Bunker Shots All on the line in Fall Series

By Randall MellOctober 13, 2009, 9:23 pm

The Fall Series marks a difficult time for so many tour pros struggling to stay among the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list and keep their exempt playing privileges. We set the weeks storylines with the help of motivational experts:


Stricker and OMeara, kindred spirits?

Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force: He who knows this is ready to become something higher and stronger than a mere bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating sensations; he who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental powers. James Allen

Steve Strickers future wont include golf for awhile.

Hunting season is at hand for the avid outdoorsman from Wisconsin. Deer season is already open for bow hunters with pheasant, quail and grouse seasons opening this weekend.

All the time Stricker enjoyed playing with Tiger Woods at the Presidents Cup and during the FedEx Cup bodes well for him hunting golf championships in the future.

So does Strickers strengthening friendship with Woods.

It makes you wonder if Stricker wont be the next Mark OMeara. He appears to be on the same career path that led OMeara to break through and win a pair of majors late in his career. Stricker, looking for his first major, is 42, but OMeara proved its never too late to win a major when youre hanging around with Woods. OMeara won his two majors at 41 after bonding with Woods. OMeara was a terrific player for a long time, but he was never shy about acknowledging something about Woods might have rubbed off on him.

Strickers control of the golf ball, with improved driving going with his strong wedge game and stellar putting, should makes him a larger threat in the major championships next year. Strickers so comfortable playing with or against Woods. The comfort hes feeling in those pairings may well translate into being more comfortable in major championship settings.

Steve hasnt won a major championship, but Ill tell you, over the next three, four or five years, hes going to become a factor, says Dennis Tiziani, Strickers coach and father-in-law. You cant hit in the fairway like hes doing now, and putt the way he does, and not know that your time is coming.

Through the pressure of the FedEx Cup playoffs, in his Deutsche Bank Championship victory, Stricker appeared to elevate his game to another level. We saw confirmation of it at the Presidents Cup, where he excelled with Woods as his partner.

It was a blast to play with Tiger, and I learned a lot, Stricker said of his 4-0 Presidents Cup record as partners with Woods. I felt like I held up my end of the deal, which was a big concern for me coming into this deal, because I knew I was going to play with him. I wanted to make sure I contributed, and I felt like I did at times.


A rising star seeks higher heavens

A mans reach should exceed his grasp, or whats a heaven for? Lord Byron

Ryo Ishikawa will be looking to ride the momentum of his impressive Presidents Cup rookie campaign to another Japan Golf Tour victory.

Ishikawa, who just turned 18, is scheduled to play in the Japan Open Golf Championship this week.

Hell be going for his fifth title on that tour this season. He won the Coca-Cola Tokai Classic in his last start in Japan. While weve seen phenoms built up as the next great stars in golf fade away, Ishikawa looks like hes going to be around for a long time. He says his aim is to eventually make his mark in America. He got off to a good start with his victory against Kenny Perry in Sunday singles of the Presidents Cup to bump his record for the week to 3-2.

Nothing has been decided for the future, but for now, I'm going to be playing on the Tour in Japan, Ishikawa said through a translator before leaving Harding Park. Obviously, having played with great players all over the world this week, I'll be looking forward to playing with them in the future, and I'll be looking forward to playing in America and in foreign lands. I think playing in other countries is going to help my golf game, and obviously in the end, I would like to play on the PGA Tour and be able to play with the guys that I played with this week.

Count Woods among those impressed with Ishikawa.

He's by far much more developed in his game than I ever was at 18 years old, Woods said. I was longer than he was, but I certainly did not have the ability to hit shots like he does. It's quite remarkable what he's done, and the poise in how he goes about it . . . the way he's able to control his golf ball, the way he's able to putt and chip is far better than any 18-year-old that I've ever seen.


Best player without a PGA Tour title in action again

Dont loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you dont get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it. Jack London

Ishikawa isnt the only Presidents Cup player jumping right back into action this week.

Tim Clark, Jim Furyk and Anthony Kim are scheduled to tee it up at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas.

Clarks status as the best player not to have won a PGA Tour event was strengthened with his strong Presidents Cup play. He would love to get out from under the title this fall. He has plans to follow up this weeks event with another start next week at the Frys.com Open at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Notably, Clark is 61st in the Race to Dubai standings, with the top 60 at seasons end getting a shot at the big prize over there. Clark, though, has no plans as of now to play in Europe this fall.


Jones putting up the good fight

Attitudes are more important than facts. Dr. Karl Menninger

Matt Jones has quite the challenge in his Fall Series bid to keep his Tour card.

Hes No. 125 on the PGA Tour money list, holding down the last spot that wins exempt status for 2010 with just four events left, but his conditional status is making it tough for him to even get into tournaments. Hes been relying on Monday qualifying to stay alive.

Jones played his way into the Turning Stone Resort Championship last week and tied for 42nd. He wasnt as fortunate this week, failing to advance through the Monday qualifier to get into the Justin Timberlake event. If he cracks the top 125 on this route, it will be a terrific story.

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.