A Little Practice Can be a Dangerous Thing

By Mike RitzFebruary 3, 2003, 5:00 pm
The Canadian Kid was the last man standing. The left-hander with the waggle was the sole survivor. On a day when the desert winds blew and scores soared, Mike Weir played a bogey-free back nine and birdied the final three holes to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
First Weir caught and passed overnight leader Tim Herron. It took him until the 90th ' and final ' hole to breeze by Jay Haas. In fact, the only time Mike led the Hope was when he ended the tournament with his 10-footer for bird on 18.
It feels great, gushed the champion, to be back in the winners circle. Of course it does.
Weir closed the 2001 season with a win at the prestigious Tour Championship. His world ranking soared to a career high of nine. But in 2002 ' for the first season in his five on tour ' Weir failed to post one single top-10 finish.
His world ranking plummeted to No. 47. I know exactly what happened, said Weir. I stopped using my waggle and I just didnt spend enough time on my wedge-game and putting.
Take note that after Haas hit his 4-iron second shot into the lake on the par-5 finishing hole, Weir wedged and putted to victory.
But the bottom line is: Weir waggled his way to his fourth PGA Tour title. Mike has one of the most distinctive pre-shot routines in golf. He sets up to the ball and then takes the club halfway back. He makes sure the clubface is in the proper position, checks to see that his arms are close to his body, puts the club back behind the ball and fires. He does this on every shot, with every club. Every shot becomes routine, explained Weir, no matter what the situation no matter how much pressure Im under.
Last year, I felt like the waggle was getting stale, said Weir, so I stopped using it all the time. The result: no wins, no top 10s. I had the chance to win a few times early last year, Mike recalled, and I couldnt finish them off. He simply could not pull off the pressure shots without the settling routine of the waggle.
Weir spent nearly three months during the off-season waggling in the basement of his Utah home while also working diligently on his short game. Many remember Weir as a guy who wins big events at the end of the year (the 2000 World Golf Championship and the 2001 Tour Championship), but the left-hander warns, watch out when he has a lot of time off before a tournament. When I played at Brigham Young, Weir said, I won the first tournament of the year three times after practicing indoors on fundamentals all winter.
So Mike took to his mirror-lined basement and has waggled his way back to prominence. In his first start of the year in Phoenix, he ended that top-10 drought. His world ranking jumped to 39. Now, after averaging 66 strokes per round in his victory at the Hope, Mikes number is clearly on the rise.
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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.