One Month In and Already Wondering
*His first round 66 at Spyglass was impressive, but my colleague Clifton Brown of The New York Times says we're not talking Willis Reed limping onto the Garden floor for game seven against Wilt and the Lakers now are we?
(No, we're not.)
*No. 1 in greens in regulation in 2000, No. 2 in putts per green in regulation. That's truly amazing. But no one, not even Tiger, can continue to make every single putt he looks at. It's just not possible. And so Tiger's 0-3 in 2001? Is it more or less exciting with other guys now winning?
*Tiger's powerful. No. 1 most powerful in all of sports, according to The Sporting News. It'll be interesting to see how he will he use that power in the coming years.
*17-year-old Ryan Ring loves golf, loves life and beat leukemia. In the grand, sometimes difficult scheme of life, Ryan stepped up, pulled out a two iron and into a 30-mile-an-hour gale force wind knocked it two feet from the flag. Closed out leukemia on the 14th hole. Through the Make a Wish Foundation, he was able to partner with another courageous golfer, Casey Martin, at Pebble Beach. 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft was also in the group and said of Ring, 'His father told me that Ryan literally was practicing his golf while he was hooked up to the chemo equipment. He's really a great, great kid.' Ryan networked Casey for a possible entre to Stanford. Nice to have big plans and not big worries. Isn't that what youth and life should be all about?
*Team Garcia lit a spark in the Pebble Gallery. Sergio, 17-year-old younger sister Mar (Spanish for 'sea'), and papa Victor had the time of their lives. Mar's got big brother's swing, smile and confidence and plans to perhaps pursue the University of Arizona. After kicking up some dust near the amateur lead at Pebble, Mar came down with a stomach virus before Saturday's round. She toughed it out. Sergio produced one of the tender moments of the week when, just before the first tee introductions, he wrapped his arms around Mar and gave her a warm hug. Sergio's soft hands should one day win a major. Augusta, you would think, considering his Spanish predecessors Seve and Jose Maria demonstrated such feel for the National.
*Winning in Hawaii, Furyk and Faxon stroked home the point that there's still room on occasion for the really good putter.
*Calcavecchia reminds us that excellence in golf is merely on loan. You don't own it. You don't control it. One week you shoot a three for 72 holes. The cup looks like a bunker. You're a month away from the one year anniversary of your bizarre-but-effective relationship with the strange grip you employ known as 'the claw.' But within days of your record at Phoenix and all that good feeling, you suddenly break your putter in the second round at the AT&T, abandon the claw, putt with your metal wood and shoot 7,896. The word is fleeting, friggin' fleeting. There's just no explaining it. There's no magic. It's just the way the damn game is. Was it the late Jim Murray who said the game's a pirate?
*On the other hand, Calc did win 720 grand for shooting a three for 72 holes in Phoenix. Mark Johnson won a playoff in the Monday qualifier at Pebble and was just happy to be anywhere playing for cash. Johnson has delivered Budweiser Beer for 20 years, arising at 2 a.m. for his 4 a.m. shift. He's 46, made it through two stages of The PGA Tour's Qualifying Tournament and has played some Canadian Tour events. He hopes to make it on Tour or later the Senior Tour. Rather than take any credit for himself when he floated on the leaderboard through a couple of rounds at Pebble, Mark offered the following, 'The busy season in the beer business is the summertime, which also happens to be the busy season for golfers. I owe some thanks to all the guys at the distributorship that I work at for covering for me while I'm playing in tournaments. So, this Bud's for you guys.' And this Bud's for you, Mark.
Mark Johnson is one of my favorite professional golfers.
Ryan Ring is one of my favorite amateur golfers.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
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.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
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.
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
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
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.
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.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
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.”
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.”