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By Rex HoggardJuly 24, 2009, 4:00 pm
For those pining for an alternative ending, Stewart Cink is still the Open champion and Tom Watson remains a wildly popular also-ran. And last weeks championship is still an instant classic ' regardless of outcome. No amount of second-guessing or hand-wringing will ever change that.
 
Made Cut
 
  • Tom Watson-Stewart Cink: Would probably get run out of the buffet line in the Open Championships media center for putting these two under the same headline, but the week that was the 138th British Open would be incomplete without either player.
     
    One gave us four days of age-defiant golf and 98 percent of perhaps the greatest sports story ever told; the other, whether the collective will admit it, returned reason to Grand Slam golf.
     
    Or, as one colleague groused following Sundays fireworks: Stewart Cink drew a mustache on the Mona Lisa.
     
    Perhaps, but theres no denying the well-spoken Alabamians execution or effort. It may have been Watsons Open, but Cink, with three birdies over his five final windblown holes, won it.
     
  • Links golf: For 51 weeks links golf is as foreign a concept as new math or the metric system. But four glorious days in July bring out the best in the games best.
     
    Play last weeks Open Championship on, say, TPC Glasgow, and Woods makes the cut and likely closes on Grand Slam No. 15, Watson misses the cut and is relieved he only has one more year of eligibility and Lee Westwood bogeys the 16th to come up short at another major. . . . Well, you get the point.
     

     
    Made Cut ' Did not finish (MDF)
     
  • TW: That would be Tiger Woods, not 59-year-old Tom Watson, although were less concerned with that unsightly missed cut at Turnberry than his overall fortunes in the majors this season.
     
    Woods and Grand Slam pen pal Roger Federer arent trading text messages over victories at Bay Hill or Muirfield Village. The world No. 1 defines his career in the majors and the card is clear, hes 0-for-3 heading into Glorys Last Shot and in danger of a Grand Shutout for the first time since 2004 and just the third time in his career.
     
    Woods is still the prohibitive favorite at Hazeltine National, will be until he hangs up his Nikes, and a season without a major victory is hardly reason to be concerned following 10 months of rehab and on a rebuilt left knee. But he wont like it, and thats probably good for golf.
     
  • Neil Oxman: In its quest to find a culprit to hang Watsons historical near miss on, the media has scorched sometime caddie/sometime political consultant Oxman.
     
    During an interview with Cink on Tuesday, he said he knew Watsons approach at the 72nd hole was bound for the back fringe as soon as it landed, You have to land that shot about 6 yards short of the green and let it run up.
     
    So why would Oxman let his man hit an 8-iron into the decisive last?
     
    The final words of my life will be that I should have had Tom hit a 9-iron, Oxman joked during an interview on NPRs All Things Considered.
     

     
    Missed Cut
     
  • United Kingdom media: First a handful of Scottish writers reportedly sat on Sandy Lyles comments regarding Colin Montgomerie for five days and then the fourth estate took it to Cink for having the gall to win Watsons Open.
     
    On our way out of Scotland on Monday we ducked into a news agents shop and were greeted with a headline in one national publication: Stew Stinks. Never felt more ashamed of our chosen profession.
     
    As for Lyle, we were taken by the mans conviction to do whats right, not whats politically prudent. While Lyle probably should have avoided Montgomeries scrape with the Rules of Golf, when pressed about his comments during a hastily arranged press conference last Tuesday he had three options ' decline to comment any further, stand by his original comments or apologize for incorrectly calling Monty a cheat. And Lyle, an honest man, just couldnt do that.
     
  • Royal & Ancient: Although golfs governing body outside the United States and Mexico seems to avoid the type of questionable decisions that gets the U.S. Golf Association into trouble ' see lift, clean and place and Bethpage ' the R&A seemed to go pear shaped last week over its 60-year limit for former champions.
     
    Watson, the picture of class and dignity all week at Turnberry, deferred on the topic, but his play spoke loud enough for all involved. If Watsons magical run in Scotland, not to mention Greg Normans play last year at Royal Birkdale, isnt enough to make officials rethink the 60-year rule, what is? Old Tom Morris rising from the grave next year at St. Andrews to make a run at the Claret Jug?
     
  • England's Young Guns: For all the talk surrounding the nations up-and-coming corps, they still remain on the schnide when it counts.
     
    Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher posted respectable showings at Turnberry, but what of Justin Rose or Paul Casey?
     
    Last we checked, Sir Nick Faldo remains the last British major champion, and that just wont do.
     

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    Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

    By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

    Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

    Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

    "I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

    Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

    While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

    "I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

    Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

    Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

    By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

    Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

    In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

    Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

    Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

    Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    “I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

    On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

    Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

    Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of {Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

    Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

    “The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

    Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

    Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

    Getty Images

    D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

    By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

    ''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

    The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

    Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

    Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

    ''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

    Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

    Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

    Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

    The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

    Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

    ''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

    Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

    Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

    She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

    If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

    ''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

    Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

    Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

    ''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

    Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

    ''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

    Getty Images

    Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

    By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

    Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

    One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.


    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


    McCarron won the Senior Players Championship last year for his first senior major.

    Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.