Vegas back from shoulder surgery, rehabbing confidence at Honda

By Randall MellMarch 1, 2014, 11:55 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – His surgically repaired left shoulder is almost completely healed.

Now Johnattan Vegas is stepping up rehab on his confidence.

The shoulder is feeling stronger, and there would be no better therapy for rebuilding his confidence than making a run Sunday at winning the Honda Classic.

That’s how it works. When you have an injury like Vegas tried to play through the last couple years, a torn tendon that won’t allow you to play to your strengths, your confidence can’t help but need some repairing, too.

With a 4-under-par 66 Saturday, Vegas moved into position to win his second PGA Tour title, to add to his breakthrough victory at the Bob Hope Classic three years ago. He likes the work he has done to give himself this chance.

“I feel confident, I feel ready,” Vegas said after signing his scorecard.

Vegas, 29, sits in fourth place, four shots behind Rory McIlroy. A bogey at the last Saturday disappointed him, but he liked the way he felt getting into contention again.

“It felt phenomenal,” Vegas said. “The adrenaline was rushing, and it was fun. It's fun feeling this way. That’s why I'm here.”

A rookie from Venezuela via the University of Texas and the Nationwide Tour, Vegas broke through to win the Bob Hope Classic in 2011. He beat Bill Haas and Gary Woodland in a playoff in his second start his rookie season.

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A second PGA Tour title has proved elusive, especially with his left shoulder beginning to ache and doctors unable to detect the cause.

Vegas began feeling pain in his left shoulder not far into his second PGA Tour season.

“It just kept getting worse and worse, the more I played,” Vegas said.

There was frustration the deeper he got into 2012, in going from doctor to doctor looking for a cause and getting no answers.

“It was hard to find,” said Bobby Kreusler, Vegas’ agent. “The way the tear was, when they laid him down to do an MRI, with his shoulder at his side, the tear flapped back in place, and you couldn’t see it.”

Vegas couldn’t understand why the source of the pain wasn’t showing up.

“It took them a long, long time,” Vegas said. “That’s kind of when I was frustrated.”

After those three missed cuts starting last year, Vegas flew to see Richard Hawkins, an orthopedic surgeon in Greenville, S.C. Hawkins discovered the exact problem and Vegas put away his clubs. Hawkins performed the surgery almost exactly one year ago. Vegas went four months without touching a club.

Late last summer, when he was finally back to hitting full shots, Vegas couldn’t contain his excitement and called his caddie, Louis Sira.

“I’m hitting the ball like I never have before,” Vegas told Sira. “I’m pain free. I haven’t felt this good in a very long time.”

Sira could feel what Vegas was feeling.

“He was relieved,” Sira said.

Vegas teed it up last fall in the 2013-14 PGA Tour season opener with a major medical extension. He was granted 21 starts to make $595,483 and keep his tour card. Though he missed the cut in that first start at the Frys.Com Open, he hasn’t missed a cut since, making seven straight now. He has made $107,543 so far and will be looking to pad that on Sunday at PGA National.

His confidence started coming back making all those cuts.

“Tomorrow is going to be part of that,” Vegas said. “It was playing good on Thursday and Friday, then playing good on a Saturday. It's a whole different game playing good on Sunday.”

But Vegas knows what that's like closing out his first PGA Tour win in dramatic style in a sudden-death playoff.

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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18