Column: Golf fortunes change quickly for Antoine Rozner
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)AUSTIN, Texas – For a sport known for its glacial pace, fortunes can change quickly in golf. That was the cutoff for the top 64 players to get in the Dell Technologies Match Play. Rozner won all four of his matches at Formby Golf Club on the Lancashire coast of England. Rozner said he spoke to Dubuisson last week to find out why he did so well in the Match Play in 2014. I'm trying to take it match after match, step after step.”He makes it sound like a slow process.
Conners builds 1-shot lead at Bay Hill as McIlroy lurks
Conners surged into the lead with a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th hole — his second eagle on that hole in two days — for a 3-under 69 and a one-shot advantage over former Bay Hill winner Martin Laird (67). He was two shots behind, along with Viktor Hovland and Lanto Griffin, who each had a 68. The forecast featured plenty of rain Saturday, which figures to make Bay Hill play longer and tougher, while also keeping the greens from getting as crusty as they were last year when Tyrrell Hatton won with a closing 74. He won at Bay Hill in 2011 on a final round so tough a 75 was enough to get the job done. He played in the morning, had a pair of birdies and came to the 16th, the easiest at Bay Hill.
Late eagle from the fairway stakes Spieth to lead at Pebble
“It's a good lesson to learn for tomorrow, how quickly things can change out here,” Spieth said. The pin on the 16th was cut to the left on a severely pitched green, and it was perfect. This was the second time this week he holed out from the fairway, and now he is on the cusp of winning again. This is the second straight week Spieth has had at least a share of the lead. Spieth didn’t have to contend with what he predicted to be a “mean” day at Pebble Beach.
Viktor Hovland vaults into Farmers lead at wet Torrey Pines
Viktor Hovland, left, of Norway, waits to putt on the eighth hole of the South Course during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)SAN DIEGO – Viktor Hovland birdied his final for a 7-under 65 on Torrey Pines’ tough South Course on a rainy, miserable Friday, giving him a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open. Reed shot an even-par 72 on the South Course a day after firing an 8-under 64 on the easier North Course. AdThe weather is supposed to clear up for the weekend rounds on the South Course. “I just played really solid and made some putts.”He had just one bogey, on the par-4 15th.
Reed, Noren beat the rain to take 1st-round lead in Farmers
Reed, Noren and Scottie Scheffler — who was one stroke back — all played Torrey Pines' easier North Course and will play the South Course on what could be a wet Friday. After a 321-yard tee shot, he hit his approach to 16 feet and made the putt. Noren, from Sweden, also took advantage of nice weather to get a low score on the North Course. Yeah, I think anytime you shoot 68 on the South Course here you’ve got to be pretty happy." He was replaced by fellow APGA player Willie Mack III, who shot a 2-over 74 on the South Course.
Maui Musings: 5 questions for a new year in golf
And no one is more concerned than Ryder Cup officials. THE RYDER CUPNo other golf tournament relies so much on noise than the Ryder Cup, which is why it was postponed from last September. Phil Mickelson has played in every Ryder Cup since 1995 — Morikawa wasn't even born then. Since the last Ryder Cup, Lefty has finished a combined 84 shots behind in the five majors he made the cut. McIlroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas all have had moments of brilliance.
Masters behind him, Johnson ready to keep going in new year
“Motivation for me, it's not that hard,” Johnson said Wednesday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he has won twice. Johnson was runner-up at the PGA Championship, losing a one-shot lead at Harding Park to a closing 64 by Collin Morikawa. And he did enough at the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup for the first time. Johnson spent much of last week down the coast in Makena to chill out and do a little work. Because of the shortened season, anyone who made it to the Tour Championship joined the 26 winners at Kapalua.
Ortiz holds off Johnson, Matsuyama for 1st PGA Tour victory
HOUSTON – Carlos Ortiz held off Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama by closing with a 5-under 65 to win the Houston Open on Sunday, becoming the first Mexican to win on the PGA Tour in 42 years. He had to settle for a two-putt birdie, and it held up when Johnson and Matsuyama narrowly missed birdie chances coming in. Needing two putts to win, the 29-year-old holed a 20-foot birdie putt for a two-shot victory. Ortiz held back tears as he waited for his playing partners to putt. The Houston Open was the first domestic PGA Tour event that allowed spectators, with 2,000 tickets sold daily.
Jason Day in contention in Houston Open on eve of Masters
Carlos Ortiz tees off on the 10th hole during the second round of the Houston Open golf tournament Friday, Nov, 6, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)HOUSTON – Jason Day was back in contention on the eve of the Masters after two eventful days alongside Phil Mickelson. “He kind of left himself in some pretty tough positions and you’re just struggling the whole day,” Day said. The 12-time PGA Tour winner returned the next week at Sherwood to tie for 60th, and took last week off. “I think that was really helpful to learn that.”Carlos Ortiz of Mexico had a 68 to match Day at 5 under.
Snedeker takes Houston Open lead; Johnson and fans return
Brandt Snedeker hits his third shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the Houston Open golf tournament Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Houston. Snedeker shot a 5-under 65 in the afternoon to take a two-stroke lead in the last event before the Masters. “Drove it great,” Snedeker said. “Around this golf course you have to be in the fairway, otherwise it’s going to be a long day for you. “The golf course kind of forces you into being patient just because you can’t really miss too many greens,” Scheffler said.
Jason Kokrak wins CJ Cup to get PGA Tour title in 233rd try
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Jason Kokrak was playing for the 233rd time in his 10th season on the PGA Tour without ever having won, so he didn’t need any reminders Sunday in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek that anything would come easily. Schauffele answered with three straight birdies, the last one a 45-footer that made it feel as though he was going to claim another PGA Tour victory by coming from behind. Kokrak played bogey-free on a course where trouble was never too far away. Making it even tougher on Kokrak and Schauffele was Jason Day, the third in their group, withdrew with a neck injury on the second hole. Kokrak earned a spot in the Masters next month from reaching the Tour Championship a year ago in August.
Jason Kokrak wins CJ Cup to get PGA Tour title in 233rd try
Jason Kokrak makes his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the CJ Cup golf tournament at Shadow Creek Golf Course Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in North Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – In his 10th season, in his 233rd tournament, Jason Kokrak can finally call himself a PGA Tour winner. Kokrak earned every bit of it Sunday in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek. The CJ Cup moved from South Korea this year to Shadow Creek because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kokrak earned a spot in the Masters next month from reaching the Tour Championship a year ago in August.
Morikawa quickly goes from college grad to major champion
Collin Morikawa poses with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in San Francisco. Since then, he has played 28 tournaments around the world and already has three victories on the PGA Tour, one of them a major championship. That alone puts him among the elite, except that Morikawa didn't need to win the PGA Championship to feel that way. When I woke up today, I was like, This is meant to be. This is where I feel very comfortable, Morikawa said. Rare is Sunday at a major with so many possibilities at the beginning, at the turn and down the stretch.
Dustin Johnson emerges from a pack to lead PGA Championship
Dustin Johnson hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)SAN FRANCISCO Dustin Johnson lost his yardage book and still found his way through an enormous crowd of contenders Saturday, making eight birdies at Harding Park for a 5-under 65 and a one-shot lead in the PGA Championship. Even that might not have stopped Johnson from making his most birdies in any round of a major. Johnson didn't have smooth sailing, either, especially when he couldn't find his yardage book. Johnson shot 65 even with a double bogey on the ninth hole.
Three-peat? 3 straight bogeys leave Koepka in neutral at PGA
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Bogey, bogey, bogey. This was not what Brooks Koepka had in mind when he was thinking about three in a row at the PGA Championship. It's all because of those three straight 5s he made on the par-4 13th, 14th and 15th holes Saturday at chilly Harding Park. He's in the same spot he was coming into the day two shots out of the lead. At one point late in the afternoon, Koepka was one of 15 players within two shots of the lead.
Accidental Tourist Li Leads at Mid-Point of PGA Championship
Li Haotong of China, watches his putt on the 10th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)Like too many tour pros, the guy leading the PGA Championship after two rounds is not above letting his clubs do the talking. What makes Li Haotong stand out from the crowd is what one of those clubs says about him. McIlroy, a two-time PGA Championship winner, got the shot back by running off four birdies in a row, then gave that back with a triple-bogey at No. Day recalled seeing Li practicing when he teed off, then incredulously watched a video of Li back at on the range after Day had finished.
The Latest: China's Li off to strong start on 2nd day of PGA
Haotong Li of China, chips to the green on the seventh hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)SAN FRANCISCO Li Haotong is the first player to reach 8 under par at the PGA Championship. The sun already was forcing its way through the marine layer Friday morning, with calm conditions at Harding Park. Li, the 25-year-old from China, opened with two birdies and then made a 15-foot birdie at the fifth hole. DeChambeau snapped his driver -- which he nicknamed the Kraken -- during Thursdays opening round at TPC Harding Park.
Li at his best and builds early lead at PGA Championship
Li Haotong of China, hits from the fairway on the 10th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in San Francisco. He also played a World Golf Championship last week with middling results, but he found his form in San Francisco. Brendon Todd, who shared the 18-hole lead with Day, settled for a 70 and joined them at 135. Li, who primarily plays the European Tour, went back to China in March when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf. If the lead holds, Li would be the first player from China to hold the lead after any round of a major.
Jason Day continues recent improvement with early PGA lead
Jason Day of Australia, watches his tee shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)Jason Day is on a pretty good run for a guy who hasnt won a tournament in two years. The 32-year-old Australian has finished in the top 10 in three straight tournaments heading into this weeks PGA Championship in San Francisco. I feel like the momentum that Ive had over the last three starts has kind of seeped into this week, Day said. The funny thing is that every day Im excited to go back to the golf course and play.
Jason Day leads PGA as Koepka continues to be a major force
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)SAN FRANCISCO Jason Day took his first step toward a return to the spotlight in the majors Thursday at the PGA Championship. Koepka is the two-time defending champion, presented the opportunity this week to become only the seventh player in the 160-year history of major championship golf to win the same major three years in a row. After a slow start, Koepka powered his way six birdies and made a series of key putts for par and one 12-footer for bogey that gave him an ideal start to this major. Woods is used to tournament golf in the COVID-19 era. He made the adjustment and tied for second last week at a World Golf Championship.
Quiet please: A PGA with no fans and the new normal for golf
A fans watches through a hole in the fence along the the 12th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in San Francisco. Were going to celebrate what weve got, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said about the weeks eerily silent arrangement. I actually miss playing in front of fans because you obviously work off that, especially in a major championship., Day said. This week, though, instead of fans surrounding the tee boxes, there are a hand-sanitizer dispensers. And instead of roars echoing through the cypress trees, its the quiet congratulations of a fellow playing partner: Nice shot.
Asia swing unlikely as PGA Tour weighs going to western US
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)DUBLIN, Ohio The PGA Tour first started going to Asia in 2009 with the HSBC Champions, a World Golf Championship. David Lipsky wouldnt have guessed then how that would parlay into his best shot at finally getting a PGA Tour card. The Dunhill was a co-sanctioned European Tour event, which put him in the top 10 in the Race to Dubai. Being among the top 10 in points at the end of the season at least can get him into opposite-field PGA Tour events, and it will go a long way toward a PGA Tour card for the fall of 2021. Lipsky reached the final stage of Q-school in 2012 the last time it awarded PGA Tour cards and finished poorly.
Simpson returning to PGA Tour after family coronavirus scare
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)Webb Simpson is competing on the PGA Tour again after his family had a coronavirus scare. I mentioned to the commissioner last week that based on our numbers, our stats, I told him the safest place anyone can be in the United States right now is on the PGA Tour," Simpson said. While the PGA Tour has resumed play, the pandemic is keeping the fans away. In the previous three PGA Tour events, the top five competed each week. The Donald Ross-designed Detroit Golf Club is a short course by PGA Tour standards.
Todd matches Johnson's 61 to take the lead at Travelers
Both golfers shot bogey-free rounds, with Todd making five birdies on the front nine and Johnson five on the back. Todd said the round became a game of whatever you can do, I can do just as well. Its hard to miss the leader boards obviously, so (Johnson's) name was up there from a pretty early point, Todd said. Mackenzie Hughes, who led after a 60 on Thursday, shot his second straight 68 for sole possession of fourth place. Nick Watney withdrew just before the second round of last weeks RBC Heritage Championship.
The Latest: Jason Day asks for virus test at Travelers
(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Jason Day has asked to be tested for COVID-19 just before the third round of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. Officials have decided to have him play as a single Saturday as a precautionary measure. Two more players withdrew because of the coronavirus Friday -- Denny McCarthy for a positive test, and Bud Cauley, who tested negative but decided to pull out after playing alongside McCarthy on Thursday. There have been seven COVID-19-related withdrawals from the Connecticut event.
Players ups purse to become richest in golf
SAN DIEGO – The PGA Tour is raising the prize money at The Players Championship to $15 million, making it the largest purse in golf unless any of the majors decide to up the ante this year. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced the increase at the annual players meeting this week at Torrey Pines during the Farmers Insurance Open, according to several players. The tour typically does not release information on the prize money, wanting the focus to be more on prestige than cash. The Masters had a purse of $11.5 million, while the PGA Championship offered $11 million and the British Open purse was $10.75 million. But the purses for PGA Tour events are likely to keep increasing, especially after the tour wraps up its latest round of television negotiations.
3 former winners commit to The Players Championship
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A week after three past FedEx Cup champions committed to the field for The Players, three former winners of the event have joined what is expected to be the strongest field in golf. 2016 champion Jason Day, 2012 winner Matt Kuchar and 2004 champion Adam Scott will all try to become the seventh multi-time winner of The Players. Three Past Champs are looking to add their names to the short list as two-time champions of THE PLAYERS. Last week, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy all committed to the field. The tournament runs March 14-17 at the Player's Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.