Tour Championship. Billy and Chris Show the Way.

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Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk, the in form people, are leading the Tour Championship together, tied at the top of the East Lake Golf Club leaderboard.

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Billy Horschel / Getty Images

Billy and Chris both recorded opening rounds at The TOUR Championship of -4 under par 66 at East Lake Golf Club. Although Billy’s wife Brittany is expecting a baby any time soon, she told him to keep playing golf;

My wife is totally on board, she’s a golfer. She understands what this victory and FedExCup Playoffs and what it all means. I’ve probably got the greatest wife out here.”

“There wasn’t much discussion. I brought up the question. She said you’re staying.” 

“I won’t find out on the course, because my focus may be taken away from the task at hand. But after the round’s over with, I will be flying home, spend a few hours and then flying back later that day or the next morning before the round of golf.”

“Having a chance to win $10 million and our first child on the way, it’s pretty amazing, especially the time of year that it’s happening.”

“Listen, Hunter Mahan did a great thing last year pulling out, but I would think if he was in my position with winning, having a chance to win, roughly $10 million more, if you had the TOUR Championship winner’s check and everything, I think it would be maybe a no brainer to stay put and keep playing and go home in between rounds.” 

Chris mentioned the solid rounds they both played today, and how good it was to go round with Billy;

“We both had a solid day, Billy’s obviously been playing some pretty incredible golf with winning last week and finishing second the week before.  And I’ve been doing all right myself.”

“So it was a comfortable pairing for both of us, I think, and the golf course played really, really well. It was tough, but very fair. And we both had it going pretty nice.”

There are four players tied in third place, Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed, all on -3 under par for the tournament.

Patrick is in the unenviable position of choosing which caddy to use, wife Justine, who has recently given birth to their son, or  her brother Kessler, who him helped win two tournaments when Justine was not available;

“Depends on how Justine feels, what her comfort level is and what she feels like doing.” 

“I mean, whether she’s caddying or whether Kessler’s caddying, I know I can play well. I’ve won with both of them, played some great golf with both of them.”      

“Obviously it’s more of a family decision on what we feel is most comfortable not only for us but also for little Windsor Wells.”

The gathered media could only ask Bubba who was longest off the tee, him or Rory, great answer from Bubba;

“Who cares. Ask Rory. He could care less, too. Listen, all we want to do is win. We’re trying to win golf tournaments. Jim Furyk’s record, Corey Pavin’s record’s a lot better than Bubba Watson. So I wish I hit it like them, I guess.”

Rory had a slow start to this tournament, currently at -1 under par, along with Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Ryan Palmer.

BMW Championship. Billy Lifts BMW Championship Trophy.

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Billy Horschel lifts the BMW Championship Trophy at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver.

BMW Championship

Billy Horschel / Getty Images

Billy held it all together while those around him faltered, his final round -1 under par enough to give him the BMW Championship with a -14 under par tournament total.

Last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship he was tied second, a win this week, what is his prediction for the The TOUR Championship next week ?;

“I’m not going to go ahead and guarantee a victory right now, but I will say that I’m probably going to play very well and I will have a chance to win on Sunday.”

“You want to keep saying negative things to me, that just adds fuel to my fire, I’m going to stick it to you every time. If I was a betting man, I would put some money on me.”

Billy was not too impressed with his -1 under par final round effort;

“I didn’t have my great stuff, I had been holding it for way too many holes. I just felt like, you know, I can sort of relax now.”

Bubba Watson had to settle for second place, a last round -4 under par 66 not good enough to make a challenge, finishing two shots behind at -12 under par, he laid the blame on poor putting;

” You’re going to have weeks like that, and I’ll take it. It’s one of those things where I had a shot, second place is a start in the right direction.”

“10 million bucks worth of putts wouldn’t be too bad.”

Morgan Hoffman took third place, a superb last round of -7 under par 63 and -11 under par total, it was also good enough to get him into the top 30 for The TOUR Championship next week, his first ever appearance. He will also get to play the Majors, with friend Rickie Fowler;

“It means the world to me.”

“It’s going to be really exciting to play in the majors with him next year, it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the Masters.”

“I didn’t really hit it much better on the weekend than the first two days.”

 

Sergio was cruising along and seemed almost certain to catch Billy, or at least bring some pressure to bear, unfortunately he failed miserably when he carded an eight at the par 5, 17th, some very poor chip shots costing him dearly, and he was only 89 yards from the green.

He tweeted;

“Shame about the 17th today but still very happy with the week. Looking forward to the @playofffinale!”

“It’s what happens when you’re not just mentally sharp.”

Ryan Palmer had it going, until the 12th, which he bogeyed, then followed that with a double on 13th and two more bogey’s at the end, on 15 and 18.

He finished with a +1 over par 71 and -9 under par total, a rare shank started the rot;

“It wasn’t very good, obviously, it came out straight right.”

“You know, it’s a fickle game.”

Rory McIlroy tweeted that just in case you missed his four-putt yesterday, he did it again today.

This is how the top five line up for next weeks TOUR Championship

1. Chris Kirk 2. Billy Horschel 3. Bubba Watson 4. Rory McIlroy 5. Hunter Mahan

The strange thing is Dustin Johnson is in 30th place, the last qualifying spot, and he can not play, so why can they not call up the next man in line. Stuart Appleby ?

 

Memorial Tournament. Matsuyama Makes It, Bubba Blows it.

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Hideki Matsuyama makes it his title in a play-off, while Bubba Watson blows his chance of victory at the Memorial Tournament.

                                           Hideki and Jack / Getty Images

On a day when everyone was making mistakes, Hideki just made less to get himself into a play-off with Kevin Na. Both players had finished the Memorial Tournament at -13 under par, with Kevin shooting the low round of the day, an amazing -8 under par 64, to set the clubhouse lead at -13 under par.

Hideki stumbled to the finish line, a last round -3 under par 69 was littered with mistakes, Bogey on the 5th followed by 14 and 17, with a double bogey five at the par three 16th sandwiched in-between.

” Right from the 15th hole, I had a lot of missed shots, the double bogey at 16, bogey at 17, not a real good tee shot, I thought, at 18. But when I saw the ball on the fairway on the 18th hole there, that’s when I was able to think I still have a chance.”

“To win my first PGA TOUR event is enough, but to win it here at Mr. Nicklaus’ course, it really gives me a lot of confidence now going on. And hopefully, I’ll be able to use this week as a stepping stone to further my career.”

Jack Nicklaus is a fan of Hideki;

“I just think you’ve just seen the start of what’s going to be truly one of your world’s great players over the next 10 to 15 years.”

“I think we have a great winner. This young man’s going to win a lot of golf tournaments. I know that the Presidents Cup was here last year that he played in was a big help to him this week, and he got to learn the golf course, got to learn a lot about it. But 22 years old, that’s how old I was when I won my first tournament.”

Bubba finished third at -12 under par, the Masters champion had a one-shot lead with five holes to play. He was +3 over par the rest of the way;

” It’s tough, I made one bad decision, if I hit the 4-wood off the tee instead of the driver, we make 5 and win by one. But I made double, so we lost by one.  No the swing was good. Everything was good. I was excited about the game of golf.”

Tied in fourth spot was World Number one Adam Scott, at -10 under par. He was tied for the lead until playing the last seven holes in +4 over par, it seems like Adam has done that before;

“The fact is I didn’t hit enough good shots on the back nine today. The whole thing is frustrating as I stand here right now, but everyone is going to feel like that. We all could have done something different. If we all did, who knows what the result would be?”

 

Memorial Tournament. Bubba Blasts His Way to the Top.

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Bubba Watson blasts his way to the top of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard. Bubba pulls ahead by 1

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Bubba fired a -3 under par 69 to blast his way to the top of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard at -12 under par. He reported that he wants to shoot the same score tomorrow;

“ I have a shot, I would like the same score tomorrow and let the boys beat me if they can. The more rest I have, the more I can get to a tournament and be excited about it. I’m full of energy and ready to go.  My emotions aren’t as up and down as much as when I play a long stretch.”

Scott Langley holds second place, just one shot behind at -11 under par following his marvelous third round of -5 under par 67. It will be a lefty / lefty pairing for the last round, a very rare feat indeed. Scott has so far been having a tough time on Tour;

“I would say last year was tougher than this year for me. I rode the ups and downs a little bit more last year than I guess I have this year. I just tried to approach the game and my career with a little more even‑keel attitude.” “Any time you shoot in the 60s here, pretty happy about it, tough place.”

Third place belongs to Hideki Matsuyama, he carded a third round -3 under par to accumulate his -10 under par tournament total.

These guys can not be too comfortable, with World number one Adam Scott sitting in fourth spot at -9 under par. Adam scored a -4 under par 68 third round, and is looking to consolidate his position as the worlds number one.

Adam says he is confident;

“I’m playing with a lot of confidence, it’s funny how quickly it can build because I went to the Crowne Plaza having not swung the club very well and not 100 percent sure and then it really falls into place on Sunday.” ‘It’s going to be tough, he’s playing great this year, and I just have to post a number. I’m in a good position where I can possibly post a number, and that makes life a little harder for the leader.”

I have been wondering and writing about the poor form of Phil Mickelson of late. The reason for his distraction has become apparent as FBI agents are investigating him for insider trading. Phil made a jovial reference to the investigation in a conversation with fellow golfer, Robert Garrigus.

Phil Mickleson / Getty Images

Phil at Memorial“It’s been an interesting evening, I don’t have much to say about it. It’s not going to change the way I carry myself. Honestly, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not going to walk around any other way.”

Glad to hear that Phil, now get back to playing good golf.

Memorial Tournament, Casey Leads, Rory; 63 to 78 ?

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Paul Casey leads the Memorial Tournament as Rory McIlroy goes from 63 to 78.

Casey leads at Memorial

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Paul opened up a gap at the top of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard as he recorded another -6 under par round of 66, giving him a three stroke lead over the field at -12 under par. He was definitely over the moon with his excellent round;

“I was ecstatic with the way I played, there was a couple of mistakes in there but that’s Muirfield Village. It’s a tricky golf course and you don’t need to do a lot wrong to make a mistake.”

“All I focused on was just trying to hit fairways and give myself great birdie opportunities, and just take my chances where I could and pay respect to the golf course where I had to and see what happened.”

Bubba Watson is three shots back, occupying second place on his own at -9 under par, following an erratic round of -3 under par 69. He managed to compile 5 bogey’s, 6 birdies and 1 Eagle in a topsy-turvy round, even playing one shot off the tarmac path. He said it is all a learning curve;

“It’s a learning process of how to be a Masters champion, how to deal with the pressures of that and also the pressures of being a dad for the first time. Right now I’m handling it, and I understand what it takes to be a dad and husband.”

Third place belongs to Chris Kirk, at -8 under par, after his -2 under par round of 70. Martin Flores and Hideki Matsuyama are tied for fourth at -7 under par.

Rory McIlroy totally collapsed, signing for a second round of 78, he thinks it is not too disastrous;

Rory McIlroy

Rory / Getty Images

” I missed fairways; that was the big thing, I didn’t realize how thick the rough was until I got in it today, it’s thick. I hit a decent drive on 10, was just in the rough, couldn’t get to the green, made bogey there. And then I just kept missing fairways and making it tough for myself. And obviously that little three-hole stretch — 13, 14, 15 — didn’t help. Take those three holes out of it, then it wouldn’t actually have been that bad a day.”

“These little runs I’m getting on where it gets away from me, I was able to avoid that last week. Not so much this week. It’s not disastrous, even though I had such a bad day, I’m still in with a chance, depending on what the guys do this afternoon. So going into the weekend, not exactly where I want to be. But could be worse.”

Phil Mickelson carded a -2 under par 70 today, to at least make the cut, but his poor form really continues;

“I’ve had a little rough go, although my game feels good, I still have some challenges mentally and finishing the round yesterday, that’s a great example there. If I finish that round off, I’m up there top two or three. So it’s little things like that, that are making the big difference between where I’m at, 30th, and top 5.”

My game is feeling good, it actually is feeling good. I just have some challenges, and I’m glad I’m playing this weekend. It will give me two more rounds on a good golf course to see if I can have something to build on.”

Memorial Tournament. Rory Roars Ahead.

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 Rory McIlroy roars ahead in the first round of the Memorial Tournament, topping the leaderboard by three shots.

McIlroy magical at Muirfield

Magical Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rampant Rory carded a first round -9 under par 63 at Muirfield Village, taking a  three shot lead into the second round of the Jack Nicklaus hosted event. That score included a double bogey as well, which denied Rory a chance of setting a new course record. The flight over from England, fresh from his win at Wentworth, did not bother him one little bit. Even a tweak in his left knee on the 7th hole did not deter him either;

“Monday seemed like a long day and it just sort of felt like when I got here it was just a different tour. You’re getting ready for the U.S. Open. It’s a big tournament, the Memorial in itself.

“And I prepared well. I came here early Tuesday morning, practiced, did a good session on the range yesterday after the pro-am in the afternoon, so I’ve been putting a lot of work in, and it seems to be paying off.”

“I wear spikes, so sometimes your foot can get stuck in the ground and you can torque your knee a little too much. I think that’s what I did, I tweaked it. The inside of it is sore, it’s a little swollen. Go see the physio and get some treatment and get ice on it, and hopefully it will be OK for tomorrow.”

Rory needed only 22 putts during this first round and said that this sort of form had been in the pipeline for sometime;

“This has been coming, it’s been coming. My performances have been really good, been shooting really good scores.  There’s just been runs of holes in tournaments where I haven’t played so well and I’ve shot it 4 or 5 over in the space of nine holes, and that’s really just derailed my tournament.”

“Last week I just didn’t do that. And that’s down to nothing more than hitting good golf shots and hitting good putts and limiting my mistakes whenever I get in trouble on the golf course.”

There are three players tied in second place at -6 under par after completing their first rounds of 66, which is a good score around this course. Paul Casey, Chris Kirk and Bubba Watson are the guys trying to chase down Rory.

Phil Mickelson was putting together a decent first round until the last three holes, dropping from -5 under par to even, in the blink of an eye. He does not like the 16th since Jack redesigned it in 2010, he made bogey there and then recorded double bogey from the middle of the fairway at the 17th. Another mess at the 18th hole where he three-putted for another double bogey. Phil spoke about that 16th hole;

“It’s a feast or famine hole for me, it doesn’t set up well for a left-handed shot dispersion. It has to be a perfectly struck shot. And I just go in the water there most of the time, because I don’t want to pull it way to the right. I was playing well, but the last three holes just threw away a good round.”

 

The Masters. Brilliant Bubba at his Best.

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Bubba Watson was at  his brilliant best as he won his second Green Jacket winning The Masters at Augusta National.

Bubba Watson held off 20-year-old Jordan Spieth to become the 17th player with multiple Masters wins. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba Watson receiving his jacket from Adam Scott / Getty Images

 

Bubba confidently cruised around Augusta National to card a final round -3 under par 69 and slipping on the Green Jacket once again. Apparently green is Bubba’s color;

“This one is a lot different, it’s almost like I lucked into it in 2012, and this one was a lot of hard work and dedication. After giving away that jacket last year, I wanted to get it back, I told Adam we should just kind of switch back and forth.  I never loved green so much.”

Jordan Spieth had to settle for a tie in second place with Jonas Blixt, both of them three shots adrift at -5 under par for the tournament.

Jordan said is was fun to be in the final group, but losing hurts;

” That was fun, but at the same time, it hurts right now, I wanted to get in contention on the back nine Sunday, but didn’t come out on top.”

After starting level with Bubba at the start of play on the final round, Jordan let it all slip away with some casual putting, carding a last round of level par 72. It was still an amazing tournament for the 20 year-old, and hopefully he will have learned a lot from this experience.

Jonas also enjoys playing in the Majors

“I think they are a lot of fun to play, it’s really tough. You beat your head in a little bit but you can’t beat yourself up too bad. The atmosphere, there are so many people here, the excitement of being here, it just adds to the experience. I love majors. I love when it’s tough. The harder the better.”

 

A very honorable mention must go to Miguel Angel Jimenez, next week this man will make his Champions Tour debut. He shot a final round of -1 under par 71 Sunday which gave him a creditable  fourth place on his own. He really wants a place on the next European Ryder Cup team;

I’m going to play only next week. I plan to focus myself for the Ryder Cup and then I need to play in the European Tour for that. If you don’t play over there you won’t have as good of chances. I would like to play on the Ryder Cup and I would like to help Europe defend the Ryder Cup. I would love to do that.”

This has been another very good golfing contest, both with the high standard of play, and the exquisite lay-out of the Augusta National course.