Waste Management Phoenix Open. Darkness Descends on the Desert.

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Darkness descends over the Arizona desert, suspending the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, at TPC Scottsdale, with Ryan Palmer leading. Play was suspended at 5:45 p.m. MT because of the gloom, leaving nine players, out of the 132 starters, to complete their opening rounds on Friday.

At the 16th hole Ryan gave away a dozen golf balls to excited fans, they were wrapped with a $10 dollar bill, with the message “Have a beer on me”

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Ryan shot an opening round of -7 under par 64 to lead the Waste Management Phoenix Open by just one shot at TPC Scottsdale.

Wasye Management Phoenix Open

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Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Daniel Berger are tied second place at -6 under par after their opening efforts of 66.

Bubba said he had a great day;

“A couple breaks went my way right there in the middle stretch of the back nine which kept me going.”

“All in all it was a great day.”

The much heralded return of a resurgent Tiger Woods did not amount to much, he carded a first round +2 over par 73, even though he drove the green on the par 4, 17th hole, a distance of 341 yards. He seems to be struggling with his chipping around the greens, do you think it could be the dreaded Chipping Yips ?

Tiger explained;

“I’m just having a hard time finding the bottom. Because of my old pattern, I was so steep on it, that I have a new grind on my wedge and sometimes it’s hard to trust.”

“I’m ahead of schedule on my speed, look how far I’m hitting it now. I’ve just got to get committed to hitting the club less sometimes. That’s the hard part. I bailed out on a couple of shots because I just don’t believe I have that much speed on my body yet. But I do.”

“This is my second tournament in six months, so I just need tournament rounds like this where I can fight through it, turn it around, grind through it and make adjustments on the fly.”

The second-round tee times are still expected to begin on time at TPC Scottsdale, with the groups starting off the first and 10th tees at 7:30 a.m. The remaining nine players will resume their opening rounds before continuing on with their second rounds. There could also be more delays during the second round, weather forecasts predict a 90 percent chance of rain on Friday with up to a quarter-inch of precipitation expected.

 

 

 

 

 

WGC. HSBC Champions. Bubba Blasts His Way to a Win.

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Bubba Watson blasted out of a bunker to hole an Eagle on the last hole and get into a play-off against Tim Clark, on his way to winning the WGC, HSBC Champions event in China.

WGC, HSBC Champions

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In a cracking final round at the WGC, HSBC Champions tournament, at Sheshan International Golf Course, the lead changed constantly, and it seemed that there could be as many as six players heading for the play-off. In the end only two were left, Bubba Watson and Tim Clark. Tim could not repeat his last round birdie at the first play-off, and Bubba rolled in a long putt to win the title with his birdie.

Bubba spoke to his caddy while standing in the bunker on the last hole;

“It’s been a miserable couple holes here, but this will change everything if it goes in.”

“You always joke about holing it, and then it actually went in. I didn’t know how to react and so I just kind of screamed, and I lost my voice a little bit. It was one of those shots, a one-in-a-lifetime kind of shot. And so it was pretty neat.”

Being able to win outside the U.S., I just want to be able to travel and get through the jet lag, get through all the things and still perform at a high level.”

“So for me to win out here, this is very big. This is very special for me.”

Tim knew that the length off the tee for Bubba could cause him problems;

I knew I needed to birdie that playoff, especially with him being able to reach. I’m pleased overall, obviously, disappointed to be that close.”

For the record both Bubba and Tim finished the tournament on -11 under par, with Rickie Fowler, Graeme McDowell and Hiroshi Iwata just one shot back at -10 under par.

Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen and Martin Kaymer were a further two shots back on -8 under par for the tournament.

WGC, HSBC Champions. G-Mac in Control, Just.

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G-Mac, Graeme McDowell just held on to control of the WGC, HSBC Champions tournament at Sheshan International Golf Course in China.

WGC HSBC Champions

Graeme McDowell / Getty Images

A third round -1 under par 71 kept Graeme at the top of the WGC, HSBC Champions tournament, with a -11 under par total, just a one shot advantage going into the final round on Sunday. It was a five and a half hour round and he thought he had played pretty well in difficult conditions;

“I played reasonably solid today, I thought conditions were a little bit more difficult, colder, obviously a little bit of overnight rain made the golf course play a little bit longer.” 

“I was generally happy with the way I hit the golf ball. I didn’t quite score as well as I did the last couple days but I gave myself some confidence from a ball-striking point of view that I can get the job done tomorrow.”

“Let’s be honest, I had a three shot lead overnight and it’s only one now, but I’ll take this position any week that you offer it to me, a one shot lead going into the last round, on a golf course that I enjoy; I’m looking forward to the opportunity tomorrow.” 

I felt maybe a tiny bit negative coming in, but when I went back and sort of thought through my round, you know, it was difficult.”

“I wouldn’t say I felt loose coming in, but I also knew it wasn’t something I had to start protecting. I hit a lot of good putts today that didn’t go in, and that’s probably the main difference between shooting 1 under and 3 or 4 under today.”

One shot behind at -10 under par is Japanese player Hiroshi Iwata, who shot up the leaderboard thanks to a third round -4 under par 68. He thinks he may get nervous tomorrow if he is still there at the death;

“Maybe tomorrow coming up the last few holes, I might get a little bit nervous, but so far I’m calm, so I think I’m doing OK.”

Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson are in close contact, both finished at -9 under par for the tournament, with Rickie Fowler and Tim Clark another shot back at -8 under par.

 Bubba was not happy with his putter today, but still managed to birdie four of the last five holes;

“A couple three-putts today and a double bogey. That’s sad, but the birdies down the stretch really helped out.”

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.

TOUR Championship

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.