Kuchar Molder push each other into contention at PGA Championship

By Randall MellAugust 14, 2010, 5:00 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – They’ve made their way through worse fog.

Matt Kuchar and Bryce Molder come uniquely prepared to lead the PGA Championship through the trouble that keeps blowing into Whistling Straits.

These former teammates at Georgia Tech played their way onto the leaderboard on a day that began with yet another weather delay.

In a different sense, Kuchar and Molder have fought their way out of the fog before, out of the malaise that once shrouded their careers after such promising starts.

Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar has two career PGA Tour victories. (Getty Images)
With a 3-under-par 69, Kuchar is the leader in the clubhouse in the suspended second round of the year’s final major championship. At 8-under 136, he’s a shot ahead of Nick Watney (67) and three ahead of a pack of players that includes Molder (67), Rory McIroy (68) and Dustin Johnson (68).

Kuchar was also the first-round leader. With a birdie over the final four holes of his suspended opening round early Friday morning, he closed out a 67.

On a day that started with a 2-hour and 40-minute fog delay, the third of the championship, Tiger Woods didn’t tee off for the second round until after 5 p.m. He made six consecutive pars before play was halted with darkness falling to remain at 1 under. He was among 78 players still on the course when play was halted at 7:27 p.m. (CT).

The second round will resume Saturday at 7 a.m. local time.

Phil Mickelson was able to complete his second round with a 69, leaving him six shots behind Kuchar.

“Not too much trouble to report in two rounds,” Kuchar said. “Just putting well and staying out of trouble.”

Kuchar, 32, and Molder, 31, know about the trouble golf can bring.

They were a pair of can’t-miss kids coming out of Georgia Tech who got lost on the way to stardom.

Kuchar won the U.S. Amateur in 1997, then made stirring runs as an amateur at the Masters (T-21) and U.S. Open (T-14) in ’98. As a pro, he won the Honda Classic in ’02, but he would lose his PGA Tour card and find himself fighting his way back via the Nationwide Tour.

Molder, who turned pro a year after Kuchar, was a four-time first-team All-American. He won his PGA Tour card on sponsor invites without even going to Q-School, but he would also lose it and spend four seasons trying to get it back via the Nationwide Tour.

The former Yellow Jackets are on the rise again.

“I think that’s the beauty of the sport,” Kuchar said. “There’s no guaranteed contract. You have to perform, and it’s a tough game.

“I think most people would have expected the two of us to be doing this earlier on in our career, but I remember talking to some guys when I was fresh on Tour, talking to them about a 10-year learning curve out there. It didn’t make much sense then. I went out and had a win straightaway in ’02 and thought it would be smooth sailing.”

Kuchar’s sails look full again. After winning his second PGA Tour title at Turning Stone last year, he’s logged eight top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season, more than any other player. He’s finished fourth or better four times. His 69.48 actual scoring average is best on Tour.

“The position I’ve put myself in, the logical next step would be to win,” said Kuchar, who’s never led a round in a major championship until this week and has one top-10 finish 20 majors.

But Kuchar said he sees a trap in thinking like that.

“Do you leave disappointed if you don’t win?” he said. “We came to the conclusion that the best way to approach it would be to have a goal for the week of putting yourself in contention on Sunday.

“To win, there’s definitely an element of luck involved. You just can’t control everything out there.”

Kuchar and Molder are pushing each other this week. They played two practice rounds together, but Molder found himself on the losing end of their bets.

Over 27 practice holes at Whistling Straits, Molder said Kuchar made 13 birdies.

“I actually still owe him,” Molder said.

How much?

“A little bit,” Molder said.

Their duel continued into the first two rounds with Kuchar and Molder in back-to-back pairings. They kept an eye on each other as they moved up the leaderboard.

Coming off the 13th green Thursday, Molder heard the roar when Kuchar holed out a wedge from 136 yards for eagle. On Friday, Molder watched Kuchar nearly repeat the feat.

“I’m never surprised by anything he does,” Molder said.

Molder’s making his own run this season. While he’s still looking for his first PGA Tour victory, he has a career best six top-10 finishes this year.

The duo would like nothing better than to push each other all the way to the end in bids to win the Wanamaker Trophy this weekend.

“Sometimes, it take a little while to figure out how to play your best, how to maximize your efforts out here, and I feel like he's just hitting his stride, and I feel like I'm doing the same,” Molder said.

 

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Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.

Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.

An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.

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I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.

“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.

Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.

“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.


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Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.

Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.

“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.

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Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.

This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.

Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.

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Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.



“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.

“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”