Hooks Cuts Golfs Winding Trail

By Rich LernerOctober 31, 2005, 5:00 pm
  • With Phil Mickelson bagging the Tour Championship, is there any doubt now that the current schedule is dead? The only entity in sports more suspect than the Tour Championship is the BCS, but in that case at least theyre fighting to get in, not stay home.
  • Tiger and Vijay miss the cut at Disney, Vijay misses again at Tampa, and Phil says no to Atlanta. Is this some grand conspiracy to convince Ponte Vedra that theyre not kidding when they say the seasons too long?
  • While were on the subject of fall sports, if it werent for gambling the NFL wouldnt be half the behemoth that it is. And when the Philadelphia Eagles no-showed our Big Break Challenge crew in early September, I lost respect for them on the spot.
  • Tiger against Daly in San Francisco proved that with the right stars, golf can compete in autumn. Then again, its a short list were talking about: Tiger, JD and Phil. And Tiger has to be in the mix against either JD or Phil to pull in viewers.
  • Standing on the sidelines of a pre-season game, it occurred to me that golfers might be in better shape than football players, in particular the linemen, many of whom appeared grossly overweight.
  • World ranking oddities: Howell and Clark are 18 and 19, respectively. But its David and Tim, not Charles and Darren. How is Henrik Stenson 30? When will Aaron Baddeley play better than 176? Shaun Micheel is 223, Rich Beem 236 and Craig Perks 370. David Duvals 736, below Wilhelm Schauman and Kalle Brink.
  • Jason Gore is a charismatic poster boy for The Nationwide Tour, but the Q-School still produces as well. A pair of 2004 Q-School graduates, Sean OHair and Lucas Glover, will play in The Tour Championship this week. There are no 2004 Nationwide Tour grads in the field. In fact, eight 04 Q-School products are in the top 100 on the money list and just two from the 04 Nationwide Tour.
  • Legends are still legends and good players are good players, not great. Tom Watson came from six back to beat Jay Haas at The Charles Schwab Cup Championship, prompting a stunning dose of the truth right from the lips of Haas himself. He said, When you go down the list of great players, it seems I lacked a little bit of what they had.
  • Player of the Year on The Champions Tour is no easy choice. Dana Quigley became the oldest at 58 to win the money title. But he won only twice, compared to four victories for Hale Irwin. Watson played 13 events, less than half Quigleys total. Yet Watson by far earned more per event'well over $100,000---than any other player and he won a major while Quigley and Irwin did not. Plus, Watson won the finale, in some respects more important than a major given the million-dollar annuity that was at stake. This is a judgment call, and Hale and Dana may have been better over the long haul, but in the championship game, Watson came up with a huge fourth quarter with everything riding. Quigley, who lost two majors in playoffs, will probably get Player of the Year. But Watson was the player when it really counted.
  • One 65 giant was kicked out of the game for arguing with the official. The coach later forfeited with three minutes to go because the play was getting too physical. A college football game? Pistons-Pacers pre-season affair? The 65 giant was a father, and the game was my 7-year-old sons basketball contest against a team of girls. Seriously.
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.