Bunker Shots Like a Rolling Stone

By Randall MellOctober 20, 2009, 9:30 pm

Blasting into the week ahead Like a Rolling Stone.

Bob Dylans first album, titled Bob Dylan, was recorded during this week in 1961. We set the weeks storylines with the Pulitzer Prize winning singer-songwriter leading the way:

Remembering a riveting year in the majors

Precious memories, how they linger

How they ever flood my soul.

In the stillness of the midnight,

Precious sacred scenes unfold.

From Bob Dylans Precious Memories

The four major championship winners teeing it up in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf Tuesday and Wednesday have iron wills.

We know because they won with so much energy working against them.

They relished the role of spoilers in denying victory to the sentimental favorites or the heavy favorite.

This weeks big event is a celebration of what Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Y.E. Yang overcame, but its also a reminder of what we could have seen in Bermuda. With a couple different bounces, or one less putt, we could be watching Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson (or David Duval), Tom Watson and Tiger Woods teeing it up at Port Royal Golf Course. Yes, yes, its time to get over it, time to appreciate that this years winners gave us some terrific finishes in a riveting major championship season, but well always remember this year for what might have been.

In case youre wondering, Cinks the slight favorite to win in Bermuda, according to Ladbrokes. Hes a 2-to-1 bet. In some extremely bunched odds, Cabreras next at 9-to-4 with Glover at 3-to-1 and Yang at 7-to-2.

None of the four brings much momentum to Bermuda. They all played in the Presidents Cup, combining for a 4-11-2 mark. None of them had a winning record with Yang sporting the best mark at 2-2-1.

Money makes their world go round

The gravel road is bumpy,

It's a hard road to ride,

But there's a clearer road a-waitin'

With the cinders on the side.

Trails of troubles,

Roads of battles,

Paths of victory,

We shall walk.

From Bob Dylans Paths of Victory

The fight to claim a spot among the top 125 money winners on the PGA Tour this season intensifies with the Frys.com Open one of the last three events remaining in the Fall Series.

The fact that PGA Tours Q-School begins in earnest this week with first stage qualifying adds some incentive for struggling pros making their way to Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mike Weir is the highest ranked player in the Frys.com Open field at No. 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but the falls big stories arent about world rankings. Every player ranked from 109th on the PGA Tour money list to 139th is in the field. Chris Stroud has this weeks honors as the bubble boy at No. 125. Those are the compelling stories.

Three players moved up and inside the top 125 at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Childrens Open last week. Martin Laird, the champion, leaped from No. 134 to No. 62, Bill Lunde climbed two spots to No. 124 and Stroud jumped four spots to get on the bubble. The three players who fell out of the top 125 were Jimmy Walker (123rd to 126th), Will MacKenzie (124th 127th) and Matt Jones (125th to 128th).

The long, hard road begins

How does it feel

To be on your own

With no direction home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?

From Bob Dylans Like a Rolling Stone

Danny Lees the man to watch with PGA Tour Q-Schools first-stage events beginning this week.

Lee, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champ, became the youngest winner of a European Tour event when he claimed the Johnny Walker Classic title in Australia in February. He hoped to avoid Q-School by winning exempt status through the seven sponsor exemptions the PGA Tour allows and other avenues into Tour events. Lee made 11 PGA Tour starts this year, but the $359,846 he won was not enough to earn the promotion. So hell tee it up today at Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Big Break Disney Golf contestant, is also in the field.

Thirteen first-stage events will be played over the next two weeks, seven this week.

Gary Nicklaus, son of Jack Nicklaus; Erik Compton, who has twice recovered from heart transplants to pursue his dream; and Sam Saunders, grandson to Arnold Palmer, are among notables teeing it up in Wednesdays start at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Tadd Fujikawa tees it up Wednesday at St. Johns Country Club in St. Augustine, Fla. Jay Haas Jr., son of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour star, and Jon McLean, son of noted swing instructor Jim McLean, also are scheduled to play there.

Next weeks six first-stage events are scheduled to include former Oklahoma State All-American Rickie Fowler at Lantana (Texas) Golf Club, former teen phenom Ty Tryon at Grasslands Golf & Country Club in Lakeland and Manuel Villegas, brother to PGA Tour Camilo Villegas, at Kinderlou Forest in Valdosta, Ga. Mike Van Sickle, son of long-time Sports Illustrated golf writer Gary Van Sickle, also is scheduled to play at Kinderlou Forest.

About 1,000 players will be competing for about 140 berths into the second-stage events scheduled next month. The fields strengthen at the six second-stage sites with PGA Tour pros who arent among the top 150 on this years money list joining the mix.

The final stage of Q-School will be played Dec. 2-7 at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Twenty-five winners crowned this week

Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won't come again

And don't speak too soon

For the wheel's still in spin

And there's no tellin' who

That it's namin'.

For the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin'.

From Bob Dylans Times They are a Changin

The Nationwide Tour Championships appeal is that all 60 players in this weeks field have a chance to win a PGA Tour card.

When the season-ending event concludes at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C., the top 25 on the Tours money list get promotions to the PGA Tour next year. With a $1 million purse and $180,000 to the winner, even the last player into the field, Darron Stiles at No. 60 on the money list, can win a tour card.

Australias Alistair Presnell has the distinction of being 25th on the money list entering the event.

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Rosaforte Report: What makes Wise so good, while so young

By Tim RosaforteMay 23, 2018, 2:39 pm

Is Aaron Wise the real deal?

It may be too early to answer that question – or even make that proclamation; after all, the baby-faced 21-year-old had zero top-10s in his first 15 starts as a PGA Tour rookie. Now, one month after a missed the cut in the Valero Texas Open, Wise is being associated with phrases like “phenom” and “It kid,” thanks to a strong showing at Quail Hollow and a victory at Trinity Forest.

But that’s how it works in this transient time of golf, where there’s always room to join the party and become one of the guys hanging out with Rickie Fowler. You watch: Next we will see Wise playing practice rounds with Tiger Woods, next to Bryson DeChambeau. It would be the wise thing to do.

We really won’t know about Wise until he’s played some majors and established himself beyond this two-tournament stretch. Had he not turned pro, he would have been a college senior leading Oregon into the NCAA finals.

But what we do know, based on the opinions of those closest to him, is that Wise has the “instinctual” and “emotionally strong” qualities of a great one – the “real deal” qualities, so to speak.

From “knowing how to win” (college coach Casey Martin), to “being a natural in picking the right shot” (swing instructor Jeff Smith) to “the way he embraced mental training, very much like Tiger.” (sports psychologist Jay Brunza), Wise ranks high in all the nuances required of greatness.

Asked if he was surprised with Wise’s second-place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship and win at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Smith said without hesitation, “Not at all. The tough part as a coach was tempering expectations. I have to keep reminding him over and over and over, you’re only 21 years old.”

This week’s Fort Worth Invitational will provide further opportunity to gauge where Wise ranks in the spectrum of potential greatness. One of the elements that surfaced in his last two starts: While not physically imposing, the kid’s athleticism is a noticeable byproduct of the tennis he played during middle school and early high school growing up in Lake Elsinore, Calif. Wise was good enough to be “pretty highly ranked,” and was torn between a golf coach that wanted him to quit tennis, and a tennis coach that wanted him to quit golf.

Golf won out, but what we have seen recently is Wise’s hand-eye athleticism at work, the ability of knowing what shot to hit and how to hit the off-speed and stroke-saving shots that are necessary under the gun. “He’s like a natural in the feel side of the game,” says Smith.

In the mental game, there are even some intuitive comparisons to Woods drawn by Brunza, who started working with Tiger when he was 13. The best example, thus far, of those qualities was the fifth shot Wise holed for bogey to close out his third round at Wells Fargo. After whiffing his third shot and blading his fourth, it was the most meaningful shot in Wise’s short time in the big leagues.

It was what Brunza would so aptly describe as “managing the nervous arousal level within.” Instead of being rattled, Wise chipped in for bogey. He would call it “huge,” and “awesome,” and made the promise that it would carry him into the final round – which it did.

Wise closed with a 68 that Sunday and lost by two strokes to Jason Day, never appearing to be nervous or out of place. After a week off for not qualifying for The Players, that relaxed confidence carried over to Dallas, to the point where closing out a PGA Tour win for the first time felt like it did at the NCAAs, Canada and the Web.com Tour.

“To not only compete, but to play as well as I did, with all that pressure, gave me confidence having been in that situation (with Day at Quail Hollow),” Wise said on “Morning Drive.”

Wise was accompanied at Trinity Forest by his mother, who engaged in what Wise characterized as a joking conversation Sunday morning of just how much money Aaron would make with a win. It was a reminder of the short time span was between winning on Tour, at 21, and not being able the handle costs of playing on the AJGA circuit. Showing poise and patience with the last tee time, Wise did the smart thing and went back to sleep.

Wise didn’t come on radar until he won the 2016 NCAA Men’s DI individual title and helped lead the Ducks to the team title.

Playing mostly what Oregon coach Martin calls local events in Southern Cal hurt his exposure, but not his potential. “He came on really fast,” Martin remembers. “He was a very good junior player but wasn’t the greatest and he didn’t come from a ton of money so he didn’t play AJGA [much] and wasn’t recruited like other kids.”

Instead of pursing pre-law at Oregon, Wise went to the tour’s development schools and won the Syncrude Oil Country Championship on PGA Tour Canada and the Air Capital Classic.

Before Quail Howllow, there was nothing to indicate this sort of transcendent greatness. Statistically, none of numbers (except for being ninth in birdies) jump off the stat sheet. He’s 32nd in driving distance and 53rd in greens hit in regulation. But there are no strokes saved categories for the instinctual qualities he displayed on the two Sundays when he’s had a chance to win. “He’s a really cool customer that doesn’t get rattled,” says Martin. “He doesn’t overreact, good or bad.”

Lately, it’s been all good.

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 11:00 am

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.

Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)