Bunker Shots Cell Phone Insanity

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2010, 7:13 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from cell phone insanity to another senior major ...

PGA TOUR

PGA Tour (75x100)

Wyndham Championship

The PGA Tour moves from Whistling Straits to Desperate Straits this week.

That’s what it feels like with players on the FedEx Cup bubble wanting a chance at the $65 million offered in the Playoffs.

There’s just one player among the top 25 in the world rankings in the Wyndham Championship field – that would be No. 14 Anthony Kim – but the fiercest competition this week is on the lower end of golf’s ladder. This is the last event players can qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The top 125 in the season-long points race advance.

There’s a potentially noisy little sidebar to the week: This is the event the PGA Tour is allowing fans to bring cell phones to the course as a test. Whoever came up with that idea in the PGA Tour offices must be holding their breath in hopes that there isn't a concert of ring tones breaking through the silent mode.

Every player ranked 111th to 131st in the FedEx Cup standings is teeing it up. Michael Letzig is on the playoff bubble at No. 125. Mike Weir is No. 126. According to pgatour.com, any player 126th to 142nd in points is assured of making the playoffs with a top-10 finish this week.

Fred Couples, David Duval and John Daly are the biggest names in the Wyndham Championship field with Ryan Moore back as defending champ. Moore is part of some Ryder Cup intrigue as a potential captain’s pick bidding to gain American captain Corey Pavin’s attention. Kim’s got something to show, too. He was bumped off the automatic qualifying list last week and needs to show Pavin his surgically repaired thumb will allow him to help the team. Lucas Glover, last year’s U.S. Open winner, also got bumped off the team. A Glover victory this week would certainly get Pavin’s attention.

Bunker shot: What if Tiger Woods didn’t make the FedEx Cup Playoffs? Would they be canceled? For a contingent of fans, they might as well be. It’s not likely Woods will be bumped out of the FedEx Cup playoffs this week, but it should be troubling at PGA Tour offices that it’s even possible. Woods is 108th in the FedEx Cup standings. Only the top 96 are mathematically assured of advancing to the playoffs. You have to believe the playoffs would sustain serious injury in its appeal in future negotiations to extend the system should Woods not qualify for get bounced after the first playoff event.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Fred Couples. Contender – Ryan Moore. Darkhorse – Brandt Snedeker.

Course: Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, N.C.

Purse: $5.1 million (winner’s share, $918,000).

TV Times (ET): Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel (3-6 p.m.); Saturday-Sunday, Golf Channel (noon-1:30 p.m.), CBS (2-5 p.m.).

Last year: Ryan Moore won on the third playoff hole, defeating Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler.


CHAMPIONS TOUR

Champions Tour

Jeld-Wen Tradition

It’s the third major in five weeks for the over-50 circuit.

Fred Couples, however, will miss the second of those majors. He’s teeing it up at the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour. While Couples is having a big year in his Champions Tour rookie season, he is majorless. It’s hard to imagine it’s keeping him up at night. He was second at the Senior PGA and second at the U.S. Senior Open in his two starts in majors.

Bunker shot: German engineering is center stage yet again. A week after Martin Kaymer won the PGA Championship, Bernhard Langer bids to win his third consecutive senior major. Langer won the Senior Open three weeks ago and the U.S. Senior Open two weeks ago. Langer’s arguably the hottest player on the planet, so much so that European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie said he’d consider him as a captain’s pick. Some Euro Tour players were skeptical but another Langer victory might make them think again.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Mark Calcavecchia. Contender – Bernhard Langer. Darkhorse – Denis Watson.

Course: Crosswater Club, Sunriver, Ore.

Purse: $2.6 million (winner’s share, $392,000).

TV times (ET): Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel (6:30-9 p.m.); Saturday-Sunday, NBC (4-6 p.m.).

Last year: Mike Reid defeated John Cook on the first playoff hole.


LPGA TOUR

LPGA Tour _new

Safeway Classic

After two weeks off, the LPGA returns to action Friday at Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek Course in North Plains, Ore.

Every player among the top 10 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings is in the field for the 54-hole event.

Bunker shot: There’s a revolving door atop the women’s game, but it’s dizzyingly good stuff for this tour. When American Cristie Kerr ascended back to the top of the rankings this week, it marked the sixth change at the top in less than four months. That’s more changes than we saw in the first four years of the women’s rankings. The race is so close that players are making moves on off weeks (lost points are a factor in the ranking rolling two-year window). Since Lorena Ochoa retired in late April, Kerr, Jiyai Shin and Ai Miyazato have taken turns at No. 1. Shin’s held the top spot for 11 weeks, Kerr for four and Miyazato for two.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Suzann Pettersen. Contender – Michelle Wie. Darkhorse – Hee Young Park.

Course: Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Ghost Creek Course, North Plains, Ore.

Purse: $1.5 million (winner’s share, $225,000).

TV times (ET): Golf Channel – Friday (12:30-2:30 p.m); Saturday (5:30-8 p.m.); Sunday (5:30-8 p.m.).

Last year: M.J. Hur closed beat Suzann Pettersen and Michele Redman in a playoff.

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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."