Woods-Garcia feud takes center stage on Sunday

By Rex HoggardMay 12, 2013, 1:46 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – It’s only apropos that a week that began under a contentious cloud will end that way.

A parade of thunderstorms cut short Saturday’s third round at The Players Championship, but it was an increasingly blustery relationship between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia that will continue to dominate the conversation heading into Sunday’s Mother’s Day Marathon.

When play resumes early Sunday, Woods and Garcia will have four holes to play in Round 3, which may be four too many for both players after the duo’s already chilly relationship took an even cooler turn.

Lost in the contentiousness of Saturday – tension born from what Garcia suggested was an ill-timed club selection by Woods on the second hole – was a crowded leaderboard that featured Henrik Stenson (10 under), Garcia (10 under), Woods (10 under) and Hunter Mahan (8 under).

All total, 16 players were within five shots of the lead when play was halted by darkness. But – with respect to little-known rookie frontrunner David Lingmerth – it will be Woods and Garcia that will dominate the conversation on Sunday following an incident that only expanded the rift between the two.

Video: Tiger-Sergio feud takes center stage

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Before Saturday’s storms arrived, a fast-moving system that delayed play for about two hours, Garcia was distracted while hitting his second shot into the par-5 second hole when Woods, who had missed his drive in the trees, pulled a club and caused the crowd to react.

 “I think he must have pulled a 5-wood or 3-wood out and obviously everybody started screaming, so that didn’t help very much. It was unfortunate,” Garcia told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands. “I try to respect everyone as much as possible out there. I try to be careful what I do to make sure it doesn’t bother the other players.”

As darkness descended on TPC Sawgrass, Woods had a vastly different, and even more pointed, take on the incident.

“He doesn’t know all the facts,” said Woods, who is tied with Garcia at 10 under par and two strokes behind Lingmerth. “The marshal said he’d already hit and I pulled the club . . . I heard his comments afterwards. It’s not surprising he’s complaining about something.”

When told of Woods’ comments, Garcia replied: “That’s fine, at least I’m true to myself. I know what I’m doing. He can do what he wants.”

Where’s Vijay Singh when you need him?

The Fijian began the week at TPC Snipe & Squabble by filing a lawsuit against the Tour as a result of his run in with the circuit’s anti-doping policy. Woods and Garcia seem inclined to end it with a war of words.

But at least we have the golf, which will resume at 7:10 a.m. (ET) with Woods and Garcia facing approach shots at the 15th hole and what promises to be an eventful Mother’s Day if Saturday’s happenings were any indication.

Garcia began the day with a one-stroke lead, but less than 20 minutes into the “Bout at Ponte Vedra Beach” Woods pulled clear of Garcia, the byproduct of the surreal birdie-bogey exchange at the second hole.

It was the start of a give-and-take day with TPC Sawgrass doing most of the taking.

“It's a tough golf course, and if you do the right things you get the reward, and otherwise you've got to have a short game, and I just like this golf course,” said Stenson, the 2009 Players champion who held a share of the lead until he bogeyed the 15th hole.

At least for Lingmerth the Woods-Garcia row will likely take much of the attention off of him, although it will likely do little for the pressure.

The rookie eagled the 16th hole and birdied the 17th to move to 12 under par. It’s a dramatic change of fortune for the rookie who lost a playoff at the Humana Challenge but has missed five consecutive cuts coming into The Players.

“I don't know if I could predict that this was going to happen, but my game was feeling a lot better than missing five cuts in a row; I can promise you that,” Lingmerth said. “It was kind of frustrating because I couldn't get anything out of my game really. But now this week I've been able to score, which obviously helped.”

Joining Woods, Garcia and Stenson in pursuit of the Lingmerth is senior-in-waiting Jeff Maggert (9 under).

TPC Sawgrass has produced an eclectic list of champions, from Fred Funk to Phil Mickelson, but it has likely been a lifetime since someone won the Tour’s flagship event with pleats.

Yet there was the 49-year-old just three strokes back after a round-of-the-day 66 playing in his 586 Tour event. By comparison, Lingmerth is making his 13th career start in the Big Leagues.

When asked his expectations for this week Maggert embraced the elephant in the room, “To make the cut,” he said.

Woods had much loftier expectations, although given his record around the Pete Dye design in recent years, making the cut was a good start. He has just one professional victory on the Stadium Course and a single top-10 finish in the last decade, which explained his upbeat appraisal of his game following the suspension of play.

“I’m happy with the way I played. We had a long day and the conditions changed pretty dramatically. It was a day of patience,” he said.

Sunday promises to be more of the same, both competitively and from a compatibility standpoint when he sets out with Garcia just past sunrise. Asked if he and the Spaniard talked about the episode, Woods seemed to sum up the atmosphere with his response.

“We didn’t do a lot of talking,” Woods said.

Seems like a good rule to follow on Mother’s Day, if you don’t have anything nice to say . . .

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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.

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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.''

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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.”