Colonial cast worthy of a Jenkins tale

By Rex HoggardMay 28, 2017, 12:15 am

FORT WORTH, Texas – On Tuesday, university officials are going to name the press box at nearby TCU stadium after legendary sports writer Dan Jenkins.

The Fort Worth native is as much a part of this community as BBQ and Ben Hogan. Well, BBQ for sure. But it does make one wonder why the press center at Colonial isn’t already named in his honor.

Just imagine if the all-world scribe, who made a cameo at Colonial earlier this week, was perched behind his laptop at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational on Saturday.

His signature simplicity would probably recall that 54-hole front-runner Webb Simpson is the guy who won the U.S. Open that should have gone to Jim Furyk if not for a filthy set-up curveball from the USGA on Sunday.

That Stewart Cink, who is tied for fourth place with Kevin Kisner and three shots off Simpson’s pace, is the guy who won Tom Watson’s Open Championship in ’09 at Turnberry; and Paul Casey – who is tied for second place at 7 under with Danny Lee – was last seen dusting off the American side with a walk-off ace at the 2006 Ryder Cup.

None of that is fair or even accurate – Simpson has won since his U.S. Open breakthrough in ’12 and Casey has reinvented himself into a top-15 player – but then Jenkins’ gift has always been his insightful brevity.

Jenkins would have commented about Saturday’s heat, which included a heat index of 108 degrees. Perhaps figuring that Texas has four seasons – drought, flood, blizzard and twister. He’d also probably make a biting observation over the lack of brisket in the Dan Jenkins Press Center media dining.

But most of all, Jenkins would marvel at the play through three windswept and simmering days at Colonial, which includes a shrine to the World Golf Hall of Famer in the clubhouse.


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Having played Colonial regularly, perhaps even with Hogan himself, he would consider Simpson’s third-round 67 something much more impressive than the sum of its math.

Simpson had just a single bogey on Day 3, played the aptly named Horrible Horseshoe, Nos. 3 through 5, in even par and pulled away from the field with birdies at Nos. 10 and 11 for a two-stroke advantage on a course that rarely allows that type of breathing room.

“I'm thrilled to have the lead. I think it's been awhile. I don't know how long it's been,” said Simpson, who dropped an overtime decision to Hideki Matsuyama earlier this year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. “I was happy to go out in the last group today and hit some good shots, make some good putts in this environment to kind of get me ready for tomorrow.”

Jenkins would recognize the journey that Casey has been on the last few years as he recovered from injury and off-course distractions to become a world-class player again. He’s found the consistency he once enjoyed but now must discover a way to translate that into trophies.

At 39 years old, perspective has become a sympathetic counterpart for the Englishman.

“It's pressure every week. It’s still a stacked leaderboard. A lot of very talented, brilliant guys near the top of it,” Casey said. “I feel a pretty good calmness. Yeah, I'd desperately love to win and I will try my best tomorrow. I don't know, 17 years of doing this I'm certainly not soft, but there is more calm than there used to be.”

Cink’s story would resonate with Jenkins. Although the six-time Tour winner described Colonial as “cute,” which is probably not what anyone this side of the Trinity River would care to hear, he is playing this season on a career money list exemption; think of it as a lifeline for those who aren’t interested in the golden fairways of the PGA Tour Champions just yet.

Cink missed six weeks last year to be with his wife, Lisa, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and understandably struggled for much of 2016. But if sentimentality doesn’t make fans for Cink, his perspective after two decades on Tour surely counts for style points.

“It's exciting to get a chance,” he said of his Sunday outlook. “I think in your career out here, season after season, you give yourself five or six chances to win, being in the mix on Sunday, and of one of those times it might happen; maybe more.”

Jenkins may also point out it hasn’t been a great week for chalk, with the week’s top-ranked players struggling with the wind and heat.

Jordan Spieth, whose caddie succumbed to heat exhaustion and had to be replaced midway through the round, avoided the type of early lapse that defined his first two rounds at Colonial, but failed to make up any ground on the lead with a 2-under 68 that left him tied for eighth place, five shots back.

Phil Mickelson rebounded on Saturday with a 69, but his 5-over card on Friday means he’ll start the final lap in the middle of the pack; and Jenkins may have appreciated Sergio Garcia’s purple pants, TCU’s colors, if not his 1-over card or the 29 putts he needed to finish his Saturday.

But most of all, Jenkins would point out the brilliance of Colonial, which is something of a museum piece on the modern Tour at just over 7,200 yards, but has once again produced a crowded and compelling leaderboard.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.