Hanging with Tiger Phil and Geoff

By Mercer BaggsAugust 17, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill. -- Around 8:10 a.m. local time Thursday, Chris DiMarco, Michael Campbell and Lee Westwood began their opening round in the 88th PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club.
There were close to a hundred people on hand to watch them, which was pretty good considering the time, the fact that this wasnt exactly a marquee grouping, and that the 10th hole is actually located in Wisconsin.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson had a few conversations Thursday.
After they all teed off, about one of those 100 continued with them down the fairway.
Everyone else was waiting for the 8:30 group. The one with British Open champion Tiger Woods, Masters champion Phil Mickelson and U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
By the time the three showed up, the crowd had more than doubled. There were a solid number of fans on hand to see Mickelson and Ogilvy birdie the hole, and watch Woods make bogey.
But, given the hype surrounding this particular threesome, it wasnt quite what was anticipated.
'There was nobody out there,' Mickelson said. 'It was nice and quiet.'
I think most of them got lost, couldnt find No. 10, cracked Woods. Its way the hell out there.
He aint lying. Captain Kirks never traveled that far.
Amy Mickelson was out there, with periscope in hand. She was joined by a few others, including Phils swing instructor, Rick Smith.
I spotted Tigers wife, Elin, just after the group had teed off on 15. I didnt see my next shot until they teed off on 16.
As the round progressed, the number of people increased, with probably a thousand or so watching them on each hole ' and that was just inside the ropes.
Actually, there were around 75-100 ' including media, tournament officials and security ' inside the ropes, which is a ridiculous amount of people. Its the largest gathering Ive ever been a part of, and, according to a couple of other writers, it was the biggest group they could recall since Annika Sorenstam played in the 2003 Colonial.
I heard the people in the gallery say Jesus Christ so much when we all walked past them that I thought the Lord Himself was following the group.
For the first three or four holes, I wondered who was guarding the media center. Somebody could have picked it up and run away with it, joked Ogilvy, who had his ball almost stepped on a couple of times by photographers and reporters.
Ducking in and out of the ropes throughout the day, I was surprised to find that the crowd actually seemed a little subdued over the first few holes.
Perhaps it was because of the early a.m. start, or maybe because of the starting locations proximity to the clubhouse, but the fans were rather reserved.
It picked up a little at the par-4 12th, when Ogilvy and Woods each hit approach shots inside of 5 feet, and it got a little louder on each hole, with each good shot thereafter.
But it wasnt over-the-top. It wasnt a raucous scene. If anything, it was appropriate and respectful. The fans did a great job of being a part of the show, not the show itself. They reacted the way they should have, when they should have.
Once they made the turn, though, the crowd multiplied like Gremlins.
The back nine was little bit different, said Woods. I think most of them waited for us to come around and took the lazier approach.
With beer sales having started at 7:45, and with the increase in temperature, the gallery became more vocal.
Yet, unlike in the final round of the Open Championship, when cell phone cameras clicked incessantly, there werent many distractions. The only time Tiger had to back away from a shot was when a kid dropped his water bottle as he was preparing to hit his tee shot on the third hole.
Tigers caddie, Steve Williams, glared in the direction of the offender, but somehow managed to restrain himself from pummeling the boy.
As for the crowd's allegiance, Woods received more applause than the other two when his name was announced on the first tee. But there were more 'Go Phil's throughout the course of the day than there were 'Go Tiger's.
'And one 'Go Joe,'' said Ogilvy, who still gets confused by some fans for PGA TOUR player Joe Ogilvie. 'I felt right at home with that.'
At least that fan kind of knew who he was. Before starting his round, a woman asked her husband, 'Who's the guy in the green?'
That would be your reigning U.S. Open champion, ma'am.
Geoff Ogilvy held his own against the top 2 players in the world in round 1.
Ogilvy, the major champion, did manage to get a proper mention here and there, and there was even an Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! shout from one of his countrymen after he stuffed his approach shot at 12.
I didnt have the amount of fans that they had, Ogilvy said, But I had a few legitimate fans out there.
While the number of patrons increased after the first nine, the number of working media decreased dramatically inside the ropes, which can be attributed to two things. One, it was lunch time. And a true member of the press never misses a free meal. Two, we were headed away from the clubhouse, back into the nether regions.
Though not hungry, I, being a summa cum laude graduate, was somehow not smart enough to figure out the latter.
Throughout the day, there was very little interaction between the three players. They all shook hands underneath a tent before the start of the round, and that was about it until the end. On the opening tee, Woods stood on the right side, while Mickelson hovered about on the left ' much like when they were Ryder Cup partners a few years ago.
When Tiger and Phil did speak, they talked about schedule, Ryder Cup, just some stuff we have coming up, according to Mickelson.
But that was to be expected. Woods and Mickelson said as much in their respective pre-tournament press conferences.
This is a major championship, and these three are here to compete and win, not ham it up and share stories. Tiger talked as infrequently to Ogilvy as he did to Mickelson. Even on the 12th tee, which crisscrosses the 15th tee, Woods barely acknowledged Stewart Cink as he walked by and said something to him.
There were no outward signs of hostility, no ill will, no gamesmanship.
On the whole, they all played well, but not overly so, each shooting a modest 3-under-par 69. 'We all played OK,' said Mickelson. 'We all left some shots out there, but we all put ourselves in good position heading into the next three rounds.'
Woods had the best shot of the day when he nearly jarred a 3-iron with his second shot on the par-5 fifth. On the same hole, Mickelson made a phenomenal escape from the left trees, nearly advancing his second shot through a narrow path onto the green.
That was something, Ogilvy said in compliment of Mickelsons shot. I never would have tried that. Phil chooses clubs in a way that I cant see. But he has the ability to see things differently than I do.
When they all tapped in for par on the ninth green, the three shook hands with one another, and with each others caddies. Tiger looked at Phil and said simply, Good round; nice playing.
They then piled into vans that shuttled them back towards the clubhouse to sign their scorecards.
It was at that point that I realized that I was one of three reporters still around. After hanging with Tiger, Phil and Geoff all day, they had abandoned me. There was no media shuttle. And there was no Scotty to beam me back in.
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    Even with broken driver, Salinda beats Hagestad at U.S. Am

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 17, 2018, 2:52 am

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With a trip to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals on the line, and with the Pacific Ocean staring him in the face, Isaiah Salinda piped a 330-yard drive down Pebble Beach’s 18th hole.

    Not a bad poke with a replacement driver.

    Salinda’s Round of 16 match against Stewart Hagestad got off to a rocky start Thursday afternoon with an awkward tee shot on the second hole.

    “The ball came out weird, with no spin,” said Salinda’s caddie and former Stanford teammate, Bradley Knox. “He said, ‘Yeah, that felt weird.’”

    Salinda looked at the bottom of his Callaway Epic driver and noticed a crack.

    Worried that they'd have to play the rest of the round with only a 3-wood, Knox called a Callaway equipment rep, told him the issue, and was relieved to hear he'd meet them at the back of the third tee. Salinda teed off the next hole with a 3-wood – he’d taken driver there all week – and wound up in a tricky spot, on the side of a mound, leading to a bogey.

    “Then they came over and cranked the driver,” Knox said. “It was like a NASCAR pit crew.”

    The replacement driver was nearly identical – same head, same loft, same weighting – except for the lie angle. The new one was a degree flatter than his gamer, which led to a few more pulled shots than usual.

    “It took a little while to recover the mindset that we’d had the rest of the week,” Knox said.

    Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

    Salinda downplayed the equipment malfunction – “I just had to adjust, and it wasn’t really a problem” – but he didn’t play well early. After trailing for just one hole during his first two matches, he was 4 over par and 2 down through 10 holes against Hagestad, the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who’d finally made match play after eight previous failed attempts.

    On 11, Salinda finally got going, stuffing a wedge shot to 10 feet and recording his first birdie. He followed with three clutch pars before another good approach on 15, leading to a conceded birdie to square the match.

    On the home hole, Salinda bombed his drive about 30 yards past Hagestad and had 220 yards to the flag. It was a perfect 4-iron distance, and he sent a rocket into a blinding sunset.

    “I never saw it,” Salinda said. “I told my caddie: ‘Where is that? I have no idea.’ But it felt good.”

    A lone voice shrieked as the ball landed on the green. They knew the shot had to be tight. Years ago, Stanford senior Chris Meyers had made an albatross on 18 for a walkoff victory with Lee Janzen at the PGA Tour Champions’ First Tee Open. Knox thought they’d come close to duplicating the feat.

    “Probably almost had a Chris Meyers,” Knox said, chuckling, as they walked up the fairway.

    The shot never had a chance to drop – turns out the spectator was well-lubricated – but it still was only 35 feet away, for eagle. Salinda cozied his putt to a few feet and could only watch as Hagestad’s last-ditch 25-footer stopped a rotation short of the cup.

    The Round of 16 victory continued a breakout summer for Salinda. His 15th-place showing at the NCAA Championship kick-started a three-month stretch in which he’s finally taken his game to the next level.

    “He’s shown flashes of brilliance before,” Knox said, “and he’s had the game. But now he has the consistency and the confidence that it’ll come back time and time again.”

    Salinda shot 62 in the third round and won the Pacific Coast Amateur, which boasts one of the strongest fields of the summer. Then he finished third in stroke play at the Western Amateur before a quarterfinal loss in match play.

    Now he’s one step closer to his biggest victory yet – even with a backup driver.

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    Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech

    By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 12:50 am

    INDIANAPOLIS - Lizette Salas' waited 77 minutes to line up her 4-foot putt to take the lead Thursday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    She refused to let the weather delay get to her.

    When the 29-year-old California player returned to the course, she quickly rolled in the birdie putt, finished her round with another birdie at No. 18 and took a two-shot lead over Angel Yin and Nasa Hataoka with a course record-tying 10-under 62.

    ''I didn't even think about it the entire time,'' Salas said. ''I was hanging out with Danielle (Kang) and she was giving me her silly dad jokes. So it definitely kept my mind off of it. I was really excited to be back and to finish off with a birdie, from off the green, was the icing on the cake.''

    It's the lowest score by a female player at the Brickyard Crossing.

    Defending champion Lexi Thompson opened last year's inaugural tournament with a 63, one shot off of Mike McCullough's 62 in the PGA Champions Tour's 1999 Comfort Classic.

    But the way the saturated 6,456-yard course played Thursday, Salas needed virtually every putt of her career-best round to reach the top of the leaderboard.

    The morning starters took advantage of overnight rain by shooting right at the pins.

    And nobody made a bigger early splash than Yin, the 19-year-old Californian who finished second in last year's rookie of the year race.

    She opened with five straight birdies and shot 8-under 28 on the front nine. Only a par on No. 6 prevented her from becoming the sixth LPGA player to shoot 27 on nine holes. South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee did it most recently at the 2016 JTBC Founders Cup.

    Yin also tied the third-lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in tour history.

    Her only bobble came with a bogey on No. 13 and she closed out her best career round with a birdie on No. 18.

    Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

    ''I have never done that before,'' she said. ''I had nine putts, I think, on the front nine, which is incredible. I've never had that many little putts. But it just felt good. Everything was working.''

    Last year's runner-up for rookie of the year has never won an LPGA Tour title in her home country though she did win in a playoff at Dubai on the Ladies European Tour.

    Everybody seemed to find their groove Thursday.

    Eighty-eight of the 143 players shot under par and 54 were 3-under or better.

    And with more rain in the forecast Thursday night and Friday, the scores could go even lower as a star-studded cast chases down Salas, Yin and Hataoka.

    Four players, including Kang and Jane Park, are three shots behind.

    Seven players, including last year's tournament runner-up Lydia Ko, are four shots back. Ko was tied with Yin for the lead - until she knocked her tee shot on the par-4, 16th into the water. She wound up with a double bogey and birdied the final hole to finish with 66.

    After taking a monthlong break to recover from physical and mental exhaustion, Thompson looked relaxed and comfortable in her return to the course. She shot 68.

    ''It was hard for me to take the break because I didn't want to show weakness,'' she said. ''But at the same time, it takes a lot of strength to acknowledge that you need that kind of break and just take time for yourself, especially when you're in the spotlight like this.''

    Salas, meanwhile, started fast with an eagle on the par-5 second and finished with a flurry.

    She birdied three straight holes on the front side to get to 5-under, added birdies at Nos. 12 and 14 to get to 7-under and then birdied the final three holes - around the approaching storm - to put herself in contention for her first title since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

    ''I have been just striking the ball really well this entire year, and just glad some more putts dropped today,'' she said. ''I was really refreshed. I didn't practice at all last week, and I was just really eager and excited to be back.''

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    Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

    By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

    GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

    Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

    The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

    Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

    Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

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    Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals

    By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

    After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals.

    Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.

    Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

    Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

    The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Web.com Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.