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Before Corales, competitive Romo playing to win

By Randall MellFebruary 10, 2018, 1:36 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Too bad Tony Romo won’t be mic’d up in the TV window Saturday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Once a quarterback, always a quarterback.

That’s what Will Zalatoris loves about Romo as his amateur partner in this week’s pro-am competition.

Zalatoris isn’t getting any Larry the Cable Guy or Bill Murray shtick this week. He’s getting what made Romo so good in an NFL huddle.

Romo is taking all the internal grit and spark that made him a star quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys and bringing it inside the ropes as a golfer.

Romo didn’t show up this week to help put on a TV show. He came to win the pro-am competition.

That’s what Zalatoris is seeing and hearing.

There’s something infectious about Romo’s attitude.

“I’m learning a lot from him,” Zalatoris said.

Zalatoris, 21, a former Wake Forest standout and U.S. Junior Amateur champ from Plano, Texas, is playing this week on a sponsor exemption. He’s hoping to earn his way on to the PGA Tour the same way fellow Texan Jordan Spieth did. And this weekend could do wonders for that quest.

With a 5-under-par 67 at Spyglass Hill on Thursday, Zalatoris moved onto the leaderboard, just two shots off the lead. With a 69 Friday at Monterey Peninsula, he’s in good position to make a weekend run at Pebble Beach Golf Links. He’s tied for 13th, five shots back.

Full-field scores from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Articles, photos and videos

Zalatoris and Romo are tied for 11th in the pro-am competition. The low 25 teams at the end of Saturday’s play make the cut to Sunday.

How competitive is Romo?

“Oh my God,” Zalatoris said. “We are standing on the ninth green today, and he’s all pissed off because he made a bogey at eight. He says, 'We are shooting 61 tomorrow. That’s enough of this.'”

Zalatoris said Romo was even more upset about hitting a ball out of bounds at the sixth.

After the round, with Zalatoris in scoring, Romo stood in front of the shuttle rehearsing a fix in his downswing.

“I’m like, 'You didn’t have a bad day today,'” Zalatoris said. “It wasn’t terrible. Make five birdies on your ball on a PGA Tour-caliber golf course, that’s good work.

“He’s still angry he has to play the up tees. He needs to get over it.”

This pro-am team’s roots lies in their Dallas connection. They met going to the same chiropractor. That led to Romo inviting Zalatoris to play at Bent Tree with him.

“Will was a local legend there growing up,” Romo told as he rehearsed that takeaway waiting for a shuttle. “He’s just a great kid, a genuine kid, with so much talent. You see it instantly on the golf course.”

Romo can’t wait to see what Zalatoris will do playing full time on the PGA Tour.

“I think you’re going to hear about him quite a bit in the future,” Romo said. “I think he’s one of the most special, uniquely talented young guys out there, and he’s going to show up.”

Zalatoris has only known Romo for two months, but there’s already a bond. Zalatoris is learning as much from Romo as Romo is from him. Romo will try to step up his game at the PGA Tour’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic next month. He is playing on a sponsor exemption.

“I can sit there for a day, just asking him questions,” Zalatoris said. “His routines? Pressure moments? How did he rally his troops?”

Zalatoris got a glimpse of that last part on the course Friday at Monterey. He missed a putt when a “really bad piece of poa annua” messed up the roll at the second hole. He made bogey. He was down about it.

“He was just getting in my ear on the fourth green, to get my head on straight,” Zalatoris said. “I was really grinding to get things back in gear. It was fun. He was really motivating today.

“There’s something he learned in every single thing he did in his career. He was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Quite frankly, he was probably one of the best of all time, but he’s not going to get credit for it. There are a lot of things I can learn from him."

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”