Wild weather continues to be a factor on PGA Tour

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 20, 2013, 11:11 pm

MARANA, Ariz. – They don’t keep official statistics for such things, but it’s safe to assume Mother Nature is staked to a commanding lead at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

A bitterly cold morning that began with ominous clouds soon became a sideways rain that eventually turned into a heavy snow, coating the fairways and greens at Dove Mountain on Wednesday and reducing grown men to snowball fights and amateur photography.

Brent Henley, Robert Garrigus’ caddie, laid down and made a snow angel.

A few other loopers scurried to the top balcony of the clubhouse, found the best angle of attack and lobbed snowballs at their unsuspecting colleagues.

WGC-Accenture Match Play scoring

WGC-Accenture Match Play: Articles, videos and photos

Every player with a smartphone posted a photo on social media.

As for Jason Day, who authored one of the most impressive performances Wednesday?

“Well, there’s a bunch of yummy chocolates in (the locker room),” he said, “and you just sit there and eat chocolates and drink a lot of Coca-Cola.”

Sure, it was fun and games and gorging on snacks, but it also was some of the wackiest weather a few longtime Tour observers have ever seen. Asked where this ranks on his personal list of weird-weather occurrences, Mark Russell, who has worked for the Tour for the past 30-plus years, nodded his head and said softly, “It’s right there.”

Russell has gotten plenty of face time this season, which is always an alarming sign for golf fans. Already this year there has been a wind (Kapalua), fog (Torrey Pines) and now a snow delay. Next week the Tour heads east for the Florida Swing. Tour officials would be wise to brace for a locust attack.

Though unusual, this isn’t the first time it has snowed at a Tour event. In fact, in the last 40 years, it has snowed six times – four of which, incredibly, have come in the Tucson area. That includes the 2011 Match Play final here, when Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer awoke that Sunday morning to a dusting of snow and were delayed, albeit briefly, by a sleet-coated fairway.

Oh, was this different.

About an inch and a half of snow fell before play was officially called for the day at 1:05 p.m. local time. None of the 32 first-round matches were completed. Twenty of the 64 players have yet to reach the first green, including Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who were still an hour away from teeing off.

At least Webb Simpson hit a shot – OK, one. He smacked his opening tee shot, only to hear the horn sound to signal the suspension of play. So he marched down the fairway to mark his ball, then retreated – quickly – to the clubhouse as heavy snow and sleet began to fall.

Such conditions reminded the reigning U.S. Open champion of a college tournament in Las Vegas. During a delay, Simpson and his Wake Forest teammates purchased toboggans in the pro shop and charged them to the head coach’s credit card. “He wasn’t happy about it,” he said.

The snow also brought back good memories for Vermont’s own Keegan Bradley, once an avid skier who now must be considered one of the favorites here at Dove Mountain, especially if the Match Play becomes a slalom competition. Yes, he has played in snowy conditions “a million times,” but of Wednesday’s match against Marcus Fraser (in which he is all square through three holes), Bradley said, “This was pretty bad.”

Not like the players were ill-prepared. Day wore four layers of clothing, and said afterward that only the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George’s posed worse conditions. Of course, he seemed unaffected by the frigid conditions Wednesday. He went out in 4-under 32, including concessions, and built a 6-up lead over Zach Johnson with eight holes to play.

Justin Rose was on a similar tear, jumping out to a 4-up lead through five, only to lose a few holes and take a 2-up advantage into the back nine.

“It’s been amazing how accurate the forecast has been,” said Rose, uttering words never before spoken. “They’ve been talking about snow for about four days, and pretty much at 11, the forecast time, boom, it was down and the end of the day.”

After play was called, Tour meteorologist Stewart Williams soon arrived at the media center, always an ominous sign.

Russell joked that he prefers for Williams to have walk-around days – “That means he can walk around, goof off, do whatever he wants to do, and doesn’t have to sit there and look at that computer,” Russell said.

Wednesday at the Match Play was not one of those walk-around days, not even close, unless you count trudging from the course to the clubhouse in wet snow and socks.

“I worked the last two (at Pebble Beach and Riviera) and had a light two weeks,” Williams said, “so now I’m paying for it today.”

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Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:32 pm

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the early 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots out of the lead among those who played Friday morning. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, might have a long stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and was outside the cut. He was in jeopardy of missing his second straight cut, depending on afternoon scoring.

Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

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Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.

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Football coach hates golf: Don't need practice swearing

By Jason CrookApril 20, 2018, 10:15 pm

Some football coaches are a little more talkative than others. On one side of the spectrum, there's Bill Belichick. On the other sits Washington State football coach Mike Leach.

Leach always delivers the goods, and when asked recently if he liked golf, he didn't hold back:

As wrong as the 57-year-old is on the topic (golf is awesome), the man makes some hilarious points:

• “It’s boring. I don’t care where that ball goes.”

• "Golfers are always practicing their swing. But you know what I never did? I never practice fishing in my living room.”

• "They'll line up over the ball and they'll say they're going to do something that you can't do with a sniper rifle and a scope, but they're going to do it with a stick and a ball."

• “Golf’s pretty much for people that don’t swear effectively enough or need practice. And so there are people that need golf, and I don’t think I do.”

So in conclusion, it's confirmed: Mike Leach - not a golf guy.

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Quiros takes 1-shot lead in Morocco

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 8:22 pm

RABAT, Morocco - Alvaro Quiros shot a solid 2-under 70 in windy conditions to push into a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco on Friday.

Quiros fought the elements, carding seven birdies and five bogeys to move to 7 under overall and take the outright lead at the halfway point of the European Tour event.

The Spaniard was one clear of Andrew Dodt, who moved into contention with a 4-under 68 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course. Dodt dropped two shots in his first six holes but the Australian recovered from that shaky start to collect four birdies and an eagle.

Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II

Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was another shot back in third on 5 under after his 71.

Bradley Dredge of Wales, who shared the first-round lead with Quiros, slipped off the pace with a 1-over 73. He's tied for fourth with Austin Connelly of Canada (71), 4 under par and three shots behind Quiros.