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8:01AM

RealClearSports: No Americans in Sight at Masters

By Art Spander
For RealClearSports.com


AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Inevitability is about to meet reality. Golf, as forecast, is no longer the domain of the U.S.

Golf belongs to South Africa. Golf belongs to Germany. And since Rory McIlroy is about to duplicate the major triumph of countryman Graeme McDowell, most of all golf belongs to Northern Ireland.

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2011
9:50PM

RealClearSports: Match Play Is Golf for the Moment

By Art Spander
For RealClearSports.com


MARANA, Ariz. -- Match play is when golf becomes the NCAA basketball tournament. Match play is when two men compete head to head, as Ali and Frazier or Nadal and Federer. Match play is "get the ball in the cup or get out of here.''

And, as Tiger Woods a day earlier, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy are out of here. Done.

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2011
9:09AM

Newsday (N.Y.): Old Man Lehman gets a hole-in-one

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday


SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- In a game that suddenly seems dominated by 20-somethings such as Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, there's room for 51-year-old Tom Lehman.

Lehman, who qualified for this 92nd PGA Championship by winning the Senior PGA, made a hole-in-one during the third round Saturday at the 223-yard 17th hole with a 4-iron. He shot a 1-over-par 73 and is at 1-over 217 for 54 holes.

When the PGA Championship was held previously at Whistling Straits in 2004, Hale Irwin, also a senior, and Robert Gamez had aces.

19th hole

Y.E. Yang won the tournament last year at Hazeltine, beating Tiger Woods head to head. But Yang, who didn't get his second round completed until Saturday morning, finished with a double-bogey 6 and a 76. His two-round 148 total missed the cut by three shots . . .

Martin Kaymer of Germany, now based in Scottsdale, Ariz., after coming from the European Tour, is tied for fourth at 207 and no less importantly has retained his PGA Tour eligibility for 2011. "That was my plan,'' said Kaymer, who had a 5-under 67 in the third round. "I'm excited to play here next year.'' . . .

The weather forecast for the final round is good after the possibility of a brief rain overnight . . . Chris Wood of England shot a 68 in the second round after a 78 in the first round, but he still missed the cut of 145 by a stroke . . . When someone told 21-year-old McIlroy of Northern Ireland that he seemed immune to pressure, McIlroy, tied for second heading into the fourth round, said, "I wouldn't say it's a stroll in the park, but the crowds are so far back from the fairways, you don't feel the atmosphere, which I suppose helps a little bit.'' . . . Dustin Johnson, in contention for a third straight major this year, said of Whistling Straits: "The course is intimidating off the tee, but you do have some room to maneuver the ball and get it in the fairway.''

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http://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/old-man-lehman-gets-a-hole-in-one-1.2210503
Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.
9:13AM

Newsday (N.Y.): Mickelson had it going, then finished poorly

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday


ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Phil Mickelson, who had a chance to overtake Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the world rankings, will not. He did shoot 70 Saturday, but that left him at 2-under-par 214.

"I'm disappointed in myself,'' Mickelson said, "because I let a good round slide. I putted great [he briefly was 4 under] and then I made those bad swings on 16 [double-bogey 6] and 17 and played them 3 over par.''

On 16, trying to play safe off the tee with a 5-iron, he hooked it so badly the ball hit the road that runs along the right side of the hole and bounced into the big, grassy area that's home to concession stands, the merchandise tent. It was miles out of bounds.

Pants on fire

There was an interesting remark from Henrik Stenson about the weather. "The wind,'' he said, "feels like it's trying to rip your pants off, and that's no good.''

Stenson, of course, is the Swedish pro who stripped down to his underwear before wading into a water hazard to play a shot in the 2009 WGC-CA Championship at Doral. Entering the third round at 2 under, Stenson, his pants on, shot a 5-under 67 to move into a tie for fourth at 7 under.

Casey at the bat

A year after a rib muscle forced him to miss three months of the season, Paul Casey is in contention to become the first Englishman to win the British Open since 1992. His 67 put him within four strokes of Louis Oosthuizen. "Sitting here right now, I'm ecstatic," Casey said. "You know, even right now, occasionally I feel the muscles in the ribs. In no way do they affect my golf. But it's a small reminder that quite often you take for granted a lot of things, and nothing is better than an Open Championship at the home of golf."

Chip shots

John Daly's trousers were the wildest of the week, a red-and-black stripe variation of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet pattern; he had a 74 for even-par 216 after starting with a 66 Thursday . . . Rory McIlroy, who led the fist day with a 63, then shot 80, rallied for a 69, despite a double-bogey 6 on 17 the Road Hole . . . Mark Calcavecchia started the day in second place at 7 under, but he began bogey, bogey, and then took a 9 on the par-5 fifth hole that included two penalty shots. But after a 43 on the front nine, Calcavecchia had a 34 on the back for a 77 and 2-under 214.

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http://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/mickelson-had-it-going-then-finished-poorly-1.2114190
Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.
8:30AM

Newsday (N.Y.): Oosthuizen brilliant again as Rory fades, Tiger hangs on

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday


ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- This was the British Open so many expected, a tournament at the mercy of nature with wind so strong that play had to be suspended for more than an hour.

This was the British Open no one expected, a young South African dominating after two incredible rounds.

What a Friday along the North Sea, when calm became calamitous, when Rory McIlroy was 17 shots worse than he had been Thursday; when Tiger Woods tumbled down, if not quite out; and when Louis Oosthuizen beat both the weather and everyone else in the field for the first two rounds of this 139th Open.

When in early afternoon the wind gusted up to 41 mph, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which runs the Open, said balls were being moved on the greens and it "had no option but to suspend play.''

Which it did for 65 minutes, turning golf into a long day's journey into night, which in Scotland in July doesn't arrive with total darkness until past 10:30 p.m. Late starters were out there for more than seven hours, and not everyone finished.

Oosthuizen went out at 6:41 a.m. So although he endured some rain and a lighter wind, he was long finished when the nasty gusts moved in, posting a 5-under-par 67. He had a 36-hole score of 12-under 132 and a five-shot lead over Mark Calcavecchia.

"I like playing in the wind,'' said Oosthuizen, 27, whose given names, after his grandfather, are Lodewicus Theodorus. He won't answer to either, however, always being known as Louis - or to his friends as "Shrek.''

In second place at 70-67-137 is Calcavecchia, 50, the Open winner in 1989. He was in the first threesome at 6:30 a.m., and if, like Oosthuizen, that meant arising at about 4 a.m., it also meant getting around the Old Course before being figuratively blown away.

That's what happened to McIlroy, who tied the course record of 63 Thursday and didn't make a bogey. On Friday, he shot 40-40-80, not making a birdie, and dropped from first to a tie for 38th.

"It could have been 82 or 82,'' McIlroy said. "I've never experienced shooting 63 and then going and shooting 80.''

Tiger Woods, with a birdie at 18, shot 73 for 140. The final putt dropped a bit before 10 p.m. After Tom Watson birdied 18 to finish at 75 for 148, the horn was blown to halt play, leaving 30 golfers to return Saturday.

"It was a tough day. For everybody,'' Woods said. "You just have to go out there and deal with it, whether you're on the good end of the draw or not the good end . . . I'm not exactly where I want to be, but after my start [he began bogey, bogey], I could have shot myself out of it.''

The projected cut was 145, and names such as Watson, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Geoff Ogilvy were among those above that score.

Oosthuizen won the Par-3 Contest at the Masters this year - then missed the cut in the regular event for a third straight time - but he won the Andalucia Open on the European Tour and said that changed his outlook, building his confidence.

The son of a farmer, Oosthuizen said he would not have been able to afford golf lessons as a child were it not for the foundation created by countryman Els to help young South Africans.

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http://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/oosthuizen-brilliant-again-as-rory-fades-tiger-hangs-on-1.2111852
Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.