TOUR Notes Mickelson King of the Desert

By Pga Tour MediaJanuary 29, 2008, 5:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
PGA Tour (75x100) PGA TOUR:
  • Phil Mickelson is the reigning King of the Desert. Hes won seven PGA TOUR events played in the deserts in the western U.S. He has three wins in the old Tucson event and two each at the FBR Open and the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. No one else has more than three wins in the desert.
  • More on Mickelson: He has eight Top-10 finishes at the TPC Scottsdale, including four in the last five seasons. Over the last five years at the FBR Open, Mickelson has 14 rounds in the 60s (out of 18) and is a collective 60 under par.
  • At least one rookie has won a tournament in the past nine years and 19 of the last 20. The only year in the last 20 in which no rookie was able to win was 1998. Two rookies won last year'Brandt Snedeker and George McNeill.
  • Its important for rookies to get off to a good start in order to maintain or improve their eligibility status. Four rookies are already among the Top 50 on the FedExCup points list'Dustin Johnson (21st), Chez Reavie (25th), Matt Jones (39th) and Brett Rumford (43rd).
  • When Fred Couples finished in a T8 last week at the Buick Invitational, it marked his first Top-10 finish since he was T3 at the 2006 Masters.
  • Mark OMeara spends most of his time now on the Champions Tour, but last week the 51-year old made the cut at the Buick Invitational before finishing 66th.
  • Look for someone with Phoenix-area ties to contend this week at the FBR Open. Players with ties to the area have won seven of the last 12 FBR Opens including last year when local resident Aaron Baddeley won.
  • Ryuji Imada is not known as a big hitter. In fact, he was 148th on TOUR in Driving Distance last year. Last week, though, he nailed the longest drive of the young season at the Buick Invitational. His final-round blast on the 14th hole hit a cart path before going 414 yards.

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • Mark Wiebe joined the Champions Tour last September, but he didnt have his first 3-putt until last weeks Turtle Bay Championship. Wiebes 3-putt on the ninth hole of the opening round ended a stretch of 296 hole without one.
  • Two PGA TOUR veterans posted their best finishes in quite some time last week in Hawaii. Fulton Allems T2 was his best finish since he won the 1993 World Series of Golf and Wayne Gradys T4 was his best effort since winning the 1990 PGA Championship.
  • Fred Funks run of 15 consecutive sub-par rounds ended with a crash last week with a final-round 81 in tough conditions at the Turtle Bay Championship. Funk finished in four-event, two-Tour swing of Hawaii with $185,571 in earnings on the PGA TOUR and $310,103 on the Champions Tour. Hes set a goal of winning $2 million on each Tour this year.

    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • While this weeks Mexico Open presented by Corona is a new event on the Nationwide Tour, its not a new event. In fact, this years playing of the Mexico Open will be the 50th in its history. It will be the second Nationwide Tour event to be played in Mexico'the Monterrey Open was held from 1993-2001.
  • When Scott Dunlap won last weeks season-opening Panama Movistar Championship, it marked the sixth different country in which hes won an event. Dunlap has won professional events in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Peru, Argentina and now Panama.
  • The 3-under winning score posted by Scott Dunlap last week in Panama was one of the highest winning scores in a 72-hole event in Tour history. Only the even par score shot by Omar Uresti at last years Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship at Wente Vineyards and the 1 under shot by Doug Martin at the 1993 South Texas Open were fewer strokes under-par.
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    Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated” while taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

    Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor, he made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

    Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

    Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

    “I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

    Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

    “I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

    Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

    “No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

    Getty Images

    Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

    Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

    “We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

    “I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

    Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

    “Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

    The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

    “We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

    Getty Images

    Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

    The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

    Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

    Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

    “We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”