Golf

Monday, December 11, 2017
Next up: Tournament of Champions on Jan 4 . . .

    The 2017 season is over, and the PGA Tour will resume on Jan. 4 with the $6.3 million Tournament of Champions in Maui. That will be followed by the Sony Open in Hawaii, where Ted Potter will make his 2018 debut. 

    Then the Tour moves to the west coast, and the next five events will be contested in California and Arizona. They will move east for the $6.6 million Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens on Feb. 22. The other two Florida events will be the $6.5 million Valspar at Innisbrook on March 8 and the $8.9 million Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill on March 15. 

    Steve Stricker and Sean O'Hair held on to win the final event, the QBE Shootout in Naples, winding up the three-days of various formats at 26 under par. Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell were second at 24 under. 

    Seminole Daniel Berger and partner Gary Woodland were tied for fourth at 21 under, along with Lexie Thompson and Tony Finau. Gator Billy Horschel and Jason Dufner never got it going and were 12th and last at 15 under.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017
They're 15 under in Naples . . .

     Steve Stricker and Sean O'Hair took a one-stroke lead yesterday in the QBE Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples. They shot 15-under 57, one better than Brendan Steele and Keegan Bradley, over the par-72, 7,382-yard course. 

    Gator Billy Horschel and Jason Dufner are tied for fourth at 11 under, same as Seminole Daniel Berger and Gary Woodland.  

    WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK - Curtis Luck and Jose Toledo are tied for the lead at the halfway point at Q-School in Chandler, Arizona. Luck has posted rounds of 67-64-131, and Toledo 61-70. Under the new Tour rules, the qualifiers will be exempt for the Web.com Tour for 2018. 

    Mark Blakefield is tied for seventh with rounds of 69-65-134. Several years ago, when there was a Hooters Tour event at Golden Hills for a few seasons, Blakefield won it once by shooting 6-under 66 in the final round to edge Ted Potter by one stroke.   

    

Monday, December 4, 2017
His back is fine, his game is sharp . . .

    There are three categories of Tigers following the play of the one born Eldrick in the Hero World Challenge. The Tiger-haters think what he accomplished over the last four days doesn't mean anything. The Tigers-in-the-middle aren't really sure what they witnessed and their opinions are guarded. And, the smart ones, the Tiger-lovers, know they have seen something extraordinary from their hero.

    Putting Rickie Fowler's miraculous final round aside, let's focus on what Tiger accomplished. Against the best players in North America, and several of the best from overseas, Tiger finished tied for ninth at 8 under par, just six shots behind runner-up Charley Hoffman, and four out of third place. That alone is incredible. considering (a) what he went through over the past 10 months, and (b) the fact that if there was a poll taken before the event, 80 percent of the voters would probably have picked him to finish in the bottom three in the 18-player field. 

    And who finished behind him? Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger and Henrik Stenson, among others. The U. S. Open champ and four others who have won a slew of tournaments in the past year. 

    What made Tiger's performance so memorable is that it could have been so much better. He missed a couple of very short putts. He hit a drive 10 yards off the fairway and it landed on a beach that had been trampled by spectators and the ball was so buried he had virtually no chance of getting it to the green. He had one drive that landed in a divot and he took a double bogey. And he had several par-fives where he hit his second shots like rockets and he went over the green in two. It takes three hands to count the number of good birdie putts he stroked that dribbled over the edge of the cup and failed to drop.

    And what about distance? He hit it as long or longer than anybody he played with. 

    Tiger is back.

    The haters will cringe. But the old spark will return to the PGA Tour, the TV ratings will soar, and the announcers and other players will feel an energy they haven't felt for a while. And, if his back doesn't give way, Tiger Woods will break Sam Snead's record of 82 Tour victories, maybe even Jack's record of 18 Majors. If there's one other thing he showed in the Bahamas, 42-year-olds can look just as young as 30-year-olds. 

    By the way, the Tiger Woods Foundation will receive Tiger's check for $122,500 to help in its charitable endeavors.  

     

 

Sunday, December 3, 2017
He looks physically fine after 3 rounds . . .

    From the standpoint of the total picture, Tiger's Saturday round wasn't what anybody was looking for, or expected. But his 3-over-par 75 wasn't nearly as bad as it appears. Missing a three-foot putt isn't fun, but it's infinitely better than not hitting the ball well, or having physical problems while walking the course.

    The 75 wasn't pretty, but Tiger is still in the mode, and it won't be a surprise if he comes back today and posts a 66 or 67. He had several putts that skimmed the cup and several shots where he just got plain unlucky, like hitting his second on a par 5 over the green. His back nine was a ton better.

    Tiger tees off at 11:10 with Justin Thomas. 

    Charley Hoffman is all alone at the top at 14 under and the way he's playing, looks unbeatable. Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth are both 9 under, and they'll have to shoot 62 to catch Hoffman, unless the former longhair tanks it. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017
He shoots 4-under-68 in second round . . .

    If Tiger isn't the same old Tiger from the past, he's making a darn good imitation of it. His 4-under-par 68 yesterday at the Hero World Challenge easily could have been at least two strokes better if not for a pair of unfortunate lies that prevented him from deadlocking for second behind Charley Hoffman's 12 under.

    As it is, Tiger is 7 under, five behind Hoffman, and in a  tie for fifth. 

    The first incident came after he shot a 5-under-par 31 on the front, looking like he had never missed a step in the past four years. At the time, it put him at 9 under and on top of the leaderboard.

    However, on the back, after hitting an iron about 20 feet from the hole, Tiger had an extremely fast downhill putt, and even though he just babied it, found himself 10 feet past the flag. He missed the putt coming back for his first bogey of the day.

     The other incident came on No. 18, where he hit a drive about 20 feet off the fairway to the right and it landed on a dirt path that spectators use to maneuver up and down the hole. The myriad of footprints in the area gave him a lie so bad all he could do was blast it up the fairway 100 yards or so, leading to a second bogey.

    So Tiger heads into the weekend five behind, and it would have been closer if Hoffman hadn't put on an exhibition and birdied the last five holes. 

    Tiger is on a roll. Nothing he does for the next 36 holes should surprise us. 

    

 

 

Friday, December 1, 2017
His 69 puts him 3 behind Tommy Fleetwood . . .

    Opinion is pretty much split after digesting Tiger's 3-under-par 69 at the Hero World Challenge yesterday. Half think that his performance means he's back, the other half not getting too excited about it until they see more. List me in the former group.

    Golf Channel was supposed to begin airing the event in the Bahamas at 12:30, but moved it up to 11:30 without notice and that was a boon to everybody who couldn't wait to see which Tiger showed up. What they saw was a relaxed player who was in the hunt all the way, and except for a chunked chip shot on the par-5 ninth, where he was pin high in two, only about 25 yards from the hole, he would have been one or two strokes off the lead instead of three. Tommy Fleetwood is alone at the top at 6 under. 

    Tiger made several things very clear; he isn't in pain, he's hitting the ball a mile, and his irons are still deadly. 

    TV coverage is slated to begin today at 12:30, but who knows, with Tiger teeing off in the company of Henrik Stenson at 11:43, that may change on the fly, too, since Golf Central is scheduled prior to the coverage.   

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
He's paired with tough Justin Thomas . . .

    The video out of the Bahamas makes one thing perfectly clear; Tiger looks terrific. He's not limping, looks slimmer, swing looks good, same for his demeanor.  

    Tiger and Justin Thomas will be partnered in the first round tomorrow with a tee-off time of 12:05. That's 25 minutes before Golf Channel begins it coverage, so that will put them on the second green or third tee when the cameras start rolling. They'll be followed by Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, Kevin Kisner and Rickie Fowler, and Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth. 

    Makes for a very entertaining four hours, especially for those who know just how much the game and the ratings have suffered since Tiger has been sidelined.   

Monday, November 27, 2017
"Hand-picked" field is star-studded . . .

    Tiger is back, so the PGA Tour begins for real Thursday, despite the fact that the Tiger-haters will no doubt call the Hero World Challenge a "hand-picked field." Again.

    In the past, the "hand-picked" designation was bandied about by those who felt Tiger didn't really beat a full field of the best professionals. The idea was bogus then and will be bogus now if the haters decide to crawl out of the woodwork again. Here's the field of 18 who will be shooting for the $3.5 million in prize money at the par-72, 7,302-yard course in the Bahamas:

    TIGER WOODS, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, defending champ Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren, Francesco Molinari, Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell and Tommy Fleetwood. Nine are holdovers from last year. 

    Who has been left out of this star-studded field? Ben Hogan, Sam Snead?

   The first round will air on Golf Channel Thursday from 12:30 to 4:30 p. m. It's a good bet the TV ratings will eclipse every event of the past two months.  

     

Monday, November 20, 2017
Ted earns $116,200 in RSM Classic . . .

    Ted Potter completed his best finish of the season Sunday, posting a 3-under-par 67 in the RSM Classic at Sea Island, and put a punctuation mark on his final round by making a hole-in-one on the sixth hole.

    Ted began slowly, taking bogeys at the second and third holes, but turned it around with a birdie at No. 4 and the ace at No. 6 for a front-nine 34. He birdied the 10th and 15th holes on the back nine and wound up in a tie for 13th place at 12 under par. Austin Cook was never threatened as he waltzed to a four-stroke victory over J. J. Spaun at 21 under par. 

    Ted's second check of the season was worth $116,250 and brought his total to $161,200. He jumped 53 spots on the FedEx Cup points list, from 133rd to 80th. 

    Gator Brian Gay finished in third place with rounds of 65-64-69-68-266 and moved from 92nd on the FedEx list to 19th. All the other Gators missed the cut. 

    ALEXANDER 5TH IN ARGENTINA - At the 112th VISA Open de Argentina, Gainesville's Tyson Alexander held the lead after 36 holes, but was unable to sustain his earlier performance on the weekend and wound up in a tie for fifth at 5 under par.

    Tyson, son of former Gator golf coach Buddy Alexander and a frequent competitor in Ocala events, opened with 70-62-132, 8 under par, and was in front by two strokes heading into Saturday's third round. But a 73-70 finish dropped him down five notches and three others ended up in a playoff at 8 under. Brady Schnell won it with a birdie 3 on the first extra hole. 

    KOEPKA ON FIRE IN JAPAN - Seminole Brooks Koepka, the U. S. Open champ, added his second straight Dunlop Phoenix Tournament to his ledger, winning by nine strokes in Miyazaki Japan. Brooks shot 65-68-64-67-264, 20 under par, over the 7,027-yard Phoenix Country Club course, an almost identical performance to last year when he shot 65-70-63-65-263, 21 under. The 2016 numbers - 21 under and 263 total - are tournament records.

    The event has been won by a slew of the PGA Tour's past and current stalwarts, including Tiger Woods (twice) Tom Watson, Luke Donald, Hideki Matsuyama, Larry Mize, Ian Poulter, David Frost, Ernie Els and many more.     

Sunday, November 19, 2017
Ted is 9 under par at RSM Classic . . .

    Ted Potter should be playing the 13th or 14th hole when Golf Channel begins airing the RSM Classic from Sea Island, Georgia today at 1:30. And, if he's under par for the day, he should be given plenty of air time over the last few holes.

    Ted played a bogey-free round yesterday, shooting a 3-under-par 67 over the par-70 Seaside course to get it to 9 under, and he moved up 10 spots on the leaderboard, from 23rd to a tie for 13th. That group, however, is still nine strokes off the torrid pace being set by Austin Cook, who is 18 under heading into the finale after rounds of 66-62-66-194. Chris Kirk is second at 15 under, and Gator Brian Gay has a shot at 14 under (65-64-69-198). 

    The two Central Floridians who have competed often in Ocala are eligible for good paychecks, too. Nick Lindheim is tied for 25th at 8 under and Rob Oppenheim is at 6 under, tied for 43rd.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017
Ted is tied for 23rd at RSM Classic . . .

    For the second day in a row, Ted Potter closed with a flourish at the RSM Classic in nearby Sea Island, Georgia. With the cut line moving from minus 1 to minus 3 during the round as birdies began flying, Ted was sitting right on the line after posting a 1-under 35 on the front side of the Seaside course, then making par on the first six holes on the back.  

    But he ensured his status for the weekend, along with taking a big jump up the leaderboard, with a birdie 4 on the par-5 16th, a par on 17, and an eagle 3 on the par-5 closing hole. He wound up with 68-68-136, 6 under, and in a tie for 23rd place. He tees off today at 10:15 a. m. in the company of veteran Hunter Mahan and Hudson Swafford. 

    Austin Cook shot to the top of the board with a second-round 62 to add to his opening 66 for 128, 14 under par. He's one stroke ahead of Brian Gay, the only Gator to make the cut. Gay shot 65-64-129 and has an excellent chance for a big payday since it's four strokes back to a trio in third place. 

    Missing the cut were Gators Matt Every (70-76-146), Camilo Villegas (71-71-142) and Brett Stegmaier (71-70-141).  



 

    

Friday, November 17, 2017
Ted birdies 3 of his last 4 holes . . .

    For 14 holes yesterday at the RSM Classic in Sea Island, Georgia, Ted Potter appeared to be heading for another early exit from a PGA Tour event, which would make it four weeks in a row. Ted was one over par at the time and three strokes away from the early projected cut of 2 under.

    But Ted put it all together on the last four holes of the Plantation course's front nine, birdieing a par 3, a par 4 and a par 5, and winding up with a 2-under 68 over the par-70 layout. That left him seven strokes behind the leader, Chris Kirk, who posted a 9-under par 63 over the par-72 Seaside course. Kirk held a one-stroke lead over Joel Dahmen, and two strokes over Gator Brian Gay, who shot 65, also on the Seaside course. 

    The others Gators weren't as sharp as Gay, with Camilo Villegas shooting a 1-under 71 on the Seaside course, Matt Every 70 at Plantation and Brett Stegmaier 71 at Plantation. The players switch courses today. 

Monday, November 13, 2017
Ted looks to break 3-event losing streak . . .

    Ted Potter will be close to home this week as he attempts to snap the three-event funk he's been in since he earned more than $44,000 in the PGA Tour's opening event in early October. The Tour moves to Sea Island, Georgia for the $6.2 million RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort. 

    Ted missed his third cut in a row at the OHL Classic in Mexico, which was won by Patton Kizzire, whose 19-under-par 265 edged Rickie Fowler by one stroke and Si Woo Kim by two.

    All the Gators made the cut, and Brian Gay led the way with 68-65-73-71-277, and tied for 25th, collecting $50,804. Camilo Villegas was next , tying for 50th with 72-68-70-71-281; his check came to $17,125. Brett Stegmaier (71-67-74-71) and Matt Every (68-73-75-67) deadlocked for 61st at 1 under and took home $15,052 each. 

    The four Gators will all be present at Sea Island, as will Kizzire, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Vijay Singh and Sea Island resident Davis Love III. 

    LANGER DETHRONED - The Champions Tour reign of Bernhard Langer ended, at least for this season, when he finished tied for 10th in the $2.5 million Charles Schwab Championship in Phoenix.

    Langer made a spirited comeback in yesterday's final round at the Phoenix Country Club, shooting a Sunday 64, and wound up at 10 under par. But it wasn't nearly enough to threaten Kevin Sutherland, whose 69-63-66-195 was 15 under par. Vijay Singh and Lee Janzen tied for second at 14 under, with John Daly, David Frost and David Toms another stroke behind. 

      Sutherland finished first in the Charles Schwab season-long run with 3,280 points to 2,234 for Langer. Scott McCarron was third with 2,100, and he was followed by Kenny Perry and Singh. 

    Gator Scott Dunlap tied for 12th at 10 under par, Adena pro Marco Dawson tied for 22nd at 7 under, and Trilogy architect Tom Lehman tied for 27th at 6 under. 

    

 


  

Sunday, November 12, 2017
36 holes set for today . . .

    The OHL Classic at Mayakoba is in the midst of struggling through weather problems, and the field is completing the third round this morning. Rickie Fowler, Patton Kizzire, J. T. Poston, Vaughn Taylor, J. J. Spaun and Patrick Rodgers are among the players who are at or near the top

    ONE-STROKE LEAD FOR GOYDOS - Paul Goydos is 12 under par atop the leaderboard in the Champions Tour's Charles Schwab Championship after rounds of 64-66-130. He takes a one-stroke lead over Lee Janzen (64-67-131) into today's finale. Perennial leader Bernhard Langer is well down the list in 22nd place in the 35-player field, posting rounds of 71-68-138, 3 under par.

    Gator Scott Dunlap, Adena pro Marco Dawson and Trilogy architect Tom Lehman are all tied for 17th at 4 under.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017
Ted shoots 73-71-144, 2 over par . . .

    Play was halted with 57 players still on the course Friday evening at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, but Ted Potter will not be around for the weekend in Mexico no matter what transpires today. Ted added an even-par 71 to his opening round 73 and at 2 over par is three strokes away from making the 36-hole cut, which currently stands at 1 under. 

    Ted posted nines of 37-34, with three birdies and three bogeys.

    Patrick Rodgers and Patton Kizzire are tied for the lead at 11 under. Rodgers has three holes remaining, but Kizzire is in the clubhouse with 62-70-132. Rickie Fowler is at 10 under and also has three to play. 

    All the Gators appear to be safe for the weekend. Brian Gay is squarely in contention with 68-65-133, 9 under par, and Brett Stegmaier is at four under after rounds of 71-67-138. Camilo Villegas is at 2 under (72-68-140) and Matt Every at 1 under (68-73-141) and he'll make it unless the cut line goes to 2 under. 

    

Friday, November 10, 2017
Ted hits just 9 greens in regulation . . .

    Ted Potter is in danger of missing his third straight cut on the PGA Tour after shooting a 2-over-par 73 in the opening round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico yesterday. Ted made four bogeys and just two birdies over the par-71 El Camaleon Golf Club course in Playa del Carmen and he's tied for 108th; he hit just 9 greens in regulation. The early projected cut line is 1-under-par 70.

    Patton Kizzire is the leader after he carved out a 9-under 62, and he's two strokes ahead of Vaughn Taylor and three ahead of Rickie Fowler and Brandon Harkins.

    One of the five Gators, Billy Horschel, bowed out prior to the round and Matt Every and Brian Gay fared best of the remaining four with 3-under-par 68s. They're tied for 21st. Brett Stegmaier is at even-par 71 and tied for 73rd, and Camilo Villegas shot 1-over 72 and is tied for 90th. 

    

Monday, November 6, 2017
Ted has missed the last two cuts . . .

    After missing the cut in his last two events, Ted Potter will try to turn it around in Mexico this week at the $7.1 million OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Several of the tour's stars who have been in hibernation lately will be back for this one, played at the El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, including Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Emiliano Grillo and Patrick Reed. 

    All the Gators are entered - Brian Gay, Brett Stegmaier,. Billy Horschel, Matt Every and Camilo Villegas. At last week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Classic, which was won in a playoff by Patrick Cantlay, Stegmaier and Villegas are the only two who made the cut, although Horschel withdrew after an opening-round 67. Stegmaier shot 67-76-71-70-284, even par, and Villegas shot 72-71-72-76-291, 7 over par.   

    Cantlay tied for first with Alex Cejka and Whee Kim at 9 under par after 72 holes in Las Vegas and won it after all three made par on the 18th hole. Cantlay birdied the hole on the second go-around, while Cejka made par and Kim bogey.    

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Ted is 5 over par, cut is plus 1 . . .

    Play was suspended by darkness at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas yesterday, but it won't matter to Ted Potter and several of the ex-Florida Gators.

    The projected early cut stood at 1 over par with many players still out on the course, and it could change by a stroke either way by the time round 2 ends, but Ted, Brian Gay, Matt Every and Billy Horschel won't be around for the weekend. Ted posted rounds of 75-72-147, 5 over par, and a double bogey in each round cost him four strokes and a chance to continue. He still had a slim chance with two holes remaining Friday, but a double on 17 and a bogey on 18 took care of that.   

    Gay bowed out after rounds of 70-77-147 and Every did likewise after 76-70-146. Camilo Villegas is at 1 over after rounds of 72-71-143 and will have to wait it out to see if he plays today. Brett Stegmaier appeared to be in good shape after an opening 4-under 67, but he was 4 over after 15 holes Friday and with three holes left to play, was at even par. Billy Horschel shot 67 Thursday, then withdrew from the event.

    J. J. Spaun was the leader among those who finished with 66-65-131, 11 under par. Kelly Kraft was sitting in second at 8 under. but still had 10 holes to play. He shot 67 Thursday and was 4 under after eight on Friday. 

 


 


  

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 30, 2017
Ted missed cut by 5 strokes . . .

    After his meltdown at the Sanderson Farms Championship in nearby Mississippi last week, Ted Potter will try again out west in the $6.8 million Shriner Hospitals for Children Open beginning Thursday at the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. Ted couldn't handle the course in Jackson, posting a pair of 2-over-par 74s, and missed the cut of minus 1 by five strokes.

    Ryan Armour ran away and hid in the Sanderson, shooting a consistent 66-68-67-68-269, 19 under par, and defeating runner-up Chesson Hadley by five strokes.  

    Brian Gay was best of the Gators, finishing at 6 under and tieing for 18th, while Brett Stegmaier tied for 43rd at 2 under and Matt Every tied for 53rd at even par 288. The two Central Floridians who have finally made it to the big time after years of battling on the mini-tours (playing in Ocala often) and then the Web.com Tour, Nick Lindheim and Rob Oppenheim, both made good showings. Lindheim tied for seventh at 9 under and Oppenheim tied for 18th at 6 under. Both are entered to compete in Vegas this week.

    All the Gators are going to Vegas - Gay, Stegmaier, Every, Billy Horschel and Camilo Villegas - and several marquee names will be joining them, including Bubba Watson, Charley Hoffman, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and J. B. Holmes.

    ROSE TO THE TOP - Justin Rose picked up a cool $1.6 million at the WGC - HSBC Champions in Shanghai, his 14-under 274 defeating Henrik Stenson, Seminole Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson by two strokes. The other Seminole, Daniel Berger, tied for 24th at 2 under. Phil Mickelson, still a couple of years away from Champions Tour eligibility, tied for 15th at 4 under. 

    

 

 

 


 

 


 

Friday, October 27, 2017
Ted is two off the cut line . . .

    Ted Potter wasn't sharp yesterday in his return to the PGA Tour at the $4.3 million Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi after taking a two-week break when the action moved overseas. Ted posted nines of 37-37-74, two over par, at the Country Club of Jackson course, and finds himself in a tie for 102nd place heading into today's second round. The early projected cut line is even-par 72. Ted tees off at 12:16.

    Ted made two birdies and three bogeys on the back nine, and one birdie and two bogeys on the front, and is eight strokes off the lead. Ryan Armour, Andrew Landry, Conrad Shindler, J. J. Spaun and Wyndham Clark are deadlocked at the top at 6-under 66.

    Among the Gators, Brett Stegmaier shot 1-under 71, Brian Gay an even-par 72 and Matt Every a 2-over 74. 

    DUSTIN CONTINUES TO DUST PGA FIELDS - Sizzling Dustin Johnson took a one-stroke lead at the halfway point in the WGC-HSBC Championship at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. Dustin's 68-63-131 is 13 under par, and he edged past Seminole Brooks Koepka, who followed his opening-round 64 with a 4-under 68 for 132. Seminole Daniel Berger shot 68-71-139, five under at the event with a juicy purse of $9,750,000. 

    Justin Rose and Kiradesh Aphibarnrat are tied for third at 9 under and Patrick Reed is at 8 under. There are just 78 in the elite field.