TOUR Notes Tiger is California King

By Pga Tour MediaJune 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
PGA Tour (75x100)PGA TOUR:
  • Hunter Mahan won last years Travelers Championship after finishing second the previous year. Hes the fourth player in the history of the event to perform that feat joining Wayne Levi (1989-90), Nick Price (1992-93) and Greg Norman (1994-95).
  • One more on Mahan: He closes well at the Travelers Championship. Hes shot 65 in the final round in each of the last two seasons.
  • This streak will continue. Hale Irwin remains the last player to win the U.S. Open and then win the following week. Irwin accomplished this back in 1990.
  • Several players made quantum leaps in the FedExCup standings thanks to their finishes at the U.S. Open. Runner-up Rocco Mediate had the biggest leap going from 127th all the way to 48th (+79) while Lee Westwood gained 52 spots to reach 72nd and Eric Axley jumped up 30 places to 125th on the list.
  • With his U.S. Open victory, Tiger Woods now has 13 wins in his native state of California. Hes won two U.S. Opens, six Buick Invitationals, two World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championships, one Mercedes-Benz Championship, one AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and one WGC-CA Championship.
  • When Justin Leonard ousted Robert Allenby from the playoff recently at the Stanford St. Jude Classic, it snapped Allenbys perfect playoff record of 10-0 worldwide and 3-0 on the PGA TOUR. It also erased the Shell Houston Opens claim of being the only event on TOUR with two former champions sporting unblemished multiple tournament playoff records. Allenby won the Shell Houston Open in 2000 while Phil Blackmar won in 1997 and ended his TOUR career with a 3-0 playoff mark.

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • Jay Haas will be looking for his third consecutive Champions Tour victory when he tees it up this week at the Bank of America Championship outside of Boston. Hell also be looking to win his second consecutive title in that event. The Bank of America Championship has seen a number of players successfully defend their titles'Don January (1983-84), Chi Chi Rodriguez (1986-87-88), Bob Charles (1989-90), Hale Irwin (1997-98) and Larry Nelson (2000-01).
  • One more on Haas: When he won last year in Boston, Haas was coming off a two-week break following his victory at the Principal Charity Classic. Guess what? Hes coming off a two-week break this year following a win at the Principal Charity Classic.
  • Hes off to the slowest start of his brilliant Champions Tour career, but a visit to Boston might just be the tonic for Hale Irwin. In 10 starts at the Bank of America Championship, Irwin has won twice, finished second twice and has failed to shoot par-or-better in just one of his 30 rounds.

    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • There were 52 former and 11 current Nationwide Tour players in the field at last weeks U.S. Open. Six of them recorded Top-10 finishes'D.J. Trahan (T4), John Merrick (T6), Eric Axley (T9), Heath Slocum (T9), Brandt Snedeker (T9) and Camilo Villegas (T9).
  • The Tour is in Tennessee this week for the Knoxville Open presented by Food City. The tournament is one of the four original events remaining from the first Nationwide Tour season of 1990. The others are the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper, the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open and the Albertsons Boise Open presented by First Health.
  • Six winners of the Knoxville Open presented by Food City have gone on to win on the PGA TOUR'Jeff Maggert (1990), Brian Henninger (1992), Tom Scherrer (1995), J.J. Henry (2000), Heath Slocum (2001) and Vaughn Taylor (2003). Only one other event on the Tour has seen more of its winners go on to victory on the PGA TOUR. That would be the Nationwide Tour Championship which has seen seven of its winners go on to also win on the PGA TOUR.
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Tavelers Championship
  • Full Coverage - Bank of America championship
  • Full Coverage - Koxville Open
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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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    Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

    Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

    Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

    “If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

    Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

    “It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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    Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

    Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

    Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

    “It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

    “I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

    Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

    “If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”