Advertisements


Tiger, Koepka hunt more major glory at Bethpage

Tiger, Koepka hunt more major glory at Bethpage.....»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardMay 15th, 2019

Koepka survives Bethpage Black to win PGA Championship

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Brooks Koepka took his place in PGA Championship history with a wire-to-wire victory, minus the style points. In a raging wind that turned Bethpage Black into a beast, Koepka lost all but one shot of his record seven-shot lead Sunday. He lost the brutal Long Island crowd, which began chanting "DJ!" for Dustin Johnson as Koepka was on his way to a fourth straight bogey. But he delivered the key shots over the closing stretch as Johnson faded with two straight bogeys, and Koepka closed with a 4-over 74 for a two-shot victory and joined Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA Championship since it went to stroke play in 1958. Koepka said at the start of the week that majors are sometimes the easiest to win. This one should have been. It wasn't. His 74 was the highest final round by a PGA champion since Vijay Singh won in a playoff in 2004 at Whistling Straits. "I'm just glad I don't have to play any more holes," Koepka said. "That was a stressful round of golf. I'm glad to have this thing back in my hands." Koepka appeared to wrap it up with a gap wedge from 156 yards to 2 feet on the 10th hole for a birdie, as Johnson made his first bogey of the round up ahead on the 11th. That restored the lead to six shots, and the coronation was on. And then it all changed in a New York minute. Koepka missed three straight fairways and made three straight bogeys, having to make a 6-foot putt on No. 11 to keep it from being worse. The wind was so fickle that it died as he hit 7-iron to the par-3 14th that sailed over the green, leading to a fourth straight bogey. The crowd sensed a collapse, and began chanting, "DJ! DJ! DJ!" as Koepka was playing the hole. Ahead of him, Johnson made birdie on the 15th — the toughest hole at Bethpage Black all week — and the lead was down to one. That was as close as Johnson got. His 5-iron pierced through a wind that gusted close to 25 mph, over the green and into a buried lie. He missed the 7-foot par putt, went long of the green on the par-3 17th for another bogey and had to settle for 69. "Hit the shot I wanted to right at the flag," Johnson said of his 5-iron from 194 yards on the 16th. "I don't know how it flew 200 yards into the wind like that. Johnson now has runner-up finishes in all four of the majors, the wrong kind of career Grand Slam. "I gave it a run," he said. "That's all you can ask for." Koepka returned to No. 1 in the world with a performance that defines his dominance in golf's biggest events. He becomes the first player to hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time, having won a second straight U.S. Open last summer 60 miles down the road at Shinnecock Hills. He was the first wire-to-wire winner in the PGA Championship since Hal Sutton at Riviera in 1983. And what stakes his claim as one of the best in his generation was a third straight year winning a major. He joins a most elite group — only Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have done that since the Masters began in 1934. He now has four majors in his last eight, a streak not seen since Woods won seven out of 11 when he captured the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Next up is the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where Koepka defends his title for the third time. No one has won the U.S. Open three straight years since Willie Anderson in 1905. No one will doubt whether Koepka is capable the way he is playing. The 29-year-old Floridian is an imposing figure, a power off the tee and out of the rough with no obvious weakness in his game and the kind of mental fortitude that majors require. He needed all of it over the final hour of this one. Koepka doesn't know his resting heart rate, and he said on the eve of the final round that it probably was not much different on the first tee of a major than when he was chilling on his couch. But he could feel this one getting away from him. He could sense Johnson making a charge. He could hear it. "How could you not with the 'DJ' chants," Koepka said. "I heard everything." Bethpage has a reputation for being over the top, and it irritated Harold Varner III, who shot 81 playing in the final group. "I thought it was pretty weird how they were telling Brooks to choke," Varner said about the 14th hole. "That's not my cup of tea. I was pulling for him after that." Koepka held it together at the most crucial moment. He piped his driver down the 15th fairway and two-putted for par. And he drilled another one into the 16th, which played the most difficult in the final round because it was into the wind. Johnson hit 5-iron just over the green. The wind died enough 20 minutes later that Koepka hit 7-iron only to 50 feet and had another good lag putt to get par. He kept it interesting to the end, three-putting the 17th as the lead went back to two shots, and pulling his driver on the 18th into fescue so thick it left him little choice but to lay up and scramble for par. Once his medium lob wedge settled 6 feet away, he could relax. Finally. Woods won the Wanamaker Trophy in consecutive years twice, in 1999 and 2000, and again in 2006 and 2007. Koepka was starting to draw comparisons with Woods for the way he obliterated the competition, much like Woods in his 12-shot victory in the 1997 Masters and 15-shot victory in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Koepka tied the PGA Championship record by opening with a 63. He broke the major championship record for 36 holes at 128. He set another PGA Championship record with his seven-shot lead. In the end, just having his name on the heaviest championship trophy in golf was all that mattered. Jordan Spieth registered his first top 10 since the British Open last summer with a 71 to finish at 2-under 278, six shots behind. He tied for third with Patrick Cantlay (71) and Matt Wallace (72). This really was a two-man race over the back nine that not many would have seen coming at the start of the final round. Only the outcome was expected......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

Koepka keeps 7-shot lead at PGA Championship

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Brooks Koepka is on the cusp of some elite company at the PGA Championship — in the record book, not on the leaderboard. He is all alone on Bethpage Black, the public course he has turned into his private playground. Koepka wasn't at his best, particularly with his putter on the toughest scoring day of the championship, and he still kept everyone far enough behind to make the final round feel more like a victory lap. With an even-par 70 that featured a pair of three-putt bogeys, he kept a seven-shot lead and earned another entry in the record book with the largest lead since the PGA Championship switched to stroke play in 1958. No one has ever lost a seven-shot lead in the final round at any major, or even a PGA Tour event. That leaves Koepka 18 holes away from joining Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA in stroke play. He is one round away from becoming the first player to hold back-to-back major title at the same time. Not since Hal Sutton in 1983 has anyone led from start to finish in the PGA Championship. And a third straight year winning a major? Woods and Phil Mickelson are the only players to have done that over the last 30 years. Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are the only others to win majors in three straight years dating to 1960. Asked if there was any doubt he would win, Koepka said flatly, "No." He is unflappable in speech and on the golf course. Koepka has never bothered to check his heart rate at rest, but he figures it wouldn't be much different from standing on the first tee of a major championship with a big lead and thousands of rowdy New York fans witnessing a master performance. "Every time I set up to a golf shot, I feel like I know what the ball is going to do," Koepka said. "And if I don't, then I guess I'd be nervous. ... I'm trying my butt off, and from there, sometimes you need a little bit of luck. But I'd say I'm pretty flat-lined most of the time, as you can tell." He has all but flattened the strongest field in golf. Koepka was at 12-under 198, the first time this week he did not set or tie a scoring record. "I think we're all playing for second," said Luke List, one of four players tied for second. Dustin Johnson tried to make a run with six birdies, only to stall with five bogeys in his round of 69. No bogey was more damaging than the 18th. A drive into the fairway would have given the world's No. 1 player a reasonable shot at birdie. Instead, he sent it right into bunker, came up well short into the native grass, left the next one in the bunker and had to scramble to limit the damage. That kept Johnson from joining his close friend in the final group. Koepka will play the final round with Harold Varner III, whose week began with plans to play a practice round with Woods on the eve of the PGA Championship until Woods called in sick. Varner birdied the 18th to cap off a bogey-free 67 and lead the group at 5-under 205 that includes Jazz Janewattananond (67) and List, who holed two shots from off the green for a 69. Jordan Spieth did not put any pressure on Koepka at all. Playing in the final group on the weekend for the first time since the British Open last summer, Spieth didn't have a realistic birdie chance until the sixth hole, and he missed that one from 8 feet. He shot 72 and was nine shots behind. Spieth would not speak to a reporter after the round. There was simply no stopping Koepka, who is one round away from a fourth major in his last eight tries and a return to No. 1 in the world. The plan for Sunday was no different from the previous three rounds. "It doesn't really matter. I'm just trying to play good golf," Koepka said. "If I can get off to a good start tomorrow, these first six holes are very scorable. I feel like if you can get 1 or 2 under after six, you're in a good spot." That's what worked on Saturday. Koepka had birdie chances on the opening six holes and converted two of them, from 5 feet on a blind shot up the hill at No. 2, and a gap wedge that landed next to the pin and settled just over 2 feet away on No. 5. His only struggle was missing a 2-foot par putt on the ninth hole for a three-putt bogey, and then missing the 10th fairway to the right to set up another bogey. The most important putt for Koepka was just under 5 feet for par on the 11th, which kept him from three straight bogeys. And then he was back in his groove. List ran off three straight birdies, chipping in from 70 feet on No. 12, holing a 30-foot putt on the par-5 13th and making a 15-foot putt on the 14th. That pulled him within five, but it wasn't long before Koepka birdied the 13th and List began missing enough shots that it finally cost him. Johnson has the most experience and skill among those chasing Koepka, if he even allows there to be a chase. "It's going to take something special to catch Brooks, but it's doable," Johnson said. He then tried to work out the math, and then he stuck to a more practical outlook. "I'm going to need some help from him," Johnson said. "And then I'm going to have to play very, very well.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2019

Spieth tries to stay close to Koepka at PGA Championship

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Jordan Spieth doesn't feel as though his confidence is getting higher. All that mattered was his score getting lower. Spieth did his best to stay within range of Brooks Koepka at the PGA Championship on Friday by making five birdies over his last 11 holes for a 4-under 66 and his lowest 36-hole score in a major since he won the British Open two years ago. He had to wait on Koepka playing in the afternoon to see how close he could stay. But this was an important step for Spieth, who hasn't won since his 2017 British Open victory gave him the third leg of the career Grand Slam, which he can complete by winning the PGA. That was still far from his mind. "I haven't been in contention on a Sunday since The Open last year," said Spieth, who shared the 54-hole lead at Carnoustie and tied for sixth. "And if I'm able to put some good work in tomorrow, I will be in contention on Sunday. And at that point, it will be just more of trying to win a golf tournament. It won't matter to me what tournament it is." It will be proof to Spieth that his struggles over the last year — he even used the words "bit of a slump" earlier this week — are finally turning in his favor. He was at 5-under 135, one shot ahead of Dustin Johnson (67) and Daniel Berger (66) among those who finished early. Koepka started with a 7-under 63, after becoming the only player to post 63 in the same major twice. He opened with three birdies over the opening four-hole stretch at Bethpage Black and threatened to pull away. Tiger Woods, playing in the same group as Koepka, started at 2 over and was trying to make sure he at least made the cut. Spieth has been showing signs of making progress, only to be done in by one round or a nine-hole stretch. It looked as though that might be the case Friday when he made bogey from the right rough on the 15th and bogey from the left rough on the 16th, putting him 1 over for his round. The key moment was a 6-iron to 8 feet for birdie on the par-3 17th, mainly because it got him back to even after the toughest stretch. "My goal in turning was try and get to a few under for the championship," Spieth said. "You don't expect Brooks to fall at all, so I thought I needed to be within five or six or seven to feel like I had a chance on the weekend." He was helped by his tidy short game. Spieth used his putter only 13 times over the last 11 holes, making five birdies and four par saves, only from about 12 feet after finding a bunker on the par-3 third. Berger is best known in these parts for his 66 in the third round at Shinnecock Hills in the U.S. Open last year that put him in the final group. He dropped only one shot early in his round at No. 12. Johnson played alongside Spieth and reached 5 under for the tournament approaching the 18th, only to miss the fairway and go over the green. He also three-putted from long range on the par-3 third, but made a 20-foot birdie putt late in his round at No. 7 for a 67. "The afternoon guys still got 18 holes to play," Johnson said. "I feel like I'm in a good position. I'm happy with where I'm at no matter what the lead is after today. I'm going to be somewhere around it or close enough to where with 36 holes left, I'm OK." Danny Lee was among the few early starters who failed to take advantage. He opened with a 64 and was one shot behind Koepka, and he never got any closer. Lee made a pair of double bogeys on the back nine for a 41, and salvaged a 74 to join a group at 2-under 138. Rory McIlroy was happy to still have any chance at all. He started with two double bogeys and a bogey and was 7 over for the championship through three holes when he rallied with four birdies over his last six holes for a 71. Spieth did enough to believe the worst days of his slump are behind him. It was only in the last few weeks that he felt comfortable enough to return to a familiar philosophy: aim small, miss small. "I'm not 100% hitting it as well as I did a couple of years ago," Spieth said. "But I'm hitting it a lot better than I did the end of last year, beginning of this year." And the putting looks as strong as ever. So when someone suggested Spieth looked freer than he has lately, he smiled and said, "When you're making everything you look at, anybody is going to walk around feeling pretty free.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

Rose seeks 2nd major at PGA Championship at Bethpage Black

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Justin Rose sees uniqueness in the PGA Championship because, well, it doesn't have a specific identity. Unlike the Masters and its green jacket, the U.S. Open and its "toughest test in golf" character, and the British Open with its links-style golf and often inclement weather, the PGA doesn't stand out in individuality. It is, of course, a major title, and one that Rose — and every other golfer in the 156-man field — covets. "I've always felt that the PGA Championship is the championship that probably doesn't have an identity in terms of a style of golf," said Rose, who owns one major, the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and a third, fourth and ninth in his 16 previous PGAs. "You know, I feel like it's dependent on the golf course. It's dependent on the time of year. And it doesn't try to sort of fit in any particular category. "Even par doesn't mean anything necessarily at a PGA Championship. You get what the course gives you. And I think we've all respected that, to be honest with you." Still, there is a taste of the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black this week. The public course has hosted two of those, won by Tiger Woods in 2002 and Lucas Glover in 2009. The rough is going to be deep and, if the rain that plagued Long Island for nearly a week returns — it was dry and sunny Wednesday — this monster of a course will play even longer than its 7,459 yards. "I think this one in particular, this one, if I was to bring — I don't want to bring in the word U.S. Open — but the golf course has more of that feel to it this week, I would say. And if it was a U.S. Open, you would say, 'Wow, this is a really fair test of golf.' "So I think from that point of view, it's going to be fun for the players. I think we all regard this test and this setup as incredibly fair but demanding. And it's probably ... one of the most demanding PGA Championship setups and venues that I've seen in those 17 years." The 2016 Olympic gold medalist , Rose, 38, has been a mainstay on the European Ryder Cup team, making five appearances. He is usually near the top of the leaderboard in the most pressure-packed events on the PGA Tour and is the current FedEx Cup champion. So big-time challenges are more routine for Rose than for most athletes. Yet he has just the one major among his 10 PGA Tour victories. "I think the pressure of trying to win a second is far less than the pressure of trying to win your first," he said. "From that point of view I haven't given it a second thought. Obviously I want to win more; I've been close on a couple of occasions; lost in a playoff there at Augusta (to Sergio Garcia in 2017 ). So a putt here, a putt there, a chip here, a chip there, I could have added a second to it. "And yeah, I feel like I'm still waiting for my run in the majors. I'm still waiting for a hot run where I can hopefully get an opportunity to put two, three, four away quite quickly." That's territory few golfers ever reach. Sure, Tiger Woods is way up there with 15 majors, and defending PGA champ Brooks Koepka has won three in the last two years. They are favorites this week, and Rose feels he should be in that category, too, among what he estimates as 30 players with a true shot to leave with the Wanamaker Trophy. "You know, I feel like the style of golf does suit me generally, so I'm still working hard," Rose said. "There's still a lot of focus for me. I try to build my whole year around trying to play well and peak in the majors. I still feel at this point in my career, yeah, second major, and then obviously on from there will kind of define my career from that point of view. I've done a lot of other really cool things, obviously, alongside my major championship win, but more majors equal a better career, there's no doubt.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

Tiger s last Masters as much about family as a green jacket

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Tiger Woods walked off the 18th green as a Masters champion for the fifth time, a major champion for the 15th time, and the sensation was unlike anything he had ever felt. More memorable than any shot — the 8-iron that trickled by the hole at the 16th was the decisive blow — was the purposeful stride toward his son, grabbing Charlie with both arms, lifting the boy and turning from side to side. His mother was next. His daughter. His loyal support staff. And then a lineup of players outside the clubhouse, some of them in green jackets. They had been upstairs in the locker room reserved for champions, yet they shared a feeling with the entire golf world. Memories gave way to reality. “That's going to be in people's minds forever,” Rickie Fowler said last month, just two days before the Masters was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Was it his biggest win? It would be hard to rate that over his first Masters title in 1997, a “hello, world” moment not tied to advertising. Woods set 20 records that signaled the arrival of a brand of dominance never seen in golf. The most historical? His 2001 victory at Augusta gave him a sweep of the four majors in a span of 294 days. He stands alone there. This was no less significant because of what it meant — to Woods, to his sport, to peers who grew up idolizing him and to a worldwide audience that had reason to believe it might never happen again. “I had just an amazing amount of emails and texts that were flowing in,” Woods said in a conference call leading up to the Masters. “But I was more surprised by the amount of videos of people watching the Masters and seeing their reaction when I hit the shot on 16 or when I made the putt, whether it was on airplanes or in airports or restaurants. “The amount of emotion that people were showing, that's what blew my mind." That's what made this Masters different from his other four, this major different from the other 14. Adam Scott doesn't usually stick around when he's finished with a major. One exception was in 2006 after the U.S. Open at Winged Foot when he was headed for the airport and turned around when close friend Geoff Ogilvy emerged the winner. He finished Sunday at Augusta National about the time all hell broke loose at Amen Corner. “You got a sense, as he was kind of taking the lead on the back nine, that something special could be happening,” Scott said. “There was a lot of guys watching in the champion's locker room and I stayed and watched. You don't often get that group of people together very often. You just had that sense it's a significant moment in the sport again.” Gary Woodland wasn't about to miss it. “I don't usually watch much golf,” he said. “I had my family there. I was flying out Sunday afternoon. I played early that day, and we pushed the flight back. I wanted to watch that.” The only mystery is where it leads. Woods was never the same the rest of the major season. He played nine holes of practice at Bethpage Black and missed the cut in the PGA Championship. He was never a factor at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, site of his 15-shot victory, as untouchable as any of his records. He missed the cut at the British Open. Woods had another knee surgery to repair minor cartilage damage. And then he won again, this time in Japan, to tie the PGA Tour's victory record with No. 82. In only two starts this year, in chilly California weather, he didn't look like the Masters champion. His back felt stiff and he skipped three tournaments he ordinarily plays. And now golf is shut down, which Woods said has given him time for his 44-year-old body to feel stronger. He had caddie Joe LaCava come down a month after the Masters to watch the final round together. Woods has watched that Masters plenty of times, and he taped a segment with Jim Nantz for perspective unlike any other for CBS to show it again Sunday to fill the void of not having the Masters this April. Each time Woods won a major — even the first of his 15 — it was one major closer to the 18 won by Jack Nicklaus. This one was different. This was more about satisfaction and redemption than a thirst for more. Woods said his kids once looked at him as the “YouTube” golfer because they never saw him at his best. They were at Carnoustie in the summer of 2018 when he had the lead briefly in the final round of the British Open. They were with him at Augusta National, and that meant as much as the green jacket he wore — the jacket, he said, they fought over who could wear it on the flight home. “It's been incredible for myself and my family to be a part of this, and for me to be the current Masters champion, it's crazy that somehow it all came together for one week,” he said. “One magical week.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 12th, 2020

Year after glory, has virus doomed Tiger s 18-major bid?

One year after Tiger Woods reignited his chase for golf's record 18 major wins with an amazing Masters victory, the coronavirus pandemic has become the latest obstacle to his historic chase......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 11th, 2020

Dustin Johnson decides against playing in the Olympics

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer On the fence about the Olympics at the start of the year, Dustin Johnson decided he won't be going. Johnson's manager said in a text message Monday that the FedEx Cup playoffs hold as much importance to Johnson as chasing a gold medal in Tokyo this summer. “I feel certain he would choose otherwise if the timing were different, but feels he is making the best decision under the circumstances,” said David Winkle of Hambric Sports Management. Johnson's name was removed from the Olympic golf ranking Monday afternoon. At No. 5 in the world ranking, he currently would have been No. 3 among Americans behind Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas. Countries are allowed a maximum of four players in golf provided they are among the top 15 in the world ranking. Golfweek first reported Johnson's decision. Johnson was the leading American for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro when he decided at the last minute to withdraw because of concerns over the Zika virus. This was more about the FedEx Cup and the lucrative prize Johnson has yet to win. The top prize is now worth $15 million. Asked about the Olympics at the beginning of the year, Johnson said he wasn't sure how his schedule would be in the summer with the Tokyo Games coming after the final major and before the FedEx Cup playoffs. “Having had a few close calls in the playoffs, he really wants to win them before his time is done and feels that he wouldn't be giving himself the best opportunity to do so if he added a lengthy international trip,” Winkle said. Johnson plans to play five out of seven weeks through the British Open. He then would have a week off before heading to Japan for the Olympics. Now, he is contemplating the 3M Open in Minnesota after returning from the British, and then two weeks off before the FedEx Cup playoffs. Johnson nearly won the FedEx Cup in 2016 until he lost the 54-hole lead and lost the FedEx Cup when Rory McIlroy won the Tour Championship and its then-$10 million prize. He has spent 91 weeks at No. 1 in the world, third only behind Tiger Woods and McIlroy among active players. With just over three months before Olympic qualifying ends, the leading four Americans are Koepka, Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Webb Simpson, following by Patrick Reed and Woods. There are still three majors, The Players Championship and a World Golf Championship — all offering big ranking points — before qualifying ends on June 21 after the U.S. Open......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2020

Rory McIlroy delivers strong rejection to proposed new tour

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer MEXICO CITY (AP) — Rory McIlroy became the first top player to publicly reject the idea of a proposed new tour, saying he values his choice of where to play over whatever money the Premier Golf League is promising. “I would like to be on the right side of history on this one,” McIlroy said Wednesday at the Mexico Championship. McIlroy said the only thing that could change his mind were if all the top players decided to join, and he doesn't see that happening. “I think it's very split at the moment,” he said. Talk of a Premier Golf League has been around for about six years and picked up momentum — along with serious funding, primarily from Saudi Arabia — in recent months. Organizers have been talking to players and agents the last few months in the Bahamas, Australia and last week in Los Angeles. Phil Mickelson, who played with officials involved during the pro-am in the Saudi International last month, said Sunday he was not ready to announce his intentions but might be ready to state his view publicly by The Players Championship. Tiger Woods has said only that he and his people were looking into it. The idea of the Premier Golf League is to invigorate golf by putting together 12 four-man teams that would be required to play 18 events — 10 of them in the U.S. — that feature 54 holes, no cut and a shotgun start to fit a five-hour broadcast window. Total prize money would be $240 million, and the top player could earn as much as $50 million. McIlroy said money is “cheap.” “Money is the easy part,” McIlroy said. “It shouldn't be the driving factor. Look, for some people it is. And we're professional golfers and we're out here playing golf to make a living. But at the end of the day, I value my freedom and my autonomy over everything else.” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan sent a memo to players last month that effectively said that because the tour has contracts with title sponsors for a full schedule and television partners, anyone joining the Premier Golf League would have to give up their PGA Tour memberships. The Premier Golf League's schedule would not include the majors. And still to be determined is if the Official World Golf Ranking board — represented by major tours and golf organizations — would allow the league to get ranking points. The world ranking is used to help determine the field for majors. For someone like Woods — the biggest draw in golf — to play in the new league, he might be required to play as often as 22 times a year if the league has an 18-tournament schedule. “Tiger is 44. He's got two young kids,” McIlroy said. “He openly said last week he wants to play 12 times a year, so this league is proposing 18. So he's not going to do it.” Other players have said they studying proposals, though none has announced a decision. “I don't really stand anywhere,” Dustin Johnson said. “Right now, I'm playing on the PGA Tour. But a lot would have to happen for that to change. Like Rory said, if there was a situation where I felt like I had to play, then I would. But for right now, I'm playing on the PGA Tour.” The PGA Tour policy board's next meets on March 3, the week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Prospects of the league was discussed at a players meeting at Torrey Pines in January, and at with the 16-member Player Advisory Council last week at Riviera. When first asked about the new league at Torrey Pines last month, McIlroy said golf was entering a new era and the Premier Golf League proposal had exploited a few areas of weakness, without detailing what they were. While he said then he didn't believe it was the best way to go, McIlroy suggested it could be a “catalyst for some changes on this tour that can help it grow and move forward.” As an example, he mentioned rewarding top players. He left no doubt where he stood on Wednesday. “The more I've thought about it, the more I don't like it,” he said. “The one thing as a professional golfer in my position that I value is the fact that I have autonomy and freedom over everything that I do.” He used the World Golf Championships in Mexico as an example. Eight players from the top 50, including Woods and Brooks Koepka, decided not to play this week. “If you go and play this other golf league, you're not going to have that choice,” he said. “I've never been one for being told what to do, and I like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career, and I feel like I would give that up by going to play this other league. “For me, I'm out,” he said. “My position is I'm against it until there may come a day that I can't be against it. If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice. But at this point, I don't like what they're proposing.” McIlroy referenced Arnold Palmer speaking out against Greg Norman's proposed world tour from the 1990s, in which the top 30 players in the world would meet at locations around the world. From that uprising, the PGA Tour developed the World Golf Championships in 1999, which brought together the top players from six tours around the world......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2020

A US Open, and a summer of stress for Gary Woodland

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Gary Woodland made sure plans were in place for him to leave tournaments before he even arrived. And when he did show up, just the sight of officials in a golf cart made him nervous. Most of the time, they were on their way to administer a ruling. Woodland always assumed they were coming to tell him his wife had gone into labor. It was like that for the last six weeks. So the smile that never left him Tuesday at Liberty National Golf Club had nothing to do with the $15 million prize at stake as the FedEx Cup playoffs begin. It was all about his twin daughters Maddox and Lennox born Thursday, making his best year in golf the greatest year of his life. "I feel 100 pounds lighter," Woodland said as he walked off the course during a weather delay in a practice round Tuesday for The Northern Trust. "Obviously, I had a huge win and that was great. But it's been stressful every week because every cart I see ... 'Are they coming to get me? Is Gabby going into labor?' The last month has been stressful for both of us." That huge win was the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, which was filled with plenty of tense moments. Woodland handled those with ease, no small task with two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka chasing him all the way to the finish line. He drilled a 3-wood from 263 yards onto the 14th green to set up a pivotal birdie, and then turned to another high-risk shot by using a 64-degree wedge to pitch the ball off one end of the green to a pin some 90 feet away on No. 17, a shot that will take its place in U.S. Open lore. That still didn't equip him for six weeks of nerves that followed. "At Pebble, I felt in control. The last month, I've had no control," Woodland said. "That was the hardest part for Gabby and I, the uncertainty." It was at the Dell Match Play two years ago when Woodland learned that one of the twins his wife Gabby was carrying had died. Their son, Jax, was born at 30 weeks and spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. The following April, she had a miscarriage. So imagine the surprise — and trepidation — when they learned in January that she was pregnant with twins. "One, they told us she couldn't get pregnant," Woodland said. "Two, they didn't think there was any chance she'd make it to 36 weeks. That was almost as much a miracle as her getting pregnant." Her last trip was to the PGA Championship at Bethpage, where she was sick and never made it out to the golf course. She stayed up late at home in Florida to watch Woodland hold off Koepka at Pebble Beach, and she saw that rare burst of emotion when he made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th to win by three. With the silver trophy at his side that evening, Woodland thought about the next two months and said life was about to get real. The U.S. Open, his greatest achievement in golf, didn't feel real at all. Woodland went home to Florida, and soon thereafter brought his family to Kansas, where Jax had been born. He went to Topeka, Kansas, so his hometown could celebrate his U.S. Open victory with a block party. Gabby was in the hospital that day and couldn't make it. "It was awesome to win," Woodland said, "but I haven't really enjoyed it." That was a time to wait and to hope. Woodland anticipated the twins being born prematurely and having to spend a month or two in the neonatal intensive care. He tried to keep playing, and golf never felt so hard. He missed the cut in Detroit. He missed the cut in the British Open. There was no cut at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where Woodland failed to break par in any round and tied for 55th. "Detroit, I shouldn't have played. I wasn't ready to go and I got into bad habits," Woodland said. "The British, and even Memphis, it was like I wasn't there." He had a plane ready to go in Memphis that would have taken him the just over an hour to get to the hospital in Kansas. Woodland saw plenty of carts at that week on the golf course and held his breath as they drove past. No news was good news. The best news was four days after he got home. The twins were born Thursday, 15 seconds apart. His wife was released from the hospital on Sunday. If all goes well, the twins will be ready to come home by the end of the week. Woodland spent five hours on the range with Pete Cowen when he arrived at Liberty National — the first time in more than a month that he didn't make arrangements for a quick exit — and said Tuesday was the best he has hit the ball since he won the U.S. Open. He never looked happier. Woodland has three FedEx Cup events to play, and then he'll be home with his wife, his son, his twins, the U.S. Open trophy, everything he could want. "I can enjoy it now," he said of his major victory. "I think it will hit me more after I get home from East Lake, not having to think about the stress and everything. I'm excited to play these three weeks. I'm excited to have three kids at home.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019

Lowry s British Open win caps off big year in majors

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Winning the British Open didn't sink in right away for Shane Lowry. It apparently didn't take long. A celebration that began on the 18th fairway of Royal Portrush extended well into the night in Dublin. The European Tour posted a video on Twitter of Lowry, still dressed in all black from his final round with his cap flipped back. He was holding the claret jug in his right hand and a beer in his left as he belted out "The Fields of Athenry," an Irish folk ballad that has become popular for Irish sports fans. About last night...@ShaneLowryGolf #TheOpen pic.twitter.com/zdXW66yetz — The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 22, 2019 It might as well have been a celebration for all the majors this year. Nothing could top Tiger Woods in the Masters, which dwarfed an otherwise four-month stretch of compelling outcomes. Brooks Koepka had a major season not seen since before Woods began having surgeries, and the run is not over. He joined Woods as the only back-to-back PGA Championship winners in stroke play. He had chances in the final hour at the Masters and U.S. Open. And he was three strokes behind going into the weekend at the British Open, where he wound up in a distant tie for fourth. Thanks to the PGA Championship moving from August to May, all Koepka has done in the last 12 months is win two majors, finish runner-up in two others and tie for fourth. Along the way, he joined some elite company. Koepka, Woods, Jordan Spieth and Jack Nicklaus are the only players to finish no worse than fourth in all four majors in the same year. "This week is disappointing, but the rest of them ... it's been great," Koepka said Sunday. "I'm not going to lie. It's been fun." Lowry and Gary Woodland were first-time major champions, making it five straight years of at least two players winning majors for the first time. Their victories were special in their own right. Already popular with his peers, Woodland won over golf fans around the world with his gracious support of Amy Bockerstette, the 20-year-old with Down syndrome who played one hole with him in the Phoenix Open pro-am and made par from a bunker on the 16th hole. She also inspired him with three words that he kept thinking about in the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach: "You got this." Lowry wrote the perfect ending to the return of the British Open to Northern Ireland after 68 years. Sure, the focus of a sellout crowd at Royal Portrush was on Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke at the start. But as Lowry so beautifully and simply said when his name was on the claret jug, "Everyone knows we're all one country when it comes to golf." Woods should win anyone's award for best performance, even in the year of a World Cup when England's victory in cricket was amazing. It just doesn't seem that way. Rewind to April and find Woods trailing by two shots going into the final round of the Masters, a position from which he has never won. It had been two years since he suggested at the Champions Dinner he was done, only to fly across the Atlantic in a desperate search for help before realizing fusion surgery — the fourth procedure on his lower back — was the only route to a healthy life. Then he capped off his comeback with a flawless back nine to win a fifth green jacket and a 15th major, three short of the record set by Nicklaus. And then he took a month off and missed the cut at the PGA Championship. He tied for 21st in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but only because of six birdies on his last 12 holes. He took a vacation to Thailand, spent a month away from golf and then missed the cut in the British Open. It was a reminder that while Woods is able to win on the biggest stage — none bigger than Augusta National — he also has weeks where his back or his game, and sometimes both, don't allow him to contend. "Things are different," he said before leaving Portrush. "And I'm going to have my hot weeks. I'm going to be there in contention with a chance to win, and I will win tournaments. But there are times when I'm just not going to be there." It doesn't look great now. It will later. Golf now waits nearly nine months until the next major. The longer the year goes on, the stronger memories will be of what he did at the Masters far more than the other three. If there was disappointment, look no further than McIlroy, who finished a combined 25 shots behind in the Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open, and lasted only two days at Royal Portrush. Ditto for Dustin Johnson, still stuck on one major, which stings even more considering he had a pair of runner-up finishes. A generation ago, Colin Montgomerie said it was tough to win majors because of Woods, which meant fewer opportunities for everyone else. That's truer now than it was then. Spieth has gone two years without winning anything. Justin Thomas was slowed by injury. It's tough to win. Tougher still is waiting 263 days from the end of the British Open to the start of the Masters......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2019

Lowry, Holmes share Open lead as McIlroy leaves with cheers

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Everyone in the massive grandstand rose to cheer and celebrate a bold performance by Rory McIlroy, who longed for such support and affection on his walk toward his final hole at Royal Portrush in the British Open. Except this was Friday. And now McIlroy can only watch on the weekend as one of his best friends, Shane Lowry of Ireland, goes after the claret jug. Lowry birdied four of his opening five holes on his way to a 4-under 67 and shared the 36-hole lead with J.B. Holmes, who had a 68. Lee Westwood and Tommy Fleetwood were one shot behind. Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth were three back. That can wait. This day was all about McIlroy, who kept the sellout crowd on edge as he tried to make the cut after opening with a 79. The roars had the intensity of a final round as McIlroy ran off five birdies in seven holes to brighten a gloomy sky over the North Atlantic. Needing one last birdie, his approach took a wrong turn along the humps left of the 18th green. He made par for a 65. "It's a moment I envisaged for the last few years," McIlroy said. "It just happened two days early." He was disappointed. He was proud of his play. Mostly, though, he said he was "full of gratitude toward every single one of the people that followed me to the very end and was willing me on." "As much as I came here at the start of the week saying I wanted to do it for me, by the end of the round there today I was doing it just as much for them," he said. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson won't be around, either. It was the first time in 77 majors they have played as professionals that both missed the cut in the same major. Darren Clarke, who honed his game on the Dunluce Links as a junior and now calls Portrush home, missed the cut in a most cruel fashion with a triple bogey on his final hole. And now the first British Open in Northern Ireland since 1951 moves on without them, still with the promise of a great show. Lowry was so nervous he was shaking on the tee when the tournament began Thursday, swept up in the emotion of an Open on the Emerald Isle, and on a course he knows. He gave fans plenty to cheer when he opened his second round with three straight birdies, added a birdie on the fifth and holed a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to reach 10 under, making him the only player this week to reach double figures under par. The cheers were as loud as he has heard. "Just incredible," Lowry said. "You can't but smile, but can't but laugh how it is. There's no point trying to shy away from it. It's an incredible feeling getting applauded on every green, every tee box. I'm out there giving my best, trying to do my best for everyone." He three-putted the 14th, saved par on the next three holes with his deft touch around the greens, and closed with a bogey to fall back into a tie with Holmes, who played earlier in the day and was the first to post at 8-under 134. Holmes won at Riviera earlier this year, and then failed to make the cut in eight of his next 12 tournaments as he battled a two-way miss off the tee and felt so bad that he never thought he'd recover. But he did enough in Detroit three weeks ago to regain some confidence, and he has been in a groove at Portrush. "You can have that great round and that day where everything goes right. But it's nice to get two rounds in a row," Holmes said. "It shows a little consistency. And two days in a row I've hit the ball really well and putted well." Fleetwood and Westwood, two Englishmen at different stages in their careers, each had a 67 and will play in the group ahead of Lowry and Holmes. Westwood is 46 and can make a case as the best active player without a major considering his status — a former No. 1 in the world and on the European Tour — and the number of near misses in the majors, such as Muirfield and Turnberry at the Open, Torrey Pines in the U.S. Open and Augusta National when Mickelson out played him in 2010. Is it too late? Westwood wasn't willing to look that far ahead. "There's too much ground to cover before Sunday night," Westwood said. "There's a long way to go in this tournament. I've never felt under that much pressure, to be honest. You lads write about it. I've always gone out and done my best. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, and if it doesn't, it doesn't." The experience of winning majors was behind them. Justin Rose had a 67 and was two shots behind, along with Cameron Smith of Australia and Justin Harding of South Africa. Another shot back was a group that included Koepka, who has won three of the last six majors. He was in a tie for eighth, the 16th time in his last 17 rounds at the majors he has ended a round in the top 10. Koepka wasn't happy with much about his 2-under 69, calling it "a little bit disappointing," perhaps because he played in dry weather and only a mild wind. "But at the same time, I'm close enough where I play a good weekend, I'll be in good shape," he said. Spieth hasn't quite figured out how to get the ball in play more often — too many bunkers on Thursday, too much high grass on Friday. But that putter is not a problem, and it carried him to a collection of mid-range birdie and par putts for a 67. "I'm in contention. I feel good," Spieth said, winless since his Open title at Royal Birkdale two years ago. "I feel like if I can continue to improve each day, hit the ball better tomorrow than I did today, and better on Sunday than Saturday, then I should have a chance with how I feel on and around the greens." Graeme McDowell, born and raised in Portrush, played well enough to make the weekend. He finished with four straight pars for a 70 to make the cut on the number at 1-over 143, and felt the pressure of sticking around for the home crowd. Woods, meanwhile, began this major championship season as the Masters champion, ended it as a mystery. He missed the cut in two of the next three majors, and never seemed fully fit or engaged at the British Open. He was 3 under for his round through 11 holes with hopes of making it to the weekend, but he had no more birdies and finished with two bogeys for a 70 to miss by five shots. "I'm going to have my hot weeks. I'm going to be there in contention with a chance to win, and I will win tournaments," Woods said, facing the reality of a 43-year-old who has gone through eight surgeries on his knee and back. "But there are times when I'm just not going to be there.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2019

Koepka at British Open with a local lad as his caddie

By Chris Lehourites, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Brooks Koepka's biggest asset during this year's British Open won't be in his bag, it'll be on his bag. The four-time major winner will be walking around Royal Portrush, a course new to most of the players in the field, with a native expert helping him negotiate the sharp elevation changes of the century-old links course on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. His caddie, Ricky Elliott, is a local lad. "Every hole I just step up on, 'You tell me what to do. You've played it more than anybody,'" said Koepka, who is on such a roll at majors he may be one of the few players who doesn't need extra help. "So just let him figure it out. He knows his spots to miss it. The spots to come in from, with different hole locations and different winds." Elliott grew up in Portrush, and grew up playing at Royal Portrush. The pair started working together shortly after the 2013 British Open, when Phil Mickelson won at Muirfield. It only took a phone call to put things in motion. "We had about a 30-minute phone conversation. I liked the way he went about things," Koepka said Tuesday. "He was kind of light. He was joking on the phone. And that's somebody I want, I want somebody that's not going to be so focused in all the time. My personality, I laugh and joke on the golf course. I know it doesn't look like it, but the camera is not on us all the time. He's pretty laid back." Koepka has excelled over the last couple of years with Elliott on his bag, particularly at the major tournaments. After winning his second straight U.S. Open title last year, Koepka won his second straight PGA Championship this year. And he didn't do badly at the other two majors this season either, finishing second at the Masters and at the U.S. Open. "The whole reason I show up is to win. That's what I'm trying to do," Koepka said of his major results. "It's incredible. But at the same time, it's been quite disappointing, you know? Finishing second sucks. It really does." Tiger Woods, the one who edged Koepka to win this year's Masters, came to Northern Ireland looking for a little local knowledge. He said he texted Koepka, hoping to get some advice on the course. "What he's done in the last four major championships has been just unbelievable. To be so consistent, so solid. He's been in contention to win each and every major championship," Woods said. "And I said, 'Hey, dude, do you mind if I tag along and play a practice round?' I've heard nothing." Koepka will play his first two rounds at Royal Portrush alongside 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Shubhankar Sharma. And like many great champions in all sorts of sports, Koepka is full of self-belief heading into the final major of the season. "I think you always have to have a chip on your shoulder, no matter what it is," Koepka said. "Every great athlete and every major sport always has one. "Over the last year and a half, I just felt like if other guys had done what I had done it would be a bigger deal. Now it doesn't matter to me. I've got my own chip on my shoulder for what I'm trying to accomplish. ... How many majors I want to win, how many wins, my own accomplishments." With his trust in his own ability to deliver the big shots and his trust in his caddie's ability to deliver that little bit of extra insight on a course that hasn't hosted the British Open since 1951, Koepka is on the short list of favorites this week. "Definitely have a little bit more confidence having him on the bag this week," Koepka said of Elliott, "knowing this golf course so well.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019

Fowler and the USGA off to a good start at US Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Rickie Fowler had an ideal start Thursday in the U.S. Open, and so did the USGA. Pebble Beach was as gentle as could be in the opening round, and Fowler was among those who took advantage with six birdies for a 5-under 66, giving him a share of the early lead with Xander Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen. The notorious wind off the Pacific coast was little more than a breeze. The course was lush green and relatively soft. The USGA wanted to start conservatively and make it progressively more difficult, a forecast of dry weather gives officials a lot more control. This was the day to take advantage. Schauffele, who keeps showing up in golf's biggest events, holed a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th to join Fowler at 66. Oosthuizen holed out for eagle from 95 yards at No. 11, his second hole of the day. "It's a very soft start to a U.S. Open, which is a good thing," Rory McIlroy said after a 68, his first sub-70 round at the U.S. Open since he won at Congressional in 2011. "They can do whatever they want with from here. It's not as if you're starting with a course that's in the condition like a Sunday, and then you get three days and it sort of starts to get away from you." Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods played in the afternoon. Koepka reached 4 under through seven holes until a bogey on No. 8, while Woods had three birdies to atone for a double bogey on par-3 fifth. He was 1 under through seven. Scott Piercy made bogey on the 18th for a 67. He was the first player to get everyone's attention when he made three birdies and an eagle through the opening six holes — the scoring holes at Pebble — and was 5 under. Graeme McDowell saw the score when he walked off the 10th green at the start of his round and quipped to his caddie, "All the USGA radios are going off and they're saying, 'Turn off the water — NOW!'" McDowell won the last U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010 when it was so difficult he made only one birdie in the final round and no one broke par for the week. Even as he saw low scores on the board — he had a bogey-free 69, one of 16 rounds in the 60s among the early starters — McDowell feared what was to come. What really got his attention was Phil Mickelson being some 30 feet above the hole at No. 1, which should ordinarily have been a lightning fast putt. Mickelson left it short. "I don't think level par wins this week," he said. "Careful what you wish for, because I think we're going to see it come the weekend." Mickelson, in his fifth attempt at the career Grand Slam, opened with a 72 that certainly didn't hurt him, but only two birdies held him back. Two of his bogeys came from missing the fairway with an iron off the tee. The other was a careless three-putt — he missed from 22 inches. Dustin Johnson was only one shot better, and he could have been a lot worse except for a magnificent short game, no shot better than his flop shop from well behind the eighth green to 2 feet. He nearly drove the green on No. 4, a dangerous shot because the coast line hugs the right side. Why driver? "Because I'd bogeyed the last two holes," Johnson said with a wry smile. "I needed a birdie." That wasn't impatience that often dooms chances at a U.S. Open. That was recognition that scores were to be had, and this might be the best day. Fowler picked up three birdies in seven holes, dropped a shot at the turn and added three birdies on the back. It's the second time in three years at the U.S. Open he has started well — he had a 65 in the first round at Erin Hills — but the focus is on how he finishes. Even though he's 30, with seven victories on the PGA Tour and European Tour combined, Fowler is on that list of best without a major, perhaps because he's had so many top finishes. So the start was important. "It was very stress free," Fowler said. "You never feel in cruise control at a major, especially a U.S. Open, but the execution was very good today. ... It was the worst I could have shot, so that's a good thing. I'm happy with the start. You can't go out and win it up the first day, but you can obviously take yourself out of it and you're having to fight back." Schauffele also appears poised to break through in his third full year on tour. He first gained attention with his tie for fifth in his U.S. Open debut two years ago, and he tied for sixth last year at Shinnecock Hills. He also has runner-up finishes in the British Open and the Masters. His big break came at the end when he caught his drive off the toe and it hit off a rock framing the left side, bounding down the fairway. From there, he only had 8-iron to set up his eagle. "Very fortunate, and happy we capitalized on a really lucky break," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Woods closer to Snead than Nicklaus at Memorial

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Winning the Masters gave Tiger Woods his 15th major and allowed him to resume the pursuit of Jack Nicklaus and his 18 majors. It moved him even closer to another record that Rory McIlroy believes should get more attention. Woods now is at 81 career victories on the PGA Tour, one short of the official record — as official as the tour can determine — that Sam Snead set from 1936 to 1965. "Especially this day and age, I think it's more impressive than his major tally," McIlroy said Wednesday ahead of the Memorial. "Eighty-two wins ... if you're around for 20 years, that's four a year, every year. It's very, very impressive. I think if you're winning multiple times a year, you're doing pretty well. So to have the average that he's had — eight-win seasons, nine-win seasons — if he does pass that record of Snead's ... it's almost more impressive than the 15." Woods is a five-time winner at the Memorial, and the most recent victory at Muirfield Village (2012) was significant because it was his 73rd title on the PGA Tour, which tied him with Nicklaus for second on the career list. What to expect from him this year remains a mystery. He looked like the Woods of old when he won at Augusta National by hitting all the right shots and letting everyone around him make the mistakes. A month later, without having played since the Masters, he missed the cut at Bethpage Black in the PGA Championship. Woods attributed his lack of play to the emotional toll of winning the Masters — it had been 11 years since his last major — and to being sick during the three days of practice rounds at Bethpage Black, which limited him to nine holes. He rarely misses the Memorial except for injury or the death of his father in 2006, and Woods wants to start getting his game in gear with the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach just two weeks away. He played the pro-am Wednesday with retired NFL great Peyton Manning, who knows about returning from injury to win the big one. "I think the most impressive thing is how he's been able to adjust and be adapted to playing in a new physical state," said Manning, who returned from a neck injury to win a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos. "That's kind of what I did. To use a baseball analogy, I couldn't throw the 100 mph fastball anymore, but you could still work the outside edges of the plate. You could still strike a guy out that way. He struck a lot of guys out. He came home with the win." The fastball in golf is power, and that never hurts around Muirfield Village, especially in a week when the course is expected to be softened by storms. Woods said he feels refreshed after the PGA Championship and now needs to get in competitive rounds in his final start before the U.S. Open. He was at Pebble Beach last week for a day of practice in damp conditions, having not seen the course since 2012 in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he closed with a 75 to tie for 15th. As for 82 victories? Woods had had 10 seasons of five victories or more — only Vijay Singh and Nick Price have had more than five wins in any season over the last 25 years. Woods had 79 victories in 18 years and then was slowed by back surgeries to the point where he nearly didn't return at all. "To get into those numbers, it takes longevity and hot years," Woods said. "I think you need multiple winning seasons. You need to do that for decades. That's something I'm proud of. That's not something that happens overnight. To be able to come this close to get to one behind Sam Snead has been pretty amazing." Snead compiled his victories before the modern PGA Tour began in 1970, when the schedule was unwieldy and there was not always agreement on what should constitute an official victory. His tally includes five team events, an 18-hole event and one year at Pebble Beach when it was a four-way tie with no playoff. Snead long believed his total should have been 89 before the PGA Tour took some away during a research project by a nine-person panel. Whatever the case, the PGA Tour lists the record at 82. Woods is at 81. "I don't know how you add up tournaments anymore," Nicklaus said. "No one in the world could know how many tournaments Sam Snead won. ... Tiger is the winningest, probably, player there ever was. And he's probably won a higher percentage of tournaments than anybody that ever played. Of course, I've always measure my life differently. I never measured it on tour wins. I measured it on major wins." That's the number that hasn't changed since Nicklaus won his 18th professional major at the Masters in 1986. "They're the only ones you can compare back and forth, I think," Nicklaus said. "Would 82 be a major achievement? Absolutely. But you ask Tiger which he would rather win, 82 or 18, I think you might get a different answer.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Tiger, Koepka set for early Bethpage start

Tiger, Koepka set for early Bethpage start.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

Tiger chases 16th major crown

The 43-year-old American, who snapped an 11-year major win drought by capturing last month’s Masters, toured the front nine at Bethpage Black in just under 2 1/2 hours ahead of Thursday’s start to the year’s second major tournament......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

Homa comes full circle and wins Wells Fargo Championship

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Max Homa traded in a shovel for a ladder to get places he always thought he could reach. Two years ago in his second try on the PGA Tour, he made only two cuts the entire season and played only one round on a Sunday. Eight months ago, he was on the verge of going back to Q-school and an uncertain future until closing with four straight birdies to make the cut in a Web.com Tour event that gave him another shot at the big leagues. It made Sunday all that much sweeter in the Wells Fargo Championship. In a three-way tie for the lead, in the final group on the PGA Tour for the first time, with Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia right behind him, Homa outplayed them all with a 4-under 67 for a three-shot victory at Quail Hollow and his first PGA Tour title. "I used to say when I hit rock bottom I found a shovel and kept digging. I went to some low, low places," he said. "I'd use a shovel and dig deeper. I went to some low, low places. I realized in that year or two when I started to play bad that my attitude was going to have to get a lot better. ... I'm very proud I finally found a ladder and started climbing, because it was getting dark down there." Suddenly, the immediate future is bright as can be. He has a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a tee time at the PGA Championship in two weeks at Bethpage Black and a spot in the Masters next year. A former NCAA champion at Cal, Homa has "Relentless" in block letters tattooed on his right forearm. The 28-year-old Californian also has a signed photo from former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who once told him to look at the picture and be reminded to believe in himself. The trophy at his side, Homa's press conference was interrupted for him to take a call from the 91-year-old Lasorda. "I guess my whole world is different," he said. Golf felt so hard for Homa for so many years after he left Cal, and then he made it look so easy in a final round that made him so nervous he wanted to throw up, except when he had his hands on a golf club. He pulled away with two birdies to start the back nine for a four-shot lead. He didn't make a bogey until it only affected the final margin. But it was a one-hour rain delay that tested Homa the most. He was leading by three when he nearly went in the water on the 14th hole and chipped up to 6 feet when the horn sounded to stop play. With time he didn't need on his hands, he called his fiancée and his coach and can't remember what either of them said. And then he returned and buried the putt. Over an hour delay while trying to win for the first time on TOUR. Huge save for @maxhoma23. The lead is still three.#QuickHits pic.twitter.com/F3tvjxRrrm— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 5, 2019 "I knew in the back of my mind if I made that putt, I win this golf tournament," he said. Joel Dahmen, who pushed Homa as hard as any major champion, saved par with a tough chip over the creek for a 70 and finished three shots behind. "I didn't beat myself today, which was kind of the goal," Dahmen said. "Max is playing awesome. He's a good friend. I think we're going to celebrate tonight." Homa effectively sealed it with a perfect play to the green on the par-5 15th for a two-putt birdie, and a 10-foot par putt on the 17th to keep a three-shot leading playing the tough closing hole at Quail Hollow. He made a 10-foot par there, too, and the celebration was on. Homa finished at 15-under 269. "Over the moon, man," he said before going to sign his card. "It means a lot to do it under pressure, and job security is great. I haven't had that." The victory was worth $1,422,000, about $454,000 more than he had made in his previous 67 starts. Justin Rose (68) finished alone in third and moved ahead of Brooks Koepka to No. 2 in the world. Rory McIlroy was primed to join Tom Weiskopf as the only three-time winners at Quail Hollow, starting the final round two shots behind. He never got anything going until it went the wrong way. He turned a 20-foot eagle attempt into a three-putt par on the par-5 seventh, failed to get up-and-down on the reachable eighth for a birdie, and then went bogey-double bogey around the turn to take himself out of the mix. No one else was much of a threat either, just two guys who had never come remotely close to winning on the PGA Tour. Former PGA champion Jason Dufner, part of the three-way tie for the lead to start the final round, made consecutive bogeys early and had no bearing on the final round. A double bogey on the 18th gave him a 73 and dropped him into a tie for fourth. Rose pulled within two shots with a birdie on the par-5 10th, only to settle into a series of pars. By the time Sergio Garcia reached double digits under par, Homa was well on his way. Homa and Dahmen were at 13 under until Dahmen blinked first. He found a fairway bunker on No. 9, couldn't get to the green and made bogey and dropped another shot on the 11th. Homa, playing behind him in the final group, holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 10th for a two-shot lead, made birdie from the left rough on the 11th with a 12-foot putt and escaped more trouble off the tee on the 12th with a two-putt from 80 feet. He survived the rain delay, the nervy finish. Homa has endured a lot more than that over the last few years......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019

Out of the Woods: Tiger emerges for TV match with Lefty, QBs

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The purpose is to raise $10 million or more for COVID-19 relief efforts, and provide entertainment with four of the biggest stars from the PGA Tour and NFL. Another appeal to the Sunday made-for-TV exhibition, “The Match: Champions for Charity,” is a chance to see Tiger Woods swing a golf club for the first time in 98 days. Live golf is on television for the second straight Sunday, this one with the game's biggest headliner. Woods was last seen on television Feb. 16 at the Genesis Invitational, where he moved cautiously in California's chilly late winter weather and posted weekend rounds of 76-77 to finish last among the 68 players who made the cut at Riviera. He skipped a World Golf Championship in Mexico City, and said his surgically repaired back wasn't quite ready in sitting out the opening three weeks of the Florida swing. And then the pandemic took over, and there has been no place to play. This is a reasonable start. Woods and retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will face Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and signed this year with Tampa Bay. The match will be at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida. It is Woods' home course and about 20 minutes from Seminole, where last week Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff ushered golf's return to live television. What to make of Woods? His only interviews were with GolfTV, the Discovery-owned channel with whom Woods has a financial deal, and a playful Zoom call with the other match participants hosted by Ernie Johnson of Turner Sports, which is televising the match. He described his health in the April 9 interview with GolfTV as “night and day.” “I feel a lot better than I did then,” Woods said. “I've been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be.” Mickelson has missed the cut in four of his five tournaments this year — the exception was third place at Pebble Beach, where he started the final round one shot behind Nick Taylor and closed with a 75. Just like last week, rust is to be expected for players who haven't competed in two months — three, in the case of Woods. Manning, meanwhile, is retired and is a golf junkie. Brady remains employed, and this week got in some informal work with his new teammates in Tampa Bay. No fans will be allowed, just like last week at Seminole. One difference is the players will be in their own carts, whereas the four PGA Tour players last week carried their bags. But this is as much about entertainment as competition. It's the second edition of a match between Woods and Mickelson, the dominant players of their generation and rivals by name, but not necessarily by record. Woods has 82 career victories to 44 for Mickelson, leads 15-5 in major championships and 11-0 in winning PGA Tour player of the year. Mickelson won their first made-for-TV match over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, a pay-per-view event that ran into technical problems and was free for all. Lefty won in a playoff under the lights for $9 million in a winner-take-all match. He also has a 5-3-1 advantage over Woods in the nine times they have played in the final round on the PGA Tour, most recently in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2012 when Mickelson shot 64 to a 75 for Woods. He also stopped two streaks. Woods was going for his seventh straight PGA Tour victory when Mickelson beat him at Torrey Pines in 2000. Later that year, Woods had won 19 consecutive times on the PGA Tour when he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead until Mickelson beat him at the Tour Championship. Woods, however, captured the streak that mattered, holding off Mickelson in the final group at the Masters in 2001 to hold all four professional majors at the same time. The banter was lacking in Las Vegas, and perhaps having Manning and Brady will change the dynamics. The broadcast includes Charles Barkley providing commentary and Justin Thomas, whom Woods has embraced, on the course as a reporter in his television debut. After this exhibition, golf has two weeks before the PGA Tour is set to return at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. Mickelson plans to play. Woods has not said when he will return......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News17 hr. 31 min. ago

PB(A)BL: Asi Taulava was 'The Rock' again with San Miguel Beer

Not all players take the same route going to the PBA, each player will have his own story to tell. This series will be about those who chose a different path, those who had to hustle overseas at one point in their careers before eventually landing in the PBA. Here, we take a look at current big-name PBA players who spent some time in the other major basketball league with Philippine teams in the region: the Asean Basketball League. They don’t have to play for a Filipino team, after all, the ABL is a great place where Filipino talents can shine even while playing for other countries. [Related: PB(A)BL: Stanley Pringle's Warrior Ways] Today, we continue with Asi Taulava and his detour to the ABL version of the San Miguel Beermen.   Rock On At the peak of his powers, Asi Taulava was one of the most dominant forces the PBA has ever seen. His crowning achievement came in 2003, when Asi was the PBA’s Most Valuable Player and led Talk ‘N Text to the All-Filipino title. Of course, Taulava was Finals MVP and the Best Player of the Conference as well. With big numbers and an even bigger personality, Asi was poised to keep dominating. Unfortunately, issues regarding his eligibility would haunt the Fil-Tongan and he would eventually overstay his welcome with Talk ‘N Text. In 2007, the Phone Pals engaged the Coca-Cola Tigers in a blockbuster trade, shipping Taulava for Ali Peek and a pick that would later turned out to be Jared Dillinger. Asi was refreshed as a Tiger, in his first conference with the team eliminating Talk ‘N Text from the playoffs. After about three seasons however, a slower Asi would be traded to a new team in Meralco. A stint with the Bolts wouldn’t necessarily energize Asi, and his two seasons with the team saw him post career-low numbers. After declining a max extension with Meralco, Taulava’s true career boost would come away from the PBA. Signing with the San Miguel Beermen in the ABL in 2013, Asi would rock on. Taulava averaged a solid 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in his debut ABL season and in a close vote, he beat teammate Chris Banchero, Thailand’s Froilan Baguion, Saigon’s Jai Reyes, and Indonesia’s Mario Wuysang to win MVP, 10 years after winning the same award in the PBA. Just like a decade prior, Taulava would pick up a title, as San Miguel Beer swept the Indonesia Warriors in the best-of-5 Finals. San Miguel Beer in the ABL and Talk ‘N Text in the PBA remain as Asi’s only two titles in his career as of this writing. “The best thing about my stint in the ABL was that I got my confidence back,” Taulava told the league website about his stint with San Miguel Beer. “Winning that ABL championship meant a lot to me. It’s something I’ll always look back to,” he added.   ABL back to the PBA Following his ABL championship, a 40-year-old Asi would make his comeback in the PBA, signing with Air21 for the 2013 Governors’ Cup. However, he only played three games to end the season. Boosted by his ABL performance, Taulava would regain some of his lost touch in the PBA in his first full season with Air21. Asi and the Express would eliminate second-ranked San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals of the Commissioner’s Cup before pushing eventual Grand Slam champions San Mig Coffee to a do-or-die in the semifinals. Averaging close to 15 points a game and 12 rebounds, Taulava battled for the MVP award of the 2014 season, eventually losing to June Mar Fajardo. Asi however, would win Comeback Player of the Year instead. As Air21 was eventually acquired by NLEX, Taulava would continue his strong run even as a Road Warrior, even making the All-PBA 2nd team in 2016. Age has slowed Asi tremendously since but in 2020, he continues to make history. When he plays his first game with NLEX in the new PBA season, 47-year-old Taulava officially becomes the first PBA player to play in the league in four separate decades.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2020

Niharika Singh will be ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong’s Advisor on The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition

VP and Head of Product at ONE Championship, Niharika Singh, has spent countless hours inside the boardroom with Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, observing the billionaire entrepreneur make tough business decisions daily, while also making decisions alongside him.  The 31-year-old IIT Delhi and IIM Bangalore Engineering and MBA graduate has a unique vantage point to observe Sityodtong run ONE Championship, the world’s largest martial arts organization.  She thus makes the perfect candidate to play an advisory role to Sityodtong on the upcoming ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’ where she will assist Sityodtong judge the 16 contestants cast for the show. “As Chatri's advisor, I will be his eyes and ears, even behind the scenes,” says Singh. “So you can expect me to be constantly observing and assessing the candidates. I will be present when Chatri delivers the tasks, will acutely observe candidates during the tasks and will play a part in the final decisions made in the boardroom.” “I have worked extensively with Chatri so I know how he works, how his mind works and what he looks for when he is hiring,” says Singh.  Singh started her professional career as consultant at McKinsey & Company then moved to Treebo Hotels, an early stage startup in India, before eventually relocating to Singapore. Since joining ONE Championship as Vice President and Head of Product in mid-2019, Singh has been in constant close proximity with Sityodtong, and has been able to get a good read on how the mind of a seasoned entrepreneur operates. It’s a skill Singh believes will help her advise Sityodtong in selecting ‘The Apprentice.’ “I will be following and observing the candidates throughout the tasks and will be relaying my feedback to Chatri. As an advisor to him, I will be candid in my feedback and will strongly and publicly air my opinions. In short, if any candidate wants to get to Chatri, he or she will need to get through me first.” The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is slated for release and distribution in Q4 of 2020. Produced by ONE Championship’s production arm, ONE Studios, and under license from MGM Television, the popular reality television show will run on both streaming and linear platforms across the Pan Asian region. It will also air on major television networks and digital channels in over 150 countries worldwide. Since the original American version was launched over 16 years ago, The Apprentice has become one of the world’s most successful reality television franchises in history. Thousands of auditions from all across the globe have already poured in since the announcement of the show in late February. Although ONE has yet to reveal the initial contestants who made the cut, Singh believes Sityodtong is looking for candidates who exhibit certain qualities as both executives, and as human beings. “‘The Apprentice’ needs to have all the traits that we already look for when we hire - the right values, the PHD factor (poor, hungry and determined - in spirit) and the will to win,” says Singh. “We look for dreamers who also have fire in their bellies to make their dreams come true.” Singh believes that to be successful on the show, contestants have to possess three important characteristics. “The first is resilience. It's not easy to work for Chatri, I assure you. So you better have had a lot of endurance training in the past,” says Singh. “The second is fearlessness. Chatri doesn't like yes men or women around him. You need to be able to speak up for what is right. The third is the near impossible trait of possessing a high functioning left brain and right brain, and a good proportion of IQ and EQ. “When it comes to choosing the winner, Chatri and I will definitely look for someone who lives and breathes the ONE Championship values. And those values do include the values of teamwork, integrity, and loyalty.” Contestants on The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition will participate in what ONE describes as a “high-stakes game of business competitions and physical challenges.” At the end of the season, the winner will receive a US$250,000 job offer to work for a year directly under Sityodtong as his protege at the ONE Championship Global Headquarters in Singapore. The original American version of The Apprentice was intense, and often portrayed the unforgiving and cutthroat nature of business. Singh believes that ONE Championship’s version should be able to toe the line of the original, while still have a fresh new concept that caters to the heartbeat of its Asian audience. “I think the Asian fans will absolutely love the show,” says Singh. “Our fans love ONE Championship not only because of the events we put together for them or for how we entertain them. They also love us for what we stand for. Above all, they love Chatri. A reality show anchored on the hunt for the person who can be Chatri's protege will find immediate connection with our fans.” "Also, bear in mind that 12 of Asia's top CEOs will be guest judges on the show alongside Chatri. And 12 of our World Champions are going to compete in the physical challenges alongside the contestants - so this is bound to further intensify the competition,” Singh adds. According to both Singh and Sityodtong, The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is shaping up to be one of the most intense and toughest reality shows ever, and only the truly worthy will emerge the winner and the right to be called ‘The Apprentice.’ “We are looking for the person with the strongest mind, the toughest body, and the most unbreakable spirit - which is essentially the rite of passage to ONE Championship. So prepare to see nail-biting excitement, high stakes drama, and explosive emotions as these 16 contestants compete for the opportunity of a lifetime," Singh concluded......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2020