Something New at Something Old

By Rex HoggardJuly 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship BRODICK, Scotland ' A good number of American professionals made their way to Turnberry on Monday and a craggy slice of linksy perfection that for the vast majority of modern players is as foreign as the moon, or a budget motel.
Poll players who have at least a degree of familiarity with the Ailsa Course and there is a consensus of respect, if not admiration. Yet when it comes to practical knowledge of the layout there is little, if any, to be had.
Visually its impressive, said Paul Casey, who, at 31, may be one of the few Gen X players to have any insight on the Ailsa. Its a really cool place and youve really got to strike your golf ball well on those outer holes because the breeze really moves the ball. It makes some of those tee shots very difficult.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods practices Monday at Turnberry. (Getty Images)
Casey played the British Amateur in 1996 and the 99 St. Andrews Trophy, a team competition, at Turnberry. He holed the winning putt for England in 99 and has done countless corporate outings on the Ailsa. But it is still the classic 1977 Duel in the Sun between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson that immediately comes to mind when asked his impressions of the course.
Seen it on TV, smiled Casey, who was born a week after the timeless clash. You still dont think Nicklaus is going to hole that putt on 18, but he does, continuously.
Although he lost to Watson by a shot, the 77 Open Championship holds a strangely special place in Nicklaus heart that belies the outcome. Its as good as Ive ever played and lost, Nicklaus said last month.
However, other than the grainy images from that sun-splashed day 32 years ago Turnberry is largely an enigma to the players of the current generation, particularly to Americans who show up each summer playing an unfamiliar game on ancient ground.
Tiger Woods will have to be a quick study when he arrives on Scotlands west coast having never seen Turnberry. Ditto for Englands Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. In the universe of Open rota layouts, Turnberry is Waldo.
Never been there and Im going in completely blind. But then Id never seen Birkdale either, said Poulter, who posted his best finish in a major championship (runner-up) last year at Royal Birkdale.
Although Turnberry is largely an unknown commodity, there is a consensus that the scenic layout may be the most visually pleasing of all the Open stops. Its also one of the few championship layouts that offers almost unobstructed views of the sea as well as that postcard lighthouse.
Its as good a golf course as youre going to find in the Open rotation, said CBS analyst and funnyman David Feherty. Its going to stand up to any of them. Its beautiful with the sea and Ailsa Craig. You know what they say, if you can see Ailsa Craig its gonna rain. If you cant see it its raining already.
Feherty is among the few with working knowledge of an Open Championship at Turnberry. He tied for fourth in 1994, five behind Nick Price, and missed the cut badly in 1986, the scene of Greg Normans first Open triumph.
The Northern Irishman remembers the scenic views and the high drama, but mostly he remembers the pressure that comes with trying to win an Open Championship.
If Id have won it would have been a disaster for me, Feherty said. I remember walking by my name on the scoreboard, it had been left up there all night, spelled F-A-R-T-L-Y. I remember thinking, Yeah, theres your Open champion right there, I dont think so.
Some, you see, lament missed opportunities at major championships for their entire lives. Feherty is just relieved he wasnt the last one holding the claret jug.
There was a point on the back nine, a pivotal moment and I just sort of limped into the canon, Feherty said. I remember (Peter) Alliss saying, Well, if it wasnt for the dreaded 13th (Feherty) would have been the Open champion. I remember thinking of that line from Blazing Saddles when the whole village goes, Bull----. I dont think so.
There does seem to be a level of certainty at Turnberry, at least if history holds. The champions Turnberry has produced are an unmistakable list of the games greatest. Price, Norman and Watson were all renowned ball-strikers who held off relentless challenges to claim the Claret Jug.
It seems to produce dramatic moments, Casey said. I think its almost impossible to replicate what happened there in 77 with those two greats. But I hope we get that weather and I hope we get that drama. Im glad were back there because I think its my favorite links course in the British Isles.
Whether there is a Duel in the Sun, Part II in the making remains to be seen, along with just about everything else at the years most unknown Open.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 138th Open Championship
  • Getty Images

    Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

    Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

    ''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

    Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

    Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

    Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

    ''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.

    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

    Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

    ''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

    Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

    ''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

    Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

    Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

    Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

    ''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

    In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

    Getty Images

    Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

    ''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

    McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

    Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

    ''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

    Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

    ''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

    Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.

    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

    McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

    ''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

    McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

    ''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

    McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

    McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

    Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

    ''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

    Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

    ''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

    Getty Images

    Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

    The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

    Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

    Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

    Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

    This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

    Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

    Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

    By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

    Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

    Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

    “You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

    It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

    Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

     “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”