Nicklaus Talks Pres Cup Tiger and Vijay

By Mercer BaggsAugust 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' Bet you all thought you were done with me.
That was Jack Nicklaus first remark as he entered the media center Wednesday.
Nicklaus, who last played in the PGA Championship in 2000 at Valhalla, was on hand as an Honorary Chairman. He was recognized with a plaque on the 18th tee of the Lower Course at Baltusrol, where he won the 1967 and 1980 U.S. Opens.
Its a nice honor, said the five-time PGA champion. I think they picked an appropriate place.
Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus held court on a number of topics Wednesday at Baltusrol.
Nicklaus is not in attendance in a competitive role, having bowed out of major championship competition at last months Open Championship. But he will be keeping an eye on the event, as his U.S. Presidents Cup team will be finalized this week.
I know pretty much what Im going to do, but Im not even ' Im not going to announce that until next week, said Nicklaus, who announced Jeff Sluman as his assistant captain once again Wednesday, and will reveal his two captains selections Monday.
The U.S. team, which is determined based on earnings, is pretty much set from Nos. 1-8. But the ninth and 10th positions ' the final automatic spots ' are up for grabs, with Davis Love III and Scott Verplank holding those two places respectively.
Justin Leonard is currently 11th; Zach Johnson 12th; and Chad Campbell 13th. Points are doubled at a major.
What I look for is something balanced on the team. Depends on who ends up in the ninth and 10th places; depending on who ends up there as to who I might pick. I may go for youth; I may go for some experience, depending on whats there.
Nicklaus' U.S. team will take on Gary Player's International squad, which will also be finalized this week, Sept. 22-25 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Lake Manassas, Va.
Nicklaus also touched on a variety of other topics Wednesday:
On the first time he saw Vijay Singh:
I dont know, 15 years ago or so, watching him come on the European Tour, and I watched this guy beating balls and never heard of him. I would go to Europe and see him hitting balls and I saw this beautiful golf swing, and they said, this guy is the hardest working guy Ive ever seen over here, and I said, well, if hes that hard of working, hes going to get somewhere. Its just taken Vijay a while to get there.
On the current state of Tiger Woods game:
I talked with Tiger quite a bit last night (at the Champions Dinner), and I told him I thought his swing plane at the British Open was the best Id ever seen it. I mean, Ive seen Tigers swing a lot in the last few years and I didnt think his swing plane was where he probably wanted it. But I thought at the British it was the best Id ever seen. So if its something similar to what he was using there, hes going to be very difficult again this week.
On where a win this week would rank Tigers 2005 season in the history of the game:
How do you compare what hes doing, because nobody has ever done what hes doing. Certainly I didnt. And certainly, you know, nobody else that you can go back and look at did anything like that. Hes dominated way beyond how anybodys ever dominated. I mean, I dominated and mine was dominated over a long period of time.
On comparing his rivals to that of Tiger:
I had guys that were stronger players, that had more experience at winning than Tiger has against him. But Tiger still has a lot of guys that play awfully, awfully well. Im not trying to degrade the players or knock down the players hes playing, but Im saying if we have fewer players and fewer players playing, they are going to win more championships and they are going to learn how to win more. And today with the competition, theres so many players out there that are good, they dont get the opportunity to win as much.
So when you get a guy who is used to winning, against guys who are not used to winning ' winning breeds winning is what Ive always said.
You realize, Arnold (Palmer) was 32 years old when I came along on the scene, and Tiger is 29. So sometime in the next three years a young Jack Nicklaus might come along to challenge Tiger, thats what Im saying. Or maybe nobody comes along and Tiger may win another 15 majors, who knows.
On if longer courses (like the 7,392-yard, par-70 Lower Course) are eliminating certain players from contending:
Yeah, unfortunately I think its the truth. The issue that I have is that if you arent a power player, you cant play. And you take the Gary Players, the Jackie Burkes, the Ben Hogans, Gardner Dickinsons ' theres hundreds of guys who are small of stature who didnt have the clubhead speed that they have today but they competed when they played well on certain golf courses they could play on. Thats not the case today, because of all the length and because of all the power and because of all the emphasis on how far the golf ball goes.
Little guys have a hard time playing this game anymore. I just dont like to see people eliminated because of physical stature. It should be ability and how you hit your golf shots and the way you can make your putts.
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    Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

    Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

    Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

    “It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

    No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  

    Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

    On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

    “Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

    “Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

    A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

    “But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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    Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

    It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream:

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream:

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Purse: $6 million

    Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

    Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.

    Notables in the field

    Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    Henrik Stenson

    • Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

    • Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open

    Sergio Garcia

    • Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

    • Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)

    Webb Simpson

    • Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

    • 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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    Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

    Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

    Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

    Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.

    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    "I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

    But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

    After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

    "What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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    McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

    For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

    The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

    McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.

    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    "I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

    By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

    But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

    Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.