, 2006, 4:00 pm
U.S. OpenMAMARONECK, N.Y. ' Tiger Woods appeared calm and relaxed on the practice putting green, joking with instructor Hank Haney while wrapping up a brief, afternoon rehearsal session Monday at Winged Foot Golf Club.
By sight, everything seemed business as usual.
Of course, thats hardly the case.
Hank Haney and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods walks the course during Monday's practice round with swing coach Hank Haney.
Woods is making his first competitive start in nine weeks, his longest such layoff since turning professional. The U.S. Open will mark his first event since the Masters Tournament ' his first event since the death of his father on May 3.
He played nine holes on the West Course, doing so alongside Charles Howell III, Bo Van Pelt and Jeff Sluman, before heading to the practice area.
Woods, who previously tested the venue a few weeks ago, didn't address the media. He's scheduled to do that in a press conference at 1:00 p.m. EDT Tuesday.
Monday was a busy day at Winged Foot as most of the field of 156 was on hand to get in an extra look at the testy layout which will host the seasons second major championship.
This is the fifth time the classic AW Tillinghast design has hosted a U.S. Open, but the first time since 1984.
Peter Jacobsen competed in that U.S. Open, and hes back again 22 years later.
Jacobsen won the 2004 U.S. Senior Open to qualify for the regular U.S. Open in 05. He then finished among the top 15 at Pinehurst to earn a return trip this year.
He said that he got a chance to play nine holes Sunday and found the layout equally as attractive as it was more than two decades ago, but even more diabolical.
The length, thats a big difference. Obviously, theyve added a tremendous amount of yardage to almost every hole, said Jacobsen, who tied for seventh in the 84 Open. I played the front nine and it seems theyve added 40, 50, 60 yards to just about every hole.
It isnt quite that much, but this year, by the card, the West Course will play nearly 300 yards longer than it did in 84. The official count then was 6,940 yards; now, its 7,264 ' both times playing to a par 70.
The West Course also held the 1997 PGA Championship, where it measured 6,980 yards (par 70), and the 2004 U.S. Amateur Championship, where it measured 7,266 (par 70).
But even more so than a distance disparage, there is noticeable difference between 84 and 06 in relation to the rough.
The rough is tougher, Jacobsen said. (United States Golf Association, Executive Director) David Fay told me yesterday that theyre trying something new.
That new thing is a graduated rough. As opposed to past years, the rough will be shortest nearer the fairway and increase in length the further out you go. The first 6 feet off the fairway will measure 1 inches; the next cut of rough, the primary rough, will be double that; and the secondary rough will grow from 6 to 8 inches.
It is tough, very tough, said reigning U.S. Amateur champion Eduardo Molinari. But the course is very fair, a great test of golf.
Molinari has already gotten in 27 holes worth of practice on the West Course. He played nine holes last Tuesday, nine holes last Wednesday and nine more this Monday. Thursday, he will tee it up alongside Woods for the second time in as many majors. He shot 80-77 grouped with the worlds No. 1 at Augusta. The Italian feels better prepared to handle the situation this time around.
Obviously, you learn a lot of things playing in the Masters with Tiger. Theres a lot of people watching, which is one of the highest pressure situations you can be in, he said. I think I learned a lot from that and Im expecting to play a better tournament.
No one may be more excited this week than Andy Svoboda, because no one is more familiar with the layout than is he.
Svoboda is a club member at Winged Foot and made it through the qualifying to earn his first spot in a U.S. Open. The 26-year-old competed in the 04 Amateur at Winged Foot and called that experience the highlight of his golfing career ' until now.
Im really living a dream here, he said. I grew up playing this course since I was 10 (years old), and Ive never seen it in better shape.
Svoboda estimates that hes played, on average, 150 rounds a year at Winged Foot. Multiply that by 15 years and he figures to have more than 2,000 rounds of experience to his credit.
But the current Hooters Tour professional knows the course will play far different from the way it has in the past. And hes not experiencing visions of grandeur just yet.
Im not going to let myself get ahead like that, he said. Im just going to go about my business out there, and whatever happens, happens. Its going to be great.
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    Levy wins Trophee Hassan for fifth European Tour title

    By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 6:32 pm

    RABAT, Morocco - Alexander Levy finished with a 2-under 70 Sunday to win the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco by a shot from overnight leader Alvaro Quiros.

    One off the lead overnight, Levy made two of his four birdies in his first five holes to hit the front and stayed ahead for the rest of the final day at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course.

    It was the 27-year-old Frenchman's fifth European Tour victory and he will take winning form to Beijing next week when he defends his China Open title.

    Levy ended 8-under 280 overall, one ahead of Spain's Quiros, who closed with a second straight 72.

    Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II

    With his chasers pushing hard, Levy kept his cool after dropping a shot on No. 16. He birdied the short, par-3 No. 17 and made par at the last.

    Quiros birdied his last two holes to make sure of second place outright. He needed an eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff.

    A group of four players finished in a tie for third, including Italy's Andrea Pavan, who finished with a brilliant 6-under 66. Swedish pair Joakim Lagergren (70) and Alexander Bjork (70) and Finland's Mikko Ilonen (72) also shared third.

    Levy had three other top 10 finishes in his five previous events this season and moved up to ninth on the European Tour's Race to Dubai points list.

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    (Not that) Jutanugarn shares lead with (not that) Ko

    By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 1:58 am

    LOS ANGELES - A player eager for her first win and a rookie top the leaderboard at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open. Lurking two shots back is a Hall of Famer.

    Winless Moriya Jutanugarn overcame a poor start and birdied the 18th for a hard-earned 1-under 70 to tie rookie Jin Young Ko at 9 under on Saturday at Wilshire Country Club.

    Ko shot a 66 in her bid to become the year's first two-time LPGA winner. She won the Women's Australian Open in February, her first victory as an official tour member after a successful run on the Korean LPGA circuit.

    ''I'm ready for win or top 10, so maybe tomorrow I will really focus on shot by shot,'' said Ko, who added an exclamation point to her golf bag for each of her wins on the KLPGA. ''I won 11 times, so if I win tomorrow, maybe I change to 12. I need more, I need every time motivation.''

    Jutanugarn is trying to match younger sister Ariya as a tour champion. Seven-time winner Ariya was tied for 27th after a 72 in the third round.

    Usually when one of the Thai sisters is in the lead, the other will watch when her round is finished.

    ''If she's not too lazy, she is probably going to come out,'' Moriya said about Ariya.

    Playing in an all-Korean threesome, Hall of Famer Inbee Park was two shots back in third after a 69. Her birdie putt for a share of the lead on 18 slid just by the hole. The group drew a large contingent of Korean fans.

    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

    ''I kind of started off a little bad. I was able to come back strong, so I'm really happy with that,'' Park said. ''I left a few putts out there. The greens around this golf course are just really tough. You just don't know what's going to happen.''

    Moriya Jutanugarn's round included a double bogey on the par-4 first hole and a bogey on the par-4 sixth. She eagled the par-4 14th after holing out from the fairway 93 feet away. The ball took once bounce and went in, eliciting a stunned look from Jutanugarn before she high-fived her caddie.

    ''Today was kind of a pretty rough day for me with not a very good start and like trying to come back,'' Jutanugarn said. ''I just try to play my game and be patient out there I think is the key.''

    Jutanugarn, the second-round leader, read the break perfectly on a long putt to make birdie on 18 and share the lead with Ko.

    Playing two groups ahead of Jutanugarn, Caroline Inglis also eagled the 14th from 180 yards. She briefly jumped up and down and smiled after three bogeys and a double bogey. She shot a 69 and was four shots back in a tie for sixth with Minjee Lee.

    ''It was like one bounce and then it like trickled in,'' Inglis said.

    Aditi Ashok eagled 14 early in the round.

    Ko did some scrambling of her own. Her ball found a sandy hazard on the 17th with a scoreboard and a winding creek in between her and the green 190 yards away. Her approach landed just off the green and she made par. Her round included six birdies and a bogey on 16.

    Eun-Hee Ji (70) and American Marina Alex (72) were tied for fourth at 6 under.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng shot a 70 and was in a six-way tie for 12th at 2 under.

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    Defending champs Singh, Franco take senior lead

    By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 12:15 am

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco took the third-round lead Saturday in the windy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Singh and Franco shot a 7-under 47 in wind gusting to 20 mph on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to get to 19-under 145, a stroke ahead of the teams of David Toms-Steve Flesch and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett.

    ''It was a tough day,'' Singh said. ''The wind was swirling, have to get the club right and we made some putts. Carlos played really well on the back nine and I played really well on the front nine, so we ham-and-egged it a little.''

    Toms and Flesch also shot 47, and Broadhurst and Triplett had a 33 on the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course.

    ''We just paired well together,'' Toms said. ''I don't think either one of us played great. We picked each other up out there.''

    Wind and rain is expected Sunday when the teams finish at Top of the Rock, again playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

    ''Make as many birdies as possible and see what happens,'' Singh said. ''That's all we can do.''

    Singh and Franco are trying to become the first to successfully defend a title since Jim Colbert and Andy North in 2001. Singh won the Toshiba Classic in March for his first individual senior title.

    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

    Flesch won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last week in Georgia for his first senior victory.

    Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer had a 34 at Mountain Top to join Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal at 17 under. Jimenez and Olazabal had a 33 at Mountain Top.

    ''It's great for me to be able to play with him as a team member,'' Olazabal said. ''We do have great memories from the Ryder Cup and other events, and it's always a great pleasure to play with a great player and a friend.''

    Langer took the final-round forecast in stride.

    ''We've done it hundreds of times before and we'll probably do it again,'' Langer said. ''We'll make the best of it. We both have a good attitude. We're known to play in all sorts of weather and I just look forward to playing one more day with my partner here.''

    Wisconsin neighbors Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly were 16 under after a 48 at Top of the Rock.

    John Daly and Michael Allen, the second-round leaders after a 46 at Top of the Rock, had a 37 at Mountain Top to drop into a tie for seventh at 15 under.

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    Landry shares Valero lead, eyes first career win

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 11:15 pm

    After coming up just short of a breakthrough win earlier this season, Andrew Landry has another chance to earn his maiden victory at the Valero Texas Open.

    Landry came within inches of winning the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, ultimately losing to Jon Rahm in a four-hole playoff. He struggled to find form in the wake of his close call, missing the cut in each of his four starts following his runner-up finish in Palm Springs.

    But Landry took some time off to welcome his first child, Brooks, last month and he made it to the weekend in his first start back last week at the RBC Heritage, where he finished T-42. He made a move up the standings Saturday at TPC San Antonio with a bogey-free 67, and at 13 under shares the lead with Zach Johnson heading into the final round.

    "I just did everything really good," Landry told reporters. "I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat, and I had a couple bad putts that I didn't really make. I'm happy with it, it's a good 5-under round. Gets me in the final group tomorrow and we'll see what happens."

    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

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    Landry started the day one shot off the pace and in the final group with Johnson and Ryan Moore, and at one point he took sole possession of the lead after birdies on three of his first six holes. Now he'll have another chance in the day's final tee time where he's grouped with Johnson and Trey Mullinax, who sits one shot back after firing a course-record 62 in the third round.

    For Landry, it's another opportunity to break into the winner's circle, and it's one for which he feels prepared after coming so close three months ago.

    "I mean, I don't want to go too deep into it because I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I just believe in myself. There's no other explanation for it," Landry said. "You can totally get out here and play with Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, two top players in the world, and you can go out there and fold under pressure or you can learn a lot.

    "Zach's always been a role model to me the way he plays golf, I feel like we have very similar games, and it's just going to be fun tomorrow getting to play with him again."