Golden Moments With the Bear

By Rich LernerMarch 4, 2010, 11:36 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – We all marvel at the extraordinary achievements of great golfers like Jack Nicklaus. I could watch the ’86 Masters every day and never get bored.

But I also love the ordinary moments that remind us that the immortals are just men, and as reporters we’re privileged to catch those rare glimpses that allow us to see that.

I walked into the locker room at PGA National at 6 p.m. Wednesday night. Jack was lying on his back on the carpeted floor with his feet on a bench, rolling from left to right, right to left, letting out a slight groan as he worked out the kinks in his back. His eyes were closed.

After a few minutes he got up and squatted with his back pressed straight against a wooden locker.

“Saw you finished birdie, birdie,” I said.

“Yeah, how ‘bout that?” he said with a chuckle. Jack’s a very agreeable legend, easy to be around at 70. He makes you feel like a son who’s come home to visit.

He’d just come off the course he designed after a pro-am round with Drew Brees, Dan Marino and Kenny G. A lot of records set and sold in that foursome.

Jack fully expects his to be under assault in the next month. “I’d be surprised greatly if Tiger (Woods) didn’t play the Masters,” he said. “Because he’s a golfer, and a darned good one.”

While one theory says that Tiger needs to demonstrate that his marriage is more important than a major by skipping the Masters, another says that when an accountant or nurse or lawyer comes out of rehab they make their amends and go back to work. So why should Tiger be any different?

“His personal life is his personal life,” Jack said. “He’ll figure out his own problems. And as a golfer he’ll come back and get his game in shape and play. That’s what he does.”

Jack also believes that Tiger will need a tune up before the Masters.

While we talked, the television mounted just above where Jack was standing was tuned to ESPN. The anchors were talking about Tiger. Jack’s never seemed to mind the specter of Tiger looming over his shoulder.

Jack has often said that Tiger’s chase for 18 has been great for him because it’s kept his name alive for 15 years. Every time Tiger tees it up at a major we talk about his quest for Jack’s record.

I wonder if fans want Tiger to break it, or do they hope the record stays in Jack’s hands?

At this point, Paul Goydos popped in.

“I’ll never be as good as you are now,” said Goydos to Jack, and they laughed.

The subject turned to Tom Watson.

“I thought it was condescending to say that Watson winning the Open at Turnberry would have been the greatest upset in history,” Goydos said. “Me winning the Open would’ve been the greatest upset.

“My point is that Watson’s still so good that if he grinded out 25 events on the regular Tour I think he could win.’

Said Nicklaus: “There’s no question he’s good enough to win.”

After Goydos left, Jack and I talked football. His grandson Nick is a 6’4” high school junior being recruited by nearly every major power including USC.

“I haven’t missed any games,” Jack said.

I was then curious about the times before the 1986 Masters when he felt the love of the crowd most intensely.

“The 1972 British Open was unbelievable,” he said, his face lighting up at the thought. “I’d won the first two majors of the year and was making a big charge on the final day at Muirfield.

“I shot 30 on the front nine, made par at 10 and then stiffed my second shot at 11. As we’re walking up to green at 11 they’re absolutely going wild. I had tears running down my face. My caddie turned to me and said, ‘Hey man you got some holes to play.’”

Jack lost to Trevino by a shot.

He’s not lost his touch with the press. Just after his round and before coming to the locker room he also held court. “It was a Hall of Fame interview,” remarked colleague Craig Dolch. “Jack understands that you have to give a little. He always has.”

Will Tiger come to understand that? Will he feel what Jack felt at Muirfield in ’72? Will he be an honorary starter at the Masters years from now?

Jack will be at Augusta in that role for the first time this April, alongside his old friend and rival, Arnold Palmer. “I’ll have dinner, play nine holes at the par 3 and then hit a tee shot,” he said with a smile.

And he’ll make that day a better one for those who love the game, just as he did a wind-swept Wednesday in South Florida.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 5:30 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-1-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-0-1 (4) J. Spieth: 1-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 1-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 0-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie: 0-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-1-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
(60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-1-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 0-1-0 (7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-0-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0 (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0 (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 1-0-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-1-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-1-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0 (23) B. Grace: 0-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-0-0 (35) B. Watson: 1-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
(58) I. Poulter: 1-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 0-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-0-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 0-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-0-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 0-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 1-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-0-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1 (27) R. Fisher: 0-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-1-0 (37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-0-0
(61) K. Na: 0-1-0 (59) C. Howell III: 1-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-0-1
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Romo starts hot, stumbles to 77 in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 5:14 pm

There was plenty of good, but also plenty of bad for Tony Romo in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 4-8.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

But the back nine wasn't as kind for the 37-year-old, who dropped five shots in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 13-16. It added up to a 5-over 77 in the opening round, which left Romo ahead of only Guy Boros among the players who had finished in the morning wave.

"I hit two poor tee balls. Just didn't commit to it, and ultimately just got put in a tough spot where you're just trying to make par," Romo said. "I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up a couple times in some poor spots. But you learn the golf course as you play it throughout the week."

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo was even par through 12 holes before a three-putt bogey from the fringe on No. 13. A nasty lie in the rough led to a double bogey on the par-5 14th, and Romo had to hit provisional tee shots on both Nos. 15 and 16. While he ultimately found his original ball on both holes, he left with a pair of bogeys.

"I really hit some good shots, and I'm close," Romo said. "I had a chance to be under par pretty easily there for a while, and then two or three shots on the back nine cost me. But that's golf."

Romo will tee off at 1 p.m. ET Friday in the second round alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Horschel, Kisner & Perez join "Feherty," Monday, March 26 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 22, 2018, 5:10 pm

PREVIEW: Perez details rocky collegiate golf experience at Arizona State

Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner and Pat Perez – each winners of multiple events on the PGA TOUR – will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

“This might be the biggest group of benign social deviants I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking to,” said Feherty. “They’ve been responsible for nine career wins on TOUR collectively, but they’re each also capable of getting into some mischief.”

The episode – filmed in Naples, Fla. – will touch upon several topics, including:

  • Their respective upbringings and corresponding introductions to golf.
  • Reflections on their junior golf and collegiate playing days, and how it helped prepare them to compete as a professional.
  • Contemplating which mulligan(s) they’d take in their life if given the opportunity.

Future guests on Feherty this year include Paul Azinger, Stewart Cink, Boo Weekley and Paul Goydos, among others.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver and Golf Films.

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Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Day 2

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 4:00 pm

Here is how things played out on Day 2 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play. Click here for Day 1 match results:

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1) vs. Adam Hadwin (38)

Group 1: Kevin Kisner (32) vs. Bernd Wiesberger (52)

Group 2: Justin Thomas (2) vs. Patton Kizzire (48)

Group 2: Francesco Molinari (21) vs. Luke List (60)

 Group 3: Jon Rahm (3) vs. Chez Reavie (43)

Group 3: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) vs. Keegan Bradley (63)

Group 4: Jordan Spieth (4) vs. Haotong Li (34)

Group 4: Patrick Reed (19) vs. Charl Schwartzel (49)

Group 5: Hideki Matsuyama (5) vs. Cameron Smith (46)

Group 5: Patrick Cantlay (30) vs. Yusaku Miyazato (53)

Group 6: Rory McIlroy (6) vs. Jhonattan Vegas (44)

Group 6: Brian Harman (18) vs. Peter Uihlein (57)

Group 7: Sergio Garcia (7) vs. Dylan Frittelli (41)

Group 7: Xander Schauffele (20) vs. Shubhankar Sharma (62)

Group 8: Jason Day (8) vs. Jason Dufner (42)

Group 8: Louis Oosthuizen (25) vs. James Hahn (56)

Group 9: Tommy Fleetwood (9) def. Kevin Chappell (33), 7 and 6: Avenging an opening-day loss, the Englishman won the first four holes and needed to make only three birdies in a monster rout of Chappell. The 2017 Presidents Cupper made five bogeys and conceded two other holes but still has a chance to win the group.  

Group 9: Daniel Berger (26) vs. Ian Poulter (58)

Group 10: Paul Casey (10) vs. Kyle Stanley (45)

Group 10: Matthew Fitzpatrick (31) vs. Russell Henley (51)

Group 11: Marc Leishman (11) vs. Bubba Watson (35)

Group 11: Branden Grace (23) vs. Julian Suri (64)

Group 12: Tyrrell Hatton (12) vs. Brendan Steele (36)

Group 12: Charley Hoffman (22) vs. Alexander Levy (55)

Group 13: Alex Noren (13) def. Thomas Pieters (39), 5 and 4: Noren made quick work of Pieters in what could be a match of future Ryder Cup teammates. Noren built a 4-up lead after seven holes and then cruised from there, moving to 2-0 this week and eliminating Pieters. In 30 holes this week, Noren has made 12 birdies and no bogeys.

Group 13: Tony Finau (29) vs. Kevin Na (61)

Group 14: Phil Mickelson (14) vs. Satoshi Kodaira (40)

Group 14: Rafa Cabrera Bello (17) vs. Charles Howell III (59)

Group 15: Pat Perez (15) vs. Webb Simpson (37)

Group 15: Gary Woodland (24) vs. Si Woo Kim (50)

Group 16: Matt Kuchar (16) vs. Yuta Ikeda (47)

Group 16: Ross Fisher (27) vs. Zach Johnson (54)