Sunday, August 29, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 8-29-2010

KUCHAR WINS THE BARCLAY

Matt Kuchar has had a great year with top ten finishes but he had not had a victory this year until Sunday when he chased and caught Martin Laird to win The Barclays.

Kuchar closed with a 5-under 66, and went to the clubhouse tied for the lead. Laird birdied 17 taking a one-shot lead and needed two putts from just inside 25 feet on 18 for the victory, when he ran his putt 7 feet past the hole. He missed the par putt, setting up the playoff.

Kuchar's first victory of the year came two weeks after he made his first Ryder Cup team, and moved him to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings . And his third career win is likely to move him to a career-best No. 10 in the world ranking.

Laird looked shaky throughout especially with the putter. He missed a 20 footer for an eagle on 17 and three putted 18. However Laird is safe through the next month in the playoffs. He was at No. 95, hopeful of advancing to the second round, and his runner-up finish puts him at No. 3 and virtually guarantees he’ll be among the top 30 at the Tour Championship who compete for the $10 million prize.

Tiger Woods continues to make progress, which in this case means he gets to keep going.

Woods, who started these playoffs at No. 112 in the standings, closed with a 4-under 67 to easily make the top 100 who advance to the second round next week at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Steve Stricker closed with a 66 to tie for third with Kevin Streelman, Streelman was on the bubble, starting at No. 102, and moved up to No. 18.

Rory Sabbatini had the low round of the day at 64 and tied for fifth.

Round 2 is next week at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Steve Stricker defends.



LANGER AGAIN IN WASHINGTON

Bernhard Langer gained his fifth tournament win of the year in taking the Boeing Classic. It's the second victory this year for Langer in the state of Washington.

He closed with a final-round 69 and pulled away from Nick Price down the stretch to take home the title and his 18-under-par total matched Loren Roberts' tournament record from last year.

Langer let Price hang around early. Price birdied the eighth and 11th to pull within two of the lead but couldn’t get any closer to Langer.

Langer made consecutive birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 to stretch his lead to four strokes with just two to play and take a four-shot lead over Price.

Hometown favorite Fred Couples closed with a 67 to finish in third at 9 under.

Next up for the over 50 crowd is the Home Care & Hospice First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Jeff
Sluman is the 2009 champion.




WIE TAKES HOME CANADIAN OPEN

Michelle Wie has won the CN Canadian Women’s Open for her second career victory on the LPGA Tour.

Wie shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday to move to 12 under for the tournament at the St. Charles Country Club.

Jiyai Shin of South Korea shot a 1-over 73 and tied for second with Kristy McPherson of South Carolina , defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Jee Lee Young from South Korea.

Wie was tied with Shin for the lead entering the final round.

The ladies take the week off and return Sept. 10.




E.MOLINARI WINS JOHNNIE WALKER


(AP)—Edoardo Molinari birdied the final three holes at Gleneagles on Sunday to win the Johnnie Walker Championship and boost his chances of a place in the Ryder Cup.

The 29-year-old Italian needs a wild card pick from European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie later Sunday.

Molinari shot a 1-under 71 to reach 10-under 278 and beat Brett Rumford by one shot. The Australian had earlier shot a 3-under 69.

Francesco Molinari—Eduardo’s brother—shared third place with Wales’ Jamie Donaldson and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain.

Jimenez secured automatic qualification for the Ryder Cup, as did Peter Hanson of Sweden who was tied for 19th.




KIRK WINS NATIONWIDE EVENT

Chris Kirk, fired a back-nine 31 to finish at 20-under 268 and earn his second Nationwide Tour title this year at the Knoxville News Sentinel Open.

Kirk broke out of a late afternoon tie with back-to-back birdies on the final two holes to win by two shots over Travis Bertoni .

North Carolina's Matt Davidson and 48-year old Kirk Triplett tied for third place, three shots behind Kirk, who joins Tommy Gainey and Martin Piller as the Tour's double-winners in 2010.





IN OTHER NEWS

Colin Montgomerie the European Ryder Cup Captain, named Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari on Sunday as his three wildcard selections for the Ryder Cup against the U.S. in October.

Harrington, Donald and Edoardo Molinari join automatic choices Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez on Europe’s team.



Elin Nordegren, is speaking out for the first time publicly in a People magazine story that hit the newsstands on Friday.

The couple’s divorce became official Monday.

Nordegren shares the pain she felt with her husband’s infidelities making worldwide news. She shared how she didn’t just lose sleep and weight over it. She also lost hair.

Nordegren also said that she never hit her husband and now that her marriage is over she wants to get on with her life.



The PGA Tour announced Thursday the Heritage golf tournament in South Carolina will be played a week later than usual in 2011 on April 21-24, the same week that the popular Champions Tour event, the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, is taking place about an hour’s drive south in Savannah, Ga.

The change to the longtime event at Harbour Town Golf Links, usually played the week following the Masters, came because The Players Championship was shifted to a week later in May. That forced a date change for the Texas Open, which moved into the Heritage’s normal slot.

PGA Tour chief of operations Rick George says the switch is for next year only with all intentions to move the Heritage back to the week after the year’s first major.



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Sunday, August 22, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 8-22-2010

ATWAL GETS FIRST PGA TOUR VICTORY

Arjun Atwal made a clutch par on No. 18 of the Wyndham Championship to post his first PGA Tour win.

He’s the first Indian-born player to win on tour and the first to win both the qualifier and the tournament in 24 years.

David Toms (64) was 19 under. John Mallinger and Michael Sim both shot 62s and were joined by John Rollins (65) and Justin Leonard (65) at 18 under.

Atwal was on top coming into the final round, but was challenged all day by numerous golfers including Lucas Glover, David Toms, and Justin Leonard. At one point, there were seven players sharing the lead at -18.

Atwal reclaimed the lead with a birdie on No. 14, Leonard birdied No. 17 and Toms birdied No. 18 to join them at 19 under. Leonard dropped back a stroke when he bogeyed 18 and Toms was the clubhouse leader at -19.

Atwal made his move on the par-3 16th, plopping his tee shot 6 feet from the flagstick and sinking his birdie putt to move to 20 under. He followed that with consecutive pars, sinking a 7-foot putt on No. 18 closing out his first tour victory.

Next up the playoffs begin at The Barclays. Heath Slocum will be defending.



JELD WEN GETS FUNKY

Fred Funk won the Jeld-Wen Tradition for the second time in three years, closing with a 3-under 69 on Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Michael Allen and Chien Soon Lu in the fourth of the Champions Tour’s five majors.

Funk took the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th HOLE , then two-putted from 40 feet for par at 18 to finish at 12- on the Sunriver Resort’s Crosswater Golf Club course.

Allen shot a 67, and Lu had a 69.

Lu had a chance to tie Funk at 18, narrowly missing a 40-foot chip shot for birdie. Allen reached 12 under after a birdie at 15, but gave a stroke back with a bogey at 16.

Tom Lehman the third round leader shot a 73 and tied for fourth at 10 under with Mark Calcavecchia.

Bernard Langer, attempting to become the second player in Champions Tour history to win three consecutive majors, shot a 73 to tie for 10th at 8 under.

This may be the last Jeld Wen tournament as the company announced that it would no longer be sponsoring this event. The Champions Tour is expected to announce its plans for the tournament this week.

Next up for the over 50 crowd is the Boeing Classic. Loren Roberts is the 2009 winner.



MIYAZATO TAKES SAFEWAY CLASSIC

Ai Miyazato won her fifth LPGA victory of the year by taking the Safeway Classic by two strokes over Christie Kerr. The victory moves Miyazato into the #1 spot in the world rankings.

She closed with an even-par 72 to finish at 11 under, two strokes in front of Cristie Kerr, ranked No. 1 going into the event, and Na Yeon Choi.

Kerr shadowed Miayzato throughout the final round until hitting into the water on the par-4 18th.

Miyazato and Song Hee Kim, playing in the final pairing of the day, battled on the back nine holes after Kim pulled even with Miyazato with a chip from under a tree to birdie the par-3 11th.

But Kim dropped two shots with bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes.

Playing in the group in front of them, Kerr was steady—but missed a chance to pull even with Miyazato by misjudging a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 17. Her chances slipped away with the shot into the water on the final hole.

The ladies head north to Canada for the CN Canadian Women's Open. Suzann Petterson defends.



HANSON WINS CZECH OPEN

(AP)—Peter Hanson has won the Czech Open after a three-way playoff with Gary Boyd and Peter Lawrie, keeping his Ryder Cup hopes alive.

The Swede won the European Tour event with an 18-foot birdie on Sunday’s second extra hole—the par-4 18th.

Hanson needed a victory to have a chance of making Colin Montgomerie’s European team for the Ryder Cup.

Hanson led by four strokes overnight, but had a disastrous front nine that included three straight bogeys. He shot a 2-over 74 to finish at 10-under 278 at the Prosper Golf Resort.

Lawrie started eight shots behind Hanson and produced an eagle on the 10th and closed with a 66, while rookie Boyd had a 68.

Next week's tournament is the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Peter Hedblom defends.




IN OTHER NEWS


Rory McIlroy indicated he'd love to go head-to-head with the No.-1 player in the world:Tiger Woods

"I would love to face him," McIlroy told the BBC. "Unless his game rapidly improves ... I think anyone in the European team would fancy their chances against him."

Rory remember Stephen Ames, who provoked Tiger before the World Match Play event in 2006 and then got hammered 9-and-8, or Rory Sabbatini, who said in 2007 that Woods was beatable and then proceeded to collapse over the rest of his season. This Tiger is down and easier prey to be sure but be careful what you wish for




Juli Inkster was disqualified from the LPGA Safeway Classic for using a weighted training aid on her club while waiting on the No. 10 hole on the Ghost Creek Course. Inkster, who had a 30 minute wait for the No. 10 hole, apparently used a “doughnut” weight on her 9-iron to stay loose.

LPGA Director of Tournament Competitions Sue Witters said a viewer noticed the device from the television broadcast of the event and contacted tournament officials. Apparently some eople have a lot of time on their hand.

Inkster issued a brief statement.

“I had a 30-minute wait and I needed to loosen up,” she said. “It had no effect on my game whatsoever, but it is what it is. I’m very disappointed.”



Steve Williams doesn’t believe his job as Tiger Woods’ caddie is under any threat, despite media speculation about their 11-year association and concern over the champion golfer’s form.


Williams told New Zealand radio Wednesday that he and Woods remain close friends and there is no possibility their working relationship is about to end.


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Friday, August 13, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 8-15-2010

KAYMER WINS PGA IN PLAYOFF

Martin Kaymer outlasted Bubba Watson to win the PGA Championship in a three hole playoff. Watson birdied 10, the first playoff hole, but Kaymer came back to tie the playoff with a 2 on the 17th. Both players were in the rough stuff with their drives, Watson then hit his second shot into the drink. Kaymer chipped out to the fairway.He then hit his third shot to about 20 feet.

Watson's fourth shot went over the green, and his next shot almost went in but missed and left him a tap in for a double bogey. Kaymer then took two putts to win.

Six players had a share of the lead at some point Sunday, and six players were separated by one shot over the final 30 minutes.

That included Rory McIlroy, the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland who was trying to become the youngest major champion in 80 years. He had a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole to join the clubhouse leaders at 11 under, only for the putt to turn away.

Also one shot behind was former Masters champion Zach Johnson. Both of them needed a birdie on the 500-yard closing hole that only allowed one birdie in the final round.

Dustin Johnson had a 7-foot putt to win the PGA Championship. Minutes later, he wasn’t allowed in the playoff when he was penalized two shots for grounding his club in a bunker on the final hole Sunday.

Johnson had a one-shot lead on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits when he hit into a bunker to the right of the fairway where thousands of fans had been walking all week. Unaware he was in a bunker, he grounded his club before hitting toward the green.

After missing his par putt for the victory, Johnson was assessed a two-shot penalty. Instead of 71 to join Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson in the playoff, he erased his score from a 5 to a 7 and signed for a 73 to tie for fifth.

The disappointment of his playoff loss in the PGA Championship didn’t last long. Bubba Watson is going to the Ryder Cup.

Dustin Johnson, tied for fifth and also secured one of eight automatic spots for the Americans.

Third round leader Nick Watney, imploded with an 81 , tied for 18th and cost himself a chance of earning a spot on the Ryder Cup team.

Tiger Woods closed with a 73 and tied for 28th, while Phil Mickelson had one of the lowest rounds of the day shooting a 67 to finish the tournament at -6 tied for 12th.

Next week is the Wyndham Championship. Ryan Moore defends.




IN OTHER NEWS

Jeff Overton
pumped his fist Sunday and broke into a wide smile when he finished the PGA Championship.

He is virtually a lock to make his first Ryder Cup team. But that wasn’t the cause of his mock celebration.

Playing alone in the first group off when ailing Ian Poulter withdrew, Overton walked 18 holes at Whistling Straits in 2 hours, 9 minutes, to break the PGA Championship record for quickest round.



Danielle Kang’s
4-foot putt on the next-to-last hole in the U.S. Women’s Amateur on Sunday gave her a 2 and 1 match-play victory against Jessica Korda.

Kang had led deep into the second round during the final at Charlotte Country Club. But she conceded the lead when she ran into bunker trouble on the 30th hole. Korda took the lead for the first time when her third shot reached within a foot and Kang’s fourth shot stuck in the rough.

Kang squared the match three holes later with a 5-foot par putt. She retook the lead on the 34th hole, when she converted for par and Korda missed a putt from at least 10 feet.

Kang and Korda, each 17, were vying for their first U.S. Amateur title. Sunday marked the third straight match in which Kang, the women’s amateur medalist a year ago, fended off a rally during the final three holes.


Jim Gray of the Golf Channel pointed his finger at Corey Pavin's chest and accused the U.S. captain of lying about comments that Tiger Woods will be picked for the team.

Gray approached Pavin after a news conference Wednesday, and they stood no more than a foot apart, facing off as if they were in the middle of a boxing ring. Pavin’s wife, Lisa, pulled out her mobile phone and recorded the conversation.

Pavin said Gray called him “a liar” and said, “You’re going down.”

Gray reported Tuesday evening that Pavin told him he would pick Woods for the Ryder Cup if he didn’t make the team on his own at the PGA Championship. He quoted Pavin as saying—it was not on camera—“Of course I’m going to. He’s the best player in the world.”

Pavin was so angry when he heard about this Wednesday morning that he tweeted while on the golf course that “Jim Gray has misquoted me re: picking Tiger. I never said such a thing and will not say a thing until 09/07.”

The Golf Channel said in a statement that it stands “100 percent behind the accuracy of Jim Gray’s report. As far as any subsequent conversation between Jim and Corey Pavin, it was meant to be private and should remain as such.”



Jeld-Wen, an Oregon-based window and door manufacturer, will end its sponsorship of the Tradition after next week’s Champions Tour event.

Rod Wendt, president and chief executive of Jeld-Wen, says the company’s sponsorship contract ends this year so it is a logical time to step away as the firm’s priorities have changed.

The Tradition is one of five majors on the Champions Tour for professional golfers age 50 and older. Mike Reid is the defending champion of the tournament, which opens next Thursday.



That's it for this week.


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Sunday, August 8, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 8-8-2010

MAHAN SHOOTS HIS WAY TO VICTORY

Hunter Mahan ran off five birdies on the front nine to make up a four-shot deficit, delivered three clutch pars down the stretch to protect his lead and closed with a 6-under 64 for a two-shot victory over Ryan Palmer .

He won his first World Golf Championship title and moved to No. 12 in the world ranking. And he won for the second time this year, becoming the fifth player this year with multiple victories on the PGA Tour.

Retief Goosen, the 36-hole leader until a triple bogey on the opening hole Saturday, closed with a 65 and tied for third with Bo Van Pelt, who shot a 67. Sean O’Hair, who shared the 54-hole lead with Palmer, shot 71 and wound up alone in fifth.

Tiger Woods had perhaps one of the worst tournaments of his career shooting +18 and barely avoided last place. Phil Mickelson looked just as bad during the final round. With his best chance ever to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world—Mickelson was tied for 10th and needed to finish alone in fourth—the Masters champion sprayed shots all over Firestone on his way to a 78.

Next week is the PGA Championship the last major of the year.


LUNDE TAKES TURNING STONE GETS INTO LAST MAJOR

Bill Lunde earned a spot in next week’s PGA Championship by winning the Turning Stone Resort Championship on Sunday.

Lunde shot 6-under 66 and rallied for the come-from-behind victory with a 17-under 271 total on the 7,482-yard layout. He earned $720,000, a PGA Tour exemption through the end of 2012 and 250 FedEx Cup points for his first PGA Tour win in 53 career starts.

Lunde made the weekend cut by one stroke at 3 under and vaulted into contention with a 64 on Saturday.

J.J. Henry finished runner-up at 16 under after he tied the course record with a 63. Jerry Kelly, Josh Teater, Michael Sim, Billy Mayfair and Alex Cejka tied for third place at 15 under. Cejka was the leader after the second and third rounds, but closed with an even-par 72.

FROST BREAKS THRU

David Frost made a 25-foot putt for eagle on the 18th hole to finish an 11-under 61 on Sunday and win the3M Championship in record-setting fashion.

It is the first career Champions Tour win for Frost, whose 25-under 191 was two shots better than the previous tournament scoring record set by R.W. Eaks in 2008. His final-round score beat by one the tournament’s previous lowest round set by Dana Quigley in 2008.

Frost also tied the tour scoring record for a 54-hole tournament. His 191 total tied Bruce Fleisher’s mark at the 2002 Vantage Championship and matched by Loren Roberts at the 2006 MasterCard Championship at Hualalai and Bernhard Langer at the 2007 Administaff Small Business Classic. Roberts and Langer were 25 under; Fleisher was 19 under on a par-70 course.

Mark Calcavecchia, who was tied with Frost for the 36-hole lead, but finished five shots behind in second after a 4 under 68 at the TPC Twin Cities.

Nick Price,shot a 64 and tied Tommy Armour III and David Peoples for third, eight shots behind.

The tour is idle next week but reurn the 19 for the Jeld Wen Tradition.



IN OTHER NEWS

A proposal that would require PGA Tour members to compete in certain tournaments passed its first test and is on track to be adopted before the end of the Fall Series.

In an effort to bolster tournaments that typically get weak fields, the concept is to designate a small number of events and demand players choose one to play. The policy board approved the idea at a meeting last week in West Virginia, which was the first step.

“Because it’s a tournament regulation, it has to be passed twice,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. “It was preliminarily approved in concept. Now we go back to the PAC (Players Advisory Council) and work through the details, get some player input and bring it back to the fall meeting.”

What remains are the details, starting with how many tournaments would be designated and which players would be required to play. The tour could use the FedEx Cup standings, money list or even the world ranking from a previous year to determine who it affects.

It would be the closest thing the tour has had to mandatory participation, although it falls short of the “1-in-4” concept of the LPGA Tour in which players must compete in every tournament at least once over a four-year span.




Golf fans who want to watch the 2012 PGA Championship in person should get in line now.

Up to 44,000 people a day attended last year’s major at Hazeltine National in Minnesota. But organizers for the 2012 event at Kiawah Island say Pete Dye’s narrow, marsh-filled Ocean Course layout can’t accommodate such crowds.

They plan to limit access to about 27,000 people a day. Kiawah Island Golf Resort president Roger Warren says that will guarantee a better experience for everyone.

The Ocean Course was built for the 1991 Ryder Cup and was the backdrop for Robert Redford’s 2000 movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” The course hosted the 2005 PGA Club Professional championships and the Senior PGA event two years later.




Ben Curtis and Boo Weekley are going to the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits despite falling from the top 100 in the world ranking.

The PGA of America changed its criteria last year to require that members of the most recent Ryder Cup team stay within the top 100. Officials offered special invitations to Curtis, Weekley and others to fill its 156-man field.

The PGA Championship gave exemptions to everyone in the top 100 in Monday’s ranking who were not already eligible. It also invited three players outside the top 100 – Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain, Simon Khan of England and Seung-Yul Noh of South Korea.





Alexis Thompson, the 15-year-old golfer who recently turned pro, won't be looking to join the LPGA any time soon.

Thompson's coach Jim McLean said Thompson will not seek any kind of waiver from the LPGA's 18-year-old minimum-age requirement. Players can seek an exemption from the commissioner if they so choose.

He went on to say that Thompson's parents had observed what happened to Michelle Wie — too much too fast too soon — and want to allow Lexi to be a kid.




The PGA Tour’s stop in Charlotte will have a new name when Rory McIlroy defends his title next year, as the Quail Hollow Championship will be renamed the Wells Fargo Championship.


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Sunday, August 1, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 8-1-2010


APPLEBY SHOOTS 59 WINS NEW TOURNAMENT

Stuart Appleby hit golf’s magic number Sunday, shooting a 59 at the Greenbrier Classic.

Appleby is the fifth PGA Tour player to reach the milestone. The Australian’s round came less than a month after Paul Goyos had a 59 at John Deere Classic And it catapulted him into the lead and eventually victory.

Appleby birdied the final three holes with putts of 15 feet or less to win the tournament by a stroke and get down to 59. He also broke a four-year winless drought, when third-round leader Jeff Overton narrowly missed a long birdie attempt on the par-3 18th that would have forced a playoff.

The Australian trailed Overton by seven strokes to start his round, shot 6-under 28 on the front nine and eagled the par-5 12th before settling for three straight pars.

He got his momentum going again just in time with birdies of 15, 10 and 11 feet on the final three holes.

Next week is the Bridgestone Invitational featuring the Top 50 players in the world. Tiger Woods defends. And also the Turning Stone Resort Championship. Matt Kuchar is last years winner.



TSENG TAKES WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Yani Tseng of Taiwan won the Women’s British Open by one stroke over Katherine Hull of Australia with a 6-foot putt on the 18th hole Sunday.

Hull came into the round trailing by four strokes. She trimmed three strokes off Tseng’s lead— with birdies at the second and third—while Tseng dropped a stroke at the third. Hull hit a 5-wood to 12 feet at the second and made it, then an 8-iron to 40 feet at the fourth and holed that as well.

Hull’s putt for birdie at the 17th lipped out.

She trailed by just one heading into the 18th. But Hull missed a 20-foot birdie attempt and had to settle for a 70, and Tseng made her par putt to shoot 73 and total 11-under 277 at Royal Birkdale.

Tseng drove into a bunker on the last hole and was just off the green in three. Hull chipped poorly before her birdie attempt went past the hole, and Tseng coolly stepped up to make the winning putt.

Koreans Na Yeon Choi and In kyung Kim shared third at 7-under 281. American Cristie Kerr was tied for fifth at 6 under with two other Koreans, Heekyung Seo and Amy Yangon.

The ladies take the next few weeks off.




LANGER AGAIN

One week after winning the Senior British Open Berhard Langer repeated by defeating Fred Couples to win the US Senior Open.
Langer shot a bogey-free 3-under 67 on Sunday, took advantage of Couples’ one critical mistake and completed a trans-Atlantic double by winning his second straight Champions Tour major.

Couples took the lead with a birdie at No. 1 .

Then came the second, and gone was any realistic chance of Couples winning the tournament.

It was the easiest hole on the course all week, a par 5 at 503 yards. For the first time, Couples laid up with his second after pushing his tee shot right and deciding not to chance a hybrid from the first cut of rough. The layup left him about 65 yards to the pin for his third.

His pitch landed in a greenside pond, well short of the green. The mistake was magnified when Couples hit his fifth shot over the green, then needed two putts to walk away with a triple bogey.

Suddenly a one-shot lead for Couples became a three-shot deficit. And Langer never opened the door to give Couples hope of rallying.

Olin Browne and John Cook were tied for third at 2 under. Tom Watson was alone in fifth at 1 over after shooting 66.

Next up is the 3M Championship. Berhard Langer is the 2009 champion.


FISHER TAKES IRISH OPEN

Ross Fisher won the Irish Open by two strokes over Padraig Harrington on Sunday after shooting a 6-under 65 in the final round.

Fisher led by one shot going into the round but stretched that advantage to three after sinking a 15-foot eagle putt at the par-5 seventh hole.

The Englishman totaled 18-under 266 at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club after he had been briefly joined at the top of the leaderboard by Harrington (64) on three occasions.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain and Chris Wood of England were next at 270, followed by Richard Bland of England and Richard Green of Australia another shot back.

Fisher’s fourth career victory lifted him to sixth place in the qualifying standings that will determine nine automatic members on the European team for the Ryder Cup later this year.



IN OTHER NEWS

Tiger Woods has announced that he will play in next year’s Dubai Desert Classic.

Woods says in a statement released by tournament promoters that he wants to win back the title he held in 2008. He was due to defend his title in Dubai last year but was sidelined by knee surgery.

Woods won the tournament in 2006 and 2008 and never finished lower than fifth since he started playing it in 2001.

The tournament, which is part of the European Tour circuit, takes place at Emirates Golf Course from Feb. 10-13.


Bobby Wyatt shot a 57 at the Alabama Boys State Junior Championship.

The University of Alabama-bound teen, who turns 18 this weekend, had 12 birdies, an eagle and five pars Wednesday on the par-71, 6,628-yard course at the Country Club of Mobile. His birdie putt hung on the lip on the 18th green and he had to settle for par.

Wyatt needed 23 putts total and shot a 9-under 26 on the front nine.



Ray Halbritter received loads of attention last week when he said he'd compete in the Turning Stone Resort Championship. The CEO of Nation Enterprises carries a 2-handicap and was looking to fulfill what he called a lifelong dream of competing against the best in professional golf.

After much criticism, Halbritter announced Sunday that he intends to withdraw to give his spot to someone more deserving, someone who perhaps is chasing a Tour card for 2011.


That's it for this week.

Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com

Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Until next time.