Weir Continues His Canadian Quest

By Sports NetworkJuly 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Canadian OpenMARKHAM, Ontario -- The PGA TOUR returns to North America, but remains outside the U.S. as the TOUR heads to Ontario for the Canadian Open.
With the new PGA TOUR schedule, this event was moved up a little more than a month from September 7-10 last year. Thanks to the new schedule, there is less star power than normal heading to Angus Glen.
World No. 3 Jim Furyk heads the field, but it is Canada's own Mike Weir who will be garnering most of the attention. The only other players in the top 50 are Vijay Singh, No. 38 Stephen Ames, a naturalized Canadian citizen who was born in Trinidad, and No. 46 John Rollins.
Furyk, the defending champion, closed with rounds of 67-65 to fend off Bart Bryant by one and Sean O'Hair by two last year at Hamilton Golf & Country Club.
Furyk trailed Justin Rose by two entering the final round, but Rose went the wrong way. He closed with a 4-over 74 to drop into a share of 14th.
The event rotates over several different courses with 38 different venues hosting throughout tournament history. The North Course at Angus Glen is hosting the event for the first time since 2002.
GOLF CHANNEL will broadcast action of the opening two rounds, while CBS takes over for the weekend.
Next up for the PGA TOUR is a pair of events. Many of the top players in the game will be in Akron, Ohio, for the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational, where Tiger Woods is the defending champion. The opposite event is the Reno-Tahoe Open, where Will Mackenzie claimed the title in '06.
Here are our Tour Trade 2 favorites this week, with a look at their past performances in this national championship. We also offer up a few more guys worth keeping an eye on at the Canadian Open.
Vijay Singh
Starts: 9
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 4
Best finish: Win (2004)
TRADE Talk: It doesnt seem to matter what course Singh is playing in this event. He has four top-10s in his last five starts here, all coming at different venues. He won at Glen Abbey in 2004 and tied for sixth at Angus Glen, this years site, in 02.
Jim Furyk
Starts: 6
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 1
Best finish: Win (2006)
TRADE Talk: Furyk is the defending champion, but he cant be considered the outright favorite ' at least based on his play in this event. Furyks appearance a year ago was his first in the Canadian Open since 1999. In his first five starts, from 1994-99, he didnt have a single top-20 finish. This will also be his first start at Angus Glen.
Mark Calcavecchia
Starts: 17
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 4
Best finish: Win (2005)
TRADE Talk: Calc had a tough turn at Carnoustie. His luggage was lost and not returned until late Wednesday. In fact, he didnt even get to play a single practice round with his own clubs. He should be happy to return to a tournament which he won in 05 and has played 17 times beginning in 1982.
Mike Weir
Starts: 16
Wins: 0
Top-10s: 2
Best finish: 2nd (2004)
TRADE Talk: Canadas favorite golfer missed the cut his first nine starts in the National Open. He seemed to turn things around with a T10 in 2003 and a playoff loss to Singh (one he should have easily have won) in 04. But Weir has missed the cut in each of his last two appearances. He has struggled mightily with a swing change; though, he might have reversed the tide with a solid tie for eighth last week at Carnoustie.
Jesper Parnevik
Starts: 10
Wins: 0
Top-10s: 4
Best finish: 4th (2005)
TRADE Talk: Parnevik has played this event well throughout his career. He tied for seventh in 96 and then finished fourth nine years later. He has played steadily over the last month, making his last four cuts, but he is still in search of his first top-10 of the season.
Four more players to keep an eye on this week at Angus Glen:
Sean OHair:
One start, one top-5. OHair made his Open debut a year ago and promptly finished in third place. After missing the cut in five of his first six starts to the season, OHair has made 11 of his last 13.
John Rollins:
Rollins won the last time Angus Glen played host, five years ago. Rollins has four top-5s this year, including one earlier this month at the Buick Open.
Chris DiMarco
DiMarco has never won this event, and hasnt won anywhere on TOUR in over five years. But he played well last week in Scotland for the first time in a long time. Confidence is key to DiMarcos success. Perhaps hes found it.
Stephen Ames:
Ames is a Canadian citizen so they like to claim him as one of their own. This will be his ninth Canadian Open start. He tied for seventh in 2005.
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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”

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    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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    Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

    Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

    Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.

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    It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

    “If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

    Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

    “It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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    Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

    Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

    Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

    “It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”

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    Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

    “I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

    Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

    “If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”