Hooks and Cuts: Rivalries and revelations

By Rich LernerFebruary 28, 2012, 5:34 pm

The PGA Tour leaves the West Coast and heads to the Sunshine State for the Florida Swing. Here are a few hooks and cuts as we head down the road to Magnolia Lane.

• The rise of the once forgettable Honda Classic is like the Detroit Lions going to the Super Bowl.

• Charlie Epps, old-school coach to two-time major champ Angel Cabrera, on Tiger Woods’ swing: “He’s trying to bring a muscle car to a Formula One race.”

• Plenty of guys out hit Mark Wilson. Very few out think him.

• Just did a lengthy interview with the legendary Mickey Wright for an exclusive story airing later this year.  Wright detests slow play, thinks Michelle Wie’s too mechanical and says her favorite swing, believe it or not, belongs to Phil Mickelson. 

• The Euros have the top four in the world ranking, but the U.S. has a great shot to win the Ryder Cup.

• If the wind blows at PGA National, announcers go Stephen King with words like carnage and wreckage.  That course in high winds for an average chop can be a couple-dozen-ball experience.

• Wie has gone from can’t miss, to can’t-believe-she-might-never-win-a-major.

• Tiger vs. Phil has rivalry tension. So, too, does Rory McIlroy vs. Lee Westwood.

• Colleague Brandel Chamblee, with a hard twang, on soon-to-be Hall of Famer Dan Jenkins, “Funny lines pour out of that guy like sweat off a fat man on a hot day in Texas.”

• The Match Play weekend, the playoff at Riviera, the Philly Mick Sunday masterpiece at Pebble, the Kyle Stanley made-for-TV movie, the Humana revival – the PGA Tour aced its West Coast Swing.  And with Tiger, Rory and Lee at Honda, and Phil and Luke Donald joining the fun next week at Doral, the Tour’s got big time mojo right now.

• Sadly, Robert Allenby allowed history to be written with one poorly chosen driver on the final hole of regulation in Mexico.  Eight playoff holes later, people were still asking, “Huh?”

• Anthony Kim’s on more commercials than leaderboards these days.

• I liked “The Artists,” but loved “My Week with Marilyn” and “Midnight in Paris.”

• I like when Johnny Miller says “gack.”  As in, “I gacked on that 3-footer.”

• Hunter Mahan talks about not attaching your identity to the scores you shoot. Self loathing is real on Tour. One former major champ once told me that after a wide right 5-iron in a big spot he muttered to himself on the long walk to the next shot, “You’re a miserable human being.”  He got up and down, and eventually won.  Another Hall of Famer, when asked if he ever beat himself up on course replied, “Are you kidding? I made double just yesterday and said, ‘You’re a #@*&in’ #@&*.’”  Fill in the blanks as you wish. The game’s hard.

• Fascinating to watch the boy turn into a man, to watch Rory, a bit more serious, with a sharper edge that the great ones develop.

• Westwood can bench press 240 pounds. He’s strong, able to turn that sturdy frame through the barrel with peerless consistency, wearing out the center of the clubface. But can he feather it, caress it, cozy it and coax it when it matters most? Pete Cowan, his coach, has him standing closer to the ball and using a stiffer wrist action on his chips and pitches. Even a modest improvement should be enough to push Westy over the major hump.

• Just as Phil, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and so many others were diminished when compared to dominant Tiger, Tiger is now suffering from the same comparison.

• Colleague Frank Nobilo on Mahan: “He drives it straight and may be the best in the game with a 9-iron through a 6-iron in his hands.”

• I’ve loved match play ever since Shim Bennioff coughed up a 4-up lead with five to play against me 30 years ago.  I was on my way to making double at the par-4 17th and thought I was toast with Shim 40 yards short of the green in two.  But Shimmer yip-bladed his wedge over the green and off the property, into the adult book store adjacent to the course. He made triple, opening the door for my heroic comeback.

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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.”