Hooks Cuts The Players

By Rich LernerMay 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
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The PlayersPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' Here is a list of first-round jabs, jeers, and cheers from The Players Championship.
 

  • Id just finished throwing a bouquet of roses at Phil Mickelson's feet during Golf Channel's live telecast after hed gone to 3 under when he began to leak oil. Phil still teases as much as he amazes. But naturally, at Friday 64 is not out of the question.
     
  • Former TPC Sawgrass superintendent Fred Klauk, in the parlance that only greens guys use, said thirteen-one-hundredths of an inch killed us. He was referring to the rain that fell overnight and softened the layout enough to leave it defenseless in the face of the morning wave.
     
  • This can be a cruel game and a cruel course. Last years sentimental star Paul Goydos opened with a 78.
     
  • Spoke with Pete Dye around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Asked if the course will eventually exact a toll, he laughed then said, Oh yeah, I think so. He added that with the course firming up there might be 30 to 35 sub-par rounds Friday where there were 50-plus on Thursday.
     
  • Klauk joined son Jeff for an interview with Steve Sands after watching his son compete for the first time as a pro on the course he tended to for a quarter century. He likened it to Deacon Palmer, also a super, watching Arnold. When the interview was over, Fred trailed his son to the practice area. We got to find a way to make some putts, Dad said. Theyre a team ' and a family.
     
  • Goydos may be out of the picture but Long Beach still lives at The Players. John Mallinger and John Merrick, like Goydos, hang out at Virginia Country Club. Pauls been a great mentor to us, Mallinger said.
     
  • I could feel a wave of Sean OHairs one-of-the-five-best-players-in-golf stories coming when he went to 3-under through 13. Then he went 4-over the last five.
     
  • Inga Hammond followed Sergio Garcia for a story on Live From and said he was completely down on himself and down on his game after his round of 71. My heart went out to him, Inga said. He seems to be going through one of those tough stages that all of us go through at some point.
     
  • I ran into renowned sports psychologist Dr. Richard Coop earlier in the week. He said that among the most destructive habits he sees in professional golfers is the tendency to sit on the pity pot too long.
     
  • After the greatest season of his life, Padraig Harringtons fixing his swing. I dont understand it, but I guess its the Pamela Anderson syndrome ' if youre not growing, youre not getting better.
     
  • If Tiger and Phil dont break par Friday, this championship will need a Red Bull infusion heading to the weekend.
     
  • Love Jeff Slumans take on 17: Its really an easy hole for the pros, except for four days a year.
     
  • Ben Crane could use a win if, for no other reason, than to shake the slow play stigma. For what its worth, he really is a nice person.
     
  • Did I mention that this can be a cruel game and a cruel golf course? Brian Gay won Hilton Head by a hundred. He made a nine at the fourth in Round 1. Maybe its the rib he said Tuesday was bothering him.
     
  • A few characters sitting at 5 under ' Bubba and Poulter.
     
  • Nick Watneys at 4 under and could swing the pliable media back to his camp in the best-American-under-30 discussion that currently favors OHair, a couple months after having favored Kim.
     
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    DJ triples last hole, opens with 76 at Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 6:18 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Dustin Johnson’s chances of winning The Open are likely already over.

    The world No. 1 hit his tee shot out of bounds on 18 on his way to a triple bogey, capping a miserable day that left him with a 5-over 76, 10 shots off the lead and in danger of missing the cut.

    Johnson didn’t talk to reporters afterward, but there wasn’t much to discuss.

    He didn’t make a birdie until the par-5 14th, bogeyed 16 and then made 7 on Carnoustie's home hole when his tee shot caromed out of bounds left.

    Johnson has missed the cut only once in nine previous appearances at The Open – in his first try in 2009.

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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”