Hooks & Cuts: Pacific Time

first_imgPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Legends abound on the Monterey Peninsula. From Pebble to Cypress to tales of old, here are some some Hooks & Cuts hovering around the Pacific. • John Daly is paired with Kid Rock this week.  Rock’s put out a few songs that fit JD to a tee: “Rebel Soul,” “Devil Without a Cause,” and “Wasting Time.” • If the weather gets nasty, I like Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady over Peyton Manning.  • Old shtick never gets old if it’s good shtick.  This is good and old: Jack Lemmon putting for 10 on the final hole asks his caddie which way the putt breaks and the looper says, “Who cares?” • You know you’re playing at a really cool spot when the caddie says to you, “This was Hogan’s favorite shot on the golf course.”  The course was Cypress Point and the shot was the second to 12, a 6-iron from 155 with the Pacific wind pushing back. • Promising young pro Justin Thomas had a nice Wednesday.  His Alabama Crimson Tide landed the No. 1 recruiting class in college football, and he played Pebble for the first time in his life.  • Davis Love III, asked to name a couple of celebrities with swing action he liked through the years, gave me Orel Hershiser and Indy racer Danny Sullivan. • Jim Furyk loves football and described the Denver Broncos’ super bust this way: “To have such a great year end this way is like leading the Masters for 71 holes only to lose on the last. It’s an empty feeling.” AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Articles, videos and photos • David Gill, a 3-handicap member at Tehema near Pebble, won the pro-am with Skip Kendall in 2000.  Asked to describe the accomplishment, he said, “It’s the holy grail.” Does he remember any specific shots?  “I hit my second shot on No. 8 to 9 feet and made birdie.” You never forget that stuff, do you? • Playing partner Joe Don Rooney of the band Rascal Flats is writing a new song about my experience at Cypress’ fabled par-3 16th, 238 yards over the ocean (pictured above). It’s called, “I’m not man enough.”  I wrecked a nice round with two snipes that are washing up in Tahiti right about now. • Furyk’s fondness for Pebble goes beyond the golf.  He and Tabitha were engaged in Carmel in 2000. • Tip of the Hogan cap to four great college coaches inducted into the Northern California Golf Association Hall of Fame on Tuesday night at Spanish Bay: Steve Desimone from powerhouse Cal; Mark Gale, who saw Juli Inkster, Pat Hurst and Patty Sheehan come through the San Jose State women’s program; Wally Goodwin, who looked after Tiger Woods and Notah Begay at Stanford; and, his successor, Conrad Ray, Tiger’s former teammate. • A bogey at Pebble’s tiny seventh takes some of your soul. It robs you of your manhood.  But the focus shouldn’t be the score.  At No. 7, it’s just you and the Lord and the game you’re blessed to play. • Desimone’s seen a lot in his 35 years at Cal. He said it was plain to see 20 years ago that Tiger and Phil Mickelson, as collegians, were both lead-pipe cinches for all-time greatness.  I asked him if he’s had that feeling about any recent players. “(Jordan) Spieth has superstar written all over him,” he responded. “He’s long, he putts and he’s fearless.” • Lost in conversation walking off the 17th, I looked up as we arrived at the 18th tee at Pebble. My knees just about buckled. • From one of Pebble’s owners, Dick Ferris: “People ask me what it’s like to own Pebble and I always tell them that we’re just stewards of a national treasure.” • Beyond Spieth, Desimone pointed to Alabama’s Cory Whitsitt, Justin Thomas and Bobby Wyatt as “can’t-miss kids,” along with Patrick Rodgers of Stanford.  And naturally he’s high on his own charges: Michael Weaver, Max Homa, Michael Kim and Brandon Hagy. • Stories come at you like Pacific waves this week.  The artist and historian Jim Fitzpatrick related a good one. The late Ken Venturi caddied at Cypress as a kid, sitting on the bench behind 16 tee at day’s end waiting for his pop to pick him up after he’d sold netting to the fishermen down at Monterey’s wharf. The old-time bag men took care of the kid, fed him fried chicken. Kenny always vowed that someday he’d win the U.S. Open and then return to treat the caddies. Sure enough, after the courageous victory at Congressional, Kenny showed up one day and popped open the trunk of his Cadillac. Inside was Kentucky Fried Chicken and champagne. Kenny and the caddies celebrated. • Heady Joe Ogilvie says Pebble’s 14th is the hardest par 5 in golf, that if you played just the 14th 72 times in a stroke-play event, into a 10-mile-per-hour wind, the winning score would be 10 over. • Desimone reminisced about Cypress’ beloved pro Jim Langley, who passed away last year at 75.  Langley not only played golf at Cal, but basketball as well. He was part of the 1959 team that beat Oscar Robertson and Cincinnati in the semis and then Jerry West and West Virginia in the final on the way to winning the NCAA title. • The celebrity field is not light on legends with Wayne Gretzky, Brady and Manning at the top of the list. But the best of them all may well be surfing giant Kelly Slater. The 11-time world champion flew to Pebble late Wednesday after earlier that day winning the Volcom Pipe Pro in Hawaii at almost 42 years of age. Slater’s also a 3-handicap. • Geoff Ogilvy, as reasonable and thoughtful as any Tour pro I know, said he felt like some of the fans in Scottsdale were getting a little too rambunctious, at times even a bit ugly. He thinks the tenor’s changed in the last couple of years, and not for the better. • Eighty-five years ago on the Monterey Peninsula, a talented woman and a Nebraska caddie unknowingly had a hand in the creation of Augusta National. The woman was Marion Hollins, the 1921 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion who brought in Alister MacKenzie to design Cypress Point and Pasatiempo, two courses she helped to develop. The caddie was Johnny Goodman, who upset Bobby Jones in the first round of the 1929 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. With time on his hands after his defeat, Jones explored the other golfing treasures on the peninsula and was subsequently introduced to MacKenzie by Hollins. Impressed with what he saw, Jones hired MacKenzie. The rest is history.last_img read more

Fear Factor

first_imgPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Fearless Jordan Spieth meets the most fearsome Sunday in golf. This ought to be fun. Spieth, competing in his first Players Championship, begins the final round tied for the lead with Martin Kaymer. A month after losing a final-round duel to Bubba Watson at the Masters, Spieth is back in the mix in another elite event. “Augusta left me feeling a little hungry for it again,” Spieth said. Just 20, Spieth will be looking to become the youngest winner in the 41-year history of The Players Championship. He’ll be looking to become just the fourth player to win the PGA Tour’s flagship event in his first try, thrusting him into a small club that includes Jack Nicklaus, who won the inaugural championship in 1974. How fearless is Spieth? He hasn’t made a bogey over his first 54 holes in this event. He’s the only player in the field who hasn’t made a bogey this week. In fact, he’s the only player besides Greg Norman in 1994 who has played the first 54 holes of this championship without a bogey. Full-field scores from The Players Championship The Players Championship: Articles, videos and photos That’s absurd. Rory McIlroy has made 10 bogeys and two double bogeys this week. “I don’t think I’ve ever really done that in a tournament, even going back to junior days,” Spieth said. Spieth’s caddie loves the fearlessness in his player. “When Jordan comes to a golf course, he’s not intimidated,” Michael Greller said after the first round. This might be the matchup of the year. No, not Spieth vs. Kaymer, though nobody should be dismissing Kaymer, not as solidly as he’s striking the ball. It’s the kid who doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything against the scariest Sunday in golf. That’s the compelling matchup, because make no mistake, that’s what The Players Championship is for Sunday contenders. It’s the most frightening championship to close out because there is so much potential calamity awaiting mistakes. You get it going wrong under final-round pressure at the TPC Stadium Course, and a loss turns into a collapse quicker than anywhere else. Pete Dye designed a mausoleum of misery for contenders who become pretenders. Nobody exposes fear and swing flaws more than Dye does on a Sunday here. Just ask Sergio Garcia. He was tied for the lead with Tiger Woods stepping to the 17th tee on Sunday last year and dumped two balls in the water and made quadruple-bogey 7. He followed that with a double bogey at the 18th. Or Alex Cejka. He opened the final round with a five-shot lead in 2009 and closed with a 79, finishing eight shots behind the winner, Henrik Stenson. Or Kenny Perry. He started Sunday a shot behind Paul Goydos in the final pairing in ’08 and shot 81, with Garcia winning. Or Sean O’Hair. He led by a shot going into the final round in ’07 and knocked two balls in the water at the 17th, making a quadruple-bogey with Phil Mickelson winning. Or Len Mattiace. He was one shot behind Justin Leonard stepping to the 17th tee in the final round in ’98 and dumped two shots in the water, making quintuple-bogey 8. There’s more, but you’ve got the idea. This isn’t just the test for Spieth. It’s the test for Kaymer. It’s the test for every player with a chance on Sunday. With Tiger Woods out with an injury, golf’s been waiting all season for a star to break out. If Spieth makes The Players Championship his second PGA Tour title, this just might feel like the official arrival of the next American star. The way Spieth closed out Saturday should give him a load of confidence come Sunday. Spieth showed he can’t just get it up and down from anywhere on the planet. He can get it up and down from hell, because that what Dye creates here, so many hellish lies. Spieth leads the field in scrambling. He’s 16 for 16 getting up and down to save par this week. Kaymer held off Spieth most of Saturday, until making bogey at the 18th, where Spieth saved yet another par to create a 54-hole tie for the lead. “It’s very tough to beat those guys that don’t make mistakes,” Kaymer said. Spieth missed four of the last six greens Saturday without tainting his scorecard. “It was really ugly coming in, but somehow I did it,” Spieth said. At the 16th, Spieth looked like he might finally make his first bogey, but he got up and down from behind the green, holing a 5-footer for par. At the 18th, after hitting his drive in the woods, he punched out, leaving himself 56 yards to get up and down for par. He did it, coolly holing a 12-footer from the fringe for par. “I’m very excited,” Spieth said. “This is the position I wanted to get into in another big event.”last_img read more

Captain … Kirk?

first_imgNORTON, Mass. – If anyone needs tickets to the Georgia-Tennessee game on Sept. 27 in Athens, Ga., Chris Kirk may have one to unload depending on how things play out on Tuesday in New York City. The fourth-year PGA Tour player emerged from a crowded and convoluted leaderboard on Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship to claim his third title and a spot at the table when Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson huddles in the U.S. war room on Tuesday to make his final three picks for this year’s matches, which will be played the same weekend as the SEC East tilt which Kirk is currently planning to attend. The Georgia alum had been something of a long shot to land one of Watson’s coveted picks, the byproduct of his pedestrian play of late (he hadn’t posted a top-10 finish since June) and his status as a Ryder Cup rookie. Watson hasn’t telegraphed much over the last few weeks in the run up to Tuesday’s announcement, but the one outlier has been his perceived aversion to picking a first-timer for what promises to be unfriendly confines for the U.S. team. On Monday, Kirk may have changed the captain’s mind thanks to a near-flawless closing loop at TPC Boston. Although he began the day just two shots behind Russell Henley, conventional wisdom pegged Rory McIlroy, playing in the penultimate group, and Jason Day as the favorites. But as Henley slowly faded it was Kirk, along with Billy Horschel and Geoff Ogilvy, who emerged as the front-runners. Updated FedEx Cup playoff points standing Deutsche Bank Championship: Articles, videos and photos Kirk grabbed a share of the lead at the ninth hole with a 10-footer for birdie and pulled ahead of the pack with another birdie at No. 13. “My birdie putt on 13 definitely kind of got me going, got me a little bit feeling like I could do it,” said Kirk, who closed with a 66 to finish at 15 under par. Horschel, who was also looking to make an impression on Captain Tom as well as pad his FedEx Cup chances, matched Kirk shot-for-shot. When the two traded birdies at the 15th (Horschel) and 16th (Kirk) holes at virtually the same time, it became clear TPC Boston’s closing hole would be the swing vote. Playing in the group ahead, Kirk’s drive found the rough along with his lay up and he was unable to convert his birdie putt at the 18th hole.  Horschel watched Kirk’s par from the middle of the 18th fairway and proceeded to “lay sod” over his second shot which found a hazard. “I just stayed in the shot a little too long,” said Horschel, who made bogey at the last and closed with a 69. “I hit it good enough today to win and it’s just a little unfortunate it ended like that.” Ogilvy – who has been playing the role of the 2011 New York Giants, the 9-7 wildcard darlings who won that season’s Super Bowl, in these playoffs – also made a run at the title, grabbing a share of the lead with a 9-footer for birdie at the 13th hole but also came up short at the par-5 finishing hole. Needing a birdie to keep pace with Kirk, who teed off 40 minutes before the Australian, Ogilvy hit a Winged Foot-like chip from left of the green that hit the flagstick and rolled to 5 feet. The only thing missing was Phil Mickelson airmailing drives into corporate tents and Colin Montgomerie mumbling to himself. Well, that and the birdie putt, which Ogilvy missed – but it wouldn’t have mattered after Kirk birdied the 16th hole. Still, for Ogilvy, who began the playoffs 90th on the FedEx Cup point list and grabbed the final spot into the Deutsche Bank Championship at No. 100, his runner-up finish was a reason to be optimistic. “Nine days ago I wasn’t playing again until Napa (Frys.com Open in October) so that’s a good result,” smiled Ogilvy, who vaulted to 24th on the points list. “You come into this event 100th, you’re probably the last guy, statistically, expected to play the BMW.” Whether you favor the concept of playoff golf or not really doesn’t matter at this juncture, the powers have delivered on their promise to round up the top players at a time they normally wouldn’t and deliver drama, however contrived. Consider the plight of Ben Crane, who at 78th on the FedEx Cup points list to start the week was outside the cut off for next week’s BMW Championship. He birdied the 17th hole on Monday to assure him a spot at the third playoff stop and then made a mess at the last on his way to a double bogey and final-round 72. At first officials told Crane he would remain inside the top 70; then he was out; then he was back in when Jordan Spieth missed a 16-footer for birdie on the 18th hole. He finished 69th, five points ahead of No. 71 Robert Streb who was bounced by a combination of late birdies by McIlroy and Day and confusing math. “I wanted to move on. I left it up to someone else which is frustrating but that’s the game we play,” said Crane, who tied for 29th place. Similarly, Kirk’s Ryder Cup plight is now in Watson’s hands. “I certainly don’t feel entitled or feel like I’m a shoo-in to get a pick. I obviously really put myself into consideration and it’s something that I would love to do,” said Kirk, who finished 14th on the Ryder Cup point list and will likely be vying for the final spot along with the likes of Webb Simpson and Bill Haas, who both finished tied for ninth at TPC Boston. “Like I’ve said before, I mean the nine guys that made it are automatic picks, those are the guys on the team. The other three, if you get in, it’s a bonus.” Just to be safe, if you know anyone who needs tickets to the Georgia-Tennessee game they may be in luck.last_img read more

Players still warming to the idea of golf in the Olympics

first_imgDan Jansen is more likely to be in golf spikes than speed skates these days, but his experience as an Olympic champion is never far from his mind. As a boy in West Allis, Wis., the Olympics were the reason to drive hundreds of miles across state lines to compete in tournaments. It was the reason to wake up when the sky was still dark. It was the reason to skate that icy oval until his hamstrings burned. When Jansen finally became an Olympian, he was met with great joy but also tremendous heartbreak, most notably when his sister, Jane, died the day he was scheduled to compete in the 500 meters in Calgary in 1988. Jansen, dedicating his race to her, fell to the ice just 100 meters in. Four days later, in the 1,000 meters, he fell again. In his fourth Olympics, at Lillehammer in 1994, he finally outraced his past and the competition, winning gold, setting a world record and hearing “The Star Spangled Banner.” “Never in my life have I felt more patriotic than when I had the honor of hearing our national anthem,” Jansen said in a recent interview. “I won 46 World Cup races and a bunch of world championship races, but that song never sounded like that.” Jansen, like many observers, sees golf’s return to the Olympics as a potential boon for a game looking for growth. But he also wonders if professional athletes can grasp the special meaning of the Games, especially when compared with major championships. Professional golf at the highest level is awash in big-time events – four majors, The Players, four World Golf Championships, a Ryder Cup, a Presidents Cup and a lucrative FedEx Cup chase with four playoff events. The LPGA added a fifth major in 2013 and the International Crown in 2014, not to mention the growing popularity of the biennial Solheim Cup. Tom Watson, who calls the majors “the pinnacle of golf,” contends that golf simply should not be in the Olympics. Adam Scott, the former world No. 1, said in December that Olympic golf should at least be limited to amateurs, the better the chance to grow the game globally. “People watch us (professionals) play 45 weeks a year,” Scott said, adding that he wants to play in the Olympics but the majors are his focus. To Jansen, therein lies the conflict. “It’s kind of hard for me to hear the top players in the world say the Olympics will not be their top priority, even that year – it will be their fifth at best,” he said. “I feel this about all professional sports in the Olympics. I completely understand why an NBA player would rather win a title, a hockey player a Stanley Cup, a golfer a major. “But for most amateur athletes, the Olympic Games are the ultimate prize from the time we could dream. That was our 3-footer to win the Masters, our buzzer-beater to win a title. The fact that they make millions playing their respective sports is not a problem for me. But if the Olympics isn’t the priority, please don’t come.” It’s an understandable sentiment. The Olympics are precious, a once-every-four-year proposition, or, in many cases, a once-in-a-lifetime one. They are fleeting moments born of years of toil. For the most part, the golfers are saying the right things so far. They realize that people from around the globe may be watching golf for the first time, and that the potential for exponential growth is real. But will the golfers truly grind for an Olympic medal the way they grind for a green jacket? Can golf find someone like pro tennis’ Andy Murray, the Scot who won Olympic gold at the All-England Club and proclaimed he wouldn’t trade his medal for a Wimbledon title. “There’s no doubt the four major championships are the pinnacle of the game right now,” Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, said during the PGA Merchandise Show. “Golf has not been a part of the Olympics since 1904. We have a lot of learning to do, we have a lot of understanding to do. I believe the legacy in golf will grow as players experience it, [and] as we witness the first golfer standing on the podium with a gold medal around their necks, listening to their national anthem. “Until that point, I don’t think we’ll understand the impact it’s going to have on the world of golf.” Said Rickie Fowler, when asked about golf and the Olympics: “It’s a dream come true that you haven’t dreamt of because golf was never in it.” A few weeks ago, PGA Tour rookies Justin Thomas and Carlos Ortiz were talking about the start of their careers when the subject of the Olympics came up. Ortiz, who is from Mexico, was excited about both of their prospects to qualify. “You’re going to make it,” Ortiz told Thomas, who fired back with a laugh. “Dude, I’ve got like 100 people to pass [to qualify for the United States],” Thomas said. “Have fun in Brazil.” The best news may be that two young players are talking about the Olympics in the midst of their first spin around the PGA Tour. It shows that they care. But if golf in the Olympics is to truly thrive, Thomas and Ortiz will need plenty of company.last_img read more

Ciganda ties Park; Ko rallies, three back at HSBC

first_imgSINGAPORE – Carlota Ciganda shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to move into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park after the second round of the HSBC Women’s Champions. Ciganda offset a pair of bogeys with eight birdies at Sentosa Golf Club to finish even with Park (69) at 9-under 135. Azahara Munoz was in sole possession of third place, two strokes back, after a 67 that featured six birdies against a lone bogey. Ciganda, who is bidding for her first LPGA victory, got off to a shaky start with a bogey on the par-4 first hole. But she quickly recovered with two straight birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 that set her on the way to the day’s lowest score. Top-ranked Lydia Ko birdied three of the last four holes en route to a 70 that put the 17-year-old in a tie for fourth with Stacy Lewis, Jenny Shin and Karrie Webb at 6 under. Defending champion Paula Creamer was tied for 36th after a 71. Michelle Wie fired a 70 that included three bogeys, three birdies and an eagle and is tied for 23rd with money rankings leader Amy Yang. Overnight co-leader Yani Tseng struggled with her game and finished with a 75 for a share of 17th place.last_img read more

Short and sweet: Scott win answers anchoring questions

first_imgPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Maybe we won’t look at that short putter as if it’s some sort of serpent in Adam Scott’s hands anymore. We won’t watch him wondering if that thing is the poisonous 14th club in his bag. Scott will like that, because he knows there was only one way to answer the irritating question dogging him into this new year. Can he still win with a short putter? Yes, damn straight he can. With his victory Sunday at the Honda Classic, Scott won for the first time since the Rules of Golf forced him to abandon anchoring the long putter he adopted back in 2011, a steadying tool he used to break through and win his first major, the Masters in 2013. Scott’s win comes in just his third start with this year’s new anchoring ban in effect. In winning for the first time in almost two years, he showed the ban may not be a career-thwarting challenge some thought it would be. “There was a sense of relief, but overall I’m thrilled with where my game’s at,” said Scott, who finished second last week at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. “To get a victory is even more satisfying, to just reassure me that I’m working on all the right things, going in the right direction this time of year.” The Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos Scott beat Sergio Garcia in a Sunday duel on the difficult Champion Course. He started the day tied for the lead with Garcia, four shots ahead of the rest of the field, and he won playing smart, defensive golf. He avoided big mistakes, like the quadruple bogey that hurt him Saturday, and he hit the nerve-racking safe shots to the middle of greens that were required coming home. He let Garcia make the mistakes. “It was tough, a really difficult course,” Garcia said. “Adam played really, really good, really solid. He just missed a couple shots here and there. He deserved to win.” Scott, 36, didn’t just dropkick all those questions about the short putter into that lake aside the 18th green at PGA National. He replaced them with delightful new questions, the kind he’ll much prefer being posed to him over the next six weeks. Can he win another green jacket at the Masters? Can he feel the same confidence on Augusta National’s greens that he had with a long putter? Because this victory moves Scott back on any short list of Masters favorites. “Obviously, you want to go to the Masters feeling your game is in good shape,” Scott said. “You say results don’t matter, until you get them, and they do matter. Certainly, with the quality of the golf course this week, the quality of the field, I think this was a really good test and reflection for me, where my game’s at. “To get a win is definitely confidence. To come and win down the stretch at a course like this, definitely has that major kind of feel, where big questions are asked of your shots, and there’s trouble at every point if you hit a bad one. That’s very much like a major.” Scott said he wanted to feel relevant again with Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler in so many headlines. “I said yesterday I was desperate for this win, and I was,” Scott said. There was something else reinvigorating about Scott’s 12th PGA Tour title, his first in almost two years. There wasn’t just satisfaction winning with the short putter. There was satisfaction winning for the first time as a father, for the first time with this new family lifestyle radically changing so many habits. His wife, Marie, and his 1-year-old daughter, Bo Vera, are part of all this now. “It’s only been a great transition, though certainly trying at times, trying to balance everything on and off the course,” Scott said. “I’ve had a lot of things changing over the last 12 months, but it’s settling down now. It’s fantastic to feel like we really have everything in the family life under control, with my wife and daughter very happy with everything. We have some idea of what we’re doing.” This was also Scott’s first victory since Stevie Williams left him as a full-time caddie. Last year, Scott looked out of sorts adjusting to so many changes in his life and game. There was the birth of his daughter near the year’s start, there was life without Williams regularly on his bag, and there was the juggling act trying to prepare for life without the long putter. He went to the short putter about this time a year ago trying to get ready for the anchoring ban, but he struggled and went back to the long putter. It only created more questions about how much he was depending on anchoring the broomstick. The truth is, Scott said he wasn’t putting well with a short or long putter last year. So Scott proved a lot Sunday at PGA National, not just to skeptics, but himself. “Again, it just reassures me I’m on the right track with the things I’m doing on the greens,” Scott said. “I’m just going to try and get better every week. I think it’s in a great spot at the moment. If I can get better and better, then I like what’s to come.”last_img read more

Langer takes lead into Schwab Cup finale

first_imgSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Bernhard Langer would have wrapped up the Charles Schwab Cup long ago under the old format. Instead, he has only a small lead and is one of five players who can take the season title with a victory Sunday in the PGA Tour Champions finale. Still recovering from a left knee injury that forced him to withdraw from the playoff opener two weeks ago in California, Langer will open play in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Friday on Desert Mountain Club’s Cochise Course. The 59-year-old German has a tour-high four victories and has wrapped up the season money title with $2,836,459. ”The season was fantastic,” Langer said Thursday. ”Just to have four wins, two majors, and what’s even more impressive to me is actually not finishing outside the top 13 all year. That was my worst finish, 13th, which I’ve never done in my whole career. So that’s pretty incredible.” He re-aggravated the knee injury at home doing routine spinning. ”It’s better. It was pretty bad in L.A. when I pulled out,” Langer said. ”I couldn’t really post up any weight on my left leg and follow through the way I wanted to follow through. I couldn’t have walked that hilly golf course, either, because downhill was impossible for me to walk downhill. ”Last week, I was extremely careful. I played and I could play, but I had my caddie do a lot of the marking the ball, replacing the ball, lining it up. When it was downhill I went serpentine this way so I wouldn’t put as much pressure on the knee. Might have to do a little bit of that this week, too, just to make sure I can finish the tournament, but right now it’s not bad.” The season standings were reset after the event last week in Virginia, with Langer’s lead over Richmond winner Scott McCarron reduced from 935,657 to 200. The top five – Colin Montgomerie is third, followed by Joe Durant and Miguel Angel Jimenez – would win the season title with a victory Sunday no matter where the other players finish. The tournament winner will receive $440,000 and 2,000 points. Langer won season titles in 2010, 2014 and 2015, but has never won the season-ending event. ”I love Desert Mountain, everything about it,” Langer said. ”The golf course is obviously in phenomenal shape. The people here are so kind and hospitable. Great sponsor with Schwab. Food is fantastic, locker room is great. Practice facility, it’s all first class.” He played a practice round Thursday. ”The rough’s a little bit up and some of the greens are really firming up,” Langer said. ”There were a few shots downwind that I couldn’t stop on the green. It will be interesting to see what the wind does tomorrow, if it switches or how strong it is and all that. But it’s a real test, no doubt about it.” Montgomerie pointed to the rough on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course. ”The overseeding has come in very strongly,” Montgomerie said. ”If you’re trying to make birdies, you’ve got to hit the fairway. You can just about make a par if you’re lucky from the rough, but you’re not making birdies. So to win this, you’ve got to make birdies, which comes from the fairways.” The top 36 players in the standings qualified for the event, with the field reduced to 35 on Thursday when Tom Lehman withdrew because of an elbow injury. He withdraw after two rounds in the playoff opener at Sherwood and missed the event last week in Richmond.last_img read more

Brooks was bad, Brooks got mad, and now Major Brooks is back

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – As humble brags go it would be tough to top Brooks Koepka on Thursday. Big Game Brooks had just finished off the kind of round that’s made him a major machine in recent years and the conversation had predictably pivoted to the elephant in the room and Koepka’s quest to win his third consecutive PGA Championship. For contrast purposes, the question was phrased in the form of a comment and focused on how meaningful it would be to achieve a Grand Slam three-peat this week. Koepka’s mind raced back to last year’s U.S. Open and his inability to go back-to-back-to-back in the national championship. “I think that drove me nuts a little bit,” he said with a glare. Beyond the obvious, which is how cool it must be to find fault in not being able to win your third consecutive U.S. Open, the moment also provided a snapshot into what motivates the enigmatic 30-year-old. For context, consider that Walter Hagen is the only player to win three consecutive PGA Championships. Young Tom Morris (Open Championship), Jaime Anderson (Open Championship), Bob Ferguson (Open Championship), Willie Anderson (U.S. Open) and Peter Thomson (Open Championship) are the others to three-peat at a major. PGA Championship: Scores | Full coverage The common theme here is all these players are no longer with us. When your only contemporaries are ghosts you’ve reached the next level. Koepka’s 4-under 66 Thursday at TPC Harding Park left him exactly where he wants to be, a stroke off the lead and still trending in the right direction. The swagger is back, which is saying something considering that a month ago he looked nothing like the major magician he’d become in recent years. A left knee injury last fall kept him on the sideline until February and his best finish before COVID-19 halted play was a T-43 in Los Angeles. Things weren’t much better when he returned from quarantine and a missed cut at last month’s 3M Open felt like rock bottom. He returned to South Florida for a session with Claude Harmon III and Pete Cowen. “To be honest with you, it was probably the first time I think I hit 40 balls and there was a club 70 yards behind me, I chucked it and then threw one in front of me,” Koepka said. “I was pretty heated, to say the right word.” Golf Central Koepka (66) threw a club and found his swing BY Ryan Lavner  — August 6, 2020 at 5:28 PM Eleven days ago, Brooks Koepka was working through yet another frustrating range session. On Thursday, he opened his Wanamaker defense with a 66. Maybe he just needed to blow off some steam. Maybe he needed some pointed words from Cowen, who’d been in England since March. Or maybe he just needed a major championship to wrest him from his post-Grand Slam funk. Whatever the inspiration, he posted his best finish in a year last week at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (T-2) and he arrived at the season’s first and only major looking like a new man. Or, to be more precise, looking like the old guy who treats major championships like they owe him money. His opening round is what we’ve come to appreciate in Koepka – ninth in driving distance, upon its completion; 10th in strokes gained: approach to the green; eighth in strokes gained: putting. When Brooks is on there simply aren’t any flaws for a major championship venue to expose as he’s proven that, from Erin Hills to Bethpage Black. “It’s phenomenal. It’s a hell of an achievement. He seems to have that knack for it for sure,” former U.S. Open champ Justin Rose said. “If it’s the Masters, someone might be particularly suited to that golf course. But when you’re winning on obviously different tracks, U.S. Opens, PGAs, you’ve got to kind of respect that game, and that skill set travels really well.” Following nearly 12 months of rehabilitation and rough play, Koepka explained that it was after that missed cut in Minnesota that he reached his turning point. Although he’s on the feel side of let’s say, Bryson DeChambeau, once Harmon and Cowen began studying his swing on a balance mat the issue became evident. “At impact I’m about 70 percent of my weight is on my left side, and when we were looking at it, it was the opposite. It was 70 percent on the right side,” he said. “We knew what we had to do was get on that left side, and it’s been good since.” Koepka on club-throwing, post-MC range session: ‘I was pretty heated’ The turnaround has been as dramatic as it is timely with three majors scheduled for the next four months (two of them for the 2020-21 season), and it was impossible to ignore the subtle tells Koepka gives away when things are flowing. “Getting there. It’s getting a lot better. I mean, I feel right where I should be,” was how he described the current state of his game. There’s something about that humble and entirely innocent brag from last year’s U.S. Open that fuels this. It would be difficult, if not utterly foreign, for others to contemplate the “frustration” of not being able to win your third consecutive U.S. Open (it’s worth pointing out he did finish runner-up to Gary Woodland). It’s also probably the best explanation of what makes Brooks, Brooks.last_img read more

Why Social Science Does Not Need Evolutionary Theory

first_img A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Richard WeikartSenior Fellow, Center for Science and CultureRichard Weikart is Professor of History, California State University, Stanislaus, and author of From Darwin to Hitler, Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress, Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Ideas that Drove the Third Reich, and The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life.Follow RichardProfileWebsite Share Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos TagsbehaviorbullyingCharles DarwincognitionCristine Legarecultureeducationevolutionary theoryhumansmotivationNautilusprestigepsychologysocial sciencessocial scientistssocietystatusUniversity of Texas,Trending Recommended Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share In an article for Nautilus, Cristine Legare explains “Why Social Science Needs Evolutionary Theory.” An associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, she laments that the social sciences are missing out, because they ignore the findings of evolutionary theory. She states, “The lack of willingness to view human cognition and behavior as within the purview of evolutionary processes has prevented evolution from being fully integrated into the social science curriculum.”Legare discusses the diversity of human behaviors, but the universality of the psychological mechanisms that support our learning of culture. Nowhere does she even mention any evidence that these psychological mechanisms arose through evolution; she simply asserts it. Indeed, in one place she states, “Truly satisfying explanations of human behavior requires identifying the components of human cognition that evolution designed to be sensitive to social or ecological conditions and information.” Oops, not only does she use the “design” word, but her use of the term “evolution” in the sentence is vacuous. I could just as easily remove the word evolution and say, “Truly satisfying explanations of human behavior requires identifying the components of human cognition that are designed to be sensitive to social or ecological conditions and information.” The knowledge she claims that evolutionary theory is adding to the social sciences is fully available to the social sciences without invoking evolutionary theory.The emptiness of her approach is even more evident when she provides a concrete example to illustrate her point that “Applying evolutionary theory to social science has the potential to transform education and, through it, society.” The example she proffers is schoolyard bullying. According to Legare, “Without an evolutionary understanding of the phenomenon, interventions are likely to be ineffective, since they misdiagnose the causes of bullying.” Bullying, she explains, is caused by the desire to gain status and prestige.Now, ask yourself the question: Did we need evolutionary theory to tell us this, and can evolutionary theory in any way confirm the truth or falsity of this view of bullying? People have known for centuries that we are often motivated to do things, including engage in bad behaviors, to gain attention and gain status. We didn’t need Darwin to help us out with this one. Further, the only way we can know if this is true in the case of schoolyard bullying is by examining the behavior and motives of bullies — not by applying evolutionary theory to social science.My verdict: If this is what evolutionary theory has to offer the social sciences, social scientists would be wise to refuse what is on offer.Photo: A schoolyard bully. Did evolution make him do it? By Thomas Ricker, via Flickr.Richard Weikart is a professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, and author of The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life, Hitler’s Religion, and From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany. Evolution Why Social Science Does Not Need Evolutionary TheoryRichard WeikartJune 19, 2018, 1:19 AM last_img read more

‘Stunning Potential’ in Afghan Mineral Find

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S. geologists have discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan, possibly amounting to $1 trillion, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman said Monday.Waheed Omar told reporters the findings were made by the U.S. Geological Survey under contract to the Afghan government.“The result of the survey … has shown that Afghanistan has mineral resources worth $1 trillion,” Omar said. “This is not an overall survey of all minerals in Afghanistan. Whatever has been found in this survey is worth $1 trillion.”Omar refused to provide details, referring reporters to the Ministry of Mines. An official at the ministry refused to discuss the survey, saying details would be released at a news conference later this week.A 2007 report by the USGS said most of the data on Afghanistan’s mineral resources was produced between the early 1950s and 1985 but much was hidden and protected by Afghan scientists “during the intermittent conflict over the next two decades.”The New York Times reported the $1 trillion figure in Monday’s edition and quoted senior American officials as saying untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan are far beyond any previously known reserves and were enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself.Americans discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium, according to the report. The Times quoted a Pentagon memo as saying Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and cell phones.“There is stunning potential here,” the newspaper quoted Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command as saying. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”Geologists have known for decades that Afghanistan contained substantial mineral resources, including copper, gold and cobalt. But the resources have never been fully exploited because of decades of armed conflict and poor infrastructure. The Times said huge lithium deposits were found in Ghazni province — much of which is effectively under Taliban control.During a visit last month to Washington, Karzai said his nation’s untapped mineral deposits could be even higher — perhaps as much as $3 trillion.The mineral resources are a “massive opportunity,” Karzai said at a May 13 event with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held at the U.S. Institute of Peace.The report in the Times said the USGS began aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using data that had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Promising results led to a more sophisticated study the next year.Then last year, a Pentagon task force that had created business development programs in Iraq arrived in Afghanistan and closely analyzed the geologists’ findings. U.S. mining experts were brought in to validate the survey’s conclusions, and top U.S. and Afghan officials were briefed.“I think it’s very, very big news for the people of Afghanistan and that we hope will bring the Afghan people together for a cause that will benefit everyone,” Karzai’s spokesman, Omar, said. “This is an economic interest that will benefit all Afghans and will benefit Afghanistan in the long run.”So far, the biggest mineral deposits discovered are of iron and copper, but finds include large deposits of niobium, a soft metal used in producing superconducting steel, as well as rare earth elements and large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan, the report said. Many of those areas are too dangerous because of Taliban activity.Charles Kernot, a mining analyst with Evolution Securities Ltd. in London, said it typically takes three to five years to get a lithium mining operation up and running. Factors include how close the deposit is to power sources and other infrastructure and the size of the deposit.And large lithium deposits may not mean an automatic windfall — given competition and the uncertainty of the market.“Bolivia wants to expand its lithium mining operations dramatically over the next few years so there is a risk of oversupply if demand from electric cars does not meet expectations,” Kernot said. Emaillast_img read more