Quicken Loans National. Two Tied at the Top.

White Dragon GolfQuicken Loans National

Retief Goosen and Ryo Ishikawa are the two players tied at the top of the Quicken Loans National on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Virginia.

Quicken Loans National

Retief Goosen / Getty Images

Retief and Ryo both carded first rounds of -8 under par 63 in the Quicken Loans National to top the leaderboard at the end of day 1.

Retief is feeling fine after some serious back problems over the years, he just wishes he was younger. Don’t we all;

“I’m lucky to be out here. Three, four years ago my career looked like it was at an end,” “I’m just glad I’m still out there and playing. Yeah, I just wish I was 10 years younger again.”

Ryo, who started on the back nine, carded six birdies in a row starting on the 14th hole, he is not sure why there are so many holes in one recently;

“It took about two holes to make myself calm.”

 “Number five was a par five, like a birdie hole, but it was kind of difficult for me to make a par right there.”

 “I don’t know why there’s so many holes-in-one. I think because of the Quicken Loans. I think it’s a good system.”

Ernie Els, Justin Leonard and Kevin Chappell share third place at -7 under par following their opening rounds of 64.

Justin Rose, the defending Champion, shot -6 under par 66, the same score as the new professional Ollie Schneiderjans, in only his second Tour start, they are tied on that score with six other players.

Justin, the birthday boy Tweeted;

“Thanks for all the birthday messages. Pleased with my first round 66 today.”

Rickie Fowler and Ryo Ishikawa both scored hole in ones today, Rickie on the 184 yard ninth, he bought everyone a beer;

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Ryo made his Ace on the 210 yard par three 4th.

Someone else celebrating today was Tiger Woods, he shot -3 under par 68, after a difficult start to the day;

“I’ve been playing well, hitting the golf ball well.”

 “Feel like my putting has been good. Just stay patient, just stay with it and it will turn if I stay patient, which I did and, I mean, I had a run there.”

“That’s what scoring is all about. You got to score and I made a lot of key putts today. I ran them by the hole but I made all the comebacks, and overall I felt like I hit the ball well enough to turn it around.”

“It was nice to actually turn it around.”

“We worked on a little bit of my through swing, fixed a couple things I felt like were off and put it to good use the last few, about the last six days,.

“I really felt comfortable here. I’m hitting shots.”

It has been rumored that Tiger has fired coach Chris Como. Do you think that going it alone is the reason for his improvement?

Northern Trust Open. Retief Revels at Riviera.

White Dragon GolfNorthern Trust Open

Retief Goosen revels in the tough Northern Trust Open conditions at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.

Northern Trust Open

Retief Goosen / Getty Images

The Major Champion Retief sits on top of the Northern Trust Open leaderboard at -6 under par following his second round -1 under par 70

The conditions have been likened to a U.S. Open by Retief, and other players, firm very quick greens, and some of the holes are extremely difficult to par, let alone get a birdie;

“The greens are definitely becoming, you know, U.S. Open greens.”

 “They are getting firmer and quicker. Some of these holes, if you get away with a par, it’s a good score.”

“It’s been such a long time since I’ve last been in contention, who knows how my game is going to hold up?”

“But I’m feeling good, my back is feeling great. So if the nerves can hold, just continue to make good golf swings and make a few good putts, who knows?”

Who knows indeed, just take a look back at last year when Bubba Watson came through to win with a pair of 64’s on the weekend. That does not look likely in these conditions, but who knows.

In second place are three players, all on -5 under par, and just one shot back, Ryan Moore, Justin Thomas and Canadian Graham DeLaet, who carded one of the lowest rounds of the day, -4 under par 67. Ryan had a second round -3 under par 68 and Justin -2 under 69.

Ryan stated that to get close to the pin you need a lot of luck;

“There’s a few out there today, if someone got it inside 10 feet, I mean, it’s an accident.”

“It’s luck to get it around a couple of these holes. As firm as they are, they are where they normally put the pins here but they are firm and bouncy and it’s a little breezy.”

“It’s a great test of golf right now.”

Graham reported that you have to be the real deal to get it around this course, and he thinks Justin, who he played with today has the credentials;

“You can’t fake it around this place.”

“It’s a good, solid traditional golf course. It’s pure golf. But the 10th hole, everybody talks about, it’s a 300-yard hole that’s like a chess game.”

” Just to make a four there, you’d take every single day.”

“But the finishing hole is great and everything in between, there’s just no let up on the golf course and you have to hit quality shots all the way around.”

“It was a lot of fun.”

“Justin Thomas is a hell of a player. He’s the future of golf. He’s your prototypical new young star: Bombs it and does every part of the game well. It was a pleasure playing with him today.”

Rookie Thomas has played here as an amateur, and has some good memories of the course;

“I loved the course as soon as I got here, so a lot of good memories that came back.”

“I’ve only played one major but from my experience and from what I’ve heard from others, this is very U.S. Open like, I would say.”

“It’s very firm, and being in the fairway is such a huge premium, and all the spin you can get on it is really important.”



Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gallop Cut Short.

dragon logo darkValspar Championship Logo The gallop of Robert Garrigus at the Valspar Championship was cut short on Saturday at Innisbrook. 

A pair of short misses brought Garrigus back to the field a bit on Saturday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Robert Garrigus / Getty Images

Robert expensively missed two short putts on his back nine and had to settle for a -1 under par third round of 70 on the Copperhead Course. That reduced his advantage at the top of the leaderboard to a one-shot lead in the Valspar Championship, as he posted -8 under par in the competition.

Robert still managed to enjoy himself out there;

” I had fun, I’m in a good position. If I play a good round tomorrow, if I shoot under par, they’re going to have to come get me.”

Kevin Na had a third round -3 under par 68, for his total of -7 under par for the tournament and holds second place alone. He still suffers from the slow play tag that follows him around;

“I know how to play, I don’t know what people have said, but I don’t think I should be criticized. It’s not fair to me, I already have that stamp on me.”

One of the low rounds today came from third placed John Senden, his third round of -7 under par 64 catapulted him into third spot on his own at -6 under par. John took his putting stroke from the practice green onto the course

“I just was trying to be free, trying to putt like I do on the practice putting green, I took it straight to the golf course today. Very happy to do that. There’s a lot of grain on these greens and ball seems to turn a lot when you’re putting. You’ve really got to take note of way the grain reads.”

” I’ll get out there tomorrow and try to do it again. I can’t control what any other player does, but I can go out there and do the best I can do. Hopefully I can be at the top of the leaderboard round about the end of the day.”

Justin Rose, -2 under par on the day occupies fourth place on his own at -5 under par. Retief Goosen equalled John Senden’s low round of -7 under par and is in the group at -4 under par.

 Luke Donald is at -3 under par, and definitely in position to capitalize on any mistakes the leaders make and perhaps steal a victory. Luke played like his game of old;

“ Kind of a Luke Donald round, that’s kind of what you need around this place. I never thought I was very far off, but around a course like this you need to hit fairways and greens and kind of make it easier on yourself because it’s tricky.”

“I’ve played here enough times, and seeing the scores over the last couple days, I knew a good round would shoot me up the board. So just try to play my own game and post something low-ish to get me back into contention.”

Waste Management Phoenix Open.


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Bubba Watson and Matt Jones share the lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open going into the week-end at TPC Scottsdale.

On a roll

Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba  dressed in  lime green shoes and an otherwise all-black outfit, played in the morning, getting the best side of the draw, he birdied his first hole. Playing early in the cooler temperature does not suit him, back is a little stiff, but he said he is exactly where he wanted to be. Happily at the top of the leaderboard after his second round of -5 under par 66, for his -12 under par total;

“Back is not as loose as you want it to be, weather is not as warm as you want it to be. But I hit a good tee shot, and then I hit my wedge in there close and I made the putt, that got me going. It’s right where I want to be going into the weekend. I had two sloppy bogeys coming down the stretch, but I will take it.” 

Matt also played a morning round, and was thankful for the opportunity to be able to shoot his second consecutive -6 under par 65 for his -12 under par;

 ” We definitely got the good side of the draw. The golf course is so different tournament week than it is when you play out here regularly. It’s a lot harder, a lot faster. The greens are a lot quicker. The pins are a lot more tucked out here. So, it’s like a new golf course when you come here for a tournament.”

Two players are tied in third place, Greg Chalmers and Harris English are at -10 under par.

Brandt Snedeker shot the low round of the day, he also started in the morning, before the wind got up. His second round score of -7 under par 64 moving up the leaderboard to be at -8 under par. Brandt put his special round down to good putting, something I love to hear;

” My putting, plain and simple. I hit the ball extra good yesterday and had some of the worst putting I had all year. Today, I kind of did the opposite.”

Phil Mickelson, the Defending Champion, recovered with a bogey free  -4 under par 67, but he is still a long way from the leaders. Phil declared he is still in the race for this title;

” I’m not totally out of it, obviously heading into the weekend, I’d like to be closer, but as we have seen in the past, there is that minus eight, nine ten, and in some cases eleven-under par round out there. My back feels great, like I said, it was a simple fix. I just don’t want to overdo it.”

Among those missing the cut here are, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter and Keegan Bradley.

Sony Open. Sang-Moon Bae has 1st Round Lead

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Sang-Moon Bae carded a -7 under par 63 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.


Sang-Moon Bae / Getty Images

Sang-Moon Bae leads the way at the Sony Open in Hawaii with opening round of 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Chris Kirk. The pair were together all Thursday morning, playing in the same group and taking the top two spots on the leaderboard. Chris taking second spot alone with his -6 under par 64.

Chris admired Sang-Moon’s lightening start, but was happy to catch up on the back nine;

“He was off to a great start, at one point he was four under and I was still two over. It took some catching up for me on the back nine. But it’s always nice to see putts falling.”

Sang-Moon said he had played well the week before, but had trouble reading the greens, but practice makes perfect, he arrived here early and worked hard;

“I think I played well last week, but really tough greens, very hard to read. I couldn’t read any right-to-left putts, any putts,  so I missed a lot of puts last week. But this course is more shorter than last week, so easy read, and I can make good speed, too. I practiced a little bit and I had fun, go to beach, go swim, everything. I like it here.”

Sharing third place at -5 under par are Brian Stuard and Ryan Palmer, but the leaderboard is tightly packed so anything could happen. It is exciting to be able to watch it all unfold. The next group all at -4 under, seven of them, includes Retief Goosen and Big John Daly.

Big John, who has recovered from elbow surgery commented;

“The arm feels good, the greatest thing is, I can hit three-quarter shots again, I haven’t done that in six years. That was my bread and butter; that was my game. I need a little more practice. I’m rusty,”

There are then twelve players recording -3 under par.

The defending champion Russell Henley played Wednesday in the Pro-Am, but food poisoning stopped him in his tracks on the 11th hole. Two trips to the hospital for IV fluids and medicine helped Russell make  his opening round 12:20 p.m. tee time. His +3 over  par 73 opening round didn’t come close to the 63 he fired off in last year’s final round.

Russell said he was still not feeling good;

“I’m not operating at 100 percent, I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday, but I made two bad swings, two really bad holes. Other than that, I played a pretty decent round, a couple putts didn’t fall. I think I’ll be feeling good tomorrow and hopefully will play well.”

Would love to know what Sea Food Restaurant he was at, and I bet they are praying that he does not mention them.

BMW Championship, Wentworth 2nd round, Morrison leads, Donald lurking with intent.

James Morrison leads the BMW Championship at Wentworth after a sparkling second round of -8 under par and 64. He leads by four shots from two players, yesterdays leader David Drysdale who had a second round score of -2 under par, 70, and the man seeking to retake the #1 spot in the world golf rankings, Luke Donald. Luke repeated yesterdays score with a -4 under par, 68, and with Rory McIlroy missing the cut in this years event, he must surely have his eyes set on the #1 ranking.

Luke Donald  (Getty Images)

Luke Donald (Getty Images)

The  current World Number Two is looking to regain top spot from Rory McIlroy at the venue where he dethroned Lee Westwood 12 months ago, Luke had three bogeys on his card, but two of them were followed by birdies and he eagled the twelfth  after dropping a shot at the eleventh. Luke said after his round;

Obviously I’m very pleased with that round,” he said. “This is a tricky course, and the scores are reasonably good. Obviously James Morrison had a great round – there are scores out there because the greens are holding.

“When I made bogey on 15, to finish with a couple of birdies on 16, 17, really will make me feel a lot better going into the weekend. I’m feeling very strong on the greens. I feel like something that has been not as consistent for me over the last couple of months, but felt very comfortable on the greens the last two days. Every time I’ve had opportunities, I’m seeing the line, and got the speed down and making some good putts.”

Asked if he was focusing on a top eight finish to give him the coveted #1 spot, Luke replied;

 ” To be honest, the focus is always to try and win the tournament.”

David Drysdale said he is desperate to win a tournament;

“I expect a lot, but if I shoot 80 or 65 I’ll take what I can from it. I desperately, desperately, desperately want to keep going forward and that’s my problem sometimes, I’m too eager, too keen, too determined I guess. I’ve been playing great, but been getting in the way of myself. I’m going to do my best and that’s all I can do.”

Along with Rory McIlroy, other notables missing the cut were; Graeme McDowell, Nicolas Colsaerts, Robert Karlsson and Retief Goosen.

I am anticipating a really good finish from Luke Donald, it will be interesting to see if James Morrison can live with the pressure of life at the top of the leaderboard.

Volvo World Match Play Championship, Poulter out

Defending champion Ian Poulter has been knocked out of the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship by Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, with what looks like an easy win at 4-3. Another Englishman,Justin Rose is also out, beaten by Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium by the same 4-3 score. In fact there are no Englishmen competing on day four of the tournament. Tom Lewis went down to Sergio Garcia, Richard Finch to Graeme McDowell and Robert Rock  fell to Retief Goosen.

In the quarter finals G-Mac eased out local boy Sergio Garcia, and Paul Lawrie had an easy time of it despatching Retief Goosen 6 and 5. Brandt Snedeker and his borrowed clubs finally fell to Nicolas Colsaerts, while Alvaro Quiros lost to countryman Rafael Cabrera-Bello 3 and 1.

Paul Lawrie will now face Nicolas Colsaerts, and Rafael Cabrera-Bellow will play Graeme McDowell in the semi finals.

Rafael said of his match against Alvaro Quiros;

“I got to play with a friend in Alvaro. I’m very happy for me but I feel sorry for him, and he’s such a good guy. We had a good match today. I feel like I’m playing really good.  This morning I recovered in a tough game, being two down with five to play, and now this afternoon, three down after nine and being able to win, I feel really proud of that. I have to play G Mac, and he has a lot of experience and is a Ryder Cup hero, so he’s obviously going to be a very, very tough guy to beat.  I’m going to try my best and I’m playing good. Hopefully I can start as good as I did on my first two matches and if I don’t, I know I can come from behind and make it through. So we’ll just see what happens.”

Graeme thought he was pretty lucky to get past Sergio Garcia;

“It wasn’t exactly El Classico and I feel like I dodged a bullet there. I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I was going home, but sometimes you have to win ugly and sometimes to win you need what just happened to me. I count myself lucky.”

Sergio was disappointed but said he was not quite playing well enough;

I’m playing so badly this could happen at any moment.  Making it to the quarter finals having played so badly means it was a good tournament. I had no good quality shots.  He gave me some chances that I could not take and I have been saying it from the first day that I have not felt comfortable and I am not happy with my game.”