first_imgPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The 42-year-old father of three did what his instincts dictated – wait patiently. Stuart Appleby had just birdied his second hole of the day – the 11th at Monterey Peninsula Country Club – when the weather horn sent players, caddies and fans scrambling for cover. After weeks of drought, and a solid few years of fair weather for the PGA Tour’s northern California stop, Crosby weather returned for the opening round of this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. For nearly three hours Appleby waited out the tempest without a hint of anxiety or anxiousness. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Articles, videos and photos That’s what more than two decades of Tour experience and a burgeoning family does to a man. “It was fine, really. It was just a solid day all the way around,” Appleby said of his opening 65 that left him two strokes out of the lead held by rookie Andrew Loupe. In its simplest terms, Appleby’s calm in the middle of Thursday’s storm comes honestly. Once a perennial contender, the Australian is three years removed from his last Tour victory and hasn’t advanced to the Tour Championship, the ultimate litmus test for top players, since 2008. Nagging injuries led to swing flaws that can at least partially explain Appleby’s malaise, but when he was asked to assess the last few years the easiest answer is life. For all the right reasons, Appleby has been distracted by his growing family in recent years with three children under 8 years old. “They definitely play a role. Your emotional energy changes a little bit towards your family. Your attention, your focus, your time. Sometimes that’s a struggle,” he said. “You have more family commitments, which I really purely love, as you get older. You focus all your time on your family.” As his children have aged, however, Appleby’s focus and time have returned to golf. He refined his swing during this offseason and adjusted his putting stroke to more of a “downward hit,” which might explain his ability to navigate the normally bumpy coastal greens. He rolled in a 20 footer for birdie on the 11th before the delay and followed that with a 15 footer at the 14th hole when play resumed. His bogey-free round was his lowest start on Tour since a 65 at the 2012 Canadian Open. In fact, his 6 under card was his best ever at the Clambake, an event he once jettisoned from his schedule because of the habitually bad weather and five-hour-plus rounds. But he returned to the Monterey Peninsula in 2010 and hasn’t missed the Pro-Am since, a nod to his growing maturity and an appreciation for the golf – if not the views. “If it’s not raining everyday here it’s a good tournament,” Appleby said. “I normally avoided the amateur format a bit like the plague. But I’ve grown up a bit, matured a bit.” If Appleby needs a blueprint to follow as he reinvents himself he should look no further than Steve Stricker, who didn’t find his way on Tour until he was well into his 40s and earned a spot on last year’s Presidents Cup team playing a limited schedule. “Look at Steve, he’s won massively in his 40s. Really his whole career has been in his 40s,” he said. “He wants to spend more time with his family now. (But) I love playing out here, I want to compete, I want to play.” After nine Tour victories and more than $22.5 million in career earnings, it would be easy for Appleby to go quietly through the next few years on his way to the Champions Tour. But that doesn’t appear to be on the agenda. After being understandably distracted by quality of life concerns the last few years, Appleby has been reinvigorated by the call of competition. Following a long, wet day, Appleby was asked what motivates the middle aged, and for a moment he appeared to channel his 20-year-old self. “The chase, the hunt, the elusive almost at your fingertips next level of golf that’s just at arm’s reach,” Appleby said. “It feels like it is always there, that next rung on the ladder to pull yourself up. Golf gives you so many opportunities like no other sport.” For Appleby, it turns out the ultimate career mulligan is a mind unclouded by life’s concerns and the clarity of thought to win again.last_img read more

first_imgDUBLIN, Ohio – Tiger Woods withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday as he recovers from back surgery that has kept him out of golf for nearly three months. It will be the second U.S. Open, and sixth major, he has missed because of injury over the last six years. The U.S. Open is June 12-15 at Pinehurst No. 2, where Woods tied for third in 1999 and was runner-up in 2005. The announcement on his website was not surprising. A week ago at a promotional event for the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, Woods said he still had not taken a full swing with a golf club and did not know when he could. He had microdiscetomy surgery to relieve a pinched nerve on March 31. ”Unfortunately, I won’t be there because I’m not yet physically able to play competitive golf,” Woods said. ”I’d like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won’t be at Pinehurst. The U.S. Open is very important to me, and I know it’s going to be a great week.” Woods last played on March 9 at Doral, where he closed with a 78 while suffering what he called back spasms. He withdrew in the middle of the final round at the Honda Classic with back pain a week earlier. Woods is a three-time U.S. Open champion, one short of the record shared by Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson. His most recent U.S. Open victory was in 2008 at Torrey Pines, where he won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate a week before he had season-ending knee surgery. That was his 14th victory in 46 majors, a winning rate of 30 percent as a pro. He has not won a major since Torrey Pines, leaving him four short of Nicklaus’ record. Woods missed the British Open and PGA Championship after knee surgery in 2008. He missed the U.S. Open and British Open while allowing leg injuries to heal in 2011. He missed the Masters for the first time in April because of back surgery. Nicklaus said earlier Wednesday that Woods’ health would be the biggest obstacle in breaking his record in the majors. Woods called Nicklaus earlier Wednesday to express regrets about missing the Memorial, and Nicklaus said that Woods indicated he was making progress. ”If he’s healthy, I think Tiger has got 10-plus years to play top quality tournament golf,” Nicklaus said. ”And I’ve said many times, he’s got a little over 40 tournaments to play the major championships; he’s only got to win five to pass my record. As good a player as he is, I don’t think that should be a big deal. But then again, he’s got to do it. Plus, he’s also got to be healthy to be able to do it.” Woods has not indicated when he might be able to return to competition, saying that would be up to his doctors and how he recovers from the surgery. ”Despite missing the first two majors, and several other important tournaments, I remain very optimistic about this year and my future,” he said.last_img read more

first_imgSHANGHAI – For the first time in nearly five years, the AT&T logo can be found on a golf bag on the PGA Tour. It belongs to Jordan Spieth. Spieth showed up at the WGC-HSBC Champions with a black-and-orange golf bag promoting AT&T. He signed an endorsement deal with the Texas-based telecommunications giant earlier this year, and this was the first evidence of the logo while he was on the golf course. AT&T is one of the top supporters of the PGA Tour, with title sponsorship at Pebble Beach and the Byron Nelson on the PGA Tour, and a Champions Tour event in Texas. The last player AT&T endorsed on the PGA Tour was Tiger Woods. He had an AT&T bag when he returned from knee surgery early in 2009. The company ended its endorsement deal a month after revelations that Woods had multiple extramarital affairs. Spieth is playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup. He is headed back home to Dallas after the HSBC Champions, and then returning to Asia to play in the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan and then the Australian Open in Sydney before ending his year at the Hero World Challenge that Woods hosts in Florida. KOEPKA’S DILEMMA: Brooks Koepka is spending a much-needed week of vacation in Thailand before two final events on the European Tour that could shape his schedule next year. Koepka began his career on the Challenge Tour in Europe, winning three times to earn an instant promotion to the European Tour. He did well enough in his limited starts on the PGA Tour last year – a tie for fourth in the U.S. Open and a tie for third in the Open – to earn his U.S. card. He would like to play both tours again next year, but that can only happen if he’s entrenched in the top 50 in the world. That would make him eligible for the World Golf Championships and the majors, which means he would need only limited starts in Europe to keep both cards. But right now, Koepka is at No. 60. Even though he was a European Tour member first, PGA Tour regulations do not allow the Floridian to claim Europe as his home circuit, meaning he would need to get a release to play overseas. Players typically are granted three ”conflicting event releases” when playing 15 PGA Tour events, with one more release for every five more PGA Tour events they play. One caveat is for players to claim an alternative home circuit, but only if they have been a member of that tour at least five years and commit to playing at least 20 times on the PGA Tour. Frank Nobilo of New Zealand went that route when he joined the PGA Tour after several years in Europe. Koepka finishes his year in Turkey and Dubai, both of which will have strong world ranking points. DUSTIN JOHNSON: That voluntarily leave by Dustin Johnson certainly isn’t hurting his position in the world ranking. Johnson was at No. 16 in the world after the Canadian Open when he announced he was stepping away from golf to seek professional help for ”personal challenges.” He is No. 15 in the world now. Johnson will start losing points, starting with the HSBC Champions. He won a year ago Sheshan International and is not back to defend. His agent at Hambric Sports, David Winkle, said Tuesday that Johnson is not expected back until sometime early next year. Johnson’s fiancé, Paulina Gretzky, is expecting their first child and Johnson won’t play again until the baby is born. ”They haven’t announced when the baby is due yet,” Winkle said. DIVOTS: Adam Scott is trying out another caddie this week at the HSBC Champions. He is using David Clark, who works for Cameron Tringale. … Graeme McDowell says he will be joining a task force, only it has nothing to do with the Ryder Cup. McDowell says he has been asked by his alma mater, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, to be part of a group that studies the future of the football program. … Tickets went on sale Tuesday for the British Open next year at St. Andrews. A daily ticket for adults will increase 5 pounds to 70 pounds (about $110) if bought before May 31, and to 80 pounds ($125) after that. Weekly tickets are available for 240 pounds ($380). A daily ticket went for 60 pounds ($95) in 2010 when The Open was last held at St. Andrews. … Davis Love III tied for eighth in Malaysia, his first top 10 on the PGA Tour in two years. STAT OF THE WEEK: McDowell is the only player with top-10s in every World Golf Championship this year. He was a quarterfinalist at the Match Play Championship, tied for ninth at Doral and tied for eighth at Firestone. FINAL WORD: ”I know one thing for sure. We can’t have more than 52 tournaments.” – Henrik Stenson on what the golf calendar will look like in 10 years.last_img read more

first_imgST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Jordan Spieth wasted no time seizing a rare opportunity to chase a Grand Slam, opening with six birdies in 11 holes at St. Andrews and keeping his name high on the leaderboard Thursday in the British Open. And so did a familiar foe – Dustin Johnson. Eight times zones and an ocean away from Chambers Bay, Johnson and Spieth picked up where they left off a month ago when Spieth beat him by one shot in the U.S. Open to capture the second leg of the Grand Slam. On this day, Johnson got the better of him with a 7-under 65 and looked like the player to beat at St. Andrews. He overpowered the Old Course with such a blend of power and accuracy that Johnson hit wedge into all but three of the 14 par 4s. Three of them were into the wind. The other was No. 9, where he putted from just off the green. Johnson had a one-shot lead over six players, including former British Open champion Paul Lawrie, two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and Jason Day, playing for the first time since coping with symptoms of vertigo at the U.S. Open. Zach Johnson and Danny Willett played in the afternoon as the wind strengthened, making their 66s even more impressive. Spieth and Louis Oosthuizen, who won the last time the Open was at St. Andrews, were among those two shots back at 67. Thursday morning was suited for scoring, so it was critical Johnson, Spieth and all the other early starters post a low score. Open Championship tracker: Day 1 Open Championship full-field scores ”Everybody knows the weather Friday and Saturday is going to be very difficult, so today I thought was very important to get off to a good start and try to make as many birdies as you can,” Johnson said. ”Because the next couple days, it’s going to be very difficult.” It was every bit of that for Tiger Woods. A two-time Open champion on these links, Woods hit into the Swilcan Burn on the first hole, didn’t make a birdie until the 14th hole and had to scramble to salvage a 76, his worst score in 13 rounds as a pro at St. Andrews. He was tied with 65-year-old Tom Watson, who his playing his final British Open. The buzz came from the top of the leaderboard, especially with Johnson and Spieth making this feel like the U.S. Open, except for the location and green color of grass. Spieth opened with two straight birdies and looked as solid as ever with the putter. Johnson also converted putts after wedges into so many greens for birdie, along with a 7-iron into 10 feet on the par-5 fifth hole for eagle. They are playing together for the opening two rounds, and they laughed and chatted as if this were Thursday at a regular PGA Tour event. ”No chat about the U.S. Open at all, as I wouldn’t imagine there would be, other than talking about the differences in the course,” Spieth said. ”But I enjoy playing with Dustin. I’ve played a lot of golf with him.” He also knows what to expect. Johnson is among the most athletic players in golf, and the most powerful. He was dialed in at Chambers Bay, and it appeared as though the three weeks he spent away from competition didn’t hurt him in the least. Spieth was along for the ride when Johnson stayed on the attack, often hitting it some 50 yards past Spieth and Matsuyama. Along with five birdies and an eagle, Johnson saved par from 10 feet and 15 feet on the 16th and 17th holes as the wind gained strength. ”If D.J. keeps driving it the way he is, then I’m going to have to play my best golf to have a chance,” Spieth said. Spieth managed just fine with great iron play and the putting that makes him the envy of golf at the moment. He now has made 53 birdies in nine rounds at the majors this year, an average of roughly one birdie every three holes. So it was peculiar when one reporter asked Spieth if he thought he could beat Johnson – which he just did a month ago at the U.S. Open. ”I’ve played enough golf with him to where I believe in my skill set, that I can still trump that crazy ability that he has,” Spieth said. ”I expect when he stands on the tee it’s going to up there miles and down the fairway. I also expect that I can birdie each hole when I stand on the tee – it just happens to be a different route.” Not many can appreciate the route Spieth is taking. Only five other players dating to the creation of the Masters in 1934 have won the first two majors of the year. Only the late Ben Hogan has claimed the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open in the same year. No one has won all four. The key for Spieth was to stay close, and that’s what he did – not in driving distance, but by score, which ultimately is all that matters.last_img read more

first_imgAUGUSTA, Ga. – Tom Watson was always the hard one to love. Arnie was chummier. Jack was more majestic. Gary was more enthusiastic. Lee was funnier. Ben was warmer. And Tom Watson? Tom was the intense one. The grinder. Lee Trevino remembered seeing him back in the day hitting golf balls out of a bunker on pro-am day. “Who is that kid?” he asked his caddie. When told the name, Trevino shrugged and went about his day. After finishing his round, five hours later, Trevino was walking by the same bunker. Tom Watson was still in it, practicing shots. Watson didn’t play golf. He worked it. He slaved at it. He was not a phenom like so many of the other greats of the game. Nobody knew his name when he made it to the PGA Tour. He had never won a major amateur tournament. He was not even an All-American at Stanford. He showed up on the PGA Tour having made only a promise to himself and to his father’s friends who sponsored him: He would work harder than anybody. He looked like Huck Finn in his younger days – sportswriters could not avoid the comparison – but there was nothing light or mischievous about him. He guarded his privacy. He played as if in a tunnel. He rarely joked. When he blew a few leads early in his career, he readily admitted that he had choked. “Who is your biggest threat?” reporters asked him in 1977 as he entered the final day of the Masters with the lead. “Myself,” Watson said. He buried his emotions. That was at the heart of his greatness. When other golfers withered in the wind or complained about the rain, Watson thrived. When his great rival Jack Nicklaus seemed to have him beat, Watson found something more in himself. He would not let feelings – fear, disgust, rage, jitters – hold him back. Nobody in the history of the game hit more good shots after bad ones. When he found his ball in trouble, he would look at his caddie Bruce Edwards, smile his hard smile, and say, “Watch what I do with this!” Excuses were for losers. Masters Tournament: Day 2 Tracker Masters Tournament: Articles, photos and videos No, Watson has never been too comfortable dealing with earnest emotions. In 2009, when there was an outpouring of love for him after he almost won the Open Championship at age 59 – it would have been the greatest victory in the history of the sport – he had a hard time processing it. He heard fom people from all over the world who said that he had inspired them to feel younger, to believe in the impossible. He was thankful for all those sentiments, but he did not quite know how to process them. “Didn’t all those letters make you appreciate what you had done?” I asked him once. “What did I do?” he said. “I lost. That’s all I did.” That’s Tom Watson – a show-me Missourian who does not deal in the touchy or the feely. Friday, he played his last round of golf at the Masters – his last competitive round of golf with the younger players – and the outpouring of emotion was there. Everyone stood. Everyone applauded. Everyone cheered. Everyone yelled, “Thank you Tom!” It was touching because goodbyes to sports legends are always touching. Thing is, all the while, Watson was trying desperately to make the cut. Even at the 16th hole, he still had a chance to make it – and that’s where his head was. When he missed the putt there, he started to realize it might not happen. When he missed a birdie putt at 17, he knew then. And so he walked up the 18th fairway for the last time, and what were his emotions? “I thought, ‘I’m glad I don’t have to play that hole again,’” he said. “’I’m glad I do not have to hit 5-irons and 3-woods out there. I just can’t hit it far enough to compete.’” Well, surely, those weren’t his only emotions, and he admitted feeling some tears build up as he turned to his caddie and friend Neil Oxman. But it was just that: An admission. To the very end, Watson had a hard time embracing the love. It’s his nature. I’ve known Tom for 20-plus years. I wrote a book about him. I have followed him round after round, from St. Andrews to Pebble Beach. I have talked with him for countless hours about countless things – fathers, children, politics, journalism, what really matters in life. And through it all, I never saw the emotions get to him. Until Friday. “I’m just a golfer,” he began. “I just go out and try my damndest to play the best golf I possibly can every time I’m on the golf course when I’m in competition. It wasn’t a walk at all. I didn’t feel like it was a final walk until the last couple of holes because I still had a shot at it. And that’s just me. That’s just me. “I feel very …” he said, and he stopped to compose himself. Tears filled his eyes. He sat there for a long time until he felt like he could speak again. “I just feel very blessed that they feel that way about me. I hope that over my career I’ve been able to show the crowd, show them some great golf.” This is Watson at his rawest. He does not often speak personally. It’s nobody business. Except … “When I was a kid,” he said, “I was a shy kid. One of the ways I expressed myself was to hit a golf shot.” Yes. Of course. He was talking to the crowd with those shots. He never felt like he could crack jokes like Trevino or inspire a gallery like Palmer. But he could, at his best, hit great golf shots, the sort that would leave people awed and wondering, “How did he do that?” That was how he showed his love for people. And that’s why, in the end, they loved him back.last_img read more

first_imgHONOLULU – Attention to detail. Expertise. Focus. Intensity. Padraig Harrington was, as expected, named 2020 European Ryder Cup captain. And those who have played with the Irishman had, as expected, no shortage of adjectives to describe Europe’s new skipper. “You would assume his attention to detail would be flawless because that’s just the way Padraig is with his own golf game,” said Paul Casey, a member of last year’s winning European team in Paris. “I’ve never met anybody that seems to be on this quest to find this secret to golf.” When asked to describe what kind of captain Harrington might be, Ian Poulter, the heart and soul of the European team since 2004, rattled off a verbal resume that could double as a blueprint for a modern captain. “He’s been vice captain, he has an abundance of experience, very thoughtful guy who would do a great job,” Poulter said. “He’s vocal and has plenty to say. He’s opinionated. From the time I’ve spent with him in a team room he’s always listened and that’s a great thing.” Your browser does not support iframes. But a shortage of qualified captains has never been Europe’s issue when it comes to the biennial slugfest. With few exceptions in recent years, Europe’s selections have all been tap-ins. From last year’s skipper Thomas Bjorn to 2004 frontman Bernhard Langer, Europe’s captains have all been liked, respected and experienced. But if that’s the secret sauce, how does one explain Jim Furyk, last year’s captain for the U.S. who is equally liked, respected and experienced? The question remains: What makes a good captain? “I’m not going to give away any secrets,” Casey said with a coy smile. But even without access to Europe’s playbook there is a lesson to be learned from last year’s matches, which Europe won by a touchdown, and how Bjorn turned what many considered to be the underdog side into an unstoppable force. In many ways, the Dane’s tenure is something of a glimpse inside the European team room. Although Bjorn was a player favorite from the moment he was named captain, he didn’t exactly fit the modern mold. “Thomas can be a little rough around the edges at times, we’ve seen that, but going into this Ryder Cup he was about being there for this team,” said Luke Donald, one of Bjorn’s vice captains last year in Paris. “He was a little more approachable, a little bit smoother. He was friendly and good to be around and brought good atmosphere to the team room.” Put another way, Bjorn was exactly what that particular team needed. Given an embarrassment of riches that included a healthy mix of veterans and newcomers, Bjorn went with a light touch, opting to let his veterans and vice captains deal with the minutiae and instead keeping his focus on the big picture and providing the occasional outlet (having the winning score tattooed on his rear being the ultimate example of this). “Thomas was the best captain I’ve played for, and that’s pretty high praise,” Casey said. “I’ve known Thomas for years and I’m very good friends with Thomas, but the way he plays golf and his personality on the golf course I’m not sure I could have predicted how good he was going to be as a captain.” Casey called Bjorn’s captaining style “organic,” a byproduct of his team more then the total sum of his experience and personality. It’s a notion that will likely dictate how Harrington, who has played on six European teams, will embrace his turn at the helm. Your browser does not support iframes. The most often-used portrayal of Harrington stems from his relentless pursuit of golf’s answers. Even after winning multiple major championships he forged a reputation for his relentless practice routines and unique training aids. In theory, this attention to detail would be a perfect fit for a job that demands a high understanding of the mundane. “He’s very analytical, he’s a deep thinker. He’s served as vice captain enough now that he knows what his captaincy style is going to be like but the players will also know what their interactions are going to be with him,” Rory McIlroy said. “It’s a great move especially as a European captain playing in the United States, it’s hard not to like Padraig Harrington and he’s played well in America before.” But as Donald learned last year in his first turn as a vice captain, leading a team is more about the individual personalities than the collective. “You can over-captain a brilliant team, but if the team isn’t quite there or is struggling and needs some motivation then that’s the time a captain can really show his skills. Thomas’ only danger was over-captaining and he didn’t do it,” Casey said. “It’s why he was so good.” By all accounts Harrington was the obvious choice – thoughtful, thorough, driven – but if Europe’s secrets have shown anything it’s that a captain, at least a successful captain, adjusts his style to the team he has, not the group he wishes he had.last_img read more

first_imgADELAIDE, Australia – Seven-time major champion Inbee Park saw a seven shot lead shrink to two shots Sunday before winning the Women’s Australian Open by three strokes to clinch her first LPGA title in almost two years. Park started her final round three shots in front of 19-year-old South Korean compatriot Ayeon Cho. She bogeyed the ninth hole but still turned five shots ahead of the field and went out to a seven shot lead early on the back nine at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club. But the 31-year-old former world No. 1 faltered briefly, bogeying the 14th and 16th holes and walking off the 16th green only two shots ahead of fast-finishing American Amy Olsen. Olsen had four birdies in a 3-under final round 70 and was in the clubhouse with an 11-under total of 281. France’s Perrine Delacour and China’s Yu Liu also loomed into contention, though Liu faded with bogeys on her last three holes. Park held her nerve, making birdie on the par-5 17th and par on the 18th to win her 20th LPGA title and to gain a ranking boost which lifts her chance of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games at which she will defend the gold medal. Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open As the winning putt dropped Park was showered with champagne. She signed for a 1-over 74 and a total of 278, finishing three clear of Olsen and four clear of Delacour who took outright third place at 10-under. ”It was a tough day out there today, really different to the last three days I played,” Park said. ”It has been a while since I played in Australia, it’s been eight years since I played here so I’m really happy to be back here playing in front of Australian fans and to hold the trophy is even more special.” Park had an Australian on her bag Sunday, making her win sweeter. Long-time caddie Brad Beecher has been with her for all seven majors. ”I’ve been working with him for 14 years,” Park said. ”I came here eight years ago and he always asks me to come every year but this tournament is just too early in the season. ”But this year I ended up playing and ended up being able to present him with the trophy.” Olsen was pleased to be able to put some pressure on the leader Sunday. Only one player shot better than her last round 70 in windy conditions. ”It was a battle out there,” Olson said. ”But I was really pleased with how I struck it. ”In the wind you’re going to miss greens and I had some really good up-and-downs.” News & Opinion LPGA’s Chinese players vow to help homeland BY Randall Mell  — February 14, 2020 at 1:04 PM China’s Yu Liu and Shanshan Feng have been saddened by the deathly spread of the coronavirus in their homeland and have made efforts to help from afar. Park last won on the LPGA at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in mid-March 2018. That will be the next tournament stop on the 2020 tour – in Phoenix from March 19-22 – following the cancellation of tournaments in Thailand (where Park won in 2013), in Singapore (where Park won the HSBC Women’s Champions in 2015 and 2017) and in China. Those tournaments were cut from the schedule due to a viral outbreak that began in China that has infected more than 67,000 people globally. The World Health Organization has named the illness COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.last_img read more

first_imgORLANDO, Fla. – Tiger Woods skipped this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. He bailed on last week’s stop at the Honda Classic as well and announced on Friday that his delicate back wouldn’t let him play next week’s Players Championship. There’s no reason to question Tiger’s motives, but the PGA Tour’s path through Florida the last two weeks has been reason enough to give anyone pause, even golf’s G.O.A.T. The last two weeks on Tour have been historically hard, beginning with the Honda Classic at PGA National, which played to a 71.94 stroke average, more than a shot harder than the next toughest course this season. “It’s very rare that you see single-digit scores winning, single-digit under par winning PGA Tour events,” Rickie Fowler said. “For it to be 6- or 7-under par [at Bay Hill], last week was, what, 6 [under]? Yeah, it’s pretty rare to see that. I mean, you can’t explain or reiterate how much more difficult it is than just a standard setup.” As white knuckle as things got last week in South Florida, the drive north to this week’s stop at the Arnold Palmer Invitational hasn’t offered any refuge. Again, historically hard conditions on Day 3 at Bay Hill produced the first round in six years on Tour without a single player with a card in the 60s. The scoring average on Saturday was a beastly 75.91, with eight rounds in the 80s and nearly twice as many bogeys (326) as birdies (168). Note to USGA/R&A: if you want to take the pop out of the modern game, dial up 7,454-yards of juicy rough, a cold, steady breeze from the north and conditions on the firm side of concrete. Arnie’s Place hasn’t been this unwelcoming since the 1980 edition, when 40 mph gusts and a wind chill of 10 degrees during the final round produced a 79.1 field average. “I actually added my score up in the scorer’s hut there and kind of did a double-take. I added up to 72 and it felt like I shot a 65, not a 72,” said Marc Leishman, who is tied for second place at 4 under par. Hatton (73) weathers tough conditions to lead API after Saturday Saturday’s cold front made for a particularly long day, but ugly golf is nothing new at Bay Hill or PGA National. There are plenty of difficult tests on Tour, but there’s nothing like the Florida Swing, a Grand Slap that begins at PGA National and keeps swinging all the way through the Valspar Championship. “It might be the last time I play Honda and this one,” joked Davis Love III, a 55-year-old analyst for CBS Sports who spends his “off” weeks making cuts on Tour. The iconic clip of Palmer in 2004 slashing a driver off the deck for his approach at the 18th hole during his last start in his namesake tilt is pure entertainment, but the field was a few gusts away from having to relive that moment out of necessity on Saturday. “I had to hit 2-iron into 18,” Love said. “Matt Wallace had to hit his 4-wood [into the 18th green], and he hit it right at it and it went over the green and the wind blew it backwards and it hit the rocks and shot back into the fairway.” For a time on a blustery spring day, Tour rookie Scottie Scheffler set the high-water mark with an eagle at the sixth. He was the only player among the top 10 on the leaderboard under par for the day, but that all unraveled with a double-bogey 6 at the ninth on his way to a third-round 75. He was hardly the only player on Saturday who struggled. World No. 3 Brooks Koepka shot the worst round of his career on Tour, an 8-over 81, and Patrick Reed, a winner two weeks ago in Mexico, was a stroke better with an 80. The degree of difficulty was such that the game’s best and brightest shrugged away the carnage, figuring it best not to go looking for answers when the most logical option is simply an unforgiving golf course. “You could be made to look pretty silly at times without hitting too bad of a golf shot,” said Tyrrell Hatton, the 54-hole leader at 6 under par, who capped his round with one of only three birdies at No. 18 on Saturday. “I don’t think anyone enjoyed that today.” It’s a sign of how difficult this stretch has become that next week’s Players Championship, the circuit’s flagship event played on the Tour’s crowned jewel at TPC Sawgrass, was the only course during last year’s Florida Swing that played under par for the week. “It’s potentially the toughest set of par 3s you play all year, in a four-week stretch. There’s so many intimidating shots in the Florida Swing. You could list them – there’s about 20 of them a lot of them last week, a lot of them this week, a lot of them next week, Tampa has some really difficult holes as well,” Graeme McDowell said. “It’s one of my favorite stretches of the year, but there’s nothing fun about it. It’s very difficult.” Players will always flock to Florida for what has become the traditional run-up to the year’s first major, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it.last_img read more

first_imgRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Michelle Wie West was back on a major championship leaderboard Thursday at the ANA Inspiration. So was Shanshan Feng in her first tournament in 16 months. Playing for the second straight week after a 21-month break, Wie West shot a 2-under 70, leaving her four strokes behind leader Patty Tavatanakit after the morning wave. “Came into the day like, ‘OK, no stress today, easy golf,’” Wie West said. “And the first couple holes were not easy golf. I’m just happy to see my name on the first page of the leaderboard. That’s really special to me. Been a long time since I’ve seen that.” Feng birdied three of her last five holes for a bogey-free 67 in the morning. The Chinese star hadn’t played a competitive round since November 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic and a recent visa delay. “I was kind of nervous last night,” the 10-time LPGA Tour winner said. “But I said to myself, ‘Hey, it’s OK. Think about you’re just an old rookie. Everything is new for you here and just have no expectation. Try your hardest, 100% on every shot and enjoy the process.′ That was what I did, actually.” ANA Inspiration: Full-field scores | Full coverage She got a break on the par-3 17th – her eighth hole of the day – when she hit a chip too hard and it slammed against the flagstick and in for birdie. “I did have some luck on the course today,” Feng said. Wie West was in the second group off the 10th tee, opening to little fanfare with no spectators at Mission Hills for the 50th edition of the event. “It’s definitely weird. It doesn’t have the same vibe,” Wie West said. “The first tee was the most shocking one where you don’t walk through a tunnel, don’t have the grandstands really close by.” Wie West first played the event in 2003, tying for ninth at age 13. Golf Central After rough return, Wie West shoots 70 at ANA BY Mercer Baggs  — April 1, 2021 at 3:44 PM Michelle Wie West didn’t fare well in her return to competition last week, but she did much better on Thursday at the ANA. “I have to say today was a bit like when I was 13,” Wie West said. “I kind of hit it all over the place and grinded a bit out there. But that feels good. I think that’s kind of how I play.” Wie West three-putted for bogey on 10, nearly aced the 13th for a birdie, and made three straight long birdie putts on Nos. 10-12. She missed a 2-foot par putt on No. 6 and parred the final three. Last week in Carlsbad, she missed the cut in the Kia Classic with rounds of 81 and 74. “Especially after last week, it was really good to see those putts roll in,” Wie West said. “Put myself in some interesting spots today, but really proud of how I grinded it out out there.” Wie West married Jonnie West, the son of basketball great Jerry West, in August 2019, and daughter Makenna was born last June. West is director of basketball operations for the Golden State Warriors. “Having a baby definitely puts a different perspective on everything,” she said. “I’m more excited to go home and see her than I was about my round, to be honest.” Patty Tavatanakit leads ANA Inpiration after first round Tavatanakit, the 21-year-old former UCLA player from Thailand, closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th for a bogey-free 66. She reached all the par 5s in two, birdieing three of them. “It was a pretty calm and relaxing day today,” Tavatanakit said. “I just stuck to my game plan and didn’t get too greedy out there. I know it’s a major, it’s tough, the course is really tough. I was just being really patient and I was waiting for putts to drop, and they did on the back nine.” Leona Maguire of Ireland matched Feng with a 67 in the afternoon with the temperature in the low 90s. Triple-digit heat was expected the next three days. Thai sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn were at 68 with fellow afternoon starters Anna Nordqvist and Megan Khang. “A little bit of cloud cover today kept it from being super hot,” Nordqvist said. “The greens are really firm so there are a few pins you can’t really attack. You just hit it in a place where you can take a two-putt or get it up-and-down.” Ariya Jutanugarn nearly holed her second shot on the par-5 18th, then lipped out a 4-foot eagle try. Top-ranked Jin Young Ko, the 2019 winner who was unable to play the event last year, was at 69 with defending champion Mirim Lee, Jessica Korda, Charley Hull, Jennifer Kupcho, Bronte Law, Georgia Hall and Yuka Saso. Past champions Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park and Lydia Ko joined Wie West in the large group at 70. Park won the Kia Classic on Sunday in her first start of the year.last_img read more

first_imgIntelligent Design New Book Offers History as an Antidote to the Paralyzing “Science-Denier” LabelDavid [email protected]_klinghofferAugust 9, 2018, 4:14 AM Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Share The label “science-denier” is like some other insult terms that get bandied around in our charged political environment. Often, those terms are used to silence people whose ideas are out of favor with the most powerful voices in the media and in academia. Whether the subject is evolution or climate change, the purpose of accusing someone of “science-denial” is to keep that person in line. As a tool of intimidation, it enjoys much success.A Great if Neglected FigureIt’s a poison in the culture that paralyzes free speech and open discussion. In the context of the evolution debate, though, there is an antidote to the “science-denier” label. His name is Alfred Russel Wallace, one of the great if neglected figures in science. He is the subject of a new book by science historian Michael Flannery, Nature’s Prophet: Alfred Russel Wallace and His Evolution from Natural Selection to Natural Theology, published this week by the University of Alabama Press.Fellow historian and Center for Science & Culture Fellow Mike Keas talks with Professor Flannery about the book in a lively episode of ID the Future. Download the podcast or listen to it here.With Charles Darwin, Wallace (1823-1913) was co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection. The book is a captivating and provocative history, telling the story of how Wallace broke with Darwin and “evolved” toward a position remarkably similar to the modern theory of intelligent design.Wallace is an antidote to the “science-denier” label because it was on scientific grounds that this father of evolutionary theory, who was not a man of faith, broke with Darwin. He found evidence of what he called an “overruling intelligence” behind the history of life and of the cosmos. Darwinists have been denying that evidence, and ignoring the inconvenient legacy of Alfred Wallace, ever since.Turning the TablesFlannery turns the tables on them. He explains how Darwin’s followers in the mid 19th century championed his theory as an ideological statement in the guise of science. Wallace followed the scientific evidence where it led — to the view that evolution is not an unguided process but, rather, that it reflects an underlying intelligent purpose.It was the intellectual Darwin enforcers of the day — Thomas Henry Huxley and his X Club — who were the “science-deniers” of their time. It’s an irony, highlighted by the publication of Nature’s Prophet, that Darwinists today follow in that tradition.Photo: Bust of Alfred Russel Wallace, Wallace Garden, National Botanic Garden of Wales, by Elliott Brown, via Flickr (cropped). Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Recommended Tags”science denial”Alfred Russel WallaceCharles Darwinclimate changecosmosevolutionhistoryID the Futureideologyintelligent designlifeMichael FlanneryMike KeasNature’s ProphetOverruling IntelligencepodcastsciencescientismThomas Henry HuxleyUniversity of Alabama PressX Club,Trending Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesislast_img read more