Magic is gone with no more Disney Tour stop

By Rex HoggardOctober 16, 2013, 6:08 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The sprawling sign with the double-edged meaning still welcomes the hordes into Walt Disney World – “Where dreams come true.”

Each fall for the better part of a half century it was an ominous subtext to what almost always turned out to be an eventful week. Down-on-their-luck PGA Tour types would arrive at the house that Walt built perched precariously on the circuit’s money precipice.

Some, like lemmings, would tumble over the edge. Others, like Jimmy Walker in 2009, would pull off the last-minute money grab and keep their Tour cards.

But that theater ended last fall. Depending on who you ask, the Tour’s annual Disney stop – a staple since 1971 – was either a victim of the FedEx Cup era or a change of heart by the resort’s keepers.

Wherever the truth lies this much is certain, the Tour’s move to a split-calendar schedule was the final straw for Mickey & Co. Full FedEx Cup points and a Masters invitation come with a cost and for the fall events that meant bigger purses for only slighter better fields.

When Charlie Beljan putted out for an emotional victory last year at Disney it marked the end of an era for the event that had the same number of title sponsors (five) as it had decades on the Tour lineup.

Although the Disney stop was played at various times on the Tour’s fall schedule, this week marks as good a date as any to eulogize the event’s demise. Twenty-three out of the 42 Disney events ended on the third week of October, and 12 of the last 17. Not that one would have noticed the sentimental passing on Wednesday.

Instead of courtesy cars and spectator shuttles, the parking lot adjacent the pro shop that serves the Palm and Magnolia courses was filled with mini-vans and dusty SUVs from across Americana, from Wisconsin to North Dakota.

Instead of Tour pros looking to take one final swing at the fences, tourists filled Wednesday’s tee sheet.

“Not bad,” said the golf bag attendant named Arnie when asked if they were busy.

That is not the same Arnie, by the way, who recently reworked the Palm course. That would be Palmer, and the little-sister of the two layouts is scheduled to reopen by early December with a fresh new look and Oakmont-like bunkering.

In fact, the only sign that the property had ever been such a recognizable part of the Tour landscape is a scoreboard that still looms over the practice putting green that reads “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic,” the tournament’s final calling card.

“We were fortunate not to worry about keeping our Tour card each time, and I would fly my brother in with his family and he would caddie for me and for them to have the run of the park was a dream,” said Kevin Streelman, who won the $1 million Kodak Challenge in 2009 at Disney and missed the event just once since joining the Tour in 2008. “That tournament meant a lot to the families.”

Luke Donald never had to endure the season-ending money grind at Disney to keep his card, but he did need a walk-off victory in 2011 to claim the money title, becoming the first player to win the cash crowns on both the PGA Tour and European circuit.

“It is a special place,” Donald said. “But you can’t take too much away from (Tour commissioner) Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour with the amount of events we get to play, but unfortunately (Disney) went away.”

In this, the Disney stop enjoyed an embarrassment of riches. Each year the event provided equal doses of heroics and heartbreak, from Beljan’s dramatic victory last year following a surreal trip to the hospital in an ambulance on Friday with a mysterious heart condition to Walker’s closing 69 in ’09 to tie for 15th place and finish 125th in earnings by $2,997.

But on Wednesday there was none of the quiet tension that characterized Disney week. No mind games by desperate Tour pros who would say the Disney stop was, “just another week,” but knew that was a lie.

Instead, a foursome from England set out just before lunch without a care in the world. No grandstands, no volunteers, no drama. As they headed down the Magnolia’s first fairway, a train whistle from one of the park’s rides echoed through the oaks and palm trees.

It was a familiar sound for any Tour pro who ever came down the stretch at the Disney stop in search of answers and maybe even a little occupation salvation. It was always as clear as if Johnny Cash himself was belting out the classic line from “Folsom Prison Blues.”

I hear the train a comin'

It's rolling round the bend

And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when

Time marches on at Walt Disney World, just without the Tour and all that theater.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”